Memory Specifications

We decided to utilize a 1Gb (2x512MB) memory configuration as it is probably one of the widely used setups today. Our choice of memory was more difficult as we had an abundance of modules available due to our recent upgrade of many systems to 2GB configurations. In the end we tested several different modules and came to the conclusion that almost all of it generated the same results on this board. Turning to the "scientific method", we flipped a coin a couple of times, tossed darts at the manufacturer's packages, strapped on a blindfold, and then picked a couple of modules from the pile.

Our DDR memory is from Patriot Memory and it previously resided in one of our test systems for several weeks. The memory features low latencies at DDR-400 (PC3200) while costing around $100 for a 1GB kit.

Patriot PDC1G3200LLK Memory Specifications
Number of DIMMs & Banks 2 DS
DIMM Size 512MB
Total Memory 1 GB
Rated Timings 2-3-2-5 1T at DDR-400
Rated Voltage 2.6V

Additional Information on these very popular DIMMs is available at the Patriot website. We have memory that offers additional headroom for overclocking and also memory that was representative of PC3200 modules shipped a couple of years ago with 2.5 CAS ratings. However, we felt like this memory is a good blend of performance and pricing for our testing.

Our DDR2 memory is from Transcend and was utilized in some extensive HTPC testing for our upcoming Intel DHCAT article. The memory features decent latencies at DDR2-667 but was able to perform at much lower latencies in our testing while costing around $70 for a 1GB kit. We highly recommend this memory for users needing an inexpensive yet great performing memory in their budget or mid-range systems.

Transcend JetRam Memory Specifications
Number of DIMMs & Banks 2 DS
DIMM Size 512MB
Total Memory 1 GB
Rated Timings 5-5-5-12 at DDR2-667
Rated Voltage 1.8V

Transcend has additional specifications for this memory listed here. We also had 512MB memory modules that offered much lower latencies, but these cost the same as current 2GB value kits based on Elpida memory. Our memory choice is representative of speeds and latencies shipped in OEM systems that have been widely available the past couple of years for Intel users.

Our ASRock motherboard offers the following options for each memory speed. Although DDR-266 is fully supported we will not be testing at this memory speed. The current BIOS offers a wide array of memory speed settings but is very limited in voltage options with low, normal, and high being the only choices.

ASRock 775Dual-VSTA
Auto DDR2-533 DDR2-667 DDR-266 DDR-333 DDR-400
FSB 1066 X X X X X X
FSB 800 X X X X X X
FSB 533 X X X X X X

We have tested the board with our Pentium D 805 and 950 processors to ensure proper FSB support at 533 and 800. We did not find any anomalies during testing with our processors that also included a Core 2 Extreme X6800.

Index System Configuration
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  • Gary Key - Wednesday, August 09, 2006 - link

    quote:

    In reviews here, I saw a tendency to use grand words for small feats. I won't consider the 10% this board is behind others "dismal performance" - so for very little money, you could get good performance - that is the thing every budget buyer wants.


    That was overboard after reading through it again. ;-) Let's say in the future we use a different phrase. :)
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Wednesday, August 09, 2006 - link

    I looked at the charts in that review. 'Dismal' was the right word. It would be one thing if ALL value boards scored 10% lower than high-end boards; then it would be wrong to call such performance 'dismal'; that would be 'value' or some other word that respects the bargain price of the board. However, when many value boards come within a percentage or two of high-end boards (at least when considering stock performance), then 'dismal' is a great word for the perfomance that board exhibited.
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - link

    or maybe even an NForce 4 DDR2 board:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - link

    oh, nevermind that NForce4 board, it doesn't support Conroe anyway.

    Nevertheless, my general point stands.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - link

    We've looked at this board with high-end components, and users expressed interest in knowing more. As stated in the article, this is part one of three where we look at some interesting budget options. We've now established that DDR-400 and DDR2-533 perform acceptably on this system, for a budget configuration. Next up is a look at how the AGP and PCIe options fare, followed by a final article with comparisons to other similar boards (including an 865 and 915 model - not sure about the 945 though). 945 will require DDR2, of course, so it's in a bit different category. Reply
  • johnsonx - Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - link

    quote:

    even a 945 board if any of those have Conroe support.


    Oh, here's one, and same price too:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...
    Reply
  • Kougar - Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - link

    I never asked for it, but I sure as heck was wanting this EXACT article! Thank you! I already have purchased a E6300 and this same ASrock motherboard and received both, except the corner is bady bent from shipment so I haven't dared try to power the mainboard up and am awaiting a NewEgg claim to run through. Grrrr.

    The only thing this article didn't cover was my curiosity if the different types or RAM and the AGP vs PCIe graphics could possibly have any affect on the ~300FSB OC this board was able to attain in your previous article? Considering it OCs on the heels of any nForce chipset out there I think $57 is a exceptional value right now as I use a Northwood based system. My 9600XT won't handle games, but I'll at least get some serious folding@home work done... ;)
    Reply
  • artifex - Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - link

    I think the question for someone looking to upgrade on a budget isn't "will I efficiently use the new motherboard and CPU with my old peripherals," but "will I see a real performance increase by keeping all my old gear except the motherboard and CPU?"

    You could be using the new board efficiently when compared to DDR2, but still not see enough difference to make upgrading worth the cost. Or, alternatively, your memory could be wildly inefficent in the new architecture compared to DDR2, but the new gear still brings you a huge performance increase. It all depends on the existing gear.

    Right now, I have a Socket A TBred 2600+, 1GB of Mushkin DDR-333, and a Geforce 550 8x AGP card w/256MB, all on an Asus a7n8x deluxe 2.0 (I think). So in my world, the question is, if I have only $200-250 to spend to upgrade, is it better to get the cheap mobo and a cheap CPU, or invest in more memory, or what? It's quite possible that I won't see a real performance increase with the new board and CPU for that price, so it would be pointless to upgrade. In fact, it might even make sense to go buy an eMachines or something like it offered for $200-300, with some Celeron D processor in it, instead.

    Of course, this is a lot harder to gauge, not least of which because it's a lot more subjective :)
    Reply
  • Kougar - Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - link

    You should probably read through the rest of their Conroe articles then, especially the Feeding the Monster article where they have some hard numbers on this motherboard with a Core 2 Duo you were looking for. ;) Reply
  • AkumaX - Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - link

    Did you try any overclocking (heaven forbid!)

    If you did, how high did you get :D
    Reply

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