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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  • Calin - Wednesday, August 09, 2006 - link

    Yep, I feel stoopid :)
    Anyway, the idea is that a change in memory patterns (SDR to DDR, SDR to RDRAM, DDR to DDR2) is a battle between old very optimised technology, and new, unproven yet technology. The small difference in speed can be explained that "current" technology in processors is built for best performance with current memory - a new memory type often is not optimised for the memory access needed by the processor.

    As an example, RDRAM was (just a tad) slower on Pentium !!! (compared to high performance SDRAM). Pentium4, which was bandwidth starved with single channel SDRAM, was much faster with RDRAM (dual channel though) - as much as a P4 2000 (Willamette) with SDRAM was equal to a P4 1600 with RDRAM. As speed increased, needed bandwidth increased too - but the move to dual channel DDR was the final nail in the coffin of RDRAM on PC.
    The other example - Athlon64 is not bandwidth starved on current (dual channel DDR400) memory, so doubling memory bandwidth brought no advantage. The decrease in latency was not enough to bring extra performance.
    The situation is mostly similar with Core2Duo - more memory bandwidth brings little advantage.

    This might change for quad-core processors, as they could use twice the memory bandwidth we see now - or on the Athlon side with a more aggressive prefetching algorithm (which will eat bandwidth bringing data that seem to be useful in the near future).
    Reply
  • yacoub - Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - link

    "When faced with a limited budget but a desire to have the latest and greatest technology, it is usually has to cut corners"
    should be "one usually has to cut corners"
    Reply
  • yacoub - Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - link

    page 2:

    "...one of the widely used setups in use today." Maybe you like the extra words but you could drop the words "in use" and still be making the same point.


    "The memory features average latencies at DDR2-667 but was able to perform at lower latencies in our testing while costing around $70 for a 1GB kit.

    {transcend-ddr2.html}" <--- supposed to be a link or image?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - link

    Blame the sleepy editor. :|

    The Transcend table was present, but the supported RAM speeds table was not. I fixed the error, as well as the other two grammar issues you pointed out. Thanks!
    Reply
  • yacoub - Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - link

    hehe no problem. =) Reply

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