Memory Performance on Core 2 Duo

In our previous article we compared the performance of DDR versus DDR2 on the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA motherboard and found there was very little difference between DDR-400 and DDR2-533. Overall system performance remained very close with either memory at their optimized settings on this particular board. Our initial results continued to prove out that running your memory at the highest possible speed at the lowest possible latencies does make a performance difference in applications such as gaming. However, in applications like media encoding or general desktop programs the differences are hardly significant. The single biggest impact you can usually make in improving game performance is upgrading your GPU, and for applications like media encoding and mathematical programming a CPU upgrade would be more beneficial than faster memory. Of course, a memory upgrade to 2GB is starting to show differences in the latest games and other applications where 1GB used to be the sweet spot. If you are purchasing memory at this time, we highly suggest standardizing on 2x1024MB of RAM.

Our article today will continue our investigation into how well DDR and DDR2 will perform with Intel's new Core 2 Duo. Instead of just comparing memory on the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA we will include results from the Intel 945P, Intel P965, Intel 975X, and Intel i865 chipsets. We will use the same benchmark test suite in our first article, and although it's not as extensive as our normal benchmark suite it does provide enough information to come to a clear performance conclusion. We are not comparing various memory suppliers against each other nor are we comparing 2x512MB versus 2x1024MB configurations, yet. We are simply investigating the memory performance of our E6300 Core 2 Duo processor on different chipsets to determine if the ASRock implementation of the VIA PT880 Pro is capable of competing with the best from Intel.

As a recap from our first article, we are seeing 2GB of RAM becoming the standard memory configuration for new purchases with DDR2 being considered primarily due to the recent AMD AM2 and Intel Core 2 Duo platform releases. However, there is still a large majority of computer users who have 1GB of RAM or less. More importantly, due to AMD's great success with the Athlon 64 processor series for the past three years there is an abundance of DDR memory and to a certain degree AGP cards still in use. So, when faced with a limited budget but a desire to have the latest and greatest technology, one usually has to cut corners or live with a previous generation component for a little longer before doing a complete platform upgrade. This might include using your DDR or previous generation DDR2 memory along with your video card solution a little longer than expected.

With this in mind, sometimes the best option is to mix and match components that are still useful with the latest technology. The move from a socket 754, early socket 939, or P4 LGA775 system to the new Core 2 Duo platform can be an expensive undertaking. In order to reduce the overall cost of a platform change several motherboard manufacturers offer combination boards that allow users to mix and match capabilities between memory and GPU interfaces. ASRock has built a reputation on offering these types of solutions. In the case of the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA, this board allows you to move to the new Core 2 Duo platform at a minimum cost. Besides offering very good performance for a great price this board also allows you to utilize your DDR memory or AGP graphics card.

Our next article later this week will look at the performance of our EVGA 7600GS PCI-E card against its sibling 7600GS AGP card on this board with comparative AGP performance on the Intel i865 chipset. We will finish our investigative series with a full comparison of this board against its AM2 counterpart, AM2V890-VSTA, armed with an AMD 3800+ X2 along with results from other ASRock value boards featuring the Intel i865 and 945P chipsets. Let's see if the performance of DDR2 improves on other chipsets with our standard configuration components.

Memory Specifications
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  • randytsuch - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Hi
    I am thinking about upgrading my old P4 to a low end conroe, and after reading the article, was also thinking about the 775i65G.

    Application will be mostly video rendering, and as a music server for my squeezebox, no gaming.

    I am wondering how well the 775i65G overclocks, compared to something like a Gigabyte 865-DS3. I was thinking about the Gigabyte, but the Asrock would save a fair amount of money, will let me keep my AGP card and RAM, as well as being cheaper than the DS4.

    Thanks,
    Randy
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    From what I understand, the low multiplier of the Conroe hurts its overclocking chances with this motherboard. People have gotten very good overclocks with Prescotts and Celeron D's with the ADrock board, but only becuase those processors have much higher multipliers. I don't think the lack of voltage adjustment hurts it as much as the fact that you just can't take the FSB very high. Reply
  • Paladin165 - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    I just want to add that I bought an ASRock 775 Dual-VSTA with a celeron D 326 to hold me over until I get a conroe, and I'm running some old DDR266 with no problems. I'm using an old Geforce 4 ti 4400 AGP in it and it works with most games (not Oblivion though unfortunately). So if you still have some DDR 266 laying around you'd like to use go ahead and buy this board. It has a ton of memory settings including some kind of memory compatability mode so it should work with just about anything.

    However, even with the Celeron D 326 overclocked to 3.3GHZ, super pi 1M takes 59sec...roughly equal to my sempron 1.6ghz at stock speed. It is definitely a slow POS. Temps are still very low, going to try to get it up higher, 3.8 or 4.0ghz, but I'm not sure I can while keeping the memory at such low speed.

    Another thing nice about this board which I haven't seen mentioned in the reviews is that it can run AGP and PCI-E at the same time, so you can have 4 moniters without needing a slow PCI graphics card.

    Also, it seems that the AGP is only 4X. The settings in the bios only go up to 4X and Everest or something told me it was running my card at 4X, I doubt it makes any difference though.
    Reply
  • cdalgard - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    I am wondering how a 6800 Ultra would compare to the 7600GS on these platforms. How might the benchmarks look? Is the 6800 Ultra faster than the 7600GS to begin with? Reply
  • ChronoReverse - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    The 7600GT would be a good match against the 6800U but the 7600GS is definitely behind the 6800U. Reply
  • xsilver - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    but if i'm not mistaken, the 7600gs and gt only differ in clock speeds, so trying your luck with overclocking the gs may achieve stock gt results Reply
  • SixFour - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Cooling would stop first before the actual video card did. Reply
  • ChronoReverse - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Not to mention the much slower memory. Typically you get GDDR3 with GT while you get GDDR2 (clocked lower as well) with the GS. Reply
  • cdalgard - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    How does the memory compare on the 6800 Ultra? There does not seem to be any good benchmarks comparing the 3 cards (6800U, 7600GS, 7600GT). Does anyone have a link to a table for specifications (core clock, memory clock, pipelines)? Thanks. Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    How does the memory compare on the 6800 Ultra?


    The memory on the 6800 Ultra runs at 1.10GHz compared to 400MHz on the 7600GS. We will have scores up for the PCI-E versus AGP on the 6800 Ultra and 7600GS cards shortly.
    Reply

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