We had a very interesting response to part one of our P965 Roundup. There was the central fact that we still have part two and three to deliver over the coming week. Yes, before anyone sends another message, both parts will be published by next Friday. However, there was one recurring theme in the hundreds of emails and private messages we received about the first article. This theme revolved around our choice of memory. We felt like dropping down to performance oriented DDR2-800 would be a better choice for this market in regards to price while it would still allow our P965 motherboards to overclock to their limits.

It turns out our choice of memory for the article is now priced higher than a lot of us make in a week. This was not our intention when we started the P965 roundup but over the course of the last eight weeks our GEIL DDR2-800 memory has witnessed an almost 60% increase in price. We have seen increases on average of 45% across the board since the beginning of summer in the general DDR2 market. The majority of higher end memory is experiencing even larger price increases along with very limited supply.

While we are finishing testing on two recently received P965 motherboards for the value sector roundup we decided to see how our new "value" performance memory would fair on the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 motherboard. Of course, this new value range is now DDR2-667 memory with typical timings of 4-4-4-12 and prices hovering around $220 for a 2GB kit. We decided to test 2GB memory kits from five different manufacturers to see how well they would perform with optimized timings at DDR2-667, DDR2-800, and however far we could overclock them before they went up in flames. Actually, there were no flames and we promise none of our modules were hurt during testing. Before we get to the results, let's take a quick look at our testbed.

Test System: Benchmark Setup

Performance Test Bed Configuration
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6300
(1.86GHz, 2MB Unified Cache)
RAM: Various
Hard Drive: Seagate 320GB 7200RPM SATA2 16MB Buffer
System Platform Drivers: Intel - 8.1.1.1001
Video Cards: 1 x MSI X1950XTX
Video Drivers: MSI/ATI Catalyst 6.10
CPU Cooling: Scythe Infinity
Power Supply: OCZ GameXstream 700W
Optical Drive: Sony 18X AW-Q170A-B2
Case: Cooler Master CM Stacker 830
Motherboards: Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 (Intel P965 C2) - BIOS F7
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2
.

We are utilizing our standard benchmark testbed from our P965 Roundup article. We chose several different DDR2-667 memory modules that were previously tested in our Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 motherboard for compatibility. Our memory choices represent an excellent blend of performance at today's inflated prices, although we are finally starting to see some price stabilization in the DDR2 market.

A 2GB memory configuration is now standard in the AnandTech testbed as most enthusiasts are currently purchasing this amount of memory. We highly recommend 2GB based upon the pending arrival of Microsoft Windows Vista, newly released games, and video encoding requirements at this time with H.264 standards. We are utilizing the MSI X1950XTX video card to ensure our 1280x1024 resolutions are not completely GPU bound for our memory test results. Our video tests are run at 1280x1024 resolution for this article at standard settings. Let's see how well our five choices faired and if the overclocking results reveal any surprises.

Memory Performance
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  • anandtech02148 - Friday, October 27, 2006 - link

    All of a sudden this type of memory disappeared from reviews. Unfortunately i found the best bargain out of this before the memory crisis, i bought 2gig pqi for $127.00.
    if you search hard enough you can find this type of mem for 45buxs 512mb. Unlike the stuff you see review on anandtech, the price are outrageous compare this type, my question is
    Am i stuck with 4gig worth of junks?
    Reply
  • stmok - Thursday, October 26, 2006 - link

    I was wondering about DDR2 667 RAM, but thanks for confirming with your test.

    I think I'll go for something like E6400 and overclock to 3.2Ghz (8x 400)...
    Reply
  • falc0ne - Saturday, October 28, 2006 - link

    yeah I was thinking about the same thing. First I will try to see how far can I go and then I will come back to a safer setting, a decent OC Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, October 26, 2006 - link

    "On our P965 motherboards we generally see that DDR2-667 timings are perfectly acceptable with the best overall performance being at DDR2-800 when not overclocking the system."

    -Does this only refer to memory timings having a larger impact at OC'd cloclspeeds, or will a Core 2 Duo system not be able to overclock as well with DDR2-667? How much less performance can we expect when overclocking? I assume the ammount (or hopefully lack-there-of) of OC limitation would be the determining factor as to whether or not this memory really is a substitute to DDR2-800.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, October 26, 2006 - link

    I corrected the wording in this section. It should make sense now. ;-)

    We have not seen any affordable DDR2-667 reach DDR2-1000 or better speeds. We have some Corsair PC6400C3, GEIL Ultra, and OCZ memory that will do it but the prices are about $550 for 2GB currently. The majority of DDR2-800 we have tested has made it to DDR2-1000 or better which allows you some headroom for lower timings in the DDR2-900~1000 (450FSB~500FSB) range. These lower timings at the higher FSB rates will improve performance in certain situations by a couple of percent or better. You need this capability when overclocking a E6300 above 500FSB at a 1:1 ratio. However, the differences require benchmarks to notice. Unless you plan on benchmarking for a living then any real performance differences between 4-4-4-12 or 5-5-5-15 at 7x500FSB are really minimal. You can expect several DDR2-667 modules to reach DDR2-900 or better as we have shown. However, we were at the bleeding edge in several cases so we suggest good DDR2-800 when overclocking the Core 2 Duo family past 450FSB on the P965 chipset.
    Reply
  • ShizNet - Thursday, October 26, 2006 - link

    GREAT JOB!
    what a write up.. everyOne is just SHOKED by your article.. trust me i'm one of them - what an eye-opener

    thx for your tip on Opera 9.x - i found short-cut [F12] for same solution

    cheers!
    Reply

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