Value RAM Roundup: Computing On a Budget

by Wesley Fink on 4/11/2005 4:26 PM EST


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  • 2cpuminimum - Wednesday, June 01, 2005 - link

    I have to agree that a value ram analysis would be more useful if it checked stability of less well known brands, such as memory pro. Also it would be useful to review sodimm ram 512MB modules, as many budget laptops come with scanty ram and it is usually cheaper to add it aftermarket than buy more from the manufacturer. Reply
  • Pjotr - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Oh, I forgot, the package does say it has EVP! Reply
  • Pjotr - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    "If you are interested in the OCZ Value VX, note the differences in the two part numbers, one with a "W" and one without.
    Value VX = OCZ4001024WV3DC-K
    2.5-3-3-7 (picture) Supports EVP (Extended Voltage Protection)

    Value = OCZ4001024V3DC-K
    3-4-4-8 Does not Support EVP"

    I bought the OCZ Value 2x512 RAM with 3-4-4-8 timings for $115 at Fry's, so basically I got fooled at that price?

    I have this setup: DFI nF4 SLI-D, X800XL, Winchester 3000+.

    I've tried this RAM and it won't run at CAS2 at all, I think, I need to do some more work. I've tried 3.0 to 3.2 V in general. I do get it to run 2.5-3-3-8 up to about 240 MHz, from there I need to relax to 2.5-4-3-8 and I then hit 250 quite stable, 255 SuperPI stable but not 3DMark stable.

    I'm a bit disappointed now... any hints? Shouldn't I be able to get better timings at 240-250 MHz too? The memory chips are marked OCZ, not blank. Don't know exact markings right now.
  • Baldeagle76 - Friday, April 29, 2005 - link

    Edit I am an idiot and don't know how to read page 2. Thanks for a good article. Do compliments from idiots count ? As far as the voltages go I was happy to see what it "could" handle if this is not anything that I would ever do in my motherboard, the curiousity inside me found this interesting. I thank you for pushing the ram to the limit because in the long run I think the ram that tolerates that type of voltage would have an advantage in OC'ing. I was very curious about the posts earlier saying that you can keep your Ram at ddr400 (effective) and increase your FSB and have no asynchronous lag. This probably isn't the place for that discussion but I nonetheless was very interested in this information. Maybe a review of that is in order for the next Ram test if you have the time ?
  • Baldeagle76 - Friday, April 29, 2005 - link

    I have a question. After reading this article I went to NEW EGG to look up the current prices of RAM. Specifically I was looking for the prices on the Value VX ram. Sadly, I did not find anything that fit this description. I don't know if it because I don't know what I am looking for. In None of the titles of the RAM did they mention Value VX. Value was mentioned but how do I know if it is the VX or not? Also looked for the OCZ value BH5 and again I am not sure if I don't know what to look for or if they are out of stock because I didn't see any. It might be helpful for consumers making purchases based off of the articles on Anandtech to include the manufacturer part number so we know whether or not we are getting the same thing reviewed or not. Maybe you could help me out with this because I was looking at getting some of this 512x2 for a second machine i am building but would definetly want the stuff reviewed and not stuff I don't know how good it is. Just including the manufacturer part number would be very helpful in this regard, especially for ram.
  • Baldeagle76 - Friday, April 29, 2005 - link

  • alexXx - Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - link

    wow, honestly now. For a reputable website, why is it that the level of english used in this article could be bested by a 4th grader.
    YOU CANNOT pluralize 'memory' If you want to refer to more than one you use 'pieces of memory' or 'memory sticks'. Also when you say 'the memories' you can bloody just say 'the memory'. It is not a hard concept. Would you see this in a newspaper? NO. Same should go for online articles.
  • wakeboarder3 - Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - link

    I just got some of this ram, 2 gigs after reading the review "0CZ4001024WV3DC-K" And all I can say is WOW!!!!! 2-2-2-11 @2.9 220 X 11 on my 2500m/ABIT
    And for $115 a gig. Runs better then my old bh-5
  • CanadianDoc - Monday, April 18, 2005 - link

    #93 As Wesley said in the opening paragraph, the PURPOSE of this RAM review is to help the reader find the combination of components yielding the best overall "system performance" for the money.

    That's the Big Picture that you need to keep in mind.

    In that context, the combination of Crucial Ballistix RAM, a DFI nF4 mobo, and a Venice 3200+ CPU at 10 x 280 MHz is a very attractive one, in terms of system speed versus cost.

    Of course, "system performance" can include other things than just speed, such as fault tolerance, noise, heat, portability, availability, etc.

    I happen to value low noise as well as high speed, which is why I suggested the other components, too. I simply hope that my comments give other readers a few ideas of their own.

    And that's the point of these forums, isn't it?
  • JoKeRr - Sunday, April 17, 2005 - link

    #92 this is a ram review.

    wesley: it's interesting to see that the new BH-5, tccd, Micron rev.g, and UTT chip, at 2-2-2-5 timing ddr400, they never reached over 3k on sandra unbuffered test. However, going back to the old P4 2.4C test bed, Mushkin and OCZ 3500 BH-5 running at ddr400 2-2-2-5 had over 3.1k each.

    Guess the old BH-5 is still faster than the new one.
  • CanadianDoc - Sunday, April 17, 2005 - link

    1 GB (2 x 512 MB) of Crucial Ballistix PC 3200 now lists for $192 U.S. at

    On any mobo, it runs at 200 MHz (DDR 400) at 2-2-2-6 timings at 2.8 V, outperforming any other RAM in this review.

    As shown by AnandTech (, on a DFI nF4 mobo, it overclocks to 280 MHz (DDR 560) at 2.5-3-3-6 timings at only 2.9 V, where it closely matches the top performance of any RAM available at any price, bar none. IMHO, this is real value.

    Adding a Venice 3200+ overclocked to 10 x 280 MHz = 2.80 GHz (, a Thermalright XP-90 heatsink with a SilenX 92mm 14dBA fan, a Seagate 7200.8 SATA NCQ hard drive, and a Gigabyte X800 XL video card with SilentPipe cooling (GV-RX80L256V), in an Antec Performance One (P160) case ( with an XG Magnum 500W heatpipe PSU (available later this month, according to, you have the makings of an ultra-quiet gaming rig with near state-of-the-art performance at a great bang-for-the-buck price.
  • ozzimark - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    you can. i'm a big advocate of crucial ballistix

    speaking of that company, why were they missing from the testing too?
  • BaronVonAwesome - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    195 seems a bit steep for value RAM. I'd like to point out that you can get Ballistix from Crucial for less than 210 I believe. Reply
  • Den - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    Thanks for pointing out that the part numbers are on page two. As many others have said, it would have been really nice to see the best the different rams would do at 2.9v in addition to what they would do with DFI voltage. Also it would have been nice to see a greater range of memory tested but I understand you are limited by not being able to afford to buy and test what you want. Beggars can't be choosy. Thanks for doing this though, the general concept was good and there was some interesting information. Reply
  • NXIL - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    Paying $100 to buy some Corsair Valueram (Newegg--had an $88 special yesterday) would have been the fair and reasonable course of action.

    Consumer Reports has been testing products fairly for decades--they don't accept advertising, and, they buy the cars, electronics, and other items they test anonymously. Of note is that "Sharper Image" has sued them recently (SI lost) when they tested one of their bogus "air purifiers"--seems to make the air less clean, actually, by releasing ozone.

    Anandtech should get some Corsair RAM and test it--and, they should buy samples of the other brands tested, and compare the "off the street" samples with the ones provided by the manufacturers. Unless I am mistaken, video card makers were found to be rigging their drivers to test better with certain benchmarks. It would not be too surprising to find that memory manufacturers had taken some of their special high cost "binned" chips and sent them out with a "value" label on them.

  • MadAd - Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - link

    Oh dear ... I left this review for 2 days till I had time to read it properly, I'm sorry to say I wish I had not bothered.

    1) Should have been titled value ram from non value companies. Wheres the real value ram?

    Since the price began to drop we seem to be up to our ears in stuff ive never heard of purporting to be cas3@3200 - Stupid me for thinking that thats what a value roundup should include, noname oem kit, not some hand selected bunch of good-but-value-priced ram from the majors.

    2) Why is the following question being avoided and ignored? Namely why wasnt any corsair memory got from another source and included in the test?

    A reader posted some assumptions however further to that it could be i) they use pretty much the same chips all over and dont want to give the game away that the extra $100 doesnt get you much increase and ii) anandtech dont want to bite the hand that feeds so bowed down to the request rather than doing whats right and finding the truth come hell or high water.

    Im not usually this negative but I do feel quite let down, sorry.
  • classy - Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - link

    I think a lot of folks are missing it. I think some people need to look at this way. You would have upgrade your cpu 1-2 speed grades to equal the performance increase that using the VX or BH5 memory would bring. Even at stock speeds. Now yes you need more voltage, but DFI I believe produces the best A64 borads as well as the best athlon XP board, Ultra B, which all are capable of supplying the necessary voltage. You can also use the ddr booster on some boards. Its a great alternative to increase system performance without spending a lot of money. And this is memory that you can grow with for at least a couple of years. I believe AMD said it won't go DDR2 until 2007. Great article, good stuff, and nice to see other ways to bring a performance increase. Nice job Wesley Reply
  • unclebud - Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - link

    84 comments in 2 days!!! haven't seen that in a while...
    thanks for the article! good reading as usual
  • XRaider - Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - link

    The cheap OCZ is faster then the Plat. Rev2 !!! Ain't dat a Bitch!!! >:-(
    WTF is up with OCZ. shooot.
  • srstudios - Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - link

    Wesley, I hate to be a nag, but now you have both the OCZ PC3200 Gold, and the OCZ PC3200 Premier with the same model number. PC3200 Gold P/NOCZ4001024ELDCGE-K
    is correct.

    The Premier should be PN- OCZ4001024PDC-K, at least I think that's the correct part.

    I have a gig of the 'old' BH-5, Mushkin Black L2 PC3500, do you think they would play nice with this new value BH-5? I don't think I would combine them, just wonder if you guys have any thoughts about it.
  • LoneWolf15 - Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - link

    Thanks for a good article. I usually post response for constructive criticism, but I ought to balance that out more. The Value VX OCZ RAM was particularly interesting and worth knowing about. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - link

    #79 - I double-checked the part number on the OCZ "Value BH5" and corrected the Part Number on page 2. Thanks for pointing this out. Reply
  • ericeames - Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - link

    I belive that the idea of this roundup was good but it has some flaws:

    I dont think that getting memories directly from the manufacturer is a good idea. I know that this is how it "works" it makes the result less credible!

    The overclocking possibilities is not THAT important altough it should not be neglected.

    Compairing them with better brands was a good idea, it makes the results relative.


  • srstudios - Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - link

    Wesley, it seems that the part number is incorrect for the BH-5 OCZ shown on page two.

    ELDCGE-K for BH-5 2-2-2

    Nice article though, thanks for all the great work!
  • srstudios - Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - link

  • xsilver - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    another thing I have to clear up..... I don't mind extreme voltages used on a "performance" review but this was supposed to be a "VALUE" roundup.... so in this situation extreme voltages may not be warranted

  • xsilver - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    #62 wesley... you continiued analogy is flawed....
    the thing you forget to mention is that the ferrari only smokes the chevy IF and ONLY IF the racing alcohol is used (3.4v) and the racing alchohol is only available to people who buy say brand X tyres (dfi board).... so in essence you cannot separate the dfi board and the vx + bh5 ram.... they must be used together.....
    I stand by my statement that this "review" smells a bit like an advertisment for dfi and ocz

    I thought it was generally accepted that you can now get the same performance with 1:1 overclocking on loose cas3 timings as a lower mhz with tighter cas 2 timings.... so the need to push the ram to the highest mhz is unnessessary to get the best performance
  • JustAnAverageGuy - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Poor Wesley.

    The crowds can never be pleased.
  • AtaStrumf - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    ChineseDemocracyGNR's post reminded me of one more thing that is sooooo... wrong with this article. 240MHz is nowhere near enough for 1:1 OC-ing of A64s, because unlike you, we don't have 2,4 GHz (4000+, 939, 12x multiplier) chips which cost a fortune, but rather 1,8/2,0 GHz (3000+/3200+, 939, 9x/10x multiplier) chips which cost much less. So if you do the math that is 2160/2400 MHz, which is not exacly the limit, at least not anymore, now that the 90 nm Venice chips are just around the corner. Reply
  • AtaStrumf - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    I noticed that typo too Olaf van der Spek, but more importantly this very same Transcend RAM gave me quite a bit of trouble and I would not recommend it to anyone with an A64. I was getting strange errors on my ABIT KV8 K8T800Pro, A64 3200+ S754, 2x512 transend RAM combo, like consistent NERO Identity check failures after a DVD burn. Really annoying!!! There were other stuff too, but the point is after I switched to TwinMOS Twister 3700, PQI OEM 3200, Geil Value 3200, Crucial Ballistix 3200 CL2 (best RAM I tested so far), Corsair XMS 3700 (crap RAM BTW), APACER 4000 (TCCD chips; on A64 won't run with any other stick, eg. 1x512 Ballistix + 1x512 APACER, system only sees 512MB of APACER RAM; checked with many different memories) or any other memory for that matter, everything worked just fine, so there is something really strange wrong with Transcend RAM so I strongly recommend that all A64 users avoid it like a plague.

    I agree that the only good choice in this roundup was a OCZ VX Value. You shouldn't let manufacturers pick the RAM you test. Ask us what we want to see tested, we'll have plenty of ideas. The ones I'd like to see are Corsair Value (which I know is crap, I just want you to show in Anand's recent blog entry AT's much advertised backbone and prove to Corsair that you will not take their BS excuse and will still test their RAM, even if they don't want you to, because we, the readers, come first), then GEIL Value 3200 isn't all that bad, then TwinMOS Speed Premium, PQI 3200 OEM, Geil pc4000 Ultra Platinum isn't that expensive either.

    And please stop at 2,9V, because that is as high as most are willing to go, and don't test more that CAS 2.5 and 1T.
  • ChineseDemocracyGNR - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    "2) RAM multipliers are usually limited. If you have a standard set of 400, 320, and 266 speeds, you could only achieve DDR400 speed at a CPU frequency of 250. Anything lower than that would be running the RAM at less than 400. Most A64 CPUs can't do 250 on air at stock multipliers (the low end ones can) so they will be running less than optimum ram speed. That's where you could lower CPU multipliers or use a board like the DFI with lots of intermediate RAM ratios. "

    I'm not sure I'm following.

    With a 9x CPU multiplier, DDR266 memory divider and 312MHz reference clock the memory would be running at DDR400.
    With a DDR200 option you could go up to 400MHz on the reference clock. That means that no DDR400 memory will limit the overclock of a CPU with a 9x multiplier.

    "1) There is an Asynchronous Latency penalty, which can be tweaked somewhat on boards with better BIOS options like the DFI. It is not, hoever, the kind of asynchronous penalty you see on a FSB board like Intel. "

    In my own tests there's no real-world penalty at all. I compared an Athlon 64 running at:
    REFCLOCK: 200MHz
    Memory Divider: DDR400
    CPU multiplier: 9x
    LDT: 5x

    REFCLOCK: 300MHz
    Memory Divider: DDR266 (DDR400 effective)
    CPU multiplier: 6x
    LDT: 3x

    The results where near identical.

    "In other words, the easiest way to consistently improve memory performance is 1:1 memory speed."

    There's no memory fast enough to run at 1:1 with an Athlon 64. ;)
    An Athlon 64 at 9*200 is on a 1800/9 ratio with DDR400 memory.

    I'm sorry but I stand by what I said before, there's no reason to invest in memory if you want to overclock your Athlon 64, only if you want to overclock the memory as well.

    Kind of on the subject, I hope the round up of AMD PCI-E boards (there is one coming right?) tests the best reference clock the motherboards can achieve without memory as a limiting factor, unlike the reviews before.
  • PrinceGaz - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Excellent review, both for the modules it covered and what it didn't.

    One small point- there is no such thing as 1:1 memory timings with A64 processors. The reduced latency and higher performance that a 1:1 ration gave when the processor to chipset FSB was running synchronously with the chipset memory-controller, is irrelevant with the Athlon 64 as there is no intermediate bus operating at a differnt speed to the memory controller to cause overheads. Selecting a lower memory speed just changes the CPU:Memory ratio in the processor.

    The memory on an Athlon 64 system works just as efficiently (though ay a lower bandwidth of course) if set to DDR333 as it does at DDR400, which means there is no real penalty when overclocking in choosing a lower memory speed to compensate for the increasing bus speed.
  • Olaf van der Spek - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    > Transcend is another memory that costs just $100 for a Gigabyte and yet manages to nearly reach DDR550 in overclocking.

    The table claims 510 (2 x 223), but 2 x 223 = 446.
  • Olaf van der Spek - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Is Lavalys sponsoring this article? Why is that paragraph repeated on every page? Reply
  • JustAnAverageGuy - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    I would have liked to see Mushkin Blue

    ($147 per GB)

    and Corsair VS 2.5

    ($174 per gb)

    I won't whine about the voltage, that's been done before :)
  • Olaf van der Spek - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    - Reply
  • LX - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Why isn't the OCZ4001024WV3DC-K on the OCZ site???
  • CobraT1 - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    If you are interested in the OCZ Value VX, note the differences in the two part numbers, one with a "W" and one without.
    Value VX = OCZ4001024WV3DC-K
    2.5-3-3-7 (picture) Supports EVP (Extended Voltage Protection)

    Value = OCZ4001024V3DC-K
    3-4-4-8 Does not Support EVP

    See this link for both.

    Hope this clears up the confusion.

  • segagenesis - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Wesley - Fair enough. But when that ATACOM link posted in #44 shows 3-4-4 even on the label in the picture its hard to tell who to believe (and its hard to read the part # on it). If its all the same chip then fine... but why label it differently then? Buyer beware?

    Maybe I am off base...
  • Turin39789 - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    I get real tired pushing ferrari's out of my driveway. There isnt any racing alcohol available to me, sometimes I have my neghbor tow me to work in his chevrolet cobalt Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    #52-#55 - There are Part numbers for ALL the memories in the review in the chart on Page 2. OCZ responded in post #44 that the 3-4-4-8 and 2.4-3-3-8 were the same VX memory. The parts are rated at what they can do at standard voltage - not what they can do at 3.0V and above.

    #45 - Continuing your analogy. If a Ferrari (Value VX) were available for the same price as a Chevrolet Cobalt, then I think readers would expect me to include the Ferrari in my review of Value cars - despite the fact the Ferrari might need hard to find racing alcohol (3.0V to 3.5V) to run properly while the Cobalt only needed easy to find unleaded regular gasoline (2.6V).

  • adg1034 - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Isn't that what he did with the Value VX? Check out the article... Reply
  • Zebo - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    How bout the real "value" modules which really are cheap and contain same chips as high end ram? Just not speed binnned but who gives a rats ass for that kind of value.

    Some I can think of right off top off head are:

    Crucial's with micron G's = Ballistix for half price.

    TwinMOS with Winbond VX = OCZ VX for less than half price.

    Kingston VR with Hynix BT = All those high end sparkly packaged 4200 modules for half price.

    And so on.

    Meh not what I was expecting.
  • Hardtarget - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    good article except for one thing! I wish you had compared generic Samsung OEM ram.

    I don't know about the US but in Canada right now OEM Samsung game is super cheap. you can get 1gig for 100 bucks canadian. It's incredibly popular.

    Would of been a great starting point to the article and good to see how it compares to non oem versions.
  • Ranger123 - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    I think you need to clear up the issue regarding Corsair not providing memory. Corsair's response indicates why they chose not to supply their Value Select parts, but it doesn't explain why no XMS modules were provided. At least a couple of the XMS kits meet your criteria and I assume that these are the parts they were referring to when they said that OCers should look at their parts that are "geared to performance and overclocking".

    I can see 4 possible reasons for Corsair's refusal to send an XMS kit:
    1. Corsair misread the AT request and thought only the Value Select parts qualified.
    2. Corsair doesn't want anything in their XMS line associated with the phrase "Value RAM".
    3. As others have suggested, Corsair knew their modules wouldn't perform well and decided that no result was better than a bad result.
    4. Corsair is using the same rotating chip trick on these XMS modules that they are on the Value Select, they're just not admitting it.

    Given Corsair's reputation I would assume that it's one of the first two, but if Corsair is resorting to some questionable practices I think the AT community would want to know. Maybe you can contact whoever you deal with at Corsair and get an explanation.
  • Crassus - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    When I saw the headline of the review I expected the review to be somewhat different, to be honest. The tests in itself are not bad at all, but if you still have the samples I ask you both in my name and the names off all the folks complaning about the voltages to perform at least some tests at Voltages around 2.8 - 2.9 Volts to allow us to see how these RAMs perform at other boards (e.g. nForce3+4) and how far they will go in MHz @1T.

    I, too, have to question the ethics of this review in the light of the recent debate. How do we know that the samples you tested are of the same kind as we can buy, if its up to the manufacturer to send you whatever they see fit? Especially when it comes to !value! parts I doubt it will be too much of a problem to recieve them through other channels who will not be as interested in the outcome of the review as the manufacturer (Retail chains or online shops?). You may even consider buying them yourself anonymously to remove any doubt and sell them off lateron. Shouldn't be too hard with a community like this one or an online auction site.

  • Backslider - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    I'd like to comment on my experince with Value and Special Edition type RAM.

    While recenly building a set of PCs, I was reading articles similar to this one. I was convinced that in order to get a good system with future potential of over clocking I would need to buy the more expensive (non-value) RAM.

    I happly paid approx. 50% more for this "Extreme Memory", thinking it would be perfect for a stable system. However, after I built my pair of systems I ran into trouble.

    One of the two systems failed to install Windows. And to make a long story short, I ended up with a bad pair of RAM. I RMA'ed them to and received yet another faulty set of RAM. Finaly, I sent them to the maufacturer for an RMA. This time I received a set that hardly squeek by at stock speed. Overclocking by even 1% means instant BSOD.

    Since this happened, I've been buying Value RAM. (from a different manufacturer) And havent run into any problems yet.

    I also find it interesting that the manufacturer of the faulty RAM that I received, declined to Anandtech's request for test samples. Also, there reasoning was a bit questionable considering that their out of their "XMS" line, I received 4 (pairs) of modules that all performed VERY differently. (1 great, 2 bad, 1 not worth the RMA)

    Thats just my input, based on my experience and nothing more.

  • Den - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    #54 (and 52).
    I agree, if you are certain you will never overclock you should just get cheap ram with ok timings at stock speed. Interesting that the timings on the picture that you mention (2.5-3-3-7) match what is in the article here.

    I understand why the articles don't have links to buy it, but it really would help if they would at least include the manufacturer's part/model number, then we could be sure.
  • segagenesis - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    #53 - Actually clicking on the image you can see the ram is marked differently than the newegg page (wtf!) as 2.5-3-3-7 in the picture but 2.5-4-4-8. Ummm...

    Unfortunately I must be somewhat critical when my eyes spin around an article that gives praise to memory for $115 yet doesnt mention *where*. Let alone just a single link to buy it at any price.

    Now granted the Corsair value runs at 2.5-3-3-7 also and likely has little headroom for people who want more out of less, but I consider it a good deal for those like me who dont overclock memory. *takes a breath* With the OCZ being $148 off the same site vs. $87 Corsair, for stock performance its not exactly "value" to me unless you are an overclocker. More like "value if you take the risk". A damn shame Corsair would not submit samples.
  • Den - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    re: #52
    has timings a little closer but you are right, it sure would be nice if they put actual model numbers in the reviews instead of leaving us to guess.
  • segagenesis - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Meh, I am lost for the life of me here. I dont see what the big fuss is over Value VX when I still cant find it. To save the comments this doesnt look like the memory reviewed in the article being 3-4-4-8.

    Seeing how is $87 and I already have some and know it works well... im hard pressed to think I really need to buy "mystery memory".
  • Illissius - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Finally, is what I can say. However, if you really mean it when say you want to test real life performance, you should test with stuff from the actual standard benchmark suite - Quake 3 might show impressive gains from higher memory bandwidth, but does the same hold true for Doom 3?

    xsilver: While I agree that testing with the insane voltages available on DFIs limits the scope of the article somewhat, and results for lower voltages would've been nice to see (or at least mentioned specifically, it seems they're actually there for the BH5, though not the VX), I'm frankly more annoyed with all the other motherboard manufacturers for not allowing higher voltages (Abit in particular), than I am with AT for going ahead and testing with the only one that does. I wouldn't call it advertisement, more like a fair appraisal of capabilities.
  • Den - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    I thought it was interesting to see in the charts that the Crucial Balistix which are $204 right now ($106 each but 4% off if you buy two and therefore JUST missed the price cutoff for this review) were consistently very good (faster than almost everything in this review) and are the only ones that can be that fast on more normal (non-DFI) voltages. Reply
  • xsilver - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Im not saying the dfi is bad or expensive.... its just that if you review with features that only the dfi can provide its not really a review / roundup anymore ..... its called an advertisment.... where's the choice?????
    I expect that dfi shareholders to be laughing really loud right now.... and OCZ too....
  • bigtoe36 - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Value VX is $115 if you shop around, how does this count it out of a value roundup?

    Should AT have only reviewed value ram that performs poorly?
  • OrSin - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    #40 actually alot people would do just that.
    The DFI mother is not really that expensive.
    Asus and gigabit are the the same price. 6800GT cards are high but if you want the best cards you buy them, to play the games. But how many times have anyone said what type of ram you need to play Doom 3 or HL. No one. If you don't over clock, then $90 ram will slow you system down what 1-2% over $300 ram. I got a A64 3400 and 800XL and kingmax ram. And my system runs alot fat then my friend with with a just 800 and $250 ram.

    Sorry but buying high priced ram are mostly for over clockers and most people don't do that. Alot on these tech sites do, but my guess is even most people that buy $200+ ram don't

    The review was nice to me.
  • xsilver - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    another thing I want to clarify is that you make the assumption that you must be a "mad overclocker" if you buy the dfi because it can do 3.4v and all others that dont have the dfi are just posers..... many people would disagree but you seem to not notice???

  • xsilver - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    I understand what you say about making things consistent but arent then you just promoting the dfi board as no other board supports 3.4v? what about people who are going nforce 3 or intel (god forbid :P)
    in trying to maximize the potential of the ram, you are limiting the practical application...

    an analogy would be "in testing a ferrari its performance is great when drive it with brand X of fuel and feed it liquid oxygen".... umm... what about the rest of the people that dont use that?... that's why car reviews talk more about the "feel" & handling of the car, things that can be appriecieated by ALL customers....

    and by specifying that this review was more for "mad overclockers" that may use the dfi then why even review the cheaper solutions that dont even overclock at all... I mean its not exactly fair when you compare the really cheap ram to some OCZ VX values now is it?

    On one hand you try and generalize to the broader market but then on the other you say that you're only catering to the "mad overclockers" that buy the dfi
    your original scientific basis / aim is a little unsound
  • bigtoe36 - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    If your looking for value VX look here.

    Look closely at the part number is has WV which stands for with winbond die, timings are usually 3-4-4-8 or 2.5-3-3-8 buit its all the same stuff.
  • adg1034 - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Where exactly can you find the Value VX? Do you have a model number? I was going to buy the Corsair Value RAM, but after reading this, I definitely think I'm going OCZ. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    xsilver -

    PLEASE read my Final Words. I made a very clear distinction between Value RAM for normal motherboards and Value RAM for Mad Overcockers. If I take your approach then it assumes there are no overclockers who buy a cheap motherboard, or a DFI nF4 Ultra for $134, and use cheap ram they push to the limit. I assure you there are lots of overclockers who push cheap ram to the limits, and who are looking for some great overclocking RAM at a cheap price. YOUR definition of Value is just one of many and we talk about this in depth on page 2.

    Most really cheap motherboards in the Value category have no adjustments at all for memory voltage, so I should logically only test at 2.5V or 2.6V using your approach. We are testing what this Value RAM can do with a consistent test bed.

    As for the 6800 Ultra and DFI, they were ONLY used so we could compare results to many of the high-end RAM we have recently tested - to keep the test bed consistent. I can imagine the uproar if I had tested with a 6200 and then listed past results with our 6800 Ultra test bed. We are not suggesting a Value System USE a 6800 Ultra, it is merely to have a consistent test bed.
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    #40 - You are correct about overhead with Super Pi, but since we use a consistent test platform to test memory the Super Pi results can be accurately compared with each other.

    Your approach to running Super Pi in a RAMdisk is interesting, and should remove some barriers to broader comparison of CPUs and platforms.
  • xsilver - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    I've been reading anandtech since 1999
    and from that time there have been very few instances where CLEAR errors have been made.... I am afraid though this is one of them. I was trying to make a point that it is dissapointing as it is the first review right after anand did his whole spiel about integrity of reviews

    about corsair not co-operating... how about source the memory from somewhere else? newegg or other stores would be happy to oblige (they are a major sponsor... and you only need to borrow the ram)
    its just sad when corsair smells that you're doing a roundup and they know they could possibly look bad, so therefore they decide not to submit anything for review
    I mean imagine if there was a whole nvidia and ati shootout and one team know beforehand that they would lose... and they refuse to submit a card.... would people hear about if the card performs bad? or how companies are trying to do a shifty? people would be all over the forums spewing froth from their mouths!!!

    I consider anandtech the best tech website out there and in efforts to making it better I offer constructive criticisms... I don't know where the "All these "anand must be embarrased" posts every time are getting FREAKING OLD""
    is coming from but its the first that i've heard of it......

    and I don't know how to make it any clearer but this was a VALUE roundup right? who in their right mind would spend craploads of money on a dfi nforce4 + 6800ultra and get VALUE ram? .... I'm not saying you can't use good hardware.... just dont push it to 3.4 damn volts!!!!!

  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    #36 - On the AMD Athlon 64, there is no FSB since everything is derived from the HT bus. You are therfore correct that lowering the ram multiplier and running at DDR400 at a higher CPU speed makes little difference on the A64 platform. There are, however, two concerns with this approach:

    1) There is an Asynchronous Latency penalty, which can be tweaked somewhat on boards with better BIOS options like the DFI. It is not, hoever, the kind of asynchronous penalty you see on a FSB board like Intel.

    2) RAM multipliers are usually limited. If you have a standard set of 400, 320, and 266 speeds, you could only achieve DDR400 speed at a CPU frequency of 250. Anything lower than that would be running the RAM at less than 400. Most A64 CPUs can't do 250 on air at stock multipliers (the low end ones can) so they will be running less than optimum ram speed. That's where you could lower CPU multipliers or use a board like the DFI with lots of intermediate RAM ratios.

    In the end, overclocking on the AMD is a balancing act with more variables than the simpler FSB platforms. You are balancing LDT (the HyperTransport Multiplier which controls HT speed), CPU frequency, and RAM frequency to find the best mix for performance. You also have all the different memory controllers since they are on the CPU.

    In my experience there are not any simple rules for this, except faster values usually perform better than slower on the same variable. In other words, the easiest way to consistently improve memory performance is 1:1 memory speed.
  • AnnihilatorX - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Replying #29 Wesley Fink

    That's exactly a Gold series but NOT value series.
    Based on part number OCZ4001024WV3DC-K
    is the right one.
    See the reply below

    Replying #21 dvinnen

    I asked some other people on other forums. I've post some info on anandtech forum
  • highlandsun - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Just a tiny point, I see this misperception all over - Super Pi is not a pure number crunching program. It writes huge sets of temporary files to disk and reads them back between loop iterations. A lot of people quote Super Pi times and assume they're all reasonably comparable measures of CPU+memory performance, but they're overlooking the fact that there's a significant chunk of I/O in there too, so disk type and filesystem state (fragmentation, etc.) will also impact the timing results.

    If you can install a ~128MB RAMdisk and run from there, then you can be sure that you're only measuring CPU+memory with Super Pi. (Then of course, the performance will depend on how good the RAMdisk's block memory move implementation is. But if you use the same version for all tests, you'll get consistent, comparable results.)
  • ChineseDemocracyGNR - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    It's been mentioned "if you don't overclock..."

    You don't need expensive RAM to overclock the Athlon 64. On this platform the memory is always running on a divider, there's no performance penalty from overclocking the processor by increasing the reference clock but keeping the memory happy at DDR400.

    As for the $195 "Value" RAM, I wouldn't recommend it. Save $100 and get a more powerful video card or whatever else your system needs. This money could mean an upgrade from a GeForce 6200 to a 6600GT, or from a 6600GT to a X800XL; there's no RAM that makes up for that.
    You can achieve the same overclock on your processor with DDR400 RAM that doesn't like to be overclocked!

    I know this article was a lot of work, but I think it would be a good idea to have at least one other test platform. The DFI LP nF4 is known to be... "special" when it comes to memory compatibility. The results could be (and probably would be) very different on another board, like the more value-oriented nForce4 or K8T890 boards that would fit in better with this article. Heck, I think even the DFI NF4-DAGF would be a different story.
  • Cygni - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link


    1) ALL reviews work this way. You think Autoweek BUYS the cars they review? You think PC Gamer BUYS the games they review? Anandtech asked for samples, and was given them. Or they are given to AnandTech to promote the product. That is how hardware reviews / review sites WORK.

    2) They were pushing the RAM to the absolute limits, which meant using voltages not available on most baords. Big deal! They also noted performance at each different speed setting, so even if your board doesnt have that voltage, they STILL had you covered.

    All these "anand must be embarrased" posts every time are getting FREAKING OLD. If you HONESTLY think that, there is NO WAY you have been here for more than a few months. Let alone years.


    RTFA, and RTFC. For the love of christ...
  • Googer - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    How can you do an article like this and NOT benchmark the KING of ALL Value RAM- Crucial? Reply
  • cryptonomicon - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    hmm I asked last review and I received I suppose...>> FINALLY << a comparison against BH5.. and by coincidence I'ts amazing that they are producing some, however it is just from those old dies lying around.

    as a side note, wth happened to kingston and mushkin. their stuff only hit 204mhz??? what a joke.

    :spelling corrections:
    "OCZ PC3200 Gold is sold as a 1 GB kit with two 412MB DIMMs at a price of about $195. "
    -change to 512mb
  • wfn - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    err, what dvinnen said, i dont see atacom selling the value vx. they dont mention the actual part # anywhere on that page and the pics show 3-4-4-8 modules. Reply
  • wfn - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

  • Wesley Fink - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    #28 - Corsair delined our request for Value RAM samples. We talk about this on page 2.

    'All the manufacturers supplied one or more samples for testing except Corsair. Corsair emailed us, stating that "Our policy is not to send Value Select parts for review for a variety of reasons. After a quick discussion here we decided to stick with that policy and sit this one out." '
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Answering several emails: Value BH5 (OCZ PC3200 Gold) is available at Atacom for $194.95.
  • dannybin1742 - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    how come no corsair valueram was done? thats stuff is really cheap too, i use the pc3200 with my a64, runs like a champ and i got it for $92 from new egg (2 512 sticks) Reply
  • Avalon - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Value VX for the win, if you have the voltage and like overclocking... Reply
  • ViRGE - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    It was a good article, but can I put in a request? 1GB modules are starting to get popular, even if they're not very OC-friendly at this point, enough so that it makes more sense at this point to pick up a pair of 1GB DIMMs than to fill a board with 512MB DIMMs. As such, can we get a roundup of the different major 1GB modules some time in the future? Reply
  • bobsmith1492 - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Well, it's not that big a deal getting the voltages on the DFI board; they're not that expensive.

    Anyway, is there any chance of a follow-up article, possibly with more ram types and maybe a few retail models?
  • xsilver - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Wesley, This "review" was pretty bad due to a number of reasons
    1) you let the memory makers choose what ram you were going to review
    2) You tested memory at voltages that are way above most motherboard's capabilities 3.4 volts? only the DFI can do that .... This is a VALUE roundup.... WTF are you doing with a DFI and 6800 Ultra's?

    after what Anand said about the intergrity of anandtech I feel sorry for anand if he is reading this.....

    how about you actually get some of your own memory from corsair and stop letting them push you around? what about geil? kingmax? and others?
    and test memory at a SANE level of 2.7-2.8v

  • Teetu - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    I wish they would have done benchmarks with more modern games. I don't think quake 3 is the most practical bench anymore...

    At DDR400, you aren't going to see much difference between value and performance. I think if they did use doom 3, hl2, etc as benchmarks a lot of people would just get value ram (single digit fps increase with performance ram).
  • shoRunner - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    when did value ram cost $200 for a gig... Reply
  • dvinnen - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Anyone else finding these Value VX moduals? The link above timeings are 3-4-4-8, not 2.5-3-3-7. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Please remember that it is rarely feasible for reviewers/sites to go out and buy all the hardware for a roundup. Wes submitted requests to several manufacturers, and this is what *they* felt like sending for testing. Of particular note is the comments from Corsair - they are not alone in rotating chip types on their value RAM. Maybe that is why several companies (i.e. Mushkin) didn't simply send their cheapest RAM.

    Looking around at various resellers and the pricing Engine, there are quite a few other RAM manufacturers/models out there worth considering. Corsair, Crucial, PDP, PQI, G.Skill, and several others have some really good RAM at $150 or less. You can even find PC4000 rated RAM for around $160 now.

    Trust me, it's not practical to try to do a roundup of ALL value RAM. There are just so many models out there, all with different performance characteristics. If you don't want to overclock (at all), most of the $90 to $120 RAM will work well.

    We should also have a "Your Mileage May Vary" clause in the article, as what Wes achieved is by no means a scientific sampling of each product. That would require at least 10 samples of each, and when you take the amount of time required to test OC'ing on *one* DIMM setup, it would take months to complete a scientific sampling of RAM.
  • reactor - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    quite right tony, was well done and hope to see further editions of the article. paying less and getting more is always good :) Reply
  • bigtoe36 - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Typos's..."seem" is seen, "we" is we all make mistakes. Reply
  • bigtoe36 - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    VX runs well with 2-3-2 timings with lower voltage. I have seem 233fsb 2-3-2 at 2.8V or so which is a little faster than 2.5-3-3 at the same fsb ;-).

    Regarding the modules that we not tested, you have to remember there are hundreds of different types of ram, not all can be reviewed in one go, I suspect this review alone took quite some time to complete as the AT LABs are a real busy place...i know Wesley is VERY busy not only reviewing but also pushing manufacturers to get boards overclocking better and pushing the enthusiast movent forward.

    If only you guys had any idea of what Wes has done for the enthusiast over the past 2 years, i do and please take it from me the boards you are seeing at the moment are the fruits of that work.

    Well done Wesley, nice review as always, even with the odd typo in amoungst the 8K words you wrote ;-)

  • bobsmith1492 - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Well, anyway, what about the decent Mushkin CAS 2.5 for $84? It seems like a much better deal than the one they tested.
  • reactor - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    wouldve like to have seen mushkin blue line and twinmos tmii400, both are supposed to be good comptetitors to the Value VX/BH from OCZ. Reply
  • Cygni - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    They reviewed Value ram from the MAJOR mfts, they didnt review no name or OEM pieces, just brand name retail stuff. Reply
  • bobsmith1492 - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Who picked these.... :(

    What about the V-data 3200 CAS 2.5 ram for $70/gig at Newegg or the Mushkin CAS 2.5 for ~80? The ones in the review seem more expensive for slower ratings than most of the stuff at Newegg.

    That said, the $115 VX value sounds pretty sweet.
  • dvinnen - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Anandtech seems to be reading my mind. My XP rig died on me so I'm looking to make a cheap A64 system now. That OCZ value looks hot and fits nicly in my price range. Thanks for the artical. Reply
  • MarkHark - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    I would like to know how far you could push the "Value VX" on 2.8 to 2.9 Volts. They seem a very nice buy at a very nice price, but I don't feel comfortable with the idea of working at voltages way beyond spec, and I don't think I'd be willing to do so even if I opted for a DFI mobo. Reply
  • MAME - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    how would these compare?
  • Phlargo - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Deal forums, my friend.
  • RockSolid - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Where can I buy the VX Value, I haven't been able to find it anywhere? Reply
  • StuckMojo - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link


    s/my clock/me clock/
  • StuckMojo - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Odd. My Mushkin value 3200 runs at FSB 222MHz no problem, letting my clock my 90nm a64 3000+ to 2.4 without issue. Reply
  • Pollock - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    I was starting to think this article would never appear. Reply
  • Phlargo - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Wow - this is a fabulous article! I've been looking for something exactly like this.

    I must be honest though, I ordered my gig of OCZ PC3200 Value VX last Thursday, so this is always nice to read.. especially when it gets to try my new DFI Nf4 mobo. Now where's that Venice CPU I've been waiting for?
  • acejj26 - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Does anyone proofread these articles?? I found no less than 6 silly errors (i.e. 12x450). Please reread your articles before submitting them...the errors take away from the otherwise quality writeup. Reply
  • filterxg - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    I should add that I only meant, in greater clearity. I know its in the article Reply
  • filterxg - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Good article. One thing that I think is important to point out for the people reading this is price. The memory at 2-2-2 or similiar is $200+, but 2-3-2 can be found at 105-130, check the hot deals forum. Those are similiar prices to the ValueRams. Reply

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