Mid-Range DDR2-800 from G.Skill

by Wesley Fink on 11/3/2006 12:30 AM EST


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  • christopherzombie - Sunday, November 05, 2006 - link

    I have the same G.Skill "HZ" kit and I can do 1066mhz @ 5-5-5-15 with only 2.2v on an Abit AN9 32X 590SLI. I run at this speed 24/7 with my X2 4000+ @ 2.66ghz. No issues here. Great RAM for the money. I'm glad I didn't speed 50% more $$ for Cosair. Reply
  • formulav8 - Saturday, November 04, 2006 - link

    I guess its just me, but I would think spending $300 for 2GB of memory is the absolute high-end prices. Even with the overall price increase of memory. I guess I am just poor :(

  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, November 04, 2006 - link

    Let's be VERY CLEAR. We are talking about TWO GIGABYTES of memory, which has become the new standard with Vista on the way. The absolute cheapest generic 2GB kit I could find on NewEgg runs am average of $200 - and it is generally DDR2-533. You can find Value DDR2-800, rated at 5-5-5 which we mention in the review, for $210 to $250. The DDR2-800 4-4-4 we tested was $299 - $99 more than the average low-end 2GB kit we could find at a reputable e-tailer. It also does 3-3-3 at 800 and 1067 since it is based on Micron D9 chips - if you can supply the voltage.

    YOU have to decide if it is worth it to spend $99 more for higher rated memory that can do 3-3-3 at DDR2-800 with voltage, 4-4-4 with no voltage, and DR2-1066. If you are shopping for a 1GB kit, the cost for 2x512MB is about half this amount. Until the move to DDR2, we always tested a 1GB kit. We moved the total up when 2GB became more common and it was clear Vista would need 1GB as a minimum.
  • xFlankerx - Saturday, November 04, 2006 - link

    I think people aren't realizing that this is DDR2-800 memory, not DDR2-533. As such, it is Overclocking memory, and the prices are proportional to what the prices were for, say, a DDR600 memory kit for the AMD platform.

    I have the utmost respect for AT reviews, and your analyses, but when I read "Mid-Range" and saw the pic of the GBHZs (my favorite memory, from the AMD days), that left me a bit confused. I design PCs for others as a hobby, as do many many other people. And anyone who does knows that very few people are going to be willing to spend $300 on memory that they don't really need. Also, I'm a huge proponent of Memory Dividers, as they help majorly, and don't make you sacrifice performance.

    The prices for the enthusiast memory may be proportional, however they are still VERY high. The massive FSB potential and overclocking of the Core 2 Duos has made it mandatory that you use high-speed memory in your system. DDR2-533 simply won't overclock far enough. So we HAVE to use DDR2-800 like we used DDR400. And with Vista requiring 2GB, the memory prices need to be much LOWER than they are right now. Going from $100 for 1GB DDR400 for a smooth and overclocked system, to needing to spend $250 for 2GB DDR2-800 for a smooth and overclocked system is a hard slap in the face for most people, including designers. As one of the people I was designing for pointed out, "Its a sad day when your memory costs more than your processor."
  • xsilver - Sunday, November 05, 2006 - link

    I would just like to clear up something further as their are many conflicting views.

    is it possible to use ddr667 ram and still not hit the wall with your ram until 500FSB or so?
    Using dividers of course, and taking the 5% hit in performance? (its not even 5% is it?)

    Isnt this the best way to build a overclocking system on a budget?

    I agree with Wes when he says that this ram is really only $99 more expensive than base ram but I guess its just the sad state that the ram market is in and people are looking for the best value they can. So categorizing $300 ram as "semi-performance" ram is just sad to see.

  • Steve Guilliot - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    ... "paying through the nose gets you miniscule performance gains"?

    The core architecture has never been memory bandwidth starved, and every single memory article seems to re-inforce that. Why didn't Wesley use 0 fps as the baseline for his scatter plots? Becuase if he did, the results wouldn't be exaggerated enough to notice on the graph. Doesn't that tell you something?

    Sorry, but 1% gain is not worth spending and extra $200 on 1066 memory. That would be useful advice that needs to be reinforced when the money could be spent on better graphics or processing or monitor. Instead, the enthusiast community seems bent on justifying it's fascination with fast memory.

    Look, memory was important with the P4, but let's move on and recognize that Core does not need fast memory.

    Sorry for the soapbox, and this is not just a problem with Anandtech; it's on all the enthusiast sites.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    High quality memory is important for overclocking. If your RAM can't go beyond DDR2-800, an E6300 would be limited to a maximum OC of 2.8 GHz - still fast, but a lot of people are hitting 3.2GHz+. An E6400 would be able to hit 3.2 GHz at DDR2-800 (with 1:1 ratio), and again you can almost certainly go further.

    As Wes states on page 5: "Memory speed can definitely improve system performance, but not to the extent of an upgraded video card or a higher speed processor." If you've already maxed out the other areas, or at least come close, then you will probably be willing to spend more on RAM as well. If you're pinching pennies elsewhere, then RAM is probably not going to be something you want to spend a ton on either. Of course, these days $300 for good quality 2GB kits isn't really that bad.
  • Steve Guilliot - Saturday, November 04, 2006 - link

    Also, even if someone had "maxed" out other areas, I still wouldn't recommend throwing away money on faster RAM. If you're even above entry level, then you have at least a x9 multiplier. DDR2-667 will be fine for maintaining the ideal 1:1 divider while overclocking. Ok, let's stretch it to DDR2-800 for giggles. But DDR2-1066? Please.

    I suppose a fool is easily seperated from their money, but most people who have money value it. My recommendations alway involve eliminating waste no matter how much someone is willing to spend.
  • Steve Guilliot - Saturday, November 04, 2006 - link

    So, you would recommend $300 RAM to someone who couldn't afford to pay more than $163 for an e6300, or $200 for an e6400? ... and e6600's are only $280.

    The statement "Memory speed can definitely improve system performance" is what set me off in the first place, since it is a gross exaggeration and underpins the focus of the article. I know the enthusiast community is a benchmark driven one, but cmon: 1% is not a definite improvement. Consistent maybe, but "definite" implies "noticable". Nope, 1% is not noticeable.

    On a related note, most of my ranting is equally applicable to the quest for ever-higher FSB's.
  • xsilver - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    cant u use memory dividers instead?
    I dont have a core system, but I would suspect that you can run something close to ddr 800 at 400fsb?

    and then use the extra saved cash for a better video card/cpu?
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    Yes, you can use dividers in overclocking. The ratios and underlying frequencies are more complicated than they appear on the surface, but we have shown in numerous memory reviews that the penalty for not running the preferred 1:1 is really pretty small.

    If cost is a constraint in a build then money put in a video upgrade first will deliver the most improvement in performance, a CPU would be the next place the upgrade yields great value. Higher memory speeds do increase performnace, but the increases are very small compared to a video card upgrade or a CPU upgrade.
  • Madellga - Saturday, November 04, 2006 - link

    How do you run the memory slower?
    This was an option with the A64, but so far with the 965 chipset the options are to run the the memory faster, not slower.

    My sample size is small, but both the Abit AW9D (975) and Gigabyte DS4 (965) don't have ratios to slow down the memory.
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, November 04, 2006 - link

    The memory may be RATED at DDR2-800, but you can select memory ratios to run the base at DDR2-400, 533, 667, 800, 1066 and sometimes in-between ratios. That allows you to set the memory at DDR2-400, for example, and overclock your CPU to much higher levels. This is how we test memory at different speeds. This feature is also available on almost every 975, 965, and AM2 board we have tested - except the very lowest models.

    For example, if I set my DDR2-800 to DDR2-533 (1:1 ratio) I can overclock my bus to 1600 (400 FSB) and then be at the specifed speed of DDR2-800. Remember the bus is quad-pumped on Intel - 266 is the base setting for 1067. Memory is DOUBLE dat tate, so DDR2-533 is a base setting of 266 - that is whay it is 1:1. So at a 400 setting bus speed is 1600 and memory is DDR2-800.
  • Madellga - Sunday, November 05, 2006 - link

    Wes, thanks for the explanation. I've always used 1:1, when you mentioned using dividers I thought you meant something under 1:1.
    The A64 "dividers" were less confusing than Intel's memory straps, despite the fact how the divider was calculated.
  • vailr - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    Any thought of running the memory tests under Windows XP x64? Do the Sandra benchmark tests run in the x64 operating system? Reply
  • Gary Key - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    The Sandra benchmarks will run fine in XP-64. Once VISTA goes is RTM then we will be switching over to this OS. We had thought about doing some XP-64 tests when Conroe launched but decided to wait (and wait and wait and wait as it turns out) for VISTA. Reply
  • vailr - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    Vista will also be offered in x64 and "x86" versions. Which version will be favored, as far as AT reviews & benchmark tests? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    64-bit Vista is touted as the PRO version, with 32-bit Vista more akin to XP Home. Unless there are strong reasons otherwise the 64-bit version will likely be the standard. Reply
  • MxChris - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    How is this different from this set: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...">F2-6400CL4D-2GBPK that I bought a coule months ago? Looks to have exactly the same rated timings and specs according to newegg. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    According to G. Skill specs, your memory is rated 1.9-2.0V at 4-4-4-12 and it is pictured with a pale blue heatspreader. Our test dimms are rated 2.0-2.1V for the same timings and have black heatspreaders. You will need to ask G. Skill if your dimms use different memory chips since we don't have samples available to check the chips used on your model number.

    Your G. Skill kit is curently selling for $240 at newegg compared to $299 for the kit we tested, so I suspect they are based on different memory chips. The Micron chips are notoriously expensive - even with slower bins -and we have seen Mosel used in some mid memory of late, as well as the Elpida that is normal for low-mid memory.
  • MxChris - Sunday, November 05, 2006 - link

    Thanks for the reply I'll try to get ahold of a G Skill rep and find out. Reply
  • Icepick - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    I'd like to know this too. I purchased from the same product line only my memory is rated at 5-5-5-15 -> F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ. I haven't been able to build my PC yet so I couldn't test them out. Are these micron chips too? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    The 5-5-5 is the low-end G. Skill DDR2-800, selling for around $200 now, and most likely does not use Micron chips. There is also a higher-end DDR2-800 than we tested in this review rated at 3-4-3-8 timings. The highest rated dimms are likely the Micron D9GKX chips, but since we haven't tested that particular memory we cannot say that with authority. Reply
  • Doormat - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    And it performs just fine a 4-4-4-10 at 800MHz. It matches nicely with my E6400 running a 400MHz (1.6GT) FSB at 3.2Ghz. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    "The practical performance of GeIL GX22GB6400UDC memory modules wasn’t too impressive although we ran all tests at 2.1V Vdimm."

    If they never went above 2.1V on the RAM, that's going to hurt. I don't know about the RAM type, but I know some places will just guess at times, and sometimes manufacturers use multiple types of RAM. Given Wes hit DDR2-1066 I'd say it's pretty clear his RAM has Micron chips.
  • Madellga - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    Apples 2 Apples - all memories were tested at 2.1V Reply
  • Madellga - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link


    There is a gap between the 2 reviews. It mentions also that the chips are Elpida, not Micron.

    Who has the "right" samples?

    If G.Skill is selling both types under the hood, it is a delicate matter to recommend it.

    PS: Xbitlabs recommended Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400?4 and Mushkin 996523 XP2-6400 DDR2 over it.
  • Xajel - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    we may all know the problem with DDR2-800 and AM2 platform, not every ram you can use, it's some how hard to find a compatible one especially from OCZ...

    I hope to find a compatibility test for AM2 and DDR2-800 from several manufactures...
  • amdrockshard - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    This memory looks like a good choice. Did you test it on a AM2 board? How high will it clock on the Foxconn 590SLI? It was nice to see something other than ddr2-1000 tested. Do you have results on the Crucial 10th anniversary ddr2-667 yet? Everyone in the forums is recommending that or the Team ddr2-800. Just wondering how they compare. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    From the sounds of it, they are simular, albiet pricier than my Cosair 6400 XMS sticks. This memory is SUPOSED to be 5-5-5-18, but the systems I've put them in detect them as 4-4-4-12 almost always. Also, I've had these sticks up to DDR 990, without being able to adjust the voltage in the BIOS (cheap Asrock Mobo, in my current system).

    Personaly, I think I'll stick to Crucial. Cosair, and let the rest pass, especialy since they cost just as much, or more than the two brands I preffer.

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