Original Link: http://www.anandtech.com/show/1415




Since the demise of Winbond BH5 memory chips, 2-2-2 memory has essentially been dead at DDR400. Corsair and others have produced DDR400 2-2-3 and 2-3-3 parts based on Winbond CH5 and other memory chips; however, 2-2-2 all but vanished as supplies of Winbond BH5 and BH6 disappeared. Other manufacturers such as OCZ took a different route with innovative products like Extended Bandwidth memory, which is extremely fast, but does not depend on the lowest CAS timings for best performance.

When Corsair 3200XL appeared on the market in June, it was the first time since the death of BH5 that we had seen a memory with 2-2-2 timings at DDR400. More than that, this new memory also proved to reach DDR500 performance levels - something that Winbond BH5 could never do. We certainly took notice of the new memory based on Samsung chips, and it looks like every other memory maker also took notice. Since the Corsair introduction, most major memory manufacturers have announced their own DDR400 2-2-2 memory.

Today, we will compare five new DDR400 2-2-2 memories. There is also a 6th DDR400 2-2-2 memory, from Samsung themselves. However, since we had only received 256MB modules from Samsung, and all other modules were 512MB, the Samsung was not included in the roundup. Including the 256MB Samsung in the roundup would not have been a fair comparison, since we know that 2 single-sided modules do perform slower than 2 double-sided modules on the Intel platform. For more information on the performance of the Samsung memory, please check our review, The Return of 2-2-2: Corsair 3200XL & Samsung PC4000.

As you will see, though, not all the new DDR400 2-2-2 memory performs the same, even though most are based on the same Samsung chips. In fact, not all of the new memory is even based on the Samsung chips, as there is another exciting new DDR400 2-2-2 memory chip now available. The new DDR400 modules all performed at 2-2-2 timings as promised, but beyond that base performance, some memory went further than others in the roundup, exhibiting unusually high bandwidth. Other memories allowed faster timings across the bandwidth, even performing with complete stability at an astounding 2.5-2-2-5 at DDR500.

Which were the standouts, and which were bunched in the pack? Let's take a closer look at the new DDR400 2-2-2 memory to find some answers.




Corsair 3200XL PRO

Corsair introduced 3200 Xtreme Low Latency modules in both their regular Black or Platinum heatspreaders and as the PRO version with activity LEDs on top of the module. All 3200XL modules are double-sided 512MB DIMMs sold as a matched pair and rated at DDR3200 2-2-2-5. Corsair claims a very wide range of available overclocks to about DDR500 with typical DDR500 timings of 2.5-3-3-7. We first looked at Corsair 3200XL in the launch review.

Test DIMMs were a matched pair of 3200XL PRO with the activity LEDs.




Click to enlarge.


We first saw the LEDs in our review of Corsair XMS4000 PRO. Corsair uses the PRO designation to indicate LED activity lights on the memory, but otherwise, the 3 3200XL memories appear to be the same capacity and they all appear to be using the same Samsung memory chips.

While the Samsung chips used in the new 3200XL are actually rated at DDR500, Corsair has chosen to highlight their outstanding 2-2-2 performance capabilities at DDR400. The SPD is also optimized for fast DDR400 performance.

Corsair 3200XL Specifications

 Corsair 3200XL Memory Specifications
Number of DIMMs & Banks 2 DS
DIMM Size
Total Memory
512 MB
1 GB
Rated Timings 2-2-2 at DDR400
SPD (Auto) Timings 2.5-2-2-5
Rated Voltage 2.75V

The only specification that might prevent using 2-2-2 in all systems is the specified 2.75V rated voltage at DDR400. Most high-end motherboards can provide this voltage, but some mainstream motherboards do not have adjustable voltage, and default memory voltage is 2.5V on many boards. You should check your specifications to make sure that you can support the voltage needs of the new 3200XL modules.




Crucial Ballistix PC3200

Crucial recently introduced their Ballistix line of memory, a name they will use for memory aimed at the Enthusiast market. This is Crucial's first foray into this specialty market, and their first offerings are these DDR400 2-2-2 and DDR2 667. Ballistix is intended to compete with the best from Corsair, OCZ and other Enthusiast memory manufacturers. Kingston, another memory giant, has a similar Enthusiast line, which they call HyperX. Crucial supplies Ballistix PC3200 in both 256MB and 512MB DIMMs. While we had both DIMMs for testing, we used the 512MB DIMMs for comparison testing.

Test DIMMs were a pair of Crucial Ballistix PC3200 512MB modules.



Crucial uses distinctive orange-gold Ballistix aluminum heatspreaders with black lettering. Some will love the stand-out color of Ballistix modules, while others will hate them. Let's just say that they stand out from the crowd. At first, we assumed that the Ballistix were also using Samsung chips, but after testing, we realized from the performance data that these were likely a different memory chip. Crucial told us that their new Ballistix 3200 was based on Micron chips, and not the Samsung chips that others in this roundup are using.



We confirmed that Crucial is indeed using a new Micron "G" die chip for Ballistix 3200. This is the first time that we have seen this die in a production memory, but we have seen the "C" die version of this same memory chip in the excellent OCZ 3500EB and 3700EB. Since EB has also shown excellent performance and timings to over DDR500, it is no real surprise to see Crucial using a later version of the same chip in their Ballistix 3200.

Crucial Ballistix PC3200 Specifications

 Crucial Ballistix PC3200 Memory Specifications
Number of DIMMs & Banks 2 DS
DIMM Size
Total Memory
512 MB
1 GB
Rated Timings 2-2-2 at DDR400
SPD (Auto) Timings 2-2-2-8
Rated Voltage 2.8V

As seen with the other very high speed DDR400 in this roundup, Crucial rates the Ballistix at a very high 2.8V. 2.8V is higher than the 2.5V to 2.6V that is standard for memory on most motherboards, but it should be available on most of the high-end boards that would likely be used with this memory. You should check your specifications to make sure that you can support the voltage needs of the new PC3200 modules. We should also mention that we had no problem whatsoever at DDR400 with 2-2-2 memory timings and a stock 2.5V memory voltage, so this may or may not be an important issue with your Ballistix PC3200.




Kingston HyperX PC3200 Low-Latency

Kingston has used the HyperX label for their Enthusiast memory for some time, and the HyperX name has earned respect in the Enthusiast community. Kingston supplies HyperX as both 512MB single DIMMs and as a matched pair in a 1GB kit (2x512MB). It is very important to specify "Low-Latency" when looking for Kingston PC3200 with 2-2-2 speeds, since Kingston has other PC3200 HyperX products that do not perform at these fast timings. We found this very confusing for buyers, and would suggest that Kingston use some name like HyperX PC3200 LL or something similar to differentiate the new memory.

Test DIMMs were a 1GB kit, a matched pair of HyperX PC3200 Low-Latency 512MB double-sided DIMMs with trademark HyperX blue heatspreaders.



Kingston DIMMs are 100% tested by Kingston, and the huge independent memory maker also provides a Lifetime Warranty like other Performance memory manufacturers. The benchmark results tell us that the Kingston is another DDR400 2-2-2 memory based on the Samsung TCCD memory chips.

Kingston HyperX PC3200 Low-Latency Specifications

 Kingston HyperX PC3200 LL Memory Specifications
Number of DIMMs & Banks 2 DS
DIMM Size
Total Memory
256 MB
512MB
Rated Timings 2-2-2 at DDR400
SPD (Auto) Timings 2-2-2-5
Rated Voltage 2.7V

Kingston specifies 2.7V at DDR400 for the HyperX PC3200 Low-Latency. Most motherboards can support this memory voltage, but it is higher than the base 2.5V to 2.6V memory voltage specification.




Mushkin PC3200 Level II V2

Mushkin has used the Level II label to identify the lowest latency memory in their product line. This was the same label used for earlier BH5 modules marketed by Mushkin. It is fitting, then, that Mushkin calls their latest low-latency memory level II V2. Both single-sided 256MB modules and double-sided 512MB DIMMs are offered, but the Mushkin website does not currently show matched pairs available of PC3200 LII V2.

Test DIMMs were a pair of PC3200 LII V2 512MB modules.



Mushkin also provided a pair of 256MB DIMMs, which they indicated were even better performers at overclocking, but they were not included in this roundup. Two single-sided DIMMs do not perform as well as two double-sided DIMMs at the same speed and settings on the Intel platform, so the comparison to 512MB DIMM performance would have revealed little in the way of comparative performance.

Mushkin was one of the first memory manufacturers to announce the release of DDR400 2-2-2 memory. Both Mushkin and OCZ announced DDR400 2-2-2 memory at the time of Corsair's announcement.



Samsung TCCD memory chips are used in Mushkin's LII V2 memory. These are the same Samsung DDR500 memory chips used in all the memory in this roundup with the exception of Crucial Ballistix.

Mushkin PC3200 LII V2 Specifications

 Mushkin PC3200 LII V2 Memory Specifications
Number of DIMMs & Banks 2 DS
DIMM Size
Total Memory
512 MB
1 GB
Rated Timings 2-2-2 at DDR400
SPD (Auto) Timings 2.5-2-2-6
Rated Voltage 2.5V-2.8V

All of the modules in this roundup are rated at 2-2-2 at DDR400, but Mushkin is the only manufacturer showing a variable voltage range for the PC3200 DIMMs. The Mushkin specification matched our findings very well, since we had no problem at DDR400 at 2.5V, but did need more voltage for higher memory speeds.




OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2

Manufacturers have used well-known names from their BH5 product days for their latest PC3200 2-2-2 memory, and OCZ has done the same. One of our stock test memories for the past year has been OCZ PC3500 Platinum, which was based on Winbond BH5 chips. OCZ is calling their latest 2-2-2 PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2. OCZ offers the new Revision 2 as either 512MB single dimms or a 1GB (2x512MB) Dual-Channel kit.

Test DIMMs were a matched pair of PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 with platinum-colored heatspreaders.



OCZ sports a lifetime warranty, like several other enthusiast memory manufacturers, but we also receive numerous emails from customers who are surprised and pleased with the responsiveness of OCZ customer support. Once a customer contacts OCZ customer service, they appear to get very quick resolution to their problems.

OCZ PC3200 Platinum Revision 2 Specifications

 OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev2 Memory Specifications
Number of DIMMs & Banks 2 DS
DIMM Size
Total Memory
512 MB
1 GB
Rated Timings 2-2-2 at DDR400
SPD (Auto) Timings 2-2-2-6
Rated Voltage 2.75V

As seen with the other low-latency DDR400 in this roundup, the 3200 Platinum Rev. 2 is specified with a higher than normal voltage at DDR400. 2.75V is higher than the 2.5V to 2.6V that is standard for memory on most motherboards, but it should be available on most of the high-end boards that would likely be used with this DDR400 memory. You should check your specifications to make sure that you can support the voltage needs of the new OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 modules. However, we had no problem with the PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 at stock voltage at DDR400, though we did need more voltage at higher speeds.




Performance Test Configuration

We tested all 5 of the DDR400 2-2-2 memories in our standard Intel Pentium 4 Memory testbed. The hardware for evaluating these new memories is the same used in our earlier reviews of DDR400 and faster Memory.

Buffalo FireStix: Red Hot Name for a New High-End Memory
New DDR Highs: Shikatronics, OCZ, and the Fastest Memory Yet
The Return of 2-2-2: Corsair 3200XL & Samsung PC4000
OCZ 3700EB: Making Hay with Athlon 64
OCZ 3500EB: The Importance of Balanced Memory Timings
Mushkin PC3200 2-2-2 Special: Last of a Legend
PMI DDR533: A New Name in High-Performance Memory
Samsung PC3700: DDR466 Memory for the Masses
Kingmax Hardcore Memory: Tiny BGA Reaches For Top Speed
New Memory Highs: Corsair and OCZ Introduce DDR550
OCZ PC3700 Gold Rev. 2: The Universal Soldier
OCZ 4200EL: Tops in Memory Performance
Mushkin PC4000 High Performance: DDR500 PLUS
Corsair TwinX1024-4000 PRO: Improving DDR500 Performance
Mushkin & Adata: 2 for the Fast-Timings Lane
Searching for the Memory Holy Grail - Part 2

All test conditions were as close as possible to those used in our earlier memory reviews. We have also eliminated from our charts any memory that has been discontinued, including Winbond BH5 versions from several vendors and earlier versions of several current memory products.

 INTEL 875P Performance Test Configuration
Processor(s): Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz (800MHz FSB)
RAM: 2 x 512MB Crucial Ballistix PC3200 (DS)
2 x 512MB Kingston HyperX PC3200 L-L (DS)
2 x 512MB Mushkin PC3200 Level II V2 (DS)
2 x 512MB OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 (DS)
2 x 512MB Corsair 3200XL PRO (DS)

2 x 256MB Samsung PC4000 (SS)
2 x 512MB Buffalo FireStix PC4000 (DS)
2 x 512MB Shika XRAM PC4400 (DS)
2 x 512MB OCZ PC4400 EL Gold (DS)
2 x 512MB OCZ 3700EB (DS)
2 x 512MB OCZ 3500EB (DS)
2 x 512MB Mushkin 2-2-2 Special (DS)
2 x 512MB PMI4200 Gold (DDR533 DS)
4 x 256MB Samsung PC3700 (DDR466 SS)
2 x 512MB Kingmax DDR500 Hardcore Series (DS)
2 x 512MB Kingmax DDR466 Hardcore Series (DS)
2 x 512MB Corsair XMS4400v1.1 TwinX (DS)
2 x 512MB OCZ PC4400 DC Kit (DS)
2 x 512MB OCZ PC3700 Gold Rev. 2 (DS)
2 x 512MB OCZ 4200EL(DS)
2 x 512MB Mushkin PC4000 High Performance (DS)
2 x 512MB Corsair TwinX4000 PRO (DS)
2 x 256MB Adata DDR450 (SS)
2 x 512MB Adata PC4000 (DS)
2 x 512MB Corsair PC4000 (DS)
2 x 512MB Geil PC4000 (DS)
2 x 512MB OCZ PC4000 (DS)
Hard Drives: 2 Western Digital Raptor Serial ATA 36.7GB 10,000RPM drives in an Intel ICH5R RAID configuration
PCI/AGP Speed: Fixed at 33/66
Bus Master Drivers: 875P Intel INF Update v5.00.1012, SATA RAID drivers installed, but IAA not installed
Video Card(s): ATI 9800 PRO 128MB, 128MB aperture, 1024x768x32
Video Drivers: ATI Catalyst 4.7
Power Supply: Vantec Stealth 470Watt Aluminum
Operating System(s): Windows XP Professional SP1
Motherboards: Asus P4C800-E (875) with 1016 Release BIOS

We have found the fastest performance on Intel 865/875 to be achieved at Cycle Time or tRAS of 5, or the fastest tRAS setting that is stable with the tested memory. Intel platform benchmarks were run with the fastest stable tRAS timings that we could achieve with the memory being tested.

Test Settings

We ran our standard suite of memory performance benchmarks. The following settings were tested with all of the DDR400 2-2-2 memories:
  1. 800FSB/DDR400 - the highest stock speed supported on 875/865 and K8T800/nF3/SiS755 motherboards.
  2. 866FSB/DDR433 - a speed rating that we have used in testing other low-latency DDR400 memory.
  3. 933FSB/DDR466 - another speed rating that we have used in testing low-latency memory
  4. 1000FSB/DDR500 - a standard memory speed used in testing high-speed memory
  5. Highest Stable Overclock - the highest settings we could achieve with this memory and other memory that we have tested.
These are the same general settings used in benchmarking other memory in the above list of memory tests. DDR400, DDR500 and Highest Memory Speed have been used for all benchmarking. DDR433 and 466 have only been tested in the past for low-latency modules that generally could not reach DDR500 or higher speeds. However, we have tested at these speeds in this DDR400 2-2-2 roundup to give you a better idea of the full range of performance with these new 2-2-2 modules. We have also included test results at DDR533 for the one DDR400 2-2-2 memory that reached that speed and beyond.




Test Results: Corsair 3200XL PRO

To be considered stable for test purposes Quake3 benchmark, UT2003 Demo, Super PI, Aquamark 3, and Comanche 4 had to complete without incident. Any of these, and in particular Super PI, will crash a less-than stable memory configuration. We have included results for RCW-ET using the Radar benchmark.

Corsair 3200XL PRO (DDR400) - 2 x 512Mb Double-Bank
Speed Memory Timings & Voltage Quake3 fps Sandra UNBuffered Sandra Standard Buffered Super PI 2M places
(time in sec)
Wolfenstein - Radar - Enemy Territory
fps
400DDR
800FSB
2-2-2-5
2.5V
326.4 INT 2900
FLT 2942
INT 4525
FLT 4532
128 70.8
433DDR
866FSB
2-2-2-5
2.75V
353.0 INT 3069
FLT 3148
INT 4852
FLT 4875
119 77.0
466DDR
933FSB
2-3-3-6
2.75V
369.1 INT 3237
FLT 3219
INT 5181
FLT 5196
113 80.6
500DDR
1000FSB
2.5-3-3-7
2.75V
394.1 INT 3346
FLT 3379
INT 5568
FLT 5575
106 86.8
506DDR
1012FSB
3-4-4-7
2.85V
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Corsair 3200XL was able to run at 2-2-2-5 timings all the way to DDR450, something you would never see with Winbond BH5 modules in the past. 3200XL topped out at DDR506 at much slower timings than required at DDR500. As a result, there was no point to running DDR506 benchmarks as they would have been lower than DDR500 results.

More information on the performance of 3200XL is available in the Corsair launch review. As the manufacturer who started it all with DDR400 2-2-2 memory about 6 weeks ago, Corsair is the brand to which every memory in this roundup must be compared.




Test Results: Crucial Ballistix PC3200

To be considered stable for test purposes, Quake3 benchmark, UT2003 Demo, Super PI, Aquamark 3, and Comanche 4 had to complete without incident. Any of these, and in particular Super PI, will crash a less-than stable memory configuration. We have included results for RCW-ET using the Radar benchmark.

Crucial PC3200 Ballistix (DDR400) - 2 x 512Mb Double-Bank
Speed Memory Timings & Voltage Quake3 fps Sandra UNBuffered Sandra Standard Buffered Super PI 2M places
(time in sec)
Wolfenstein - Radar - Enemy Territory
fps
400DDR
800FSB
2-2-2-5
2.5V
329.6 INT 2906
FLT 2919
INT 4511
FLT 4511
129 70.5
433DDR
866FSB
2-2-2-5
2.65V
358.7 INT 3167
FLT 3193
INT 4923
FLT 4917
119 76.7
466DDR
933FSB
2.5-2-2-5
2.65V
384.3 INT 3287
FLT 3332
INT 5237
FLT 5251
111 82.4
500DDR
1000FSB
2.5-2-2-5
2.65V
410.2 INT 3481
FLT 3557
INT 5623
FLT 5638
104 88.4
514DDR
1028FSB
2.5-2-2-5
2.85V
419.3 INT 3600
FLT 3638
INT 5752
FLT 5779
100 90.7

It wasn't even a year ago that we considered 3-4-4 timings to be pretty good at DDR500, so what can we say about Crucial's Ballistix that does DDR500 at 2.5-2-2-5? The only word that comes to mind is "astounding"! Crucial is the only memory in the DDR400 2-2-2 roundup using Micron chips, and the performance across the effective range of DDR400 to DDR514 is incredible. Even the highest speed of 514 is achieved at 2.5-2-2-5 timings. What's more, nothing even came close to the 2-2-2 headroom of the Crucial Ballistix, as 2-2-2 timings were possible all the way to DDR460!

It is very interesting that the Micron chips do not really respond well to higher timings, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Seeing how these Micron chips perform, we understand why OCZ EB, based on the same family Micron chips, performs so well. We have seen reports of some variability in the performance of the Ballistix memory, and overclocking results are never guaranteed. However, our results with another pair of Ballistix DIMMs were very similar.

It looks like Crucial has a winner with their new Ballistix PC3200. What's more, Ballistix 3200 is also one of the more reasonable DDR400 memories in the roundup, which spells value in capital letters.




Test Results: Kingston HyperX PC3200 Low-Latency

To be considered stable for test purposes, Quake3 benchmark, UT2003 Demo, Super PI, Aquamark 3, and Comanche 4 had to complete without incident. Any of these, and in particular Super PI, will crash a less-than stable memory configuration. Return to Castle Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory is proving to be a sensitive benchmark for memory testing. We have included results for RCW-ET using the Radar benchmark.

Kingston HyperX PC3200 LL (DDR400) - 2 x 512Mb Double-Bank
Speed Memory Timings & Voltage Quake3 fps Sandra UNBuffered Sandra Standard Buffered Super PI 2M places
(time in sec)
Wolfenstein - Radar - Enemy Territory
fps
400DDR
800FSB
2-2-2-5
2.5V
330.5 INT 2876
FLT 2929
INT 4552
FLT 4515
129 70.5
433DDR
866FSB
2-2-2-5
2.75V
358.0 INT 3159
FLT 3179
INT 4904
FLT 4917
119 76.7
466DDR
933FSB
2-3-3-6
2.75V
374.5 INT 3158
FLT 3197
INT 5193
FLT 5188
113 81.0
500DDR
1000FSB
2.5-3-36
2.75V
400.2 INT 3359
FLT 3363
INT 5545
FLT 5549
106 86.8
508DDR
1028FSB
3-3-4-7
2.85V
397.2 INT 3323
FLT 3310
INT 5649
FLT 5554
107 86.0

Kingston HyperX certainly lived up to its name in our tests of 2-2-2 DDR400. Performance was very comparable across the board to all of the top DDR400 based on the same Samsung chips. If Kingston were the only memory that we were testing, we could easily conclude it is one of the fastest DDR400 memories that we have tested, with incredible headroom to DDR508. It is clearly the equal of the Corsair 3200XL that we tested, which is certainly not faint praise.

The four DDR400 memories based on Samsung chips were almost the same in performance except for the OCZ, which showed remarkable headroom compared to the others. In the range from DDR400 to DDR500, all of the Samsung DDR400 modules perform very similarly.




Test Results: Mushkin PC3200 Level II V2

To be considered stable for test purposes, Quake3 benchmark, UT2003 Demo, Super PI, Aquamark 3, and Comanche 4 had to complete without incident. Any of these, and in particular Super PI, will crash a less-than stable memory configuration. We have included results for RCW-ET using the Radar benchmark.

Mushkin PC3200 Level II V2 (DDR400) - 2 x 512Mb Double-Bank
Speed Memory Timings & Voltage Quake3 fps Sandra UNBuffered Sandra Standard Buffered Super PI 2M places
(time in sec)
Wolfenstein - Radar - Enemy Territory
fps
400DDR
800FSB
2-2-2-5
2.5V
331.3 INT 2888
FLT 2940
INT 4516
FLT 4511
129 70.8
433DDR
866FSB
2-2-2-5
2.65V
358.7 INT 3124
FLT 3186
INT 4913
FLT 4906
119 77.0
466DDR
933FSB
2-2-3-5
2.75V
378.0 INT 3253
FLT 3308
INT 5226
FLT 5223
112 81.7
500DDR
1000FSB
2.5-3-4-7
2.85V
397.0 INT 3284
FLT 3327
INT 5498
FLT 5506
107 86.0

The test results indicate Mushkin selected chips for the best performance from DDR400 to DDR466, as the DDR466 timings with the Mushkin were better than any other Samsung-based memory. There was less attention to the top end on the Mushkin, as we could barely reach a stable DDR500 at more relaxed timings than the other Samsung-based memory.

Mushkin's approach is unique among the Samsung-based memory in the roundup. Those who care most about the performance in the range of DDR400 to DDR466 will be very happy that Mushkin has designed their DDR400 LII V2 for best performance in that most useful range.




Test Results: OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2

To be considered stable for test purposes, Quake3 benchmark, UT2003 Demo, Super PI, Aquamark 3, and Comanche 4 had to complete without incident. Any of these, and in particular Super PI, will crash a less-than stable memory configuration. We have included results for RCW-ET using the Radar benchmark.

OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 (DDR400) - 2 x 512Mb Double-Bank
Speed Memory Timings & Voltage Quake3 fps Sandra UNBuffered Sandra Standard Buffered Super PI 2M places
(time in sec)
Wolfenstein - Radar - Enemy Territory
fps
400DDR
800FSB
2-2-2-5
2.5V
330.3 INT 2907
FLT 2937
INT 4514
FLT 4512
129 70.7
433DDR
866FSB
2-2-2-5
2.65V
358.9 INT 3194
FLT 3201
INT 4925
FLT 4826
119 76.9
466DDR
933FSB
2-3-3-5
2.65V
374.3 INT 3213
FLT 3206
INT 5183
FLT 5205
113 80.7
500DDR
1000FSB
2.5-3-3-5
2.65V
400.0 INT 3358
FLT 3364
INT 5597
FLT 5590
106 86.8
533DDR
1066FSB
2.5-3-3-5
2.75V
421.8 INT 3594
FLT 3628
INT 5925
FLT 5905
99 91.4
557DDR
1114FSB
3-3-4-6
2.85V
434.6 INT 3726
FLT 3665
INT 6169
FLT 6157
95 95.1

OCZ was very excited when we were recently talking about the performance of their DDR400 2-2-2 memory. Engineers there were explaining that they had found an effective method to screen the Samsung chips for even faster memory speeds. We were also told that the most recent shipments of Samsung TCCD chips were also yielding a higher percentage of chips with high memory speed performance than they had seen in earlier shipments. Based on our results, OCZ must be on to something because the PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 zoomed past DDR500, zoomed past DDR533, zoomed past DDR550, and achieved a stable top speed of DDR557.

We were certainly impressed that every memory in this roundup made it to DDR500, which is a 25% overclock to the DDR400 rated speed. But what can you say about a DDR400 that delivers a 40% overclock? OCZ has done an outstanding job with their DDR400 2-2-2, a memory that spans the range from DDR400 to DDR550. Nothing else here comes close to the range demonstrated by OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2.




Performance Comparisons

Performance of the five DDR400 2-2-2 memories was compared to all of the memory recently tested on the Intel 875 memory test bed in:

Buffalo FireStix: Red Hot Name for a New High-End Memory
New DDR Highs: Shikatronics, OCZ, and the Fastest Memory Yet
The Return of 2-2-2: Corsair 3200XL & Samsung PC4000
OCZ 3700EB: Making Hay with Athlon 64
OCZ 3500EB: The Importance of Balanced Memory Timings
Mushkin PC3200 2-2-2 Special: Last of a Legend
PMI DDR533: A New Name in High-Performance Memory
Samsung PC3700: DDR466 Memory for the Masses
Kingmax Hardcore Memory: Tiny BGA Reaches For Top Speed
New Memory Highs: Corsair and OCZ Introduce DDR550
OCZ PC3700 Gold Rev. 2: The Universal Soldier
OCZ 4200EL: Tops in Memory Performance
Mushkin PC4000 High Performance: DDR500 PLUS
Corsair TwinX1024-4000 PRO: Improving DDR500 Performance
Mushkin & Adata: 2 for the Fast-Timings Lane
Searching for the Memory Holy Grail - Part 2

Memory performance was compared at DDR400, DDR500 and the highest stable overclock we could achieve that would run Quake 3, UT2003, and Super PI to 2MM places. Where the data was available, comparisons were also made at DDR433 and DDR466.

All discontinued products have been removed from benchmark comparisons.

Results are compared for Quake 3, Sandra UNBufferred Memory Test, and Super PI. SiSoft Sandra 2004 reports 2 results for each memory test - an Integer value and a Float value. Results reported in our charts are the result of averaging the INT and FLOAT scores, which are normally close in value. In other words, INT and FLOAT scores were added and divided by 2 for our reported score.




DDR400 Performance


DDR400 Gaming Performance

DDR400 UNBuffered Memory Test

DDR400 Standard (Buffered) Memory Test

DDR400 Calculation Performance




DDR433 Performance


DDR433 Gaming Performance

DDR433 UNBuffered Memory Test

DDR433 Calculation Performance




DDR466 Performance


DDR 466 Gaming Performance

DDR 466 UNBuffered Memory Test

DDR 466 Calculation Performance




DDR500 Performance


DDR500 Gaming Performance

DDR500 UNBuffered Memory Test

DDR500 Calculation Performance




Highest Memory Speed Performance


HIGHEST Memory Overclock at 1:1

HIGHEST Memory Speed Gaming Performance

HIGHEST Memory Speed UNBuffered Sandra Memory Test

HIGHEST Memory Speed Calculation Performance




AMD Athlon 64 Tests

With Intel moving to DDR2, AMD processors will, at some point, become the dominant platform for DDR memory. We intend to do more extensive testing with memory on Athlon 64 motherboards in the future, but the DDR400 2-2-2 roundup is a bit unique in that all the memory is based on the same Samsung TCCD chips, except the Crucial Ballistix DDR400. We therefore ran basic performance and overclocking tests with the 2-2-2 dimms in the MSI K8N Neo2. The MSI was Editors Choice in our recent Socket 939 roundup. The intent was just to verify the performance that we had found with each memory on an Athlon 64 platform.

What seemed a simple idea turned out to be anything but that. All of the memory performed the same at DDR400 and DDR433 on the K8N Neo2 as it did on the Intel platform, but then things began diverging. All of the memory could also do DDR466 on the Athlon 64 platform, but often required slightly slower timings or a bit more voltage. The only Samsung memory that achieved DDR500 on the MSI Athlon 64 was the OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 - none of the other Samsung-base DIMMs could reach this milestone. In addition, the OCZ, which reached DDR557 on the Intel board, could not reach much higher than DDR500 before we got failed boots.

The only memory that duplicated the Intel results on Athlon 64 was the Crucial Ballistics PC3200, based on Micron chips. Across the entire range from DDR400 to DDR514, the Ballistix performed at the same voltages and timings that it displayed on the Intel test bed. This performance reminds us that Micron memory chips are also used in OCZ 3500EB and 3700EB, which also perform as well on Athlon 64 as they do on an Intel board.

For now, we would recommend Crucial Ballistix or OCZ 3500EB/3700EB as first choice on Athlon 64 motherboards. If you prefer one of the memories using Samsung chips, then the OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 was the only Samsung memory to work reliably at DDR500. The evidence leads us to believe that the Micron chips perform much better on Athlon 64 than Samsung chips, but this is something that will require more investigation. We are putting together a more in-depth look at the performance of a full range of memory types on Athlon 64 in an upcoming review.




Final Words

It looked like a review of several brands of memory based on mostly Samsung TCCD chips would be somewhat boring. The results, however, were anything but boring as performance tests show quite a bit about each company's prowess with binning for speed, PCB designs and SPD programming. There was also a much wider range of headroom and timings displayed in this DDR400 2-2-2 roundup than we really expected.

All of the memories that we tested here will likely be Editor's Choices for sites that look at them in standalone reviews. All five of the DDR400 2-2-2 memories exhibited a wide range of effective, stable memory speeds from DDR400 to a little over DDR500. This is an incredibly wide range for memory modules that are rated at DDR400, and the performance is so good that we can only wonder why we worried so much about the death of BH5. We never tested, during the reign of Winbond BH5, any BH5 that could even come close to the range of memory speeds supported by the new DDR400 2-2-2 dimms. All of the memories that we tested also performed just fine at their rated speed of DDR400 at 2-2-2 timings and default 2.5V, much lower than most specified for their DDR400 voltage. All 5 memories could also handle DDR433 2-2-2 timings at 2.65V to 2.75V, which is outstanding performance. Based on these findings alone, you would agree that all the DDR400 2-2-2 memories are special and are worth a closer look.

From DDR433 up, some of the memories began to differentiate. Where the Samsung memories all went to around DDR500 with similar timings, the OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 kept going to the next level at DDR533, and then it still kept going to the remarkable stable overclock of DDR557. This is about 50MHz higher than the nearest Samsung rival, which certainly makes the OCZ stand head and shoulders above the DDR400 2-2-2 crowd.

At the other end of the spectrum, the only Micron entry, the Crucial Ballistix PC3200, showed the most incredible timings that we have ever seen for any memory, reaching all the way to DDR460 at 2-2-2 timings, and all the way to DDR514 at the slightly slower 2.5-2-2 timings. Needless to say, this generated the highest DDR466 and DDR500 test results that we have seen. In addition, the Crucial Ballistix was the only memory in this roundup that performed just as well on the Socket 939 platform as it did on the Intel 478.

Due to the standout performance of the Crucial Ballistix and OCZ Platinum Rev. 2, we could not choose just one of them as our Editor's Choice. They both excel in different areas, both valid from a performance standpoint, and they both stand out from a crowd of superb performers.

It is with great pleasure that we award the Gold Editors Choice to OCZ for the outstanding performance of OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 memory. This OCZ memory stands head and shoulders above the other memory tested in this roundup that are based on the same memory chips. OCZ PC3200 Platinum Revision 2 overclocked 10% higher than it's nearest rival, reaching an amazing 40% overclock on a memory rated at DDR400. Performance at DDR400 was outstanding and Platinum Rev. 2 reached the highest memory speeds achieved with any DDR400 2-2-2 memory tested in this roundup.


Crucial seems to be pleasing Enthusiasts in many areas these days, and we are honored to award Crucial Ballistix 3200 the Gold Editors Choice for Best Performance in the DDR400 2-2-2 roundup. Crucial Ballistix is the first memory that we have tested to achieve consistent, stable DDR timings of 2.5-2-2 at DDR500, in addition to the incredible range of usable timings at the most aggressive 2-2-2 timings. In the range from DDR400 to DDR514, Crucial Ballistix was clearly the fastest memory in the roundup. Crucial Ballistix was also a winner in being the only memory in the roundup that achieved the same impressive performance on the Socket 939 Athlon 64 as it achieved on the Intel 478 platform.

All of these five incredible memories are winners in this roundup, and as a group, they open new choices for memory buyers. A couple of months ago, it seemed unlikely that you would ever have the option of DDR400 2-2-2 memory again. Not only do all these 5 memories bring you reliable 2-2-2 performance at DDR400, all 5 memories will also carry you to DDR500. That's an achievement far and beyond what any of the best DDR400 2-2-2 could achieve in the past. No matter which of these 5 you choose, you will be buying a winner.

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