When Corsair 3200XL appeared on the market about 2 months ago, it created quite a bit of excitement with 2-2-2 timings at DDR400. After disappearing from the market when Winbond BH5 memory chips were discontinued, 2-2-2 DDR400 memory had become available again. At that point we certainly did not expect the flood of new 2-2-2 DDR400 memory that has appeared in recent weeks. It now seems that every major memory maker has a new PC3200 2-2-2 memory in their product line. Considering how popular low-latency memory is with computer enthusiasts that is certainly understandable.

We reviewed six of the new DDR400 2-2-2 dimms just a couple of weeks ago in =F-A-S-T= DDR Memory: 2-2-2 Roars on the Scene. Geil has introduced another fast PC3200 memory with their PC3200 Ultra X rated at 2-2-2-5 memory timings. This brings to seven the number of new DDR400 2-2-2 memory offerings that we know are now available in the marketplace. With a selection like this you can finally make some choices in fast DDR400 memory based on value as well as performance.

The most remarkable trait with the new DDR400 2-2-2 we have tested so far is the incredible bandwidth they have demonstrated. All of the six tested memories reached DDR500 with decent timings and a bit more voltage. This kind of bandwidth is unique in the memory market, and it makes the latest DDR400 as close to universal memory as you will find in the market today. You get the fastest timings possible at DDR400, plus greatly extended bandwidth that can take your performance to DDR500 or beyond.

The other side of the equation is the fastest performance at DDR400. In that regard, every one of the six 2-2-2 DDR400 dimms we have tested met the specification of the fastest 2-2-2 performance at DDR400. Most managed these fastest timings at default voltage of 2.5V to 2.6V.

The questions with the Geil PC3200 Ultra X then, is how it compares with the fast DDR400 memory we recently tested. Is this another Samsung or Micron-based memory with great timings and an incredible bandwidth? Can the Geil compete with the best from the fast DDR400 roundup? Can anything approach the incredible bandwidth of OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 that reached all the way to DDR557?
Geil PC3200 Ultra X
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  • xeoph - Wednesday, March 09, 2005 - link

    ISSUE:
    pricing at the top m-400-512x2gl1gb3200dc

    = misleading.

    you are looking for the m-400-512x2glx1gb3200dc model.

    notice the X that was missing before, the difference between Ultra X and Ultra Platinum...

    Stupid mistake I almost made.
    Reply
  • Zebo - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link

    #5,6,12

    This expensive ram, all expensive ram has a horrendous price to performance ratio and I think that's what you're asking. You're talking about 3-5% performance increases from the very best ram to the cheapest Kingston Value Ram.. It's amazing people readily spend 100-200% more money for 3-5% more performance. In fact I can't think of a poorer cost/benefit ratio of parts inside computers than in expensive ram, though SCSI, EE's, FX's come close.

    Anyway check out toms, he did such a review last year.
    Reply
  • Aelius - Friday, August 20, 2004 - link

    It seems RAM is still the Achilles heel of the A64.

    Do you guys plan to review the OCZ PC3700 Gold Rev 3 and OCZ EL PC4000 Gold Rev 2?

    It might not bring anything to the table for A64 but from talking to OCZ and some minor early review leaks by them I get the impression that they think the new Hynix chips will perform much better then previous chips on A64.

    Worth reviewing anyway. Especially since it includes the first PC4000 RAM that can run 2.5,3,3,6 at only 2.6 volt at stock speed.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, August 20, 2004 - link

    #11 - To keep results as consistent as possible we have always set BIOS on the P4C800-E with Performance Mode on Auto and Performance Acceleration on Auto. We do not test memory or overclocks with either of these options enabled.

    #14 - The manufacturers tell us heatspreaders cool memory, but I am not a believer. I find memory is often cooler without heatspreaders, but I have no objective proof for this claim. Heatspreaders do a good job of hiding the name of the memory chip maker. A high output heatsink fan nearby or a fan over the memory modules cools memory better than any heatspreader I have seen.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, August 20, 2004 - link

    #13 - We did Doom 3 week with Doom 3 benches on every CPU and video card we could find. We have no plans of using Doom 3 for memory testing. You will see Doom 3 benchmarks in future video card tests at AT. We are also considering using Doom 3 in future motherboard tests. Reply
  • Visual - Friday, August 20, 2004 - link

    Wesley, thank you for your response.
    It seems then that anyone not about to overclock the ram much is better off saving some bucks going with value RAM, or getting larger capacity modules instead of lower-latency ones...
    Due to lack of money I've already decided against the low-latency modules, I'd be looking forward to a possible Value RAM shootout at this site :)

    Another question popped in my mind seeing comment #12... Do RAM heatspreaders actually help the cooling, when overvolting or not, or are they just for decoration?

    Thanks a bunch!
    Visual
    Reply
  • manno - Friday, August 20, 2004 - link

    why does Anandtech refuse to post Doom 3 benches? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! :) Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Friday, August 20, 2004 - link

    #5 and #6- you must have read my mind as I considered asking exactly the same having read the article this morning. We get to see how all these premium sticks perform at various speeds but I'd be very interested to know how the cheap ones compare.

    Wesley- although its possible to guesstimate the performance of various brand-name PC3200 ValueRAM / CAS3 or CAS2.5 modules, actually testing them is the only way to get a reliable figure. More importantly it should give some guide as to whether they are able to overclock to any useful extent, and at what timings and reasonable voltage increases. I don't think any of us would want to stick 3V into a stick of cheapo (but brand-name) PC3200 without a heat-speader if we wanted it to last for an extended period, but upping the voltage to 2.7 or even 2.75 isn't going to harm any module.

    I'm sure a lot, maybe even the majority of AnandTech readers use budget or intermediate RAM for price/performance reasons rather than the premium sticks which are usually reviewed, so it would make sense including at least a few of the major brands.
    Reply
  • TRDACH - Friday, August 20, 2004 - link

    Wesley,

    The Asus P4C800-E is the motherboard you have been using in recent memory reviews.

    Can you please tell me what bios setting you are using for the "Turbo" option under the JumperFree Configuration Menu and what setting is being used for the "Performance Acceleration Mode" option under the Advanced Chipset settings Menu.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, August 20, 2004 - link

    #5 & #6 -
    The info you are looking for is already in the charts but it takes a little digging. The Samsung PC3700 (DDR466) performed at 2.5-3-3-5 timings at DDR400 in our tests. Comparing the Samsung 3700 results at DDR400 to any of the DDR400 2-2-2 results should give you a very good idea of the performance impact of 2.5-3-3 timings compared to 2-2-2.

    All of the memory reviews have a Performance page that lists timings at each speed, and the Samsung performance chart is at http://www.anandtech.com/memory/showdoc.aspx?i=199... We used 4x256MB modules in testing the Samsung, but we have already shown in past memory articles that 4SS performs the same as 2DS dimms. The performance penalty comes with 2SS modules on an Intel platform.

    We are planning a Value RAM shootout in the future which should directly address your question.
    Reply

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