The Memories

The first task in our look at Value RAM was to define Value RAM. With top memories selling for $250 to $400 (or even higher) for a 1GB kit, we decided that a price limit of $200 for a 1GB kit (2x512MB DIMMs) of DDR memory would be our cut-off. Admittedly, this excludes some good value Samsung TCCD kits from companies like PQI and Patriot, but these products are really just good buys and marketed by the companies as Performance memory.

We requested Value RAM for our review from Corsair, Kingston, Mushkin, OCZ and Transcend as a representative cross-section of the memory industry. We asked these manufacturers to supply a 1GB kit (2x512MB) of a Value RAM product or products that sold on the web for less than $200. We asked them to supply whatever RAM they wished that met these criteria, which we would be comparing in performance to other Value RAM products in a memory roundup.

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." When we asked for clarification, Corsair expressed concern that we would be testing performance and overclocking of their Value products when memory chips change frequently on these products. The concern is that the overclocking performance we would report in a roundup today might not be what a customer would get tomorrow because chips change frequently in value products. Corsair recommended that customers looking for overclocking and enthusiast level performance should purchase Corsair products that are geared to performance and overclocking, where results are consistent.

The Value RAM roundup resulted with seven memory pairs from four manufacturers.

 Manufacturer  Description
(Memory Chips)
 Memory Speed  Rated Timings  Web Price (1GB)
Kingston KVR400X64C25/512
(Kingston)
400 DDR 2.5-3-3 $142
Kingston KVR400X64C3AK2/1G
(Elpida)
400 DDR 3-3-3 $100
($91 on sale)
Mushkin EM Series PC3200
(Unknown)
400 DDR 3-3-3 $147
OCZ PC3200 Premier
P/N OCZ4001024PDC-K

(PSC)
400 DDR 2.5-3-3-7 $121
OCZ PC3200 Value Series
P/N OCZ4001024WV3DC-K

(Winbond - Value VX)
400 DDR 2.5-3-3-7 $115
OCZ PC3200 Gold
P/N OCZ4001024ELDCGE-K

(Winbond BH5)
400 DDR 2-2-2-5 $195
Transcend JM366D643A-50
(JetRam)
400 DDR 2.5-3-3 $100

The seven memories represent quite a range of choices in memory under $200 for a Gigabyte. First, we were pleasantly surprised that all of the memories except one now actually cost below $150 for a Gigabyte. That one memory, OCZ PC3200 Gold, will still interest many Value RAM buyers because it represents the revival of Winbond BH5 chips, which were discontinued from the market over 6 months ago. We are told that Winbond is manufacturing BH5 again from old dies, and we will be testing this Value RAM at the higher voltages possible on the DFI nForce4 motherboard.

The other big surprise is also from OCZ. We learned (when OCZ introduced their VX memory at DDR500 2-2-2 speed) that there would also be a Value Series version of the VX. What we did not expect was that the new "Value VX" would cost just $115 for a Gigabyte of memory. These are the same chips that were top-performers in a recent memory review. The Value Series uses unbinned chips, so performance is not guaranteed, but we were still anxious to see if this or the new Value BH5 might be the proverbial "silk purse from a sow's ear" for the cheap computer enthusiast. We all like to get something for nothing - or, at least, for very little money.

As you will see from the results, there were quite a few surprises in Value RAM performance. This includes a few very cheap but solid performers that will satisfy many users, and a couple of memories that are as mundane as we expect of Value RAM. For those of you looking for dynamite performance at cheap prices, we also found that silk purse amongst the Value RAM candidates.

Index Performance Test Configuration
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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.
    Reply
  • 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 ?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • Baldeagle76 - Friday, April 29, 2005 - link

    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply

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