Sapphire PURE Innovation - ATI's Chipset for the AMD Enthusiastby Wesley Fink on July 29, 2005 12:05 AM EST
- Posted in
tRAS and Memory Stress Testing
Memory tRAS RecommendationsIn past reviews, memory bandwidth tests established that a tRAS setting of 11 or 12 was generally best for nForce2, a tRAS of 10 was optimal for the nForce3 chipset, and a tRAS of 7 was optimal for the nForce4 chipset. The recently tested ULi 1695 was best at tRAS of 10.
Since this is our first review of a new ATI chipset, tRAS timings were first tested with memtest86, a free diagnostic program with its own boot OS that will boot from either a floppy disk or optical disk. Bandwidth of OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2, based on Samsung TCCD chips, was measured from tRAS 5 to tRAS 12 to determine the best setting.
| Memtest86 Bandwidth
Sapphire PURE Innovation with Athlon 64 4000+
Two things stood out in our tRAS tests. First, the Sapphire ATI exhibits the best bandwidth at a tRAS setting of 7 or 8. We decided to use 7, since it is the same as the best setting for nForce4. Second, the bandwidth numbers on the ATI were a bit higher across the tRAS tests than what we saw with the ULi 1695. This suggests ATI having better optimized memory management - at least at this stage of development.
Memory Stress TestOur memory stress test measures the ability of the Sapphire ATI to operate at its officially supported memory frequency (400MHz DDR), at the lowest memory timings that OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 modules will support. All DIMMs used for stress testing were 512MB double-sided (or double-bank) memory. To make sure that memory performed properly in Dual-Channel mode, memory was only tested using either one dual-channel (2 DIMMs) or 2 dual-channels (4 DIMMs).
|Stable DDR400 Timings - One Dual-Channel
(2/4 DIMMs populated)
|RAS to CAS Delay:||2T|
Using two DIMMs in Dual-Channel 128-bit mode, the memory performed in all benchmarks at the fastest 2-2-2-7 timings at default voltage, which was the only memory voltage available.
|Stable DDR400 Timings - 4 DIMMs
(4/4 DIMMs populated)
|RAS to CAS Delay:||2T|
Tests with all four DIMM slots populated on the Sapphire required a 2T Command Rate with 4 DIMMs in two dual channels. This is the pattern seen on other top-performing Socket 939 boards. The Sapphire AMD had no problem running at a 200 CPU speed setting with 4 double-sided DIMMs. Since the Athlon 64 memory controller is on the processor, there were no real surprises in the memory stress tests. The Sapphire ATI is certainly competitive with the best Socket 939 boards in memory performance.