Part 1 of the 2GB DDR Kit Roundup took a close look at 3 memories based on Infineon memory chips. Since that review in October, a number of 2GB DDR kits have appeared in the market with most based on Infineon C or B die memory chips. There are, however, a few brands that have taken a different approach to memory chips for 1GB DIMMs, and we have included those in this roundup, along with the latest Infineon-based memories.

1GB DDR DIMMs began appearing in the market over a year ago, but it wasn't until mid-2005 that 1GB DIMMs with reasonably fast timings became widely available. These faster 1GB DIMMs finally made the choice of 2GB memory kits to be a reasonable choice in a market that had been dominated by fast DDR 512MB DIMMs.

There are many reasons to choose a 2GB kit over a 1GB kit or 4 512MB DIMMs. Two 1GB DIMMs on the AMD Athlon 64 can still run at 1T Command rate, instead of the 2T required by the 4x512MB DIMMs needed for 2GB with 512MB DIMMs - a definite advantage for the 1GB DIMMs. On the other hand, until recently, the available 1GB DIMMs were generally much slower than the fast 2-2-2 DIMMs that were commonly available in 512MB DIMMs. We normally saw 3-3-3 or 3-4-4 or slower timings for 1GB DIMMs. These poorer timings for 1GB DIMMs took away most of the advantage for the 1GB 1T Command Rate.

There was an additional "gotcha" with the 1GB DIMMs that many enthusiasts quickly discovered. With a starting point of 3-3-3 or 3-4-4 at DDR400, the 1GB parts did not overclock nearly as far as the 512MB parts. For all of these reasons, we generally recommended that most users were better off with 512MB DIMMs - at least until memory timings improved on the 1GB DIMMs.

The time for faster 1GB DIMMs has finally come in the past 6 months, and they are now available from almost every memory manufacturer. In Part 1, we looked at three 2GB kits from Corsair, Gigaram, and OCZ. In this part 2, we put six additional fast 2GB kits through our test bench, with some interesting results. We also updated some parts of our memory test bench, which required retesting of the original three 2GB kits.

Our memory tests differentiate memory in two ways. First, AnandTech has always been an advocate of real world performance measurements, and we've shunned using just synthetic benchmarks in our testing of every type of component, including memory. This is not because synthetic benchmarks are not useful - they are often very revealing of component differences - but rather, it is because running just synthetic benchmarks can severely distort the picture of performance with real applications and real games. That is why we always use games and the pure number-crunching Super Pi in our memory tests. It is also the reason why we test using both Buffered (Standard) and Unbuffered synthetic benchmarks. We have found in much of our testing that the less commonly used Unbuffered benchmarks mirror more closely how games really respond to memory differences.

Second, we moved to testing different memory speeds at the same CPU clock speed in our Athlon 64 memory tests. The AMD CPU, with unlocked multipliers, allowed us to finally remove the CPU speed differences from our memory tests. This allows you to finally see the true impact of memory speed increases and memory timings on performance. As you have seen in past reviews, those performance differences are very real, although they are much smaller than what many memory manufacturers might want you to believe. On the other hand, faster memory speeds and faster memory timings do improve performance, no matter what some nay-sayers are determined to prove.

The New 2GB DDR Kits
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  • DonPMitchell - Monday, March 06, 2006 - link

    I'm surprised there was no discussion of single-rank vs. dual-rank memory. For the Athlon, that's a big issue, becuase its memory controller may down-clock beyond 4 ranks of memory.
    Reply
  • nyogen - Wednesday, February 15, 2006 - link

    I remember when Nvidia released their 6xxx series there was an all out boycott of paper launches.
    OCZ and Mushkin released not very long ago their 2GB dual channel high end kits namely:

    http://www.mushkin.com/doc/products/memory_detail....">http://www.mushkin.com/doc/products/memory_detail....
    http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/memory/ocz_e...">http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/memory/ocz_e...

    Apart from these parts not having been available, the new batch that carries only the name given by reviews are flagged by poor performance, different IC's from the original batch, and lots of glitches.
    I am sure Corsair and all the other manufacturers are doing the same, paper launch, hard launch cherry picked and then selling out to unsuspecting customers a COMPLETELY different product, backed by reputable reviews.
    Don't you feel like they have been using you and used your reputation and popularity in order to commit something very close to fraud ???
    If you encourage us to buy these products then you have the responsability to follow up on the products life and batches so that once they try to do this again you will be there to sanction this and PROTECT US. Otherwise your reviews become fairy tales and the only ones that have the reviewed products are you and a couple of people in the world.
    GO FOR THEM ! END THIS UNFAIR PRACTICE !
    Reply
  • Overlag - Monday, February 06, 2006 - link

    Crucial have infact stopped making there 1gig DDRI sticks due to the massive fail rate on there high end products.

    i have had 6x 512mb failures and 4x 1gig failures. While there customer services is the best of ANY online company ive dealt with, there high end products are really bad quality now.... the ram overheats, then after a few months wont run at 1t, then it starts making noises while you access it, before finaly degrading over a month from 2-2-2-6 settings down to 3-4-4-10 untill failing totaly.

    This includes chips (my latest two) which ive been using at 2.7volts ONLY, and with active cooling, yet they are still hotter than my X2 4400 at 4800 speeds...Last week they run fine at 2-2-2-7 1t, now they are at 3-3-3-8 2t :(

    ... Why there high end products have problems i dont know, there normal or value ram runs fine for YEARS and YEARS.

    Very disapointed with it all apart from the customer services. However even that has started to disapoint me, as they refused to RMA/refund me for my 2x 512mb pair...
    Reply
  • leexgx - Monday, February 06, 2006 - link

    i had no problems getting my ram RMAed and replaced (2 days ago 2 day turn around UK) never had something replaced so fast before :)

    you can still buy it from here (UK tho)
    http://www.overclockers.co.uk/acatalog/Crucial_Dua...">http://www.overclockers.co.uk/acatalog/Crucial_Dua...

    on an other note it is an consern to me as well i have never used ram that can heat my room (needs active cooling) like others have posted it does run hot if not cooled i cant seem to get to 2-2-2-7 T1 my asus a8n-sli prem does an anoying thing by auto setting it to 4 5 5 12 {fail safe maybe?}(when i open A64 tweeker as it shows the info) then the nvidia Sound or nvidia video tray Icon crashs the system with an nice BSOD, (works fine tho at 3-3-3-7 T1 @ ddr500 2.7v or ddr speed lower but just run it at ddr400 ish now)

    an but realy any way good OCZ or just standered TwinMoss ram is realy real world 2-4% performance dif (Amd64 On chip ram contorler removes the bottle neck that was on the Older k7 chips i go for lower timeings over more bandwith)

    realy should have an look at DFI streets Forums on the matter of ddr1 Ocing (AMD overclocking) http://www.dfi-street.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f...">http://www.dfi-street.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f...

    (other note i think my ram was partly dead when i got it just put up with it untill me pc did not boot any more )
    Reply
  • Overlag - Thursday, February 09, 2006 - link

    i wouldnt want to buy ballistix ever again... Once this set finaly gives up the ghost i will ask for a full refund and get some real memory. Reply
  • XeCutor - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    My first pair failed memtest at 250mhz, seemed stable at 247mhz. My second pair does 250mhz but not much more. Fails at 255mhz. All this is on a DFI Expert board with an opteron 165 3-4-4-8 1T timings at 2,6-2,8v. Voltage doesn't seem to matter att all to these sticks, they fail at the same speeds regardless for me. Reply
  • bupkus - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - link

    I went for the Twinx2048-3200c2pt because of the lower timings and $197 AMIR price. I haven't researched this much lately, but I recall PC3200 with tight timings getting the nod from the enthusiast community for the Athlon 64.
    The TWINX2048-4000PT that I faced it off to lists timings of 3-4-4-8 which I thought wasn't preferable to the tighter timings especially with a price of $233.
    The OCZ4002048ELDCPE-K is going for the same price of about $200 but the OCZ5001024EBPE only appears on newegg as a single 1GB module for $153.44 + $4.81 shipping.
    That's too rich for my blood.
    I guess the question for me would be which is the best for $200 +- $20?
    Reply
  • Visual - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - link

    Besides the TWINX kit, corsair offers single 1GB modules too - again marked as 4000PT
    The price for the kits for some reason seems higher than two separate modules.
    So my question is, are the separate modules the same thing as what's in the kits? Why don't you mention them at all, and either recommend them for better value over the overpriced kits, or, if they dont perform as well, warn users about them?
    Reply
  • Googer - Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - link

    I would have liked to have seen four 512MB modules shown in the graphs as a refrence of how much or how little there is to gain by using these pairs of 1GB modules. By doing this I could form a cost/benefit analasys. Reply
  • bersl2 - Monday, January 23, 2006 - link

    I'm going to wait to see if the price on DDR1 falls again before AMD goes DDR2. If it does, I'll get 2 x 1GiB to replace the 4 x 512MiB I bought over a year ago, but haven't been able to use until just now. Reply

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