Memory Performance on Core 2 Duo

In our previous article we compared the performance of DDR versus DDR2 on the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA motherboard and found there was very little difference between DDR-400 and DDR2-533. Overall system performance remained very close with either memory at their optimized settings on this particular board. Our initial results continued to prove out that running your memory at the highest possible speed at the lowest possible latencies does make a performance difference in applications such as gaming. However, in applications like media encoding or general desktop programs the differences are hardly significant. The single biggest impact you can usually make in improving game performance is upgrading your GPU, and for applications like media encoding and mathematical programming a CPU upgrade would be more beneficial than faster memory. Of course, a memory upgrade to 2GB is starting to show differences in the latest games and other applications where 1GB used to be the sweet spot. If you are purchasing memory at this time, we highly suggest standardizing on 2x1024MB of RAM.

Our article today will continue our investigation into how well DDR and DDR2 will perform with Intel's new Core 2 Duo. Instead of just comparing memory on the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA we will include results from the Intel 945P, Intel P965, Intel 975X, and Intel i865 chipsets. We will use the same benchmark test suite in our first article, and although it's not as extensive as our normal benchmark suite it does provide enough information to come to a clear performance conclusion. We are not comparing various memory suppliers against each other nor are we comparing 2x512MB versus 2x1024MB configurations, yet. We are simply investigating the memory performance of our E6300 Core 2 Duo processor on different chipsets to determine if the ASRock implementation of the VIA PT880 Pro is capable of competing with the best from Intel.

As a recap from our first article, we are seeing 2GB of RAM becoming the standard memory configuration for new purchases with DDR2 being considered primarily due to the recent AMD AM2 and Intel Core 2 Duo platform releases. However, there is still a large majority of computer users who have 1GB of RAM or less. More importantly, due to AMD's great success with the Athlon 64 processor series for the past three years there is an abundance of DDR memory and to a certain degree AGP cards still in use. So, when faced with a limited budget but a desire to have the latest and greatest technology, one usually has to cut corners or live with a previous generation component for a little longer before doing a complete platform upgrade. This might include using your DDR or previous generation DDR2 memory along with your video card solution a little longer than expected.

With this in mind, sometimes the best option is to mix and match components that are still useful with the latest technology. The move from a socket 754, early socket 939, or P4 LGA775 system to the new Core 2 Duo platform can be an expensive undertaking. In order to reduce the overall cost of a platform change several motherboard manufacturers offer combination boards that allow users to mix and match capabilities between memory and GPU interfaces. ASRock has built a reputation on offering these types of solutions. In the case of the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA, this board allows you to move to the new Core 2 Duo platform at a minimum cost. Besides offering very good performance for a great price this board also allows you to utilize your DDR memory or AGP graphics card.

Our next article later this week will look at the performance of our EVGA 7600GS PCI-E card against its sibling 7600GS AGP card on this board with comparative AGP performance on the Intel i865 chipset. We will finish our investigative series with a full comparison of this board against its AM2 counterpart, AM2V890-VSTA, armed with an AMD 3800+ X2 along with results from other ASRock value boards featuring the Intel i865 and 945P chipsets. Let's see if the performance of DDR2 improves on other chipsets with our standard configuration components.

Memory Specifications
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  • Kiijibari - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    Hi,

    first I have to say, that it is a nice review, I liked it. I only have one minor critic with the following piece of text:
    quote:

    The sweet spot for gaming with this particular video card seems to be at low latency DDR2-667 settings as DDR2-800 provides negligible benefits. We are sure with lower latencies at DDR2-800 and a more powerful GPU solution that we would see further scaling increases in performance.


    I strongly doubt, that you'll see any benefits with DDR2-800 modules, regardless of the GPU, because you forgot that the FSB1066 is limiting factor. Furthermore I assume, that the DDR2-667 scores are just better because of the better absolut memory latency.

    Well, as you stated, your scores may be better again with DDR2-800 RAMs @CL3, but I think that such expensive oc modules are out of question in the low cost context of the article.

    cheers

    Kiijibari
    Reply
  • giantpandaman2 - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Is there any way that you guys not use red and orange on the same graph? It's difficult to discern between the two. I mean, it's definitely possible, but it's a pain. Reply
  • Paradox999 - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    You guys need to seriously have a deeper look at the ASRock 775i65G sisnce it obviously is extremely competitive. What I want to know is:

    what are the overclocking / voltage options and do they work with the Conroe?
    I was seriously considering buying the 775DUAL-VSTA ... but since I'm running an overclocked D820 / 2 gig Mushkin DDR500 / AGP Radeon x850 XTPE.

    Why bother with DDR2 as an upgrade path on the 775DUAL-VSTA when it doesn't make all that much difference and if I have to buy a new PCI card it'll have to be a very good one to best my overclocked x850 .... and that means I would want to stick it into a better motherboard than the 775DUAL-VSTA.

    All I would need is the ASRock 775i65G and the Conroe for an upgrade that seems the best deal around. Who's with me ????
    Reply
  • hibachirat - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    775i65G?
    Exactly what i've been trying to find for the last week! :-)
    But no luck getting any U.S. vendor too specify that they will ship me an R2 board.
    Try googling 775i65G R2 and you'll find as many as you want...in Australia, U.K., Europe, etc...what's the deal with U.S. resellers?
    I'm going to try emailing the article's author...
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    http://www.mwave.com/mwave/skusearch.hmx?SCriteria...">http://www.mwave.com/mwave/skusearch.hmx?SCriteria...

    In stock at the above link, called them and they have a few of the rev. 2 boards in stock. The other board to have if you want the i865 chipset is the ConRoe865PE which should be released in a couple of weeks.
    Reply
  • Paradox999 - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    I would love if Anandtech would get Asrock to supply one of these ConRoe865PE boards for comparison testing. I saw that board at the Asrock site a while ago but couldn't find anyone in North America selling it.

    Asrock seems to slowly be creeping up from the back into the enthousiiast (on a buget) market. The first thing I would fix if I were them is add solid voltage control for the CPU and memory.

    I'm an enthusiast but I hate dropping tons of cash for top drawer hardware when I can have very respectable performance by carefully selecting less expensive hardware.

    Go Asrock!
    Reply
  • hibachirat - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Thanks, i guess i should have called them. This was their email response:

    "Dear Valued Customer,
    Unfortuantely, we are unable to guarantee what version of this motherboard we have. We do apologize for the inconvenience.
    Mwave.com"
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    You guys need to seriously have a deeper look at the ASRock 775i65G sisnce it obviously is extremely competitive.


    We will have a comparison article with it and the other value boards in the near future.
    Reply
  • Optimummind - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    I'm thinking about purchasing this board along with a Conroe CPU until the prices come down on the higher-model mobos such as the Asus P5W-DH. My most pressing question is how much of a bottleneck in gaming performance will be introduced as a result of ASRock including only PCIe x4 for the GPU.

    I believe that in order to answer that question, a higher performing GPU needs to be used rather than a 7600GS. Could you guys also include an extra table/graph including a comparison between a 7800GS AGP 8x and 7800GS PCIe?

    The reason I want to know is because I want to whether or not putting a DX10 card in the ASRock PCIe x4 slot will bottleneck the GPU.

    Or, could you guys compare the performance of a 7900GT in the ASRock board with a 7900GT GPU in a P965, P975, or other mobos that has the full PCIe x16 connection? I don't to know what difference in performance there will be and to see if it's worth putting a 7900GT PCIe in the ASRock board.

    Reply
  • Paladin165 - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Do you think adding better cooling on the chipset would improve FSB overclocking on this board? Reply

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