Super Talent & TEAM Join the Fast DDR2 Club

With both AMD and Intel solidly in the DDR2 camp memory makers have pulled out all the stops in creating new and faster DDR2 memory. The latest Intel Core 2 Duo and AMD AM2 platforms both support DDR2-800, and enthusiast memory makers have filled the market with DDR2-800, DDR2-1000, DDR2-1066, and even DDR2-1100 modules. The new DIMMs, mostly based on Micron memory chips, established memory timings of 3-3-3 as the newest standard for Enthusiast memory at DDR2-800. All of these new memories have also reached DDR2-1067 and beyond.

Even Value DDR2 became faster very quickly. Most of the value sticks began using Elpida memory, and while these were usually rated at DDR2-667 or DDR2-533, they managed to run at DDR2-800 at 4-3-3 timings at around 2.2V. None of the DDR2-800, DDR2-667, or DDR2-533 rated modules tested have been able to reach DDR2-1067, which is supported by recent Intel Socket 775 boards, but DDR2-800 at good timings is plenty fast for many users. You will find a recent roundup of Value DDR2 in the Value DDR2 section of the Conroe Buying Guide. However, you will need to ignore the prices quoted just two months ago, because memory is in another period of price escalation. Some memory has increased 50% or more in price, and the great value 2GB memory kits for $150 are no where to be found.

From this stew of ever-escalating DDR2 memory prices, two brands have landed on our test bench that may not be familiar to all our readers - particularly at the high-end of memory performance. Super Talent and TEAM have both established a reputation of delivering solid value in memory, but they are not the names that normally come to mind when you think of the best memory available. However, both companies are out to prove their products are more than competitive when it comes to memory aimed at the computer enthusiast.

We were excited to look at both these new DDR2-1000 offerings because top DDR2 memory has become so expensive so fast. Both Super Talent and TEAM seem to have a knack for pricing their products at the value end of whatever speed they ship, and it was time to find out if the value was real, or whether there were performance penalties for the lower prices.

The first glance at the rated performance of both new modules was not particularly encouraging. Super Talent rates their T1000UX2G4 at 4-4-5-15 timings at DDR2-1000 with 2.2V . The important rating here is the 5 which represents RAS to CAS delay. TEAM is even more conservative than Super Talent, rating their DDR2-1000 at 5-5-5-15 at DDR2-1000 with 2.1V to 2.3V. These rated performance numbers compare to our champion Corsair and OCZ DDR2-1000 modules which both run with complete stability at 4-3-4-11 timings at 2.20V to 2.25V at DDR2-1067 - well above their rated speed. However, we have often seen much more conservative timing and speed ratings than the best memory can actually achieve, and this is particularly true with high-end memory. The proof is in what the memory can actually do in competitive memory benchmarking.

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  • PeteRoy - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    Anandtech you should really stop using these graphs, their a pain to read. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    Would you prefer the bar graphs like we used in past memory reviews? If so, let us know. Reply
  • imaheadcase - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    Yes stop using these graphs. Whats the point of putting squiqly lines on a graph if the performance is pretty close to equal on memory tests you can't notice a diffrence visually? It would be diffrence if your comparing perfomance based on early computers to the latest computer..you could see a change.

    Stick to the bars plus numbers graphs please.
    Reply
  • Frumious1 - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    You people are friggin morons! "Oh noes! We can't read the graph! Please make a goddamn huge ass page with EIGHTEEN graphs instead of three useful charts!" They even give you the numbers at the bottom - is it THAT HARD!?!? Well, for you two, probably, but PLEASE AnandTech, stick with charts like this where it makes sense.

    Allow me to demonstrate how much less desirable separating the data would be, by using as an example Half-Life 2: Lost Cost. Here you go, all 6 settings put into in-duh-vidual charts:

    http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n284/frumious1/...">DDR2-400
    http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n284/frumious1/...">DDR2-533
    http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n284/frumious1/...">DDR2-667
    http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n284/frumious1/...">DDR2-800
    http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n284/frumious1/...">DDR2-1067
    http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n284/frumious1/...">Maximum Performance (OC)

    Isn't that GREAT!? I mean, now we can't easily see how performance is affected going from DDR2-400 to 533 to 667, etc. If you want to whine about non-zero-based charts, whatever. Mine are zero-based, and as you can see there's not a whole hell of a lot of difference past DDR2-800. In fact, there's not much of a difference from DDR2-400 through maximum OC performance... 8.8% more performance from minimum (Super Talent DDR2-400) to maximum (OCZ/Team Highest). Great!

    Know what? ALL OF THAT DATA WAS ALREADY CLEARLY VISIBLE IN ONE CHART!

    Please, go back to junior high and retake some of those math classes, because clearly they didn't stick.
    Reply
  • theprodigalrebel - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    I see nothing wrong with the graphs in this article. For instance, I see a green line (TEAM) stand out at DDR2-667 for the first two tests & stand out again at DDR2-533 in Q4. It is more or less tied with the others. This is useful information. I don't care about 1-3% differences (which could very well be nominal variance) - that means, just buy whatever is cheaper.

    Why would I need bar graphs that detail performance variances as tiny as .16 frames per second?
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    Most people would rather glance and pure numbers than any graphs. You would take LESS space than what they use now. Reply
  • Shortass - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    Well the graphs are certainly a little harder to read than large bar graphs, but I enjoy them more since it compresses a lot of information into a smaller space and you can see on one graph the entire set of tests (easier comparison and taking a few extra seconds to read the data is much better than scrolling down a massive page trying to remember the numbers each scored at different speeds, etc). Reply
  • Guuts - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    It would be nice if you could include some "value" RAM in with these performance RAM reviews for comparison. Instead of just talking about how you need to use fairly decent timings if you want to run the modules at 1067 to see a performance advantage, why don't you add in some actual value DDR2-800 RAM that maybe can only run 5-5-5 @ 1067 and 4-3-4 @ 800 (or whatever they can do these days) so we can see just how much performance we're going to lose if we want to save 100$ on RAM? Just how much performance is lost by having looser timings at the same speed?

    I love performance parts, and want the best components I can afford, but I can't justify paying 50% more for a 5% increase in performance (or +5 FPS) that I'm never going to even be able to notice in real-world use. Note that I said that *I'M* not going to notice, before you start flaming me...

    Good article though!
    Reply
  • deathwalker - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    Careful guy...there are flaming hound-dogs just lurking around out there waiting for value minded people like you and I. But in defense of the article it was not created with the intent to satisfy that niche. Check out this AT article for some value ram suggestions..http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2797">http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2797 Reply
  • Guuts - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    Yes, thanks, I've read that one... increasing the voltage and loosening tbe timings on DDR2-667 is a little TOO value. I was basically asking what one could do with some value DDR2-800 running at 1067 and how much of a performance hit would be incurred by the loose timings you'd have to use, or even the performance of value DDR2-800 with 4-4-4 timings.

    Sure that article shows what you could do with that Value RAM as far as pushing the speed and tweaking the timings, but I don't see any performance numbers, nor any comparisons between different timings at the same speeds...which seems pretty important since the price of memory starts to really climb the tighter the timings are at a certain speed. I'd just like to know how much performance one loses between 3-3-3, 4-4-4, and 5-5-5 with DDR2-800, for example, because I sure know how much the price difference is.

    I can see the small difference in the TEAM memory vs. the slightly looser timed Super Talent memory, but I can't remember ever reading about the performance differences between more widely varied timings and was curious to see just how much of a hit it makes on the new Core 2 Duo platforms...especially with memory prices what they are today, and 2GB kits seemingly being the recommended "standard" configuration in new systems.
    Reply

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