Some of the Memory received for our recent “Searching for the Memory Holy Grail — Part 2” article could not be fairly reviewed in that roundup. Since the base requirement was that memory perform at DDR500 or faster, fast memory that did not meet that requirement was eliminated from the review.

Mushkin has taken a different approach to the fast question with their Level II PC3500 2-2-2 Memory modules. Mushkin has aimed for the absolute fastest timings possible with memory more likely to be used with the 2.8 to 3.2GHz P4 processors, or AMD Bartons that will not likely see Front Side Bus Speeds greater than about DDR433. Another unique approach is Adata DDR450, a very unusual DDR rating to be sure. While Adata 450 could not quite reach our DDR500 cutoff in testing, it did turn in some of the most aggressive timings at DDR400 that we have seen, Because of these different approaches to performance, we decided to take a closer look at both the Mushkin and Adata memory.

Intel legitimized DDR400 with the 875/865 chipsets, and that is now an official JEDEC standard. In fact, the fastest memory that the Intel 875/865 and AMD Athlon/Barton are designed to run is DDR400. Anything faster than DDR400 is overclocking the memory or the system in one form or another. So, with the Mushkin and Adata, we will try to determine which memory is the best performing memory at DDR400. For those of you who do not overclock, this installment of our memory series was written for you. For those who have, or plan to get, one of the higher speed P4 CPUs or an AMD Barton, this will also be good information to help you buy the best performing memory for your system. We will also go back and pick up DDR400 performance from the 7 memories tested in Part 2 of the “Search for the Memory Holy Grail”.

So we are asking the question again — what is fast memory? We’ve seen that raw FSB speed definitely has a tremendous impact on memory performance in games and applications. But the other side of that coin is that memory timings can also greatly affect performance. So which is better: DDR500 running 3-4-4-8 or DDR400 running at 2-2-2-4?

Test Design
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, September 2, 2003 - link

    MUSHKIN PC3500 LEVEL II AT FSB1000, 5:4 (DDR400, 2-2-2-5)

    We ran 1000FSB (500) at 5:4 with Mushkin PC3500 Level II at CAS 2-2-2-5. The testbed and ALL hardware and settings were the same as this review except for FSB/Ratio. Results are:

    Sandra UNBuffered - 2964/2959 or avg. 2962
    Sandra Buffered (Standard) ? 5470/5468 or avg. 5469
    Quake 3 ? 393.7fps
    UT2003 ? Flyby: 241.84
    Botmatch: 87.66
    SuperPI (2M places) ? 105s

    Write these numbers down and compare them to DDR400 on page 8&9 and DDR500 in Part 2 Page 14 (500FSB/DDR500) charts. You will see that 5:4 2-2-2-5 is very close to the performance of the DDR500.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 2, 2003 - link

    Oops... I have to take my last comment back. :(

    I have read through the whole article, and I dont see 250 FSB 1:1 3-4-4-8 vs 5:4 2-2-2-5 (200fsb vs. 250fsb ram speed) If they arent both tested together at the same CPU speed and FSB, only with the mem speed and timings change, its not perfect... But still a good review anyhow. :D

  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 2, 2003 - link

    Awesome review Wes,

    You took user feedback from the last review and tested your ram in a way NO OTHER REVIEWER HAS DONE SO FAR !!!! The right way.

    Well done my friend, well done.

  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 2, 2003 - link

    Black is cool!

    the mushkin PC3500 Level II is the perfect combination with a IC7 Max3.

  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 2, 2003 - link

    Given your propensity (and abuse by others) for OCZ, why did'nt you include OCZ platinum 3500 which is their ultra low latency RAM in this test. I have 2x256Mb OCZ platinum PC3200 (PC3500 wasnt and still isn't available in Australia when I built my system) in an ABIT IC7-G with 2.6C CPU. I get 2-2-2-5 to 190Mhz, 2-2-3-5 to 218 MHz and up to 230MHz on looser settings. I am moderately satisfied with this but I was offered CORSAIR XMS 3200 at time of purchase and, given your comments about Rev 1.1, I perhaps regret the path I took!
  • wicktron - Tuesday, September 2, 2003 - link

    I think you need to change the titles of the graphs on this page:

    to DDR400 rather than DDR500.
  • wicktron - Tuesday, September 2, 2003 - link

    Great review Wes.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now