AMD Athlon 64 Tests

With Intel moving to DDR2, AMD processors will, at some point, become the dominant platform for DDR memory. We intend to do more extensive testing with memory on Athlon 64 motherboards in the future, but the DDR400 2-2-2 roundup is a bit unique in that all the memory is based on the same Samsung TCCD chips, except the Crucial Ballistix DDR400. We therefore ran basic performance and overclocking tests with the 2-2-2 dimms in the MSI K8N Neo2. The MSI was Editors Choice in our recent Socket 939 roundup. The intent was just to verify the performance that we had found with each memory on an Athlon 64 platform.

What seemed a simple idea turned out to be anything but that. All of the memory performed the same at DDR400 and DDR433 on the K8N Neo2 as it did on the Intel platform, but then things began diverging. All of the memory could also do DDR466 on the Athlon 64 platform, but often required slightly slower timings or a bit more voltage. The only Samsung memory that achieved DDR500 on the MSI Athlon 64 was the OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 - none of the other Samsung-base DIMMs could reach this milestone. In addition, the OCZ, which reached DDR557 on the Intel board, could not reach much higher than DDR500 before we got failed boots.

The only memory that duplicated the Intel results on Athlon 64 was the Crucial Ballistics PC3200, based on Micron chips. Across the entire range from DDR400 to DDR514, the Ballistix performed at the same voltages and timings that it displayed on the Intel test bed. This performance reminds us that Micron memory chips are also used in OCZ 3500EB and 3700EB, which also perform as well on Athlon 64 as they do on an Intel board.

For now, we would recommend Crucial Ballistix or OCZ 3500EB/3700EB as first choice on Athlon 64 motherboards. If you prefer one of the memories using Samsung chips, then the OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 was the only Samsung memory to work reliably at DDR500. The evidence leads us to believe that the Micron chips perform much better on Athlon 64 than Samsung chips, but this is something that will require more investigation. We are putting together a more in-depth look at the performance of a full range of memory types on Athlon 64 in an upcoming review.

Highest Memory Speed Performance Final Words


View All Comments

  • Hasse - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link


    I'm rather confused when I check my bios for all the abreviations.. TRC, TRAS.... it would be nice to know what to set them all to, I've got the Asus A8V Deluxe board.. and probably ain't the same bios view or settings that msi or others have. I've tried to overclock but the dang thing just hangs and creates not so funny looking bios boot images... Anyway thanx for a nice review. I've made my choice on memory based on it...
  • adamofwales - Thursday, November 11, 2004 - link

    Quite easily, I must say,

    this is the BEST article about memory I have ever read.

    Well done.
  • googles - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    i cant find a crucial ballistix pc3200 @ 2-2-2-5 timings.

    according to their website,

    BL6464Z402 DDR PC3200 • 2-3-2-6 • Non-parity • DDR400 • 2.8V • 64Meg x 64

    they only have a ddr400 ballistix @ 2-3-2-6, is this the ram that AT evaluated?

  • somekid617 - Thursday, September 23, 2004 - link

    i got the ocz 3200 rev.2 and its great! Reply
  • somekid617 - Thursday, September 23, 2004 - link

  • mbor - Thursday, August 26, 2004 - link

    3Suns, 2-2-2-5 doesn't mean it takes 5 cycles every 4th fetch. The paramenters are:
    CAS Latency-RAS to CAS Delay-RAS Precharge-Cycle Time (Tras).
    The names actually vary depending on the source. I quote the names used in CPU-Z, as I think they're well establisheed. You should easily find the description of each of these in online references.
  • fritz64 - Monday, August 16, 2004 - link

    Please let us know your Optimum latency, memory speed and Voltage setting. I should receive mine today.
  • babyelf - Saturday, August 14, 2004 - link

    Got my 3200 ballistix.. ran 2.65 at DDR410 at 2-2-2-11 and primed blend for 15 hours
    now running DDR420 at 2-2-2-11 at 2.7V
    i'll try to go more later after i burn in at this speed
  • fritz64 - Friday, August 13, 2004 - link

    #37 and #38
    I just ordered my 512MB x2 Crucial ballistix memory for my A64 3500+. I'm hoping to get 2-2-2-10@2.75V for at least 220MHz on Abit AV8 socket 939. I will let you guys know what I have later once I get my hands on those sticks. This will be an acid test for the information that we receive on Anandtech.
  • Fleabit - Thursday, August 12, 2004 - link

    Wasn't so happy with my 2 * 512MB Ballistix either. couldn't get them to run dual channel stable at DDR 400 at 2-2-2-8 on an NF7-S v2.0 using the rated voltage.

    Memtested each of the dimms individually, at 2-2-2-8 @2.8v they max'd at 212 and 205.

    At least crucial have a good RMA service :)

    Has anyone had good experiences?


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