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

  • leguman - Thursday, August 12, 2004 - link

    I got 3 Ballistix 512 MB PC3200 dimms.
    I have a chaintech VNF-250 board (socket 754), and according to Anandtech's test, it is the only mobo to be able to run 3 DIMMS flawlessly at the most aggressive timings.

    At 2.8V, 2-2-2 timings, max stable frequencies :
    - one does 223 Mhz
    - one does 218 Mhz
    - one does 212 Mhz. This one is not even stable at 200 Mhz @ 2.6V and is not stable at 220 Mhz even with 2.9V !!!

    I'm not very happy with these resuls as only 1 dimm is stable at 220 Mhz :(
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - link

    #35 - Yes it is the same memory. Most SPD are programmed to work on the widest possible range of systems. The best timings for Intel are 2-2-2-5, while the best timings for AMD are 2-2-2-10. OCZ picked a number in the middle for tRAS at 2-2-2-8, but you can easily set 2-2-2-5 on Intel or 2-2-2-10 on AMD. Reply
  • Resh - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    Just looked at the OCZ site and they now have PC3200 Platinum Rev 2 at 2-2-2-8!

    Is this the same stuff?
  • tomati - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    Astonished crucial ,

    Didn't you make a mistake with the crucial reference module ?

    Is that really the pc 3200 you have tested ?, because I have seen on their european web site a pc 4000 ballistix module [url][/url],then I wonder what's better choice pc 3200 or pc 4000?,

    So on thank for these kind of article ,

    kind regards ,

  • Zebo - Friday, August 6, 2004 - link

    I don't understand these memory reviews or peoples comments. Never have.Obviously bandwidth is king (look at the benchmarks) and it's cheaper to get than LL.

    Get some super cheap hynix found on A-data or even value ram crank to 275 or 550DDR and it devistates these expensive modules.
  • 3Suns - Friday, August 6, 2004 - link

    Why do people equate 2-2-2-5 ratings with "2-2-2" ratings? Wouldn't real 2-2-2 memory run at CAS 2 for every single fetch? Isn't that vastly different from 2-2-2-5 which takes 5 cycles every 4th fetch? Reply
  • eva2000 - Friday, August 6, 2004 - link

    would love to see Buffalo's PC3700 Micron 46v32m8 5B-C memory included in a part 2 review as well.. Reply
  • opuntia - Friday, August 6, 2004 - link

    I don't think the review mentions this, but the OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev.2 is from OCZ's "Enhanced Latency Series" (1 of 5 different series) memory chips.

    I'm going to built my own PC and I just started looking at various sites like anandtech in order to gain some insight (which I have), but I get real confused sometimes when reviewed products are not named exactly like they would be on the manufacturers website, and when the review doesn't post a manufacturer's model/part number.

    Anyway, thanks for the great website. Now I just need to learn what exactly is latency and why 2-2-2 is so good.
  • pookie69 - Friday, August 6, 2004 - link

    A REALLY GOOD article.

    >>> much food for thought.

    I still cannot get over just how well these new PC3200 modules o/c! Why bother with any higher grades of mmeory at all?!

    Thanks Mister Wesley Fink for bringing yet another great comprehensive review our way. Your efforts, as always, are greatly appreciated!!! And your timing always seems to be spot on!! LOL. :)
  • CrimsonDeath - Friday, August 6, 2004 - link

    Hmm, no stock on crucial Ballistix in their european site. Darn good memory. Reply

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