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


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  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link

    #26 - DDR460 2-2-2 at 2.75V according to my review notes Reply
  • babyelf - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link


    It's said that the crucial did 2-2-2 up till DDR460. At what voltage is that?
  • DreamInBlue - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link

    crucial has always been highly overclockable. my regular cas3 ddr400 crucial does cas 2.5 at 250fsb. Reply
  • bigtoe33 - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link


    You quoting performance series and not Platinum rev2

    Platinum rev2 uses TCCD and was used for this roundup.
  • vie2233hil - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link

    OCZ would like to to announce a revision change in our PC-3200 Performance Series line of memory. PC-3200 Revision 2 has been discontinued and replaced by OCZ PC-3200 Revision 3 DDR.

    OCZ PC-3200 Revision 3 DDR is specified for CL2-3-3-6 timings o­n Intel-based systems and CL2.5-3-3-6 timings o­n AMD based systems. The lifetime warranty of existing PC-3200 Revision 2 modules will not be invalidated by this change.
  • Pumpkinierre - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link

    Nice article, nice charts and nice memory. With all the extra work from the new components let's hope you're still having fun, Wesley. Keep the i875 going. I'm not sure about the nf3 if the tRAS has to be set to >10. Any chance OCZ might be releasing a CAS2 DDR500 in the near future with that new batch of Samsung chips?

  • Potem - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link

    #19 - From page 9: "We have seen reports of some variability in the performance of the Ballistix memory, and overclocking results are never guaranteed. However, our results with another pair of Ballistix DIMMs were very similar." Reply
  • JustAnAverageGuy - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link


    As long as it is a reputable vender, quantity is often better than quality. :)

    i.e. 256MB of 3500 level 2 mushkin extreme blah blah is probably going to perform worse than 1GB of corsair value ram.
  • Lazzydog - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link

    Wesley you have still yet to comment on the question of whether or not the crucial sticks were cherry picked or not. I know in a lot of reviews you try and get your products as anonymously as possible is this true with the crucial ram or not? If not these could hardly be indicative of ram that the rest of us could get and should be known for people who plan on purchasing ballistix ram. Reply
  • GabeyD - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link

    Is there a comparison anywhare of "Value" memory against this high end, high $ stuff. For example, I cag get 1G of Coorsair Value for $180 and the lest expensive high end memory is about $280, a $100 difference. How much real performance is this $100 getting me?

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