Memory Performance

The biggest question on our minds when comparing these two heavyweights was: who has the better memory controller?  We turned to the final version of ScienceMark 2.0 for the answer.

Memory Latency Comparison

Amazingly enough, at the same memory timings, NVIDIA drops memory latency by around 13%.  This is a worst case scenario for memory latency. In all of our other memory tests, the nForce4's memory controller was equal to Intel's controller - but even any advantage here is impressive, not to mention such a large advantage.

Memory Bandwidth Comparison

NVIDIA's latency reduction and DASP algorithms offer a negligible 2% increase in overall memory bandwidth.  While you'd be hard pressed to find any noticeable examples of these performance improvements, the important thing here is that NVIDIA's memory controller appears to be just as good as, if not faster, than Intel's best.  Kudos to NVIDIA - they have at least started off on the right foot with performance. 


DDR2-667 or 533?

When Intel sent us their 955X platform, they configured it with DDR2-667 memory running at 5-5-5-15 timings.  NVIDIA sent their nForce4 SLI Intel Edition board paired with some Corsair DIMMs running at 4-4-4-15 timings at DDR2-667.  Given that we have lower latency DDR2-533 memory, we decided to find out if there was any real performance difference between DDR2-667 at relatively high timings and DDR2-533 at more aggressive timings. Once again, ScienceMark 2.0 is our tool of choice:

DDR2: 533 vs 667

Here, we see that even at 3-2-2-12, DDR2-533 isn't actually any faster than DDR2-667. 

DDR2: 533 vs 667

...and it offers slightly less memory bandwidth. 

It looks like there's not much point in worrying about low latency DDR2-533, as higher latency DDR2-667 seems to work just as well (if not a little better) on the newest Intel platforms. 

The Motherboards Business Application Performance
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  • segagenesis - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    #44 - I dont think its *that* silly to say such a thing. DDR2 and PCI-E are still new technologies and apart from newer mainboards coming with onboard PCI-E gigabit lan, there hasnt been anything worthy of note for the mainstream user. Getting off the PCI bus is good but it takes time for us to migrate to it. Let alone were talking about technology thats barely penetrating the market thats already saturated with people who are perfectly happy with thier current systems. Remember how long it took for us to get off ISA completely.

    There are alot of 2-3ghz PCI systems out there and to Average Joe User (tm) you can spin PCI-E as much as you want but unless they are in the market for a new computer they really dont give a damn. Same thing for Athlon 64 or Pentium D. How do you convince someone who uses AOL they need THAT much power?

    Food for tought.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    Motley

    I agree that there are huge benefits to PCI Express, but for pretty much the entire life span of the 925X/915 platforms none of PCI Express' potential was even remotely tapped into. So here we are today, where PCI Express devices are finally starting to appear and we are given a brand new chipset, one that supports dual core.

    I didn't mean to come off as saying that PCI Express and DDR2 are bad technologies, but the 925X/915 platform as a whole was not aided by their inclusion during its life span. The 955/945 chipsets will succeed in those areas where the 925X/915 did not, although it is worth pointing out that while Intel remains on a 800MHz FSB - DDR2 continues to do nothing for performance, even on 955X.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Motley - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    "Honestly, Intel processors and even the platform haven’t been interesting since the introduction of Prescott. They have been too hot and poor performers, not to mention that the latest Intel platforms forced a transition to technologies that basically offered no performance benefits (DDR2, PCI Express)".

    I find it absolutely disturbing that even anandtech would say something as silly as this. Sure, if all you care about is graphics performance, PCI-E isn't that big of a deal. But drop in a Gigabit ethernet card, SCSI controller running a fast/wide raid, or *gasp* iSCSI. You'll see the difference immediately. To say there is no performance benefit is just totally missing the point that PCI-E is an improvement over PCI. Get your head out of games for a minute and you'll see.
    Reply
  • anandtechrocks - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    For someone who is desperately trying to prove that he has the biggest “IT knowledge Penis” you sure do come across as a profane school child overclockingoodness. Reply
  • segagenesis - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    Now now everone, dont stoop down to his level.

    Granted when you talk about how everyone who reads this site are a "bunch of idiots" and then talk about how vast your knowledge of IT is all the while not being able to back it up, this just shows immaturity and makes it hard to believe what you claim is even true. And yeah, when you have to stoop to correcting minor spelling errors (when you yourself were in the wrong) to prove a point it means you havent got a leg to stand on.

    Not to mention having a fanboyism on something is actually a BAD thing to have in the IT industry. If you are so well intwined on a certain piece of hardware (say, all Intel and f*** everything else) then its a dangerous situation where you wont be trying alternatives. Possibly cheaper or better alternatives at that. Say your in a company and you have a specific solid mindset on something, Joe Blow 2.0 comes in as a new hire. Joe Blow 2.0 pitches cheaper, faster, better solution but you diss it because there cant be possibly anything better than what you have. Joe Blow 2.0 wins a contract and you look stupid. Don't try this at work kids.

    The only defense I imagine he could possibly conjure up right now is currently in the market there is the "Nobody got fired for buying Intel" mentality where companies and such are wary of trying non-Intel products mainly because... Dell and other major manufacturers wont offer it in any quantity. All the systems here are Dell and its sometimes its a blessing and a curse. Of course, even the "Nobody got fired for buying IBM" mentality slowly faded so it depends on what the market wants.

    Just dont criticize all pc enthusiasts because they want something other than the norm, thanks Questar.
    Reply
  • Rapsven - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    "In 2005 I will purchase 11,500 desktop/notebook systems, and 900-975 servers."

    So basically, if we were to take that piece of an ego boost for a fact, you're probably an arrogant executive who thinks he knows everything and nobody can prove him wrong.

    In reality, you're probably just a 16 year old "know-it-all" who has to be a grammar Nazi to prove your stupid little points that don't really mean anything in the first place.

    For the moment, NVIDIA and Intel have a cross-licensing contract, so it's basically eye for an eye. Intel gets SLI, NVIDIA gets to make chipsets for Intel based systems. Since none of us actually know the exact specifications of the contract, I guess we can't make any comments on that, can we? But if NVIDIA eats up Intel's marketshare in chipsets, it's definitely a problem for Intel.

    Go away, your comments are worthless.
    Reply
  • overclockingoodness - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    #38: I definitely agree. LOL

    After reading Anand's comments, it looks like Questar doesn't know anything he claims he does. Apparenlty, you've got to learn about business as well.

    Take care Dumbass and have fun wasting your company's funds on Intel CPUs.
    Reply
  • overclockingoodness - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    I hope Anand's comments shut you up Questar. Reply
  • mlittl3 - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    #35,

    Man, I feel sorry for the company that is going to get all the crap that Questar is going to buy.

    Maybe he works for Transmeta. :)
    Reply
  • overclockingoodness - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    #34: By worthless I do mean that they are not worthy enough to consider for high-end performance. I was refeering to the enthusiast community than anything else.

    #35: It's quite unfortunate that you work in the industry. So, let me guess - all of these servers/laptops/desktops will have "Intel Inside". I guess it's quite stupid of the management of your company to give you such a huge responsibility, since you obviously don't know anything about it.

    And if you own your own company then I can only wonder when your company will go down.
    Reply

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