Gigaram 2GB Dual Channel PC-4200

Several weeks ago, we were contacted by a memory company called Gigaram to ask if we would be interested in reviewing their new 1GB modules. Since we were planning a review of the Corsair and OCZ 1GB DIMMs, it seemed a good fit to include Gigaram.

Who is Gigaram? Gigaram is a California based memory module manufacturer established in 1996. Founders were a team of engineers with over 12 years experience in the memory industry. Based on the current product offerings, which include a number of memory products targeted at the enthusiast, Gigaram is keenly interested in the Enthusiast and Gamer market.

If you would like to know more about them, you can start at their website, www.gigaram.com. Perhaps an even better indication that Gigaram is a serious player is that you can find their memory products for sale at New Egg, which is the largest E-tailer on the web.

The Gigaram 1GB modules feature heatspreaders for cooling. The 2GB kit is rated at a fast DDR533 with the somewhat slow timings of 3-4-3-8.

Under the heatspreaders, you will find Infineon memory chips again, just like the Corsair. In this case, the specific Infineon chip is the CE-5. With Infineon chips again, we were hopeful for faster memory timings than the conservatively rated 3-4-3-8.

Specifications
While also based on Infineon chips like the Corsair, Gigaram is rated at the much slower 3-4-3-8 timings, but at the much higher speed of DDR533. This is a higher rated speed than what we could reach with the Corsair memory, so either Gigaram is using different Infineon chips or the binning setup is quite different.

Gigaram 2GB Dual Channel PC-4200 Memory Specifications
Number of DIMMs & Banks 2 DS
DIMM Size
Total Memory
1GB
2GB
Rated Timings 3-4-3-8 at DDR533 at 2.9-3.0V
Rated Voltage 2.9-3.0V

Voltage is rated at 2.9V-3.0V - again, a much higher voltage rating than what we found with Infineon chips on the Corsair memory.

Test Results

Gigaram 2GB Dual Channel PC-4200 (DDR533) - 2x1GB Double-Bank
CPU Ratio at 2.4GHz Memory
Speed
Memory Timings
& Voltage
Quake3
fps
Sandra UNBuffered Sandra Standard
Buffered
Super PI 2M places
(time in sec)
Wolfenstein - Radar - Enemy Territory fps
12x200 400DDR 2-3-2-7
2.5V 1T
544.4 INT 2650
FLT 2808
INT 5953
FLT 5910
80 120.3
11x218 436DDR 2-3-2-7
2.7V 1T
550.9 INT 2806
FLT 2949
INT 6237
FLT 6177
80 121.4
10x240 480DDR 2.5-3-2-7
2.8V 1T
557.4 INT 2992
FLT 3025
INT 6445
FLT 6373
79 122.8
9x267 533DDR 3-3-3-7
2.9VV 1T
561.0 INT 3147
FLT 3383
INT 6665
FLT 6593
78 123.5
9x278
(2.45GHz)
Highest MEM Speed
556 DDR
3-4-3-7
3.0V 1T
569.1 INT 3296
FLT 3496
INT 6905
FLT 6855
76 124.9
To be considered stable for test purposes, Quake3 benchmark, UT2003 Demo, Super PI, Aquamark 3, and Comanche 4 had to complete without incident. Any of these, and in particular Super PI, will crash a less-than stable memory configuration.

The performance of the Gigaram 1GB modules was significantly better than what we expected from the published specifications. In every case, it met at least the memory timings of the much faster rated Corsair memory. Considering both are built with Infineon memory chips, this is not really a surprise.

However, the voltage that can be handled by the Gigaram 1GB memory is much higher than the Corsair DIMMs, and the Gigaram handles the higher voltages by providing better performance. That is not really a compliment, since the Corsair goes to about the same places everywhere (but the top) on the much lower 2.7V.

Since the voltage requirements and performance are quite different, we suspect that the Corsair and Gigaram use slightly different Infineon memory chips in their design. We have heard that manufacturers are using both C-5 and C-6 chips in their high-speed 1GB DIMMs, and we know Gigaram uses CE-6.

Considering that this is the first time that we have ever tested a Gigaram memory, we have to say that we are impressed. This memory clearly belongs in the same league with Corsair and OCZ, which is no small feat for a new memory company pushing into the High-Performance memory market. Time will tell if Gigaram delivers the same level of performance throughout their retail deliveries, but we certainly like what we tested.

Corsair CMX1024-3500LL PRO OCZ PC4000 1024MB EB Platinum Edition
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  • Slaimus - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    Does 4 single sided 512MB sticks behave the same as 2 double sided 1GB sticks? Reply
  • eastvillager - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    Why would you buy these when the 2-3-2-5 sticks are readily available? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    If you read the review you will see that ALL THREE of the 1GB dimms ran at 2-3-2 at DDR400 to DDR440 or so. They will all run 2-3-2-5, but we have shown in previous tests the the nForce 4 is fastest running a tRAS of 6 or 7. We ran 2-3-2-7 because it is faster than 2-3-2-5 on the nForce4. Try it for yourslef with memtest86 and differnet tRAS. Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    Possible minor typos aside, this article is a great change of pace from some of the recent technical write-ups here on Anandtech(cough:R520:cough). The quality of writing as well as the attempt to put the parts in perspective and give the big picture is much appreciated. With so many sites out there, I can go anywhere for simple RAM benchmarks, but for me it is much harder to find informed discussions about why the part being reviewed is a good idea/choice or not. I really felt this side of the story was lacking in the X1800 reviews and am glad to see it here. Reply
  • Houdani - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    Page 3:
    quote:

    our overclocking clock frequency went up to DDR500 - 30 points higher.

    I think you meant DDR550.

    Page 4:
    In your table of memory, you list the 3 new sticks as 2x512. I think you meant 2x1024.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    Corrected. Thanks for bringing these to us. It's funny that they looked just fine at 3AM :-) Reply
  • Doormat - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    Whether its worth it or not to invest heavily (these pieces arent cheap) in DDR1 tech if you've already got a pair of fast running 2x512MB sticks. You'll just have to buy DDR2 sticks in a year if you want the fastest stuff (an A64 M2-socket based chip). Reply
  • emilyek - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    Lame. Why not a big review on the many available 2 and 2.5 cas DDR 400 sticks? The Geil, Patriot, OCZ, Gskill, and Corsair already top out at about 1k FSB when loosed up, and the timings on these RAMS sucks anyway. Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    They've said it before, and I'll say it again: you just can't add every available DIMM variety to RAM tests. There's too much on the market, and many of the budget RAM types have wildly variable quality and performance. Reply
  • RockSolid - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    The RamGuy link on Page 5 is incorrect. Reply

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