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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  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    The published "ram guy" link is the one printed on the Corsair retail package. We also tried the link and it connects to the Corsair Help Forums.

    If you have another link please list it in the Comments.
    Reply
  • Madellga - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    I am using this OCZ kit (EL, not the one in the review) since August on a San Diego / DFI combo. It goes to 230@2.5-3-2 with 2.7V and 1T.

    I tried also 4 sticks (a friend bought it also) and we made to 220@2.5-3-2 with 2.7V and 2T.

    I didn't try above 230, as the OCZ Guy pointed the 230 to be the limit. I am using 180/200 or 166/200 to overclock the San Diego, leaving the memory between 220-230.

    It is rock solid, it can Prime all night without mistakes.

    I prefer to have more memory even if a bit slower - it is much worse to have Windows writting to the swap file.
    Reply
  • ElFenix - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    just to see how much the difference is when going from 1 gig to 2 gigs Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    We tested many applications with 1GB vs. 2GB of ram. BF2 greatly benefited, but nothing else we've tested so far really improved much with 2GB. That will likely change with the release of newer, more demanding apps and games that take advantage of the new dual-core processors.

    One High-Performance memory company told us that after they saw what 2GB did for BF2 they ran 1 vs 2 on every game they could get their hands on. The goal was to publish benchmarks to show the advantage of buyers using 2GB instead of 1GB - and sell more memory. They privately told us they also found no real performance improvement in anything other than BF2.

    We do expect 2GB/4GB will make a difference in multithreaded and true 64-bit apps in the future. Of course multi-tasking also normally benefits from more memory.
    Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - link

    The only other game I've seen people recommending 2GB for is the FEAR demo but of course it's not final yet.

    Good read though, I thought the discussion on the A64 and the various ram issues was particiularly useful.

    John
    Reply
  • Margalus - Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - link

    2Gb make a good difference in WoW also. Reply
  • Vesperan - Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - link

    Wesley,
    the memory combinations on the 'Why 1GB Dimms?' page could be shown as a 2x2 matrix (with 2/4 dimms on one axis and 1T/2T on other). Performance at each combination could be shown - except of course for 4 dimms at 1T. Currently the article contrasts the 2 dimms and 1T combination with 4 dimms and 2T, could it be possible for you to add 2 dimms at 2T?

    I would just like see the effect of 1T to 2T, or 2 dimms to 4 dimms ceterus paribus - that is, all else being equal. While I dont think the missing combination (2 dimms at 2T) will undermine your arguments made, I would like to see how it fits into the overall picture.
    Reply
  • Phantronius - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    I did, BF2 runs so much better as a result Reply
  • Phantronius - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    1st!!! Honestly, since i've given up overclocking, I threw in 2 1gig Platnium Corsair XMS modules in my new Athlon 64 setup and it works fine and stable, couldn't give a shit if my "timings" are as *looot* as they could be. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - link

    Well good for you Reply

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