4 DS DIMMs at 1T: Memory Stress Testing

The DFI easily handles 2-2-2-7-1T timings at stock speed with 2 double-sided dimms, as do almost any of the current boards for AMD Socket 939 from NVIDIA, SiS, VIA, and ULi. However, what is truly unique is that the DFI LANParty UT RDX200 is the first board designed to run four double-sided 512MB or 1GB DIMMs at the fastest timings and a 1T Command Rate. In fact, AMD specifications tell us that this is impossible. To his credit, Oskar Wu and DFI found a way to accomplish the impossible.

Stable DDR400 Timings - 4 DIMMs
(4/4 DIMMs populated)
Clock Speed: 200MHz
CAS Latency: 2.0
RAS to CAS Delay: 2T
RAS Precharge: 7T*
Precharge Delay: 2T
Command Rate: 1T
*7T was determined by MemTest86 benchmarks to deliver the widest bandwidth with the ATI Rx480/482 chipset. While the board would operate at tRAS of 5T or lower, all benchmarks were run at 7T.

With the ability to run 4 DS DIMMs at 1T, we had the opportunity to finally show the impact of a drop to a 2T Command Rate on performance.

First, for those skeptical that this is possible, we captured screens from the freeware A64 Tweaker and CPU-Z showing operation of 4 DIMMs at 1T.


Click to enlarge.

All the benchmarks below were run with an FX-57 processor and are not directly comparable to our standard benchmarks which use an AMD 4000+ CPU.

To clearly demonstrate the impact of the normal 2T drop in Command Rate on performance, we ran Aquamark3 benchmarks with 2 DIMMs at 1T, 4 DIMMs at 2T, and the new option of 4 DIMMs at 1T.

2 DIMMs at 1T is normally the fastest available option.

You can see that doubling the memory, but being forced to drop to 2T Command Rate, lowers the A3 scores by over 1,000 points.

The surprise, however, is the new DFI option of 4DS DIMMs at 1T. Not only is there no performance loss - the scores are 2,000 points higher than 4DSx2T - but 4DS DIMMs at 1T outperforms 2x1T by almost 1,000 points. This makes 4DS DIMMs at 1T in the DFI to be the new performance leader at stock speeds.

For those who are thinking that surely there's a catch, the answer is "yes, there is". 1T operation is only possible to a frequency of about DDR406, which basically limits it to stock speeds. Above that speed, you must run 4 DS DIMMs at 2T as you normally must. However, at or near stock speeds, the 1T option is a brilliant development that delivers better performance.

Overclocking: DFI LANParty UT RDX200 Test Setup
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  • nsk - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    Having 8 SATA ports is very useful. kudos to DFI for putting that extra SiI chip. Reply
  • Diasper - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    What's good about this board IMO is the Azalia Audio and CPU utilisation - *very* impressive for on-board audio. Performance and options are of course very good as well although nothing worth paying significantly more for.

    However, just to point out one additional benefit of the board that you guys might not have realised yet is that it could very much make a quiet computer guy very happy as the active chipset cooler can very easily be replaced with a passive heatsink eg Zalman one. Trying that with many NF4 is impossible unless resorting to modding - with some coming up with some quite radical solutions. After all there's no point buying a nice and expensive case like the Antec P180 and then a quiet PSU ontop only to have a screaming NB fan in your NF4 - unless resorting to modding.

    However, as others have mentioned deal-breakers include poor USB performance and no SATA 2 and possibly cost althought we'll have to wait on that one.
    Reply
  • Azkarr - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    Well, it's on newegg now. $239? I think thats just about $50 too much for not having SATA II. Plus, none of the Crossfire cards except the XL are out, so I don't think there's a point to buying this board.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...">Newegg
    Reply
  • Slaimus - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    Which sound driver was used to get such a low CPU usage score? Realtek or ATI? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    We used the Realtek sound driver on the DFI CD with the board for testing. We did use the current 5.10 Catalyst drivers, however, instead of the Crossfire 5.8 drivers on the CD. Reply
  • nourdmrolNMT1 - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/motherboards/d...">http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/motherboards/d...

    WTF is up with the one SATA connector? sata7 specifically it looks completely off.
    Reply
  • emilyek - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    A clawhammer for overclocking?

    Also,

    A real test of the 1T/2T stuff would be gaming benchmarks for 2 x 1G @ 1T and 4 x 512 @ 2T. That's the test I want to see.
    Reply
  • ozzimark - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    this stands out at me.
    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/dfi%20rdx200_10...">http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/dfi%20rdx200_10...

    that data is... somewhat useless for the top 5-9 boards, as it's obviously a cpu limitation. try oc'ing the htt/fsb with the fx-57 and watch the board break 400mhz
    Reply
  • Pete84 - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    Horrible!! The only things going for this board is that I. It has Crossfire and II. It has some nice memory capabilities and III. It has Azaliz.
    Pathetic USB performance, no SATA II!!! When even budget minded boards have SATA II and this one does not, now that is a serious lapse. Having a seperate raid controller with some SATA II ports would help this, especially so if it was on the PCI-E bus, but wow . . . and price at $230!!!
    Reply
  • haelduksf - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    I don't understand why SATA-II is such a big deal to so many people. NCQ has a negligable impact unless you're running a server (on a XFire motherboard...), and the 300MB/s transfer speed has no effect at any time with currently available harddrives. Reply

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