Intel 975X Memory Test Configuration

Processor: Intel 955 Extreme Edition at 13X Ratio
(3.46 GHZ dual core 65nm CPU)
RAM: Crucial Ballistix DDR2 PC2-5300 (2 x 1024 MB)
Crucial Ballistix DDR2 PC2-6400 (2 x 1024 MB)
Hard Drives: Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 160 GB ATA/133 - 8 MB Cache
Seagate 7200.9 ST3500641AS SATA NCQ - 16 MB Cache
Video Card: EVGA 7800 GTX KO 256MB
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare Release 80/Version: 81.98
Power Supply: PC Power and Cooling Turbo-Cool 850-SSI
Operating System(s): Windows XP Professional SP2
Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
Motherboard: ASUS P5WD2-Premium
BIOS: AMI version 0302 January 17, 2006

Test Settings

All hard drives were completely formatted with a fresh OS installation. Four partitions were made, with one for the operating system, a small partition containing the paging file, an applications partition, and finally a storage partition. Using standard benchmark practice, all drives were defragmented after installation of programs and before any tests were run. Diskeeper 10 Professional Premier was the defragmentation program of choice.

Memory Module Information:

Crucial DDR2 PC2-6400
  • Part Number: BL2KIT12864AA804
  • Module Size: 2GB kit (1GBx2)
  • Package: Ballistix 240-pin DIMM
  • Feature: DDR2 PC2-6400
  • Configuration: 128Meg x 64
  • Error Checking: NON-ECC
  • Speed: DDR2-800
  • Voltage: 2.2V
  • Memory Timings: 4-4-4-12
  • Specs: DDR2 PC2-6400 (2.2V)

Crucial DDR2 PC2-5300

  • Part Number: BL2KIT12864AA663
  • Module Size: 2GB kit (1GBx2)
  • Package: Ballistix 240-pin DIMM
  • Feature: DDR2 PC2-5300
  • Configuration: 128Meg x 64
  • Error Checking: NON-ECC
  • Speed: DDR2-667
  • Voltage: 2.2V
  • Memory Timings: 3-3-3-12
  • Specs: DDR2 PC2-5300 (2.2V)

All AMD Athlon 64 processors have the ability to unlock the multipliers downward, while the FX processors are unlocked in both directions, up and down. In this way, memory testing can be performed by testing at close to the specified clock speed of the individual processor. The CPU speed and (thus) memory speed can be increased at the lower multipliers to reach the targeted processor speed for testing, allowing for a precise method of determining the impact of higher memory speed and timings on actual memory performance. This method allows a tester to focus on the memory performance, as the CPU speeds can be fixed to the same speed, with variable memory speeds.

DDR2 testing on an Intel based platform proves to be a different beast entirely. Most enthusiasts know well the effects of brute force front side bus clocks, as the memory frequency produces a bigger effect on performance than does latency. It presents a bit of a conundrum as you can use different multipliers and memory ratios, either at a 1:1 ratio or up-clocked via the chipset memory strap. Ideally, a phase changed or water cooled solution might be best for testing, as one could use a 12X multiplier on the 955 EE, ramp the front side bus speeds up to 400 MHz, effectively running at DDR 800 in this manner. By maintaining this same strap during a review of DDR2 products on an Intel based platform, you would be able to see results more comparable to DDR memory testing on an Athlon 64 platform.

A remaining issue with Intel's 955 Extreme Edition processor is that the P4 Netburst architecture is still bottlenecked by its front side bus. Until Intel comes around to an integrated memory controller-type solution favored currently by AMD, it will be hard for them to be competitive on the memory latency front, as current generations of AMD processors have shown in a gaming or multi-tasked environment.

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  • gudodayn - Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - link

    Not to take anything away from Crucial or OCZ but DDR2~800 @ 4-4-4-12 has been on the market since last year!!!
    Like the article said "Other competing manufacturers such as Corsair and OCZ Technology will be able to source the same IC's......". This isnt just Corsair and OCZ, there are others. Mind you these US memory companies get their work done a lot by Taiwan manufacturers. How about Geil and PQI?? PQI have TurboMemory DDR2~900 @ 4-4-4-12 and a DDR2-1000 @ 5-5-5-15 and both are 1Gb sticks.
    What makes these Crucial sticks special?? Nothing apparently according to the benchmarks. It is nothing more than a publicity advertisement for them......New DDR2 Standard?? I think not!!!!
    Unless you have a rare batch of TCCD equivalent in DDR2 form, the playing field seems pretty even between memory manufacturers to me at the moment.
  • Xenoterranos - Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - link

    Ah winbond megachips, where have you gone to??
  • ozzimark - Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - link

    slightly confused because i don't think i ever see the pc2-6400 running at 400mhz? just give me a chart with the max speed with varying timings and i'll be happy. if not, i'll get some myself and do it :p
  • Avalon - Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - link

    No, I'm with you Zebo. I can't wait for DDR2 on AMD's AM2. I'll be getting one of those 35w X2 3800+ CPUs and some phase change ;)
  • BrownTown - Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - link

    why the heck would anyone get phase change on a 35W CPU, thats complete freaking overkill. I hope its not because you intend to overclock it becasue then you will be sorely disapointed. How do you think AMD got it down to 35W? they replaced the current highspeed transistors with ones that sacrifice speed for power consumption. OF course with the FX-62 they have to go the other way and therefore get 125W, but great speed. Seeing as that only a 50% clock increase for more then 3x the power consumption. The new low power transistors will be low-voltage, low-power, and low-speed. Sorry, no free lunch, everything comes at a cost, and here its power for speed.
  • Leonidas1 - Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - link

    Haha, lower speed transistors, you think they would honestly engineer two versons? I highly doubt it, I don't know a lot about CPU's but my guess is that these low power chips are got the same way the turions are they are tested and binned for speed and voltage. The ones that work at lower voltages at high speeds become these special low wattage CPUs and the others become regulars. I dont know about overclocking but I would guess they would overclock better too. Just a guess because no one knows yet though.
  • BrownTown - Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - link

    its always interesting when people mock you and then follow it by saying "I don't know a lot about CPU's". But, you are right, they will do the same that they did with Turion. And what they did with Turion was to use differnet transistors than they did in the A64... Before making statements its best to confirm with Google, takes 10 seconds and make you not look like an idiot...
  • ozzimark - Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - link

    there are "fast" and "slow" transistors actually.. ;)
  • Zebo - Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - link

    Am I the only pne who can't wait for DDR2 to be supported by AMD on 6/6/6? Rumour has it unofficial DDR2-800 support - combined with A64 superior memcontroller 3-2-2 800 possible? I hope it's tested Wes.
  • Googer - Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - link

    Zebo, I think I am staying away form any RAM that has Satanic Memory Timings.

    As for the Socket AM2 Tomshardware has already benchmarked it.">

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