Comparison of Memory Timings and Ratios to Performance

One of the goals of this review was to compare performance of the new Ballistix PC2-6400 and PC2-5300 modules to the legendary Micron Fat Body D9 memory. Performance tests were run on both new Ballistix memories and compared to tests run on the earlier OCZ DDR2 PC2-4200 Platinum EB 1GB (2x512MB) kit. The OCZ modules were known to include an early version of the Micron Fat Body D9 chips. Test results below are grouped by the memory under test, with best bandwidth and lowest Super Pi 2M times shown.

Crucial Ballistix DDR2 PC2-6400 Timings SiSoft Sandra Professional 2005 Buffered Results SiSoft Sandra Professional 2005 Unbuffered Results Super PI 2M Time
DDR 533
(350x13@1402MHz)
3-3-3-8 (1:1) 8470 Mb/s 4558 Mb/s 1 minute 5.813 seconds
DDR 667
(350x13@1402MHz)
4-4-4-8 (4:5) 8601 Mb/s 5030 Mb/s 1 minute 5.047 seconds
DDR 800
(323x13@1290MHz)
5-5-5-15(2:3) 8103 Mb/s 4806 Mb/s 1 minute 10.453 seconds

Crucial Ballistix DDR2 PC2-5300 Timings SiSoft Sandra Professional 2005 Buffered Results SiSoft Sandra Professional 2005 Unbuffered Results Super PI 2M Time
DDR 533
(350x13@1402MHz)
3-2-3-8 (1:1) 8542 Mb/s 4648 Mb/s 1 minute 5.078 seconds
DDR 667
(340x13@1362MHz)
4-3-2-8 (4:5) 8467 Mb/s 5127 Mb/s 1 minute 6.547 seconds
DDR 800
(313x13@1254 MHz)
5-5-5-15 (2:3) 8179 Mb/s 4807 Mb/s 1 minute 12.391 seconds

OCZ DDR2 PC2-4200 Platinum EB Timings SiSoft Sandra Professional 2005 Buffered Results SiSoft Sandra Professional 2005 Unbuffered Results Super PI 2M Time
DDR 533
(345x13@1380MHz)
3-2-2-8 (1:1) 8496 Mb/s 4401 Mb/s 1 minute 6.375 seconds
DDR 667
(350x13@1402 MHz)
4-2-3-8 (4:5) 8592 Mb/s 4893 Mb/s 1 minute 5.000 seconds
DDR 800
(315x13@1262 MHz)
4-2-3-8 (3:5) 7867 Mb/s 4613 Mb/s 1 minute 12.454 seconds

The tightest timings were maintained on the PC2-5300 kit, which held 3-2-2-8 timings up to an FSB of 345 (13X multiplier producing 1382.5 MHz set at DDR533 memory strap). This produced buffered bandwidth of 8455 Mb/s on Sisoft Sandra Professional 2005, and 4616 Mb/s unbuffered bandwidth. At 350 FSB, this particular memory held timings of 3-2-3-8, producing 8542 Mb/s buffered bandwidth and 4648 Mb/s unbuffered bandwidth. At DDR667, timings set at 3-2-2-8 held only to 275FSB (X13). However, a slight relaxation to 290x13 at 3-2-3-8 timings worked well to 7241 Mb/s buffered and 4452 Mb/s unbuffered results. More relaxed timings had to be used when the DDR800 memory strap was invoked.

The PC2-6400 modules, tested at the DDR533 memory strap at 1:1, were good up to 327 FSB (X13) or 1310 MHz at 3-2-3-8 timings, which produced 7980 Mb/s buffered and 4334 Mb/s unbuffered bandwidth scores via SiSoft Sandra. Super Pi 2M clocked 1 minute, 10.313 seconds at these settings. We were able to tweak timings further, at 3-3-3-8 at a front side bus speed of 350 (X13), at 1402 MHz to reach buffered numbers of 8470 Mb/s, and unbuffered bandwidth of 4558 Mb/s. Everest Ultimate Edition V2.50.480 showed a memory read speed of 9678 Mb/s while extended to 350x13, with memory write speeds at 3212 Mb/s according to the Everest synthetic benchmarks. While testing at the DDR667 memory strap, we were able to maintain timings of 3-3-3-8 up to only a front side bus speed of 280x13. Beyond that, timings had to be relaxed to 4-4-4-8 to be stable. The best numbers that we saw at the DDR667 strap were at 350x13 yielding 1402 MHz, at 4-4-4-8 timings. This gave us 8601 Mb/s buffered, and 5030 Mb/s unbuffered bandwidth numbers, and Super Pi 2M ran at 1 minute, 5.047 seconds. Running at DDR800 proved somewhat ineffective, since the timings had to be very relaxed for stability. Scaling to 310x13 (effectively 1242 MHz) at 4-4-4-8 timings worked fine, but beyond that point, we used 5-5-5-15 and weren't able to produce much of an improvement.

Test results show that the new Crucial Ballistix, using Micron's latest DDR2 chips, is competitive with any DDR2 memory that we have tested in the recent past. The performance appears to be better than early versions of Micron's Fat Body D chips - at least on the latest Intel 975X platform. It will be interesting to see how the new Crucial Ballistix memory modules will perform on the upcoming AM2.

It is very interesting that our very early OCZ memory, rated at DDR2-533 and based on Micron Fat Body D chips, actually performed well, since it contained an early version of the first Fat Body D chips. This leads one to believe in the promise of the new die version of Micron's Fat Body D IC's, based on the performance that we saw in our testing.

Windows XP Professional x64 Performance Comparison Graphs
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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.
    Reply
  • Xenoterranos - Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - link

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

    there are "fast" and "slow" transistors actually.. ;) Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/02/21/a_look_at_a...">http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/02/21/a_look_at_a...
    Reply

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