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
3-3-3-8 (1:1) 8470 Mb/s 4558 Mb/s 1 minute 5.813 seconds
DDR 667
4-4-4-8 (4:5) 8601 Mb/s 5030 Mb/s 1 minute 5.047 seconds
DDR 800
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
3-2-3-8 (1:1) 8542 Mb/s 4648 Mb/s 1 minute 5.078 seconds
DDR 667
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
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


View All Comments

  • leexgx - Saturday, February 25, 2006 - link

    you Must understand the CPU that tomshardware got was an Test CPU, thay realy should of not done an benchmark as the CPU it self was not fully working and the DDR2 ram that was used was could only work at DDR2 666 and the timeings was stuck at 4-4-4-12 and may have been limted by the broken DDR2 contorler in it as well (you realy should look at it and not trust the resluts at all and thay have told you that its not to be trusted as well as its not an retail product as toms' stats)

    basicly at the time when P4 came to use DDR2 the timeing speed of DDR2 was silly DDR1 would out perform DDR2 this is why amd have not gone to DDR2 as ram speeds are now to the point where it will not be an bottle neck (and Ram price between DDR1 and 2 are not that must £10-£40 $40-$80 depending on size)

    testing the Ram performance in am P4/P5 system is not usefull any way as it can not use it (get some intresting resluts when AM2 fully comes ot)

    (the date is 06/06/06 when it comes out)
    my self i am going to stick my AMD X2 3800+ 939 and mobo and 2Gb of ram in me server (board is dieing caps are leaking on this P4 mobo) and get AM2 when 65mm fabs come out for AM2 and fast ram by then (and some good mobos)
    all that will probly be end of year i can wait my 3800+ X2 is running at 2.4ghz (basicly 4600+X2 as the ram is running at DDr480 as well)and its happy and cool keeps me happy
  • Jedi2155 - Sunday, February 26, 2006 - link

    DDR1 outperforming DDR2 wasn't the main reason AMD didn't go to DDR2 right away. The main reason (if you read AMD's lawsuit against Intel's marketing practices) was because Intel created separate consortium to design DDR2 with the memory manufacturer's with the full intent of keeping AMD out of the loop. Thus AMD was a year or 2 behind Intel in developing the memory controller for DDR2 (as they couldn't see the specs till it was finished) nor did they have any input in the design of the specification.

    And thus DDR2 sucks more than it should had AMD been involved :)
  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - link

    The AM2 platform launches on June 6, 2006 (6/6/6). Those aren't memory timings. Reply
  • Spacecomber - Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - link

    I'll admit that I mostly skimmed through this article, but since much of the data seemed to be in the form of screenshots that are too small to be easily legible without cliking on them to get the enlarged version, I found it hard to get a quick glimpse of what this article might have to offer.

    I would much prefer results to be presented in traditional graphs and tables, instead.
  • Olaf van der Spek - Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - link

    What is the information about the AMD CPU doing in this test?
    Too much copy/paste?
  • JustAnAverageGuy - Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - link

    Yeah, that does seem out of place.

    Authors also need to go back and recheck their MB\GB , MHz\GHz labels. I sure don't want any 4.5MB\sec RAM.
  • 96redformula - Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - link

    My faith in crucial is gone. Reply

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