Value DDR2

Not everyone is prepared to pay $450 for the very best DDR2. Without comparing performance of lower-priced DDR2 it is also not possible to recommend whether high-performance DDR2 represents a good value for you. Looking at what was available in the market, we compiled a list of modules that appeared to be a representative cross-section of the 2GB kit value segment. With prices ranging from around $120 to $180 for a 2GB kit, these DDR2 modules are less than half the price of our high-performance selections.

Value DDR2 Specifications
Manufacturer Description
(Memory Chips)
Rated
Speed
Rated
Timings
Rated
Voltage
Cost
(2x1GB)
AData
Vitesta
ELJKD1A16K
(Elpida)
DDR2-533 4-4-4-12 1.8V $147
Corsair
Value Select
VS2GBKIT667D2
(Elpida)
DDR2-667 4-4-4-12 1.8V $148
Kingston
Value Ram
KVR667D2N5K2
(Elipida)
DDR2-667 5-5-5-15 1.8V $159
Mushkin
eXtreme
991512
(Infineon)
DDR2-667 3-3-3-10 2.1V $170
Patriot
Extreme Series
PDC22G5300LLK
(Elpida)
DDR2-667 4-4-4-12 1.8V $157
PQI
Turbo
PQI25400-2GDB
(Elipida)
DDR2-667 4-4-4-12 2.0V $117
Wintec
AMPX
3AXD2675-1G2S-R
(Elpida)
DDR2-675 4-4-4-10 1.8V $144

The real question, of course, is where you can take these low-cost DDR DIMMs. We ran all the DIMMs at the highest DDR2 speeds and the fastest memory timings we could achieve on a standard Core 2 Duo test platform. The results were truly surprising.


A-Data Vitesta DDR2-5300


A-Data is one of the largest memory application suppliers in the world and their Vitesta DDR2-533 kit performed extremely well in our testing from both a timing and voltage aspect. The quality of the heat spreaders and memory PCB is excellent..

AData Vitesta - DDR2-533 - 2x1GB
Model # ELJKD1A16K
CPU Ratio Memory
Speed
Best Memory Timings
(Voltage)
(4:3) 400 DDR2 3-2-2-5
1.8V
(1:1) 533 DDR2 3-2-2-8
1.9V
(4:5) 667 DDR2 3-3-2-8
2.1V
(2:3) 800 DDR2 4-3-3-8
2.1V


Corsair Value Select DDR2-667


Corsair was able to provide us their ValueSelect 2GB kit. Although Corsair is mainly known for their XMS series of high performance memories they also provide a very good price to performance offering in their ValueSelect series. While the modules do not include any heat spreaders, we did not notice any thermal issues during our testing that required the use of higher voltages to reach our reported numbers.

Corsair Value Select - DDR2-533 - 2x1GB
Model # VS2GBKIT667D2
CPU Ratio Memory
Speed
Best Memory Timings
(Voltage)
(4:3) 400 DDR2 3-2-2-5
1.9V
(1:1) 533 DDR2 3-2-2-7
2.1V
(4:5) 667 DDR2 3-3-3-8
2.1V
(2:3) 800 DDR2 4-3-3-8
2.2V


Kingston Value Ram DDR2-667


Kingston also provided their Value memory series that performed well during testing with timings that basically matched that of the higher rated DDR2-667 modules, although voltages had to be increased above the group average. We did not notice any thermal issues with the memory due to the lack of heat spreaders or the increased voltages. Also note that this is the only 2GB Value kit that used Infineon chips instead of Elpida chips, which likely accounts for some of the slight differences.

Kingston - DDR2-533 - 2x1GB
Model # 3AXD2675-1G2S-R
CPU Ratio Memory
Speed
Best Memory Timings
(Voltage)
(4:3) 400 DDR2 3-2-2-5
1.8V
(1:1) 533 DDR2 3-2-2-7
2.2V
(4:5) 667 DDR2 3-3-3-8
2.2V
(2:3) 800 DDR2 4-3-3-9
2.1V

High-Performance DDR2 (cont'd) Value DDR2 (cont'd)
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  • Vidmar - Wednesday, July 19, 2006 - link

    One thing that really bugs me about some of the MB manufactures is that some never state the exact number of PCIe lanes that are actually available on that second PCIe 16x slot. Some do some don’t. Some state it while in SLI/Crossfire mode but not when in non- SLI/Crossfire mode.

    Right now I’ve got an nForce 4 SLI board that has two PCIe 16x slots, but when in non-SLI mode they are at 16x and 2x respectively. When in SLI mode they are both at 8x respectively.

    The problem with this is that (at least on this board) you cannot install anything but a video card in the second PCIe 16x slot when in SLI mode.

    I’ve got an PCIe 8x SCSI raid card (LSI 320-2e) that I’m trying to use in the second PCIe slot at 8x, but this board won’t even acknowledge that its there while in SLI mode. And when running in non-SLI it only runs at 2x and becomes a bottleneck for this workstation.

    So if its possible to provide some details as to what exactly a board can do on the second PCIe 16x slot in both normal and SLI/Crossfire mode, that would be most helpful!

    For example on the ASUS P5W-DH Deluxe in your review it doesn’t state this information either way. But on the Intel 975XBX you do have that information.

    So what does the second PCIe slot run at in non-Crossfire mode on the ASUS P5W-DH Deluxe?

    Also do you happen to have a SCSI PCIe card you can test in the second slot (or any PCIe card for that matter) and see if the BIOS can recognize the card while in SLI/Crossfire mode? That too would be helpful for people who don’t care about multiple GPUs, but want to create large array workstations.

    Thanks!
    PS: nice article.
    Reply
  • supremelaw - Thursday, July 20, 2006 - link

    Excellent points! Constant change is here to stay :)

    On our ASUS P5WD2 Premium with i955X chipset,
    we are now faced with that very same problem:

    we don't need 2 video cards, because we do
    mostly database development. And, we want
    to dedicate the second "universal" x16 slot
    to a high-performance PCI-E RAID controller.

    (Santa Claus is going to bring me an x1900
    PCI-E video card anyway, and that should
    easily last me for another 20 years, min!)

    Our consultant highly recommends the Areca model,
    but it only performs best in x8 mode. On the
    other hand, our ASUS User Manual states that
    the second "universal" x16 slot can only run
    in x4 mode, maximum.

    That limitation was a single line of text
    in that User Manual, but it is not mentioned
    in any of the other specs for our motherboard.

    His recommendation: switch to a server motherboard,
    so we can use the Areca RAID 6 controller (not a bad
    idea, actually).

    So, I think we'll have to settle for the Promise
    PCI-E model EX8350, which is also limited to x4 mode,
    but it now supports RAID 6 too.

    It only took about 4 hours of research to confirm
    this limitation, however :)

    Such specs should be better documented, for sure!


    Sincerely yours,
    /s/ Paul Andrew Mitchell
    Webmaster, Supreme Law Library
    http://www.supremelaw.org/">http://www.supremelaw.org/
    Reply
  • Missing Ghost - Wednesday, July 19, 2006 - link

    I find it weird that the pcie card does not work in 8x mode. I see no reason why it wouldn't work...the sli pcb that you flip around only redirects the lanes AFAIK. Reply
  • vhx - Wednesday, July 19, 2006 - link

    Too bad the motherboards cost more than a decent Conroe processor. Kind of sad to see the features lacking until you get into the $250 price ranges. You can spot an AMD AM2 motherboard with the same features for around $130ish, which makes this 975X chipset rediculously expensive compared to the newer AM2's. The TForce P965 looks like a great alternative for the price, although based on the 965P. Hmm upgrading to Conroe will be more expensive than I thought.... /sigh. What to do. Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, July 19, 2006 - link

    quote:

    What to do.


    Wait, that is right, wait until the motherboard suppliers are in full production in August. There will be a large variety of motherboards available by the end of August that will make up the $50~$150 range with chipsets from the 945P to nF570SLI being sold. We will also start seeing the G965 boards in late August for those that want a mATX form factor, decent graphics,and the ability to upgrade later. If you need a board now, it will cost you. ;-)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, July 19, 2006 - link

    quote:

    If you need a board now, it will cost you.

    Not to mention getting the Core 2 CPUs. :) I would expect prices to drop significantly within a month or so.
    Reply
  • jonp - Saturday, July 22, 2006 - link

    Jarred,
    Please say more about your comment on pricing.
    http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=3377">http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=3377
    says:
    quote:

    Recently released Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme products will not be receiving any price cuts in the near future.

    Thanks, Jon
    Reply
  • multiblitz2 - Wednesday, July 19, 2006 - link

    I was waiting for the 965 as HDMI/HDCP-support is a must have for my new HTPC. Does 975 support this in the same way as the 965 ? Reply
  • araczynski - Wednesday, July 19, 2006 - link

    great article!

    looking forward to additional mobo's appearing (and more importantly - prices dropping) beforei build my next rig.

    i personally refuse to pay over $150 for ANY mobo, no matter the features. but i do realize that the initial price gouging is to milk the early adopters. i figure by early october prices should be just right for all the nice toys.
    Reply
  • araczynski - Wednesday, July 19, 2006 - link

    i know this is a dead horse, by why in the world can't these manufacturers make models that throw out some of these legacy 'extras' they keep putting on the boards?

    onboard sound, parallel ports, floppy connectors, etc...
    Reply

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