Memory Performance on Core 2 Duo

In our previous article we compared the performance of DDR versus DDR2 on the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA motherboard and found there was very little difference between DDR-400 and DDR2-533. Overall system performance remained very close with either memory at their optimized settings on this particular board. Our initial results continued to prove out that running your memory at the highest possible speed at the lowest possible latencies does make a performance difference in applications such as gaming. However, in applications like media encoding or general desktop programs the differences are hardly significant. The single biggest impact you can usually make in improving game performance is upgrading your GPU, and for applications like media encoding and mathematical programming a CPU upgrade would be more beneficial than faster memory. Of course, a memory upgrade to 2GB is starting to show differences in the latest games and other applications where 1GB used to be the sweet spot. If you are purchasing memory at this time, we highly suggest standardizing on 2x1024MB of RAM.

Our article today will continue our investigation into how well DDR and DDR2 will perform with Intel's new Core 2 Duo. Instead of just comparing memory on the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA we will include results from the Intel 945P, Intel P965, Intel 975X, and Intel i865 chipsets. We will use the same benchmark test suite in our first article, and although it's not as extensive as our normal benchmark suite it does provide enough information to come to a clear performance conclusion. We are not comparing various memory suppliers against each other nor are we comparing 2x512MB versus 2x1024MB configurations, yet. We are simply investigating the memory performance of our E6300 Core 2 Duo processor on different chipsets to determine if the ASRock implementation of the VIA PT880 Pro is capable of competing with the best from Intel.

As a recap from our first article, we are seeing 2GB of RAM becoming the standard memory configuration for new purchases with DDR2 being considered primarily due to the recent AMD AM2 and Intel Core 2 Duo platform releases. However, there is still a large majority of computer users who have 1GB of RAM or less. More importantly, due to AMD's great success with the Athlon 64 processor series for the past three years there is an abundance of DDR memory and to a certain degree AGP cards still in use. So, when faced with a limited budget but a desire to have the latest and greatest technology, one usually has to cut corners or live with a previous generation component for a little longer before doing a complete platform upgrade. This might include using your DDR or previous generation DDR2 memory along with your video card solution a little longer than expected.

With this in mind, sometimes the best option is to mix and match components that are still useful with the latest technology. The move from a socket 754, early socket 939, or P4 LGA775 system to the new Core 2 Duo platform can be an expensive undertaking. In order to reduce the overall cost of a platform change several motherboard manufacturers offer combination boards that allow users to mix and match capabilities between memory and GPU interfaces. ASRock has built a reputation on offering these types of solutions. In the case of the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA, this board allows you to move to the new Core 2 Duo platform at a minimum cost. Besides offering very good performance for a great price this board also allows you to utilize your DDR memory or AGP graphics card.

Our next article later this week will look at the performance of our EVGA 7600GS PCI-E card against its sibling 7600GS AGP card on this board with comparative AGP performance on the Intel i865 chipset. We will finish our investigative series with a full comparison of this board against its AM2 counterpart, AM2V890-VSTA, armed with an AMD 3800+ X2 along with results from other ASRock value boards featuring the Intel i865 and 945P chipsets. Let's see if the performance of DDR2 improves on other chipsets with our standard configuration components.

Memory Specifications


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  • Calin - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    AGP had good bandwidth to graphic card, but much lower bandwidth from the graphic card. This isn't really a problem, as the only configurations that would need lots of bandwidth from graphic card to system would be the graphic cards with turbo cache (using system memory). As their performance is not so good, they don't generate a big need for bandwidth. Reply
  • GoatMonkey - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Maybe he's just a fan of Hot Shots.

  • Gary Key - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link


    Maybe he's just a fan of Hot Shots.

    We are talking a top ten movie of all time here.... LOL
  • Zeke - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    I coudn't agree more. I was just about to post a message saying the same thing. Pci-E always seemed to be somthing of a scam to me, and may have contributd to why I've held onto my 9800 pro so long.

    PS I applaud the use of "Deux" because it makes me laugh imagining all the people out there mispronouncing it today. ;)

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