Intel White Papers Confirm Results

We have seen that SiSoft Sandra UNBuffered Memory benchmarks show four DIMMs to perform better than two in all configurations at DDR400 or higher base speeds on the 875/865 chipsets. However, MemTest86 Bandwidth and Sandra Standard Memory benchmark do not show improvement in going from two to four double-sided DIMMs. So why do we believe Sandra UNBuffered Memory benchmarks?

The answer, surprisingly, is in Intel 875P Chipset Memory Configuration Guide White Paper and the Intel 865P Chipset Memory Configuration Guide White Paper. The tables below are taken from Page 13 of the 875P White Paper, but the tables are identical in both the 865 and 875 documents, except that the first and second positions are reversed in the DDR400 chart for the 865. The Intel performance rankings exactly match the rankings we have measured using SiSoft Sandra UNBuffered Memory Test. It is interesting that UNBuffered Sandra was able to distinguish the performance differences between #1 and #2 –- four double-sided vs. two double-sided. This performance distinction was not apparent in either MemTest86 Bandwidth or SiSoft Sandra Standard Memory Test.

DDR400 Performance Configurations on Intel 875/865
from Intel White Papers
DDR Speed Number of DIMMS Sides per DIMM Mode SC or DC Performance
400 MHz 4 2 Dynamic Dual Channel 1
(2 for 865)
400 MHz 2 2 Dynamic Dual Channel 2
(1 for 865)
400 MHz 4 1 Dynamic Dual Channel 2
400 MHz 2 1 Dynamic Dual Channel 3
400 MHz 4 any Normal Dual Channel 4
400 MHz any 2 Dynamic Single Channel 5
400 MHz any 1 Dynamic Single Channel 6
400 MHz any any Normal Single Channel 7

DDR266/333 Performance Configurations on Intel 875/865
from Intel White Papers
DDR Speed Number of DIMMS Sides per DIMM Mode SC or DC Performance
233/333 MHz 2 2 Dynamic Dual Channel 1
233/333 MHz 4 1 Dynamic Dual Channel 1
233/333 MHz 2 1 Dynamic Dual Channel 2
233/333 MHz 4 2 Dynamic Dual Channel 3
233/333 MHz any any Normal Dual Channel 4
233/333 MHz 2
(1 in each channel)
any Dynamic Single Channel 5
233/333 MHz 1 2 Dynamic Single Channel 5
233/333 MHz any 1 Dynamic Single Channel 6
233/333 MHz any any Normal Single Channel 7

While we didn’t test Asynchronous 5:4 or 3:2 performance, or Memory Performance when using a 533FSB CPU, the DDR266/333 table should be useful for those situations. When running DDR333/266 as a base speed, two double-sided DIMMS or four single-sided DIMMS perform the fastest. Two single-sided DIMMs are second in speed performance, and four double-sided DIMMs – the fastest performer at DDR400 and higher – drops to third place.

Performance Tests Mixed Configurations


View All Comments

  • Anonymous User - Sunday, August 31, 2003 - link

    This single/double side/bank issue is very misunderstood. To further confuse things the memory manufacturers, who finally getting better about reporting full timing numbers, generally don't publish the side/bank count. I'd like to see an article that helps identify whose memory is really double banked, especially at the 256MB level, since its going to take 4 modules for best performance in an 875 system. Since many of these products are best available thru the internet, I don't have the luxury of looking at the modules before I buy.

    FYI, I'm also more interested in using well matched double banked components with low timings than in overclocking to the max.

    Mushkin has very low timing memory in a 512MB configuration that is double-banked, but it seems like overkill to put 2GB of memory for $800+ into the system at this point. (I also don't know how well the system would perform with this quantity of memory as I hear that more memory can slow timings down.) Their 256MB modules are single-banked unfortunately.
  • Anonymous User - Monday, August 18, 2003 - link

    I would personally buy the Mushkin PC3200 Level II Dual Pack located at this URL:

    It says that is is CAS 2-2-2 at 400MHz

    Unfortunately, Anandtech has not added Mushkin to their test products for any of these articles (not that I have seen at least) so I cannot verify the performance. I hope this due to Mushkin not supplying them samples before they complete testing and go to press. Otherwise, it is just a gross oversite by Anandtech not to include Mushkin. Whatever the case, Mushkin is a big name company with many supporters who will vouch for their quality. I am going to upgrade my memory shortly to these exact DIMMs so I feel comfortable suggesting them. 2-2-2 latency just sounds too good to pass up.

  • DaveH - Tuesday, August 12, 2003 - link

    What about running slower RAM in the newer chipsets? Like PC2100 in 800 FSB? Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, August 11, 2003 - link

    My personal SiSoft Sandra Memory Bandwidth UNBuffered test results on a Gigabyte 8KNXP (F5 BIOS) with a P4 3Ghz/800Mhz, ATI9800 Pro 256mb, SB Audigy:

    Mushkin PC3500 Level II Black
    4x512mb, 200mhz, 2-2-2-6, 2955/3017
    4x512mb, 217mhz, 2-2-2-6, 2850/2916
    2x512mb, 200mhz, 2-2-2-6, 2844/2862
    2x512mb, 217mhz, 2-3-2-6, 2423/2493

    Corsair TWINX1024-3700
    4x512mb, 200mhz, 3-4-4-8, 2724/2782
    4x512mb, 217mhz, 3-4-4-8, 2614/2723
    2x512mb, 200mhz, 3-4-3-8, 2610/2626
    2x512mb, 217mhz, 3-4-3-8, 2491/2542
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, August 07, 2003 - link

    Need help determining SS vs DS (Single side/bank vs. Double Side/Bank) - how can you tell, as the memory mfgrs don't usually say? Reply
  • Rayalkj - Thursday, August 07, 2003 - link

    How similiar does the RAM have to be? I bought a Dell with 2x128 meg ram and want to up it to 512 megs. Do I need the exact same Brand? Just the same sizes? (ie. 2 more 128 meg sticks) Is there something I should look for especially?

    ... Yes, I am a bit of a noob at this stuff
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - link

    Would this apply to nForce2 Ultra chipsets? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Sunday, August 03, 2003 - link

    Regarding "Mixed Memory" configurations, the Best Memory Timings are the fastest timings THAT PARTICULAR COMBINATION WOULD RUN. So they are the best timings for that mix of Dimms. Mixed pairs - particularly widely different memory pairs - can take a very large performance hit in 865/875 boards. The reduction in performance is MUCH greater than we would expect.

    As was also stated, we have seen cases of 2 pairs of dimms from different manufacturers that match closely on capacity and timings that perform just as well as 2 matched pairs.
  • Anonymous User - Sunday, August 03, 2003 - link

    Re: "Intel’s White Papers address mixed memory
    configurations only to say that they will work,
    but they will default to the slowest speed and
    SPD timings of the mixed DIMMs."

    I wish I understood this. I am pretty sure that
    I don't. For example, in the first row of the
    mixed memory benchmark table the "best memory
    timing" is given as 2-7-3-3 but the 512 MB DIMMs
    are said to run at 2-5-2-2. Could it be that this
    column should be labelled "worst memory timing"?
    And suppose that the 512 MB memory was run at the
    slower timing, 2-7-3-3, instead of 2-5-2-2.
    How does that result in a 25% performance loss?

    I would really like to understand this so that
    I could predict what will happen when I mix
    memory timings, avoid really bad DIMM
    combinations and be able to use the not so bad
    combinations. So, can someone explain what it
    really going on here?
  • MS - Friday, August 01, 2003 - link

    I'll certainly run a few benches myself. It is really interesting that those guys who should know, that is memory and chipset manufacturers are lagging so far behind the "fanboy" community in terms of understanding how things actually work and what factors are really important.

    As far as your review goes, I am eager to see it, especially the acknowledgement (LOL)



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