=<em>F-A-S-T</em>= DDR Memory: 2-2-2 Roars on the Sceneby Wesley Fink on August 5, 2004 12:05 AM EST
- Posted in
Final WordsIt looked like a review of several brands of memory based on mostly Samsung TCCD chips would be somewhat boring. The results, however, were anything but boring as performance tests show quite a bit about each company's prowess with binning for speed, PCB designs and SPD programming. There was also a much wider range of headroom and timings displayed in this DDR400 2-2-2 roundup than we really expected.
All of the memories that we tested here will likely be Editor's Choices for sites that look at them in standalone reviews. All five of the DDR400 2-2-2 memories exhibited a wide range of effective, stable memory speeds from DDR400 to a little over DDR500. This is an incredibly wide range for memory modules that are rated at DDR400, and the performance is so good that we can only wonder why we worried so much about the death of BH5. We never tested, during the reign of Winbond BH5, any BH5 that could even come close to the range of memory speeds supported by the new DDR400 2-2-2 dimms. All of the memories that we tested also performed just fine at their rated speed of DDR400 at 2-2-2 timings and default 2.5V, much lower than most specified for their DDR400 voltage. All 5 memories could also handle DDR433 2-2-2 timings at 2.65V to 2.75V, which is outstanding performance. Based on these findings alone, you would agree that all the DDR400 2-2-2 memories are special and are worth a closer look.
From DDR433 up, some of the memories began to differentiate. Where the Samsung memories all went to around DDR500 with similar timings, the OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 kept going to the next level at DDR533, and then it still kept going to the remarkable stable overclock of DDR557. This is about 50MHz higher than the nearest Samsung rival, which certainly makes the OCZ stand head and shoulders above the DDR400 2-2-2 crowd.
At the other end of the spectrum, the only Micron entry, the Crucial Ballistix PC3200, showed the most incredible timings that we have ever seen for any memory, reaching all the way to DDR460 at 2-2-2 timings, and all the way to DDR514 at the slightly slower 2.5-2-2 timings. Needless to say, this generated the highest DDR466 and DDR500 test results that we have seen. In addition, the Crucial Ballistix was the only memory in this roundup that performed just as well on the Socket 939 platform as it did on the Intel 478.
Due to the standout performance of the Crucial Ballistix and OCZ Platinum Rev. 2, we could not choose just one of them as our Editor's Choice. They both excel in different areas, both valid from a performance standpoint, and they both stand out from a crowd of superb performers.
It is with great pleasure that we award the Gold Editors Choice to OCZ for the outstanding performance of OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 memory. This OCZ memory stands head and shoulders above the other memory tested in this roundup that are based on the same memory chips. OCZ PC3200 Platinum Revision 2 overclocked 10% higher than it's nearest rival, reaching an amazing 40% overclock on a memory rated at DDR400. Performance at DDR400 was outstanding and Platinum Rev. 2 reached the highest memory speeds achieved with any DDR400 2-2-2 memory tested in this roundup.
Crucial seems to be pleasing Enthusiasts in many areas these days, and we are honored to award Crucial Ballistix 3200 the Gold Editors Choice for Best Performance in the DDR400 2-2-2 roundup. Crucial Ballistix is the first memory that we have tested to achieve consistent, stable DDR timings of 2.5-2-2 at DDR500, in addition to the incredible range of usable timings at the most aggressive 2-2-2 timings. In the range from DDR400 to DDR514, Crucial Ballistix was clearly the fastest memory in the roundup. Crucial Ballistix was also a winner in being the only memory in the roundup that achieved the same impressive performance on the Socket 939 Athlon 64 as it achieved on the Intel 478 platform.
All of these five incredible memories are winners in this roundup, and as a group, they open new choices for memory buyers. A couple of months ago, it seemed unlikely that you would ever have the option of DDR400 2-2-2 memory again. Not only do all these 5 memories bring you reliable 2-2-2 performance at DDR400, all 5 memories will also carry you to DDR500. That's an achievement far and beyond what any of the best DDR400 2-2-2 could achieve in the past. No matter which of these 5 you choose, you will be buying a winner.