Memory Performance

Our ASRock 775Dual-VSTA motherboard provides two DDR2 and three DDR memory ratios. The ASRock 775i65G provides three DDR memory ratios although we could only get our DDR-400 memory modules to work at DDR-355 due to the front side bus ratios availability within the i865 BIOS. We are only testing this board at DDR-355 due to this issue. Our ASRock ConRoeXFire-eSATA2 board is based on the 945P chipset and features DDR2-400, DDR2-533, and DDR2-667 memory speeds. Our Biostar P965 and DFI 975X motherboards feature the same DDR2 memory speeds as the ASRock 945P board while adding DDR2-800. Even though our ASRock 775Dual-VSTA does not support DDR2-800 we are reporting these scores for comparison.

We are testing our motherboards at the fastest stable timings we can achieve and still pass our benchmark test suite. By increasing the memory voltage on the 775Dual-VSTA board we were able to run our Transcend modules at 3-4-3-9 at DDR2-667. With these set ratios, CPU speed remains the same at 1.86GHz in our test platform with memory speed being varied by selecting the different ratios.

Due to performance reasons we did not test the DDR-266 or DDR2-400 settings as we believe most people will not utilize these ratios. The balance of our comments in the first article about the Intel memory controller design and command rates with the VIA PT880 chipset still hold true. Our memory settings were derived from extensive stress testing with a variety of applications. While certain settings that allowed lower latencies worked well with some applications, the final settings we arrived at had to work with all applications.

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The Intel 865G chipset offers greater DDR memory performance than the VIA PT880 Pro in our synthetic test results. Although the buffered Intel DDR-355 scores 18% better than the VIA DDR-400 setting, the unbuffered result is only 4% better. The SuperPI test is basically a tie with the memory latency results heavily favoring the Intel chipset. Although the i865 results are well below the DDR2 based chipsets, we will see this chipset perform very well in our application and game tests.



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The Sandra bandwidth memory performance result of the VIA PT880 Pro at DDR2-533 (1:1 ratio) leads the DDR2-667 (4:5 ratio) by up to 30% although the memory timings are almost equal at both speeds. It is obvious the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA BIOS is tuned for DDR2-533. This particular setting delivered the best raw performance although we will see in our application and game benchmarks this advantage is negated by other platform components.

Overall, the VIA PT880 Pro is very competitive at DDR2-533 memory speeds with the Intel P965 showing a definite advantage at DDR2-667. The Intel 945P based ASRock ConRoeXFire-eSATA2 offers a nice balance of performance at both memory speeds while costing just $20 more than the VIA PT880 Pro board but does not allow you to use your DDR memory or AGP video card.

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Our Biostar P965 board offers a 12% improvement in the Sandra Unbuffered test, though its buffered scores are less than our DFI 975X board along with higher latencies. As we have been saying for years, however, the Buffered benchmark usually does not correlate well with real performance in applications on the same computer. For that reason, our memory bandwidth tests have always included an Unbuffered Sandra memory score. The Unbuffered result turns off the buffering schemes, and we have found the results correlate well with real-world performance as we will see shortly.

System Configuration Application Performance
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  • Kiijibari - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    Hi,

    first I have to say, that it is a nice review, I liked it. I only have one minor critic with the following piece of text:
    quote:

    The sweet spot for gaming with this particular video card seems to be at low latency DDR2-667 settings as DDR2-800 provides negligible benefits. We are sure with lower latencies at DDR2-800 and a more powerful GPU solution that we would see further scaling increases in performance.


    I strongly doubt, that you'll see any benefits with DDR2-800 modules, regardless of the GPU, because you forgot that the FSB1066 is limiting factor. Furthermore I assume, that the DDR2-667 scores are just better because of the better absolut memory latency.

    Well, as you stated, your scores may be better again with DDR2-800 RAMs @CL3, but I think that such expensive oc modules are out of question in the low cost context of the article.

    cheers

    Kiijibari
    Reply
  • giantpandaman2 - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Is there any way that you guys not use red and orange on the same graph? It's difficult to discern between the two. I mean, it's definitely possible, but it's a pain. Reply
  • Paradox999 - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    You guys need to seriously have a deeper look at the ASRock 775i65G sisnce it obviously is extremely competitive. What I want to know is:

    what are the overclocking / voltage options and do they work with the Conroe?
    I was seriously considering buying the 775DUAL-VSTA ... but since I'm running an overclocked D820 / 2 gig Mushkin DDR500 / AGP Radeon x850 XTPE.

    Why bother with DDR2 as an upgrade path on the 775DUAL-VSTA when it doesn't make all that much difference and if I have to buy a new PCI card it'll have to be a very good one to best my overclocked x850 .... and that means I would want to stick it into a better motherboard than the 775DUAL-VSTA.

    All I would need is the ASRock 775i65G and the Conroe for an upgrade that seems the best deal around. Who's with me ????
    Reply
  • hibachirat - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    775i65G?
    Exactly what i've been trying to find for the last week! :-)
    But no luck getting any U.S. vendor too specify that they will ship me an R2 board.
    Try googling 775i65G R2 and you'll find as many as you want...in Australia, U.K., Europe, etc...what's the deal with U.S. resellers?
    I'm going to try emailing the article's author...
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    http://www.mwave.com/mwave/skusearch.hmx?SCriteria...">http://www.mwave.com/mwave/skusearch.hmx?SCriteria...

    In stock at the above link, called them and they have a few of the rev. 2 boards in stock. The other board to have if you want the i865 chipset is the ConRoe865PE which should be released in a couple of weeks.
    Reply
  • Paradox999 - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    I would love if Anandtech would get Asrock to supply one of these ConRoe865PE boards for comparison testing. I saw that board at the Asrock site a while ago but couldn't find anyone in North America selling it.

    Asrock seems to slowly be creeping up from the back into the enthousiiast (on a buget) market. The first thing I would fix if I were them is add solid voltage control for the CPU and memory.

    I'm an enthusiast but I hate dropping tons of cash for top drawer hardware when I can have very respectable performance by carefully selecting less expensive hardware.

    Go Asrock!
    Reply
  • hibachirat - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Thanks, i guess i should have called them. This was their email response:

    "Dear Valued Customer,
    Unfortuantely, we are unable to guarantee what version of this motherboard we have. We do apologize for the inconvenience.
    Mwave.com"
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    You guys need to seriously have a deeper look at the ASRock 775i65G sisnce it obviously is extremely competitive.


    We will have a comparison article with it and the other value boards in the near future.
    Reply
  • Optimummind - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    I'm thinking about purchasing this board along with a Conroe CPU until the prices come down on the higher-model mobos such as the Asus P5W-DH. My most pressing question is how much of a bottleneck in gaming performance will be introduced as a result of ASRock including only PCIe x4 for the GPU.

    I believe that in order to answer that question, a higher performing GPU needs to be used rather than a 7600GS. Could you guys also include an extra table/graph including a comparison between a 7800GS AGP 8x and 7800GS PCIe?

    The reason I want to know is because I want to whether or not putting a DX10 card in the ASRock PCIe x4 slot will bottleneck the GPU.

    Or, could you guys compare the performance of a 7900GT in the ASRock board with a 7900GT GPU in a P965, P975, or other mobos that has the full PCIe x16 connection? I don't to know what difference in performance there will be and to see if it's worth putting a 7900GT PCIe in the ASRock board.

    Reply
  • Paladin165 - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Do you think adding better cooling on the chipset would improve FSB overclocking on this board? Reply

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