Holiday Memory Guide

by Gary Key on December 16, 2008 3:00 AM EST

4GB DDR2-800 Midrange Kits

Crucial Ballistix 4GB DDR2-800 Kit (BL2KIT25664AA80A) - We have no idea what to think about our results with this particular kit. We only ordered 4GB but have another 4GB coming shortly from Newegg to verify our results. Rated at 4-4-4-12 on 2.0V at DDR2-800, our kit had no problems running these timings at 1.80V. We started increasing our speeds and eventually landed a DDR2-1066 setting with 5-5-5-15 timings at 1.95V. Our sweet spot at DDR2-900 resulted in 4-4-4-12 timings at 1.9V. We decided to push our voltages to 2.1V and ended up at DDR2-1100 with 5-6-5-18 timings. So, yeah, our tongues dropped out of our mouth for a few seconds but stayed there after this next setting. We decided to do a warranty busting 2.2V and watched our kit settle in at DDR2-1200 at 6-6-5-18 timings. Not bad for a $58 kit that also features a $20 rebate this month.

G.Skill PI 4G DDR2-800 Kit (F26400CL4D4GBPIB) - We are starting to sound like a broken record here by having G.Skill in each of our categories so far, but they do offer compelling price to performance ratios on their products with an added bonus of good customer service and top notch warranties. We had planned to originally recommend the Silver PI series, but just picked up the new Black series a few weeks ago and have been impressed with it. Rated at 4-4-4-12 timings on 1.8V at DDR2-800, this kit features not only excellent timings but a price now at $50. The memory will POST at 5-5-5-15 timings in most boards but spending 30 seconds in the BIOS will get you the rated timings. We ended up with a final speed setting at DDR2-1020 with 5-5-4-15 timings on 2.05V. The sweet spot with our board/CPU combination was at DDR2-900 on 1.95V with 4-4-4-15 timings.

Patriot Viper 4GB DDR2-800 Kit (PVS24G6400LLKN) - I might be biased as I run these kits in my personal system but for good reason. This kit is rated at 4-4-4-12 timings on 2.1V at DDR2-800. We have not had any problems running any of our retail kits at 4-4-4-12 on 1.8V. Like the Crucial kit, we hit DDR2-1066 on 1.95V but with 5-5-5-10 timings. Our DDR2-900 test resulted in 4-4-4-8 timings at 1.95V. We eventually hit DDR2-1100 with 6-6-5-15 timings on 2.1V and that was about as far as we could go. The kits are offered at $58 with a $25 rebate this month.

Before the recent release of the products listed above, our best performing midrange kit was the OCZ Reaper HPC. Rated at 4-4-4-15 with 2.1V at DDR2-800 this kit is still a very good performer but requires 1.9V to hit the 4-4-4-15 timings at 800. We could keep these timings to DDR2-900 but required 2.05V to do so. Our final speed was DDR2-1066 at 5-5-5-15 timings at 2.15V. This kit sells for around $62 and has a $30 rebate this month. OCZ changes ICs on a periodic basis so current kits might be competitive with the newer kits from Crucial, G.Skill, and Patriot now.

4GB DDR2-1066 or higher

For the more adventurous overclockers we suggest the DDR2-1066 or higher memory kits, especially those with the latest E8400 and up processors that typically can reach FSB speeds in excess of 550. While beneficial for benchmarking, real world applications will not benefit that much, at least in a way that is actually recognizable to the user. Except for one kit, our recommendations all required more than 1.95V to hit DDR2-1066. We have also noticed differences between kits with the various module suppliers in this grouping. The ICs are binned for the most part and some kits just do better than others even though they are based on the same memory manufacturer.

Patriot Viper 4GB DDR2-1066 Kit (PVS24G8500ELKN) - Another big green set of memory from Patriot with this one rated at 1066 with 5-5-5-15 timings on 2.1V. We hit these timings on 1.90V and eventually reached DDR2-1160 at 5-5-5-18 on 2.15V. The kit costs around $66 with a $30 rebate this month.

OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB DDR2-1066 Kit - This kit is rated at 5-5-5-18 timings on 2.1V at DDR2-1066. We needed 1.95V to hit those ratings. Our kit eventually topped out at DDR2-1140 on 2.15V with 5-5-5-18 timings. The current kit goes for $71 and has a $30 rebate this month.

Corsair Dominator 4GB DDR2-1066 Kit (Twin2x4096-8500C5D) - Corsair has always been known for excellent compatibility in a wide range of motherboards and this kit does not disappoint. Rated at 5-5-5-15 timings on 2.1V at DDR2-1066, we found we could reach these settings at 1.95V. Like the OCZ kit, we eventually hit a wall around DDR2-1140 on 2.15V with 5-5-5-15 timings. This kit retails for $80 and has a $40 rebate available this month.

G.Skill PI 4GB DDR2-1100 Kit (F2-8800CL5D-4GBPI) - The most expensive kit in our DDR2 guide and probably one of the most impressive. It is kind of strange to talk about a $95 DDR2-1100 4GB kit as being expensive, but it is in the current market. This kit is rated at 5-5-5-15 timings at DDR2-1100 on 1.9V. We reached those settings as advertised with 1.85V but were also able to do 5-5-5-15 at DDR2-1066 on 1.8V, far better than our 1066 kits. We eventually hit DDR2-1200 at 5-6-5-18 on 2.1V, while our DDR2-1140 setting needed just 1.95V at 5-5-5-15.

We just received the Mushkin Enhanced DDR2-1066 (996599) kit and it looks very promising at this time with 1066 speeds needing 1.9V for 5-5-5-18 timings. We will provide updates in our upcoming roundup.

DDR2 that is easy on the budget... DDR3 Comes Marching In...


View All Comments

  • hwarda - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    "We eventually hit DDR2-1200 at 5-6-5-18 on 2.1V"

    Surprisingly, my Gskill 8800GBPI performs better than tested above. Mine running at SPD 5-5-5-15 @ 1258MHz with standard 1.8V VDIMM. Here's the result (careful, its 400Kb image):">
  • crimson117 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    It's now $149.99 ($119.99 after $30.00 Mail-In Rebate) at Newegg!

    Sheesh... give newegg some clickthroughs, and they reward your readers with price hikes!
  • InSearchOf - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    ive decided on a 4GB kit for my build (2 x 2GB) but which company? out of these companies ( Corsair, G Skill, Mushkin) which has the best customer support and warranties? or i cant go wrong with either of them!

    since prices are so low now should i buy 2 of these kits now and save one for later down the road or could the non use hurt the memory or my warranty?

    i also learned that you should buy your memory from the same batch. how can i make sure that would be the case with either of these 3 companies? this the same as part number revision being the same on all the module kits you buy?

    need your advice

  • crimson117 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    If you order two kits at once from the same retailer, they'll probably come from the same manufacturing batch. However as long as you get the same part #, even if you space the orders apart you'll be okay.

    The problem with waiting is that memory part numbers can change often, so it might no longer be for sale if you wait a while to add a second kit to your rig.
  • Acanthus - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    The same 7 makers that just got fined 2 years ago for price fixing are now in financial trouble because prices are too low.

    This means... wait for it... there has been oversupply for years and their illegal non-competition agreement was the only thing keeping them afloat.

    Here's hoping someone lets a few of them tank.
  • Zoomer - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    Actually, hopefully not. The rest would just raise prices when that happens. Reply
  • Kibbles - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    Here's hoping that DDR3 will be $50 for 48GB (8x6GB) in 2 years! Reply
  • crimson117 - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    These after rebate prices are great - if you only want 4gb.

    None of the rebate forms I saw allowed more than one rebate per household. So if you were looking for 4x2gb, you're paying full price for one of the sets.
  • crimson117 - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    Also, some of these rebates have expired.

    For example, the Crucial Ballistix 4GB DDR2-800 Kit (BL2KIT25664AA80A) is now $55.99 plus shipping, with no mail in rebate available.
  • Kibbles - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    They have them over at mwave">
    $57.30+S/H and $30 Rebate
    I think the shipping is around $9. So about $37 shipped. mwave also has an ebay store front so you could get another few % off. I would have bought another pair if the live cashback thing was still 30%, but meh I don't really need 8GB =D

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