Recently Intel has been appearing increasingly idealistic in their expectations for the future of the industry. Starting out with their assumption that the market would be ready for a transition to the Camino chipset by mid-year, and now extending to the indication that they could possibly be pursuing a RDRAM-only solution when the Camino hits the streets towards the end of the year. For those of you that arent familiar, Rambus DRAM, or RDRAM, is Intels vision of the future of the memory that will be driving the latest desktop machines, workstations, and servers, therefore replacing the current standard, Synchronous DRAM (SDRAM) which is incompatible with the aforementioned standard.
In contrast to Intels dramatic actions in the industry, competing chipset manufacturer VIA Technologies has taken it upon themselves to make the most of what the market currently has to offer. VIA has already announced that they are planning to take a significant lead over Intel in chipset design features and specifications with the upcoming release of their Apollo Pro Plus 133, and as the name indicates, official support for the 133MHz FSB is included among those features.
In AnandTechs March 99 SDRAM Comparison it was quite clear that achieving great stability at the 133MHz FSB frequency was quite difficult. With the only SDRAM featured in the comparison able to make it up to 133MHz at 100% stability being the pricey EMS HSDRAM modules, the outlook for VIAs upcoming 133MHz chipsets did not look too great. Luckily, for VIAs sake and for the sake of the upgrading population out there, there are some enhancements being made in the search for true PC133 SDRAM. After supplying AnandTech with the Samsung based SDRAM modules from the March 99 SDRAM Comparison, Corsair Microsystems decided to pursue a different avenue for their products. Instead of using Samsung modules as the basis for their SDRAM modules of above average stability, Corsair went back to the old days and pursued a once very well known memory chip manufacturer, Micron, to help with the production of their next-generation PC133 SDRAM modules.
The result was a Corsair SDRAM module, using a Corsair PCB (which didnt prove to be a problem in the March 99 Comparison), and outfitted with Micron PC133 SDRAM chips. How well does Corsairs latest addition fare in comparison to the rest of the entries?
Preparing the Test
In order to isolate the memory modules as the only realistic causes of any fluctuation in stability, choosing the proper test bed was a bit of an ordeal, luckily AnandTech was aided in lab by the wonderful folks over at Kryotech who supplied AnandTech with a room temperature cooling system a week before the first stability tests were to commence. At the heart of AnandTech's SDRAM stability test bed was a Pentium II 333, capable of being reliably overclocked to 416MHz, running at room temperature with the aid of Kryotech's Renegade ATX-PE Room Temperature Cooler. The ambient case temperature of the Renegade test bed was kept at room temperature, or approximately 22 degrees Celsius, as was the surface temperature of the Pentium II processor.
The 333MHz Pentium II was chosen for its versatility in terms of clock multiplier support, as AnandTech's sample remained clock unlocked, and allowed for the usage of the 2.5x clock multiplier when testing higher FSB settings. In order to gain support for a wide variety of FSB frequencies, two motherboards were used as the basis for the test bed, the choice to use two motherboards came to make sure that there were no specific incompatibilities between the SDRAM being compared and a particular motherboard.
The entire test bed was configured as follows:
|CPU||Intel Pentium II 333|
|Motherboard||ABIT BX6 Revision 2 & AOpen AX6BC|
|Video||Matrox Millennium II PCI|
|Hard Disk||Western Digital 5.1GB Caviar UltraATA|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 98|