Since the demise of Winbond BH5 memory chips, 2-2-2 memory has essentially been dead at DDR400. Corsair and others have produced DDR400 2-2-3 and 2-3-3 parts based on Winbond CH5 and other memory chips; however, 2-2-2 all but vanished as supplies of Winbond BH5 and BH6 disappeared. Other manufacturers such as OCZ took a different route with innovative products like Extended Bandwidth memory, which is extremely fast, but does not depend on the lowest CAS timings for best performance.

When Corsair 3200XL appeared on the market in June, it was the first time since the death of BH5 that we had seen a memory with 2-2-2 timings at DDR400. More than that, this new memory also proved to reach DDR500 performance levels - something that Winbond BH5 could never do. We certainly took notice of the new memory based on Samsung chips, and it looks like every other memory maker also took notice. Since the Corsair introduction, most major memory manufacturers have announced their own DDR400 2-2-2 memory.

Today, we will compare five new DDR400 2-2-2 memories. There is also a 6th DDR400 2-2-2 memory, from Samsung themselves. However, since we had only received 256MB modules from Samsung, and all other modules were 512MB, the Samsung was not included in the roundup. Including the 256MB Samsung in the roundup would not have been a fair comparison, since we know that 2 single-sided modules do perform slower than 2 double-sided modules on the Intel platform. For more information on the performance of the Samsung memory, please check our review, The Return of 2-2-2: Corsair 3200XL & Samsung PC4000.

As you will see, though, not all the new DDR400 2-2-2 memory performs the same, even though most are based on the same Samsung chips. In fact, not all of the new memory is even based on the Samsung chips, as there is another exciting new DDR400 2-2-2 memory chip now available. The new DDR400 modules all performed at 2-2-2 timings as promised, but beyond that base performance, some memory went further than others in the roundup, exhibiting unusually high bandwidth. Other memories allowed faster timings across the bandwidth, even performing with complete stability at an astounding 2.5-2-2-5 at DDR500.

Which were the standouts, and which were bunched in the pack? Let's take a closer look at the new DDR400 2-2-2 memory to find some answers.

Corsair 3200XL PRO
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  • Anemone - Thursday, August 05, 2004 - link

    Would love to see OCZ do further expansion on the EL or EB area of DDR2. I'm sure it's at lower limits (the timings of DDR2 stink really), but if anyone could push them as low as possible I'd expect OCZ to do it.
    Reply
  • Anemone - Thursday, August 05, 2004 - link

    Yeah OCZ seems to have their stuff where it counts.

    I'll note this highlights an issue that's caught my eye, and that is in the furor over the AMD64 chips, its less visible just sometimes how much "special stuff", ie choice memory modules, it takes to keep the AMD platforms running at top speed. On the Intel side of the fence you can plug just about anything in and get some speed, but in many cases that's still a guessing game for the AMD stuff. Given how that plays out a year or two down the line when you want to buy just an upgrade part or two, I'm kind of a fan of the "just buy the latest Superbytes mem module XXX and plug and go" kind of usefulness, which I see 'more' on the Intel side of things, and I do mean 'more' not 'only'.

    Also want to mention that lately tending to see more enthusiasts aiming for as much as 2gb of memory, and when you get there, the AMD controllers seem to not fly as much as with lower amounts, losing as much as 10% of their performance.

    Blah, no easy choices here imo.

    Reply
  • ceefka - Thursday, August 05, 2004 - link

    Great review. For those of us who want to build a 939, we'd love to see the next article. We apparently have a lot of RAM to choose from.

    Now on the theoretical side: How would the best DDR2 perform? What would the differences be? Can these results justify AMD's choice to ignore DDR2?
    Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Thursday, August 05, 2004 - link

    Another very timely review.
    You are now answering questions for me in advance - lol.

    Color changes for reviewed items better, but as a nitpick, it might be cool to continue colors to the names of mem also, not just the bar??? Dark green needs to be a lighter color - like pink. 2 greens not friendly.

    Anyway thanx fella.
    Reply
  • cnq - Thursday, August 05, 2004 - link

    Wesley,

    Can you comment on the 2.5-2-2 timings past DDR500 of the Crucial? It seems slightly fishy, considering that you used their PC3200, which is lower-binned than their PC4000...and even the 4000 is only rated at 2.5-3-3 at DDR500.
    Is it possible that Crucial sent you a cherry-picked sample for review?
    Anyone else out there own a set of the Ballistix care to comment?
    Reply
  • JustAnAverageGuy - Thursday, August 05, 2004 - link

    catchy title

    =F-A-S-T=

    A bit unprofessional maybe, but catchy :)
    Reply
  • shady06 - Thursday, August 05, 2004 - link

    OCZ = smokin Reply

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