=<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
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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.