The Fastest DDR2 from Corsair and OCZ

DDR2 memory has zoomed to the forefront recently, after several years of benign neglect by the enthusiast community. AMD, which has led the enthusiast market for the last couple of years, moved from DDR to DDR2 in late May. Intel Core 2 Duo was recently introduced and finally gave enthusiasts a reason to want to own Intel processors again. Suddenly, no matter what platform you wanted to buy, you found it was fueled by DDR2 memory.

As a result of the increased spotlight on DDR2, memory makers pulled out all the stops in creating new and faster DDR2 memory. The two newest platforms support DDR2-800, and enthusiast memory makers quickly brought DDR2-800, DDR2-1000, and DDR2-1066 modules to market. The new DIMMs, mostly based on Micron memory chips, established memory timings of 3-3-3 as the newest standard for enthusiast memory at DDR2-800. All of these new memories also reached DDR2-1067 and beyond. You can read more about high-performance DDR2 in our Conroe Buyers Guide.

Even value DDR2 became faster very quickly. Most of the value sticks are now using Elpida memory. These were rated at DDR2-667 or DDR2-533, but most managed to run at DDR2-800 at 4-3-3 timings at around 2.2V. None of the value RAM tested could reach DDR2-1067, but DDR2-800 at good timings is plenty fast for the majority of users. You will find a recent roundup of value DDR2 in the Value DDR2 section of the Conroe Buying Guide.

The enthusiast, by definition, is always looking for more - more speed, more power, more performance. The quest is for the best - performance so good and speeds so fast that no one can touch their results. You may even consider the enthusiast an elitist, but that is no different than the car enthusiast, a photography enthusiast, or any technology area where hobbyists can be found.

Corsair has a long and illustrious history as an innovator in the memory market. For many years the only recognizable brand of enthusiast memory was Corsair. OCZ has firmly established itself in recent years as one of the most creative makers of enthusiast memory with innovations like Extended Latency memory and high-voltage VX DIMMs for extreme overclockers. It was no surprise then, given the history of these two companies, to be contacted for a look at their newest and fastest DDR2 memory.

Both memory companies consider the modules tested here the best DDR2 they currently offer on the market. It is surprising then to see Corsair rate their DDR2 at DDR2-800 with specified 3-4-3 timings. OCZ rates the new Titanium Alpha at DDR2-1000 at 4-4-4 timings. As seen in the past, both OCZ and Corsair are often quite conservative in their ratings of their best memories. We were curious to see what these "best-of-the-best" could really do in our new Core 2 Extreme memory test bed.

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  • epsilonparadox - Friday, August 04, 2006 - link

    That also is your opinion. To me an elitist is someone who demands a higher standard that the common folk. An elitist to me in the computer industry is someone who buys items that he/she knows will raise the level of standards among his peers. The items this person purchases doesn't necessarily have to be the most expensive but usually demands a higher premium because of the proven value. Reply
  • yacoub - Friday, August 04, 2006 - link

    Alas, labeling one an "elitist" has a distinctly negative connotation to it, and that is not an opinion, that is simply how it is (fact, if you will).

    quote:

    e·lit·ism or é·lit·ism ( P ) Pronunciation Key (-ltzm, -l-)
    n.
    The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.

    The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class.
    Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class.

    elitist

    n : someone who believes in rule by an elite group [ant: egalitarian]


    So by discussing the term elitist, you further the point that those who seek the best bang for the buck are certainly not elitists in the commonly accepted sense. Not to mention your comment regarding a price premium also goes against the core ideology of the overclocker - ie, those who look for what is most cost-effective and NOT premiumly priced. Generally speaking they are items that (at least initially) are lesser-known and often rather cheap because their real potential is commonly unknown. If anything the nature of the overclocker is the opposite of your elitist, in that they are interested in taking common things and making them into superstars, instead of just buying premium-priced items that supposedly have better performance according to the manufacturer's marketing department.
    Reply
  • rjm55 - Friday, August 04, 2006 - link

    I want, therefore I have. Reply
  • araczynski - Friday, August 04, 2006 - link

    thanks for a good read, i agree that the overclocking scale is looks like its designed by some marketing group, stop using that kind of junk.

    when shown in real scale those small differences are nothing.
    Reply
  • jmke - Friday, August 04, 2006 - link

    Would be cool to see the charts start at scale 0, which would show the rather small impact of overclocking/getting higher rated memory modules. With a scale starting close to the min. score, the increase shown in the chart is not quite realistically represented ;)

    Did you run into weird results with: DDR2 PC4200 low timings vs DDR2 PC5300 medium/high timings ?
    Reply
  • Spacecomber - Friday, August 04, 2006 - link

    Your comment beat me too it. I also was going to chide Anandtech for producing charts that dont have a scale starting from 0. You should stick to tables, if all you are trying to do is show the number of points difference between one speed to the next. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, August 04, 2006 - link

    Tables are already included as a summary of results for each tested memory. The Corsir table is on page 4 and the OCZ on page 5. The charts are there to show the impact of memory speed scaling on performance, which is not well-illustrated in the table or in our common bar charts. We added a paragraph explaining that scales are reduced to better show the small differences in performance between these two memories.

    You are both right that charts using zero-based scales will make the differences appear smaller than the reduced scale charts, but we were trying to compare the small differences in the Corsair and OCZ. We do prefer zero-based charts and an explanation was definitely needed.
    Reply
  • Googer - Saturday, August 05, 2006 - link

    With the performance of these DIMMs being about the same it really comes down to price, warranty, and reliablity as the deciding factors when you are shopping for RAM. Reply

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