DDR2 The Second Round :: Testing and Setup

03-18-2005 · Category: Hardware - Memory

By John Chen
  • Intel Pentium 4 560 3.6GHZ ES (with multipliers of 14x-18x)
  • Abit Fatal1ty AA8XE
  • Sapphire X800 (at XL speeds of 400/490)
  • Zalman CNPS7700-AlCu

Last time, I was unable to achieve extremely high overclocks for proper reviewing since the motherboard limited my ceiling. The Abit AA8 Duramax that features Intel's 925X chipset was unable to go past the 265FSB wall. This time I've acquired the Fatal1ty AA8XE, which uses the 925XE chipset that allows increased headroom. The motherboard offers extremely rich voltage features, especially for memory. Unlike motherboards that only offer up to 2.2v or even 2.3v, the Fatal1ty offers a stunning 2.5v to memory. If you're not very familiar with how much voltage this actually is, it's like providing a DDR platform up to 3.2v from the standard 2.5v. One of DDR2's main goals is to reduce power consumption and release lower heat, but there's nothing wrong with pumping voltage to get the squeeze the most performance out of your modules.

Unfortunately, the CPU used for testing is all I have. A multiplier of 14x is what most end users are accessible to, unless they go out and waste their money on the $1000 3.4GHZ Extreme Editions. The Extreme Editions allow low multipliers of 12x and 10x, and with certain motherboards even 8x. Of course using the Extreme Editions would be the ideal for testing high memory frequencies, but sadly, I have bills to pay. The highest memory voltage is set at 2.2v since that is the typical range of what quality motherboards provide.

Testing Procedures

Testing includes a series of memory intensive benchmarks such as 3DMark2001SE, PCMark2002 Memory Tests, PCMark2004 Memory Tests, SiSoft Sandra Memory Bandwidth, and two games-Far Cry and Unreal Tournament 2004.