Are those results noteworthy or what? So yeah, here at Guru3D.com we like to do things a little different and today we definitely did. We can only spend a certain amount of time with the gear yet there are a million ways to overclock and tweak a system. But what it all boils down to are two things, price versus performance. What I tried to proof today is what difference the memory frequency can make for pure system performance. So in pretty much all the tests we were able, the CPU clock remained at 3600 MHz while we fooled around with the DDR2 frequency with the help of memory dividers at BIOS level. In all circumstances we left the timings as recommended on the package, yet we did boost memory voltage to 1.9 Volts.
The second tweak we fired off on the system was an FSB overclock combined with a Northbridge strap and memory devider, a complex little one. We increased voltage on the CPU core and memory and then took it up to 4 GHz on a stable ~285 MHz (1140 MHz) FSB. Mind you that we normally would have a 800 MHz system bus. We did this to prove another point. If you want an extensive overclock then you better have some really good memory in there. The advantage of a total system overclock is a very perceptible performance increase, as our results showed. It's like getting 10% extra performance on the house.
Now of course you can tweak a whole lot more then what we did. You could choose to go for a slightly lower frequency and/or lower latency timings a little. You can also seek the maximum CPU (FSB) overclock in which often you have to take for granted that you have slightly higher times. Or in our case you can balance out stuff to see what effect the DDR2 frequency has on performance and based on that find the highest timings. So that's the secret that memory like Corsair's offers, flexibility. Do what you want to do as these two memory kits certainly will not stop you.
No matter what you do or choose, the best solution for DDR2 is to find the highest possible frequency with the lowest timings available. Now the higher that frequency and the lower these timings the more expensive that memory will be. Today's tested sets of memory by all means are not cheap. It however is made for the enthusiast buyer. And after seeing these results, oh yeah I am surely enthusiastic about it. The results we showed today was in 100% stable conditions. I really didn't want to push any harder for two reasons: I'm pretty protective over my test systems and refuse to damage them in any way. And that's something you need to keep in mind also. Overclocking can seriously damage your system if you are not doing it right and most of all without proper care.
We raised the bar really high though. Secondly, I know that the system simply can't take more than a 287 MHz FSB, so we had to settle.
So my recommendations would go like this. Both sets of memory definitely are targeted at the high-end user. The people that overclock their memory/cpu/fsb, whatever the need for performance is, this is your kind of memory.
The XMS2-5400 series is designed to go up-to 667 MHz at its suggested ratings and will do that really well, For DDR2 type memory these are fast timings people, very fast as our benchmarks revealed. Any decent overclock will fall just fine within that maximum frequency. So for the high-end user these two bars of memory are really something else as they will smoke your system! And even if you are not an overclocker then this memory still is very much recommended, it will assure you of high memory bandwidth with low DDR2 timings. The Corsair XMS2 5400UL modules are designed to be run at the DDR2-667 memory BIOS settings and in overclocked systems. They carry a full lifetime warranty (as long as you use them within warranty guidelines, which pretty much boils down to a maximum usage of 2.1 Volts) on the module; that's a lot of value. It's cheapest price is 279 USD at the time this article was written.
Go get them, highly recommended as performance is stellar and this simply is the best memory I've had in any of my DDR2 test rigs to date.
Then there is the 2GB XMS2-6400 Pro kit, two bars of 1 GB in dual channel. Wowzers... that's some pretty cool stuff to have in your gaming rig eh? You'll have plenty memory for the next year or two. Now since it can go so high on frequency it has slightly lower timings (at default SPD 4:4:4:12 timings) compared to the 5400 kit we just tested. So that's a choice you are going to have to make. If you kept your system on a small overclock, well the difference is really minimal but purely for performance the 5400 series is a teeny weeny bit better. But hey on the other side, this is 2 GB of memory people. And let us not forget the uber-tweakers kind of people among us; we call them Guru's that vapochill and cool everything down below zero and then start to overclock to the extreme. This is the memory for that kind of people. We didn't attempt such an extensive overclock, but hey this memory will definitely take you where you need to go!
So personally I'd favor the 2 GB kit but yeah you need to cough up roughly 400 USD for it and that is a lot of money. However, the trend over the past few years clearly has been showing an increase of the FSB and memory consumption, so you are future proof, future games will love it, you get a lot of memory to spare, it can overclock well and you have intense memory bandwidth. How on this earth can you go possibly wrong with that?
So generally both kits of memory impressed very much, you need to decide which kit is better for you though. Both kits deserve our editor's choce award.
Corsair demonstrated their point extremely well, what out of this world memory they make !
Okay one more Pirate joke and then I'll wrap up this review. What did the pirate pay for his peg leg and hook?
An arm and a leg ... hahah .. ahem.
2 GB DDR2 PC 6400: CM2X1024-6400PRO 2x1024MB 5-5-5-12-T1 1 GB DDR2 PC 5400: CM2X512A-5400UL 2x512MB 3-3-2-8 Manufacturer: Corsair Information: Click here
Many thanks to Vivian over at Corsair for the really great support.
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