OCZ Gold PC3700 V3 and EL PC3200 Platinum Rev2 Review

Memory by KeithSuppe @ 2004-10-08

Not too long ago, the outlook on performance ram modules was looking a bit bleak. Now with the addition of some newer revisions of ram chips being implemented by OCZ and hopefully other companies as well, we are realizing the performance we once had and then some. Let?s find out how OCZ?s latest revisions perform on our Intel P4 and AMD A64 test platforms.

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Part II: Memory on A64, Intro

Part-II: JNav89GT takes the modules for spin on Socket-939


The past year has been both an exciting experience and still somewhat disappointing. The arrival of the Athlon64 and Prescott CPU's from rival companies AMD/Intel respectively has given us new toys to play with and new platforms on which to grow. Sadly though, our trusty Winbond BH-5 based memory modules are but a production remembrance. Sure, samples can be found in used channels, various forums, and dare I say Ebay, but many people just are not comfortable using previously used and potentially abused hardware. There was quite a void that had to be filled to step into the legendary shoes of Winbond BH-5 IC’s (integrated circuits). Winbond CH-5 came close, but slightly looser timings, specifically tRP or RAS precharge had to be backed from 2 to 3 to accommodate stability. This sacrificed performance, something the enthusiasts was remiss to do. Furthermore, CH-5 based modules didn’t seem to overclock quite as far as BH-5 memory. Stories of BH-5 memory at 250+MHz at Cas2 2:2:5 were somewhat common given enough voltage (3.3v+), even 270+ was achieved in very rare instances.

Help came this spring/summer in the forms of newer memories. Micron based OCZ Enhanced Bandwidth offered near BH-5 performance using a supposed optimized PCB (printed circuit board), moderately aggressive timings, with often “easier” MHz scaling. Or in other words, it overclocked very well without the need of voltage modding motherboards and pumping scary amounts of vdimm into our precious Ram modules and in the case of the Athlon64’s, possibly the CPU’s themselves.

Samsung and Hynix have also come to the plate with newer chips that are bringing back lower latencies and at the same time allowing high frequency operation, something that early PC3700/4000/4200 memories just couldn’t do. I frequently pondered why persons would fall for the hype and marketing surrounding high latency/high frequency rams. I suppose, yes they could to 233-250+ MHz speeds, but the latencies were horrible and in my opinion castrated performance. Newer PC3700/PC4000 memories are beginning to introduce lower timings and high speed in an effort to offer produce both high MHz scaling along with livable timings.

We could spend a whole article discussing and debating memory speed, latency and potential. The purpose of this article is to discuss performance derived from some of these newer memory technologies on a Socket 939 MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum motherboard. I will then scale each pair of dimms to their highest stable speed at commonly available voltages (2.9v). I will only be testing 2x512mb sets as I feel that newer games are going to use 1GB of memory and the performance enthusiast and hardcore computer user is not going to cheap out and get only 2x256 or 512mb of ram for a high end pc. Make no mistake. This article offers no relevance to someone running a Compaq, Dell, or any other OEM computer for that matter. What I am here to provide is information that some users may find helpful in determining how they spend their hard earned dollars when they purchase High Performance memory.

Onto our test results ->
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