PC2-6400 DDR2 2GB Memory Kit Duel - Super Talent vs Crucial

Memory by KeithSuppe @ 2006-04-02

Today we bring two PC2-6400 heavyweights into the Sumo dohyo, Crucial Ballistix PC2-6400 and Super Talent T800UX2GC4. If you?re unfamiliar with DDR2 overclocking, DDR2 confutes the axiom smaller modules scale much higher then their larger brethren. Just how well are current BGA IC?s scaling these days?

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Games / Conclusion

Gaming Benchmarks.

For the average Gamer FPS (Frames Per Second) have been the Holy Grail of graphic card measurement, unfortunately this standard has been relied upon disproportionately almost to the exclusion of any other feature. From an empirical standpoint our visual cortex can "perceive" up to 60FPS (30FPS is incorrect) without digressing into a discussion of optical nerve, suffice to say there's more to graphics then frame rate. The same holds true for a desktop PC, which as cohesive system is so much more then the speed at which it can run. The exception to this rule has been Intel’s Pentium processor and the subsystems designed to support it, including North Bridge chipsets, and of course memory. Intel's now infamous NetBurst architecture took pipeline execution to new "depths." As I’ve said before you need a dual degree in EE and an experienced speleologist at your side to fully delve into the reasoning behind this.

If you’re familiar with pipelining you know this essentially divides instructions into stages, while this allows a processor to do more in a given clock cycle it also bring with it penalties. Anytime a cache miss occurs the pipeline must be flushed which consumes precious time. Fortunately cache misses only occur about 0.5 - 1.0% of the time; however, when this occurs with Prescott's 31-stage pipeline, the number of clock cycles you lose with each miss prediction can add up to 30% of the total processing power for a given clock rate. Ultimately a 3.0GHz Pentium is only as effective as a 2.1GHz Athlon 64. Perhaps this makes it easier to see why Intel would stand behind DDR2 which is surpassing the 1000MHz mark yet still suffers from loose timings. Now 2GB kits are becoming the norm with 4GB kits in the hopper, see any similarities?

DOOM 3 Timedemo accessing DOOM3' FPS benchmark requires pressing the keys Ctrl + Alt + ~ simultaneously. Simply type in >Timedemo demo1 and allow the benchmark to run. This must be run twice to obtain an accurate result.

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HardwareOC Far-Cry Benchmark 1.4.3. offers many demos and settings to choose from. For our purposes we chose the PCGames demo in minimum detail running 800x600 and 1024x768 taking the average score form two instances of each.

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DDR2 is an Intel phenomenon, it’s the ideal memory to perpetuate CPU core architecture which literally "spins it wheels" to get things done. NetBurst's notoriously low IPC cycles and pipeline depth are indicative of this. Perhaps our only reprieve is that Presler marks the end of our bondage to the NetBurst beast. Regardless of what DDR2 advocates say, latency matters although it's almost impossible to prove this given the nature of the system DDR2 is running on. What I've done during this review is to keep CPU speeds as low as possible even when overclocking the memory. It's obvious while there is a difference, it's not as prevalent had this been a DDR based system. To further exemplify how NetBurst is interdependent upon speed to "flush" out (pun intended) its full performance potential, I overclocked our Presler to 4044MHz and overclocked each kit of memory. Crucial to 900MHz and SuperTalent to 1080MHz running SiSoftware Sandra 2005.SR3 Bandwidth benchmark.

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Super Talent 1080MHz-SPD

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Crucial Ballistix 900MHz-SPD

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Super Talent T800UX2GC4. This 2GB kit of PC2-6400 ran beyond PC2-8000 performance, and held 1000MHz at 4-4-4-15. Perhaps the most promising aspect of the Super Talent kit was its voltage, which isn't specified at the site so the gist of the tests were run at the "Auto" voltage setting (1.80V ~ 1.85V). Only when I tightened up latencies at 1000MHz was there a need for voltage increase although that only required between 1.95V ~ 2.0V. Unfortunately I looked everywhere (Search for Super talent) and couldn't find a single retailer selling their PC2-6400 in 2GB or any size?

Crucial Ballistix BL2KIT12864AA804 also performed admirably running as high as 920MHz at 2.20V under SPD, tightening the latencies to 4-4-4-18 dropped the frequency to 900MHz and required 2.30V for complete stability. Crucial sells their kit at their site for 360USD which is an excellent price for a 2GB kit which offers PC2-7200 performance. Crucial Ballistix is available at through their site at the link above or for UK users Crucial UK 252 incl VAT.

While both kits are exceptional and Super Talent did outperform Crucial, I would have to choose Crucial as the victor in this 2GB basho solely based on availability. While the avid Overclocker would want to find Super Talent and the company does offer a Lifetime warranty, Crucial is well established company with excellent service and their memory can be found almost anywhere. While Super Talent impressed me most, if I can't have it I must defer to Crucial. I would like to thank both companies for submitting their products, both are winners here.

Super-Talent has informed their memory is becoming more widely available. Three links were sent; however, at the moment I could find only one store which carried the product we reviewed. The next two shops advertise the kit tested here but I couldn't find it in stock:

SuperTalent 2GB-kits PC2-6400/PC2-8000



Questions/Comments: forum thread
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