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|27th October 2008, 10:47||#1|
Join Date: May 2002
4GB of G.Skill's Pi Black Series 800MHz CL4 memory
We found that using the biggest performance difference for the popular P45 chipset was actually tRD - a chipset limitation, not memory. On the Gigabyte board this is the "Performance Enhance" option that can be changed between Standard, Turbo or Extreme - either this or adjusting precisely in the Advanced Timing Control section will greatly affect performance. Dropping down the performance level from Turbo to Standard with the 1,066MHz memory saw the performance drop significantly to sub-800MHz CAS-4 levels, effectively nullifying any point in buying and using faster memory settings. In this case, if you're under a strict budget, we'd highly recommend buying a better motherboard and cheaper memory - substituting more expensive PC2-8500 memory for these G.Skill Pi-Blacks.
It was disappointing to not achieve >1,000MHz stability in gaming though, but having to drop down the Pi-Blacks to 920MHz to enable the games to work without crashing didn't see any significant performance increase over 800MHz or difference to 1,066MHz even. On the other hand, there was also very little performance difference (nothing noticeable) between cheaper CAS-5 and these Pi-Blacks at CAS-4. Another slight disappointment was that we couldn't squeeze CAS-3 out of them, however this is not the first time we've been unable to achieve it as previously other PC2-8500 DIMMs have only stretched to CAS-4 at 800MHz as well. It depends on the ICs - we've only found the older Micron D9s to reliably achieve it.
At £56.17 the Pi-Blacks are only £6 more expensive than the 800MHz CAS-5 Corsair XMS memory we recommended in this month's budget build. Is it worth it? In some limited respects, yes - it has larger and better looking heatspreaders so aesthetically it's a winner and it should be a bit cooler too. The lower CAS rating might be fractionally helpful in a few scenarios but it's unlikely to change the computing experience - the biggest bonus is EPP if you're lazy and your motherboard supports it. The closest match we've found is this OCZ Reaper-X 4GB kit for a few quid less at £54 - however it's 4-4-4-15, rather than 12, it doesn't have EPP and it's rated to a much higher 2.1V rather than 1.9V the G.Skill has, so we'd certainly opt for paying the extra £2 for Pi-Blacks.
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