Articles: Memory

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As I have already said, first we tested 512MB Aeneon DDR2 SDRAM modules (the diagram shows the maximum frequencies we managed to achieve with different timing settings):

As you can see from the obtained results, we cannot assign these memory modules the overclocker’s title. Their frequency potential is relatively low, so it is simply impossible to overclock these memory modules to the heights most enthusiast products can reach. However, I would like to point out a few very pleasing things about the tested modules. First, these memory modules can work wt 533MHz not only with the nominal timings set to 4-4-4-11, but also with the more aggressive timings set to 3-3-3-9. Second, with 5-5-5-15 timings these modules can work at 800MHz. in other words, it indicates that AET660UD00-370A98X has quite good overclocking potential. I believe that this product is worth your attention not only due to its attractively low price, but also due to the opportunity to get some extra performance, beyond the limits claimed by the specification.

Now it’s time we tested the 1GB Aeneon AET760UD00-370A08X memory modules. The following graph displays the obtained results:

It is really sad but 1GB Aeneon modules appeared not as successful as their 512MB brothers. The first evident of this failure is their inability to grow the working frequency as efficiently as we have just seen in the previous case. Even with the least aggressive timing settings, 5-5-5-15, the maximum these memory modules can work at is 740MHz.

Here we could actually move straight to conclusions, however, there remained one question that we couldn’t leave unattended. Namely, we were wondering what could still make us use 1GB memory modules even though they cannot boast a high overclocking potential as their 512MB fellows. Even if you want to have 2GB of RAM in your system, you do not have to go with 1GB memory modules. Most Pentium 4 platforms feature four DDR2 DIMM slots, so you can always install four 512MB modules into the system.

As for Athlon 64 based platforms, the use of four DIMM modules will not be an optimal choice, because in this case the memory controller will automatically shift to 2T Command Rate mode, and hence the performance will drop down quite tangibly. However, we haven’t yet heard anything like that about the Pentium 4 systems. That is why we decided to perform some additional tests and to investigate the differences between 2- and 4-module configurations of the memory subsystem in Pentium 4 platforms.

I would like to address special thanks to Infineon for providing us with the sufficient number of DDR2 memory modules that made this type of research possible. Therefore we compared the performance of a platform built with four DDR2 SDRAM modules, 512MB each (AET660UD00-370A98X) against that of a platform built with two DDR2 SDRAM modules, 1GB each (AET760UD00-370A08X). So, the overall RAM capacity equaled 2GB in both cases. For this test session we used a Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz processor and the memory worked in DDR2-667 mode with 4-4-4-12 timings. Aeneon memory modules work absolutely stably with these settings even though this is not their nominal default work mode.

By the way, the testing of a system configuration with 4 memory modules installed went on absolutely impeccably. The increase of the memory controller workload doesn’t lead to any unpleasant circumstances. The system retains its stability and the overclocking potential of this configuration remains the same. So, the configurations with 4 DIMMs are quite safe from this prospective. At least if you are building a system on an Intel 955X Express based mainboard.

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