Articles: Memory

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We verified stability of operation in two steps. First, we used the Memtest86+ utility version 1.60 to make sure there were no errors at work. Then we reconfirmed this result by running S&M 1.7.2 and Prime95 24.13 utilities in Windows XP. This two-step approach ensures that we get trustworthy results.

Although Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000 work at 2.2V voltage according to their official specification, we decided to run the first bunch of tests at a lower voltage setting of 2.1V. The thing is that other overclocker’s DDR2 SDRAM memory modules that we have already tested in our lab, namely Corsair TWIN2X1024A-5400UL, Mushkin XP2-6400 DDR2 and OCZ DDR2 PC2-8000 Platinum Enhanced Latency Dual Channel, were tested exactly at this particular voltage setting. And we were first of all interested in comparing the results of our Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000 against those of competitor’s products working at the same voltage setting.

According to the results obtained at 2.1V voltage, which is a nominal setting for the majority of overclocker DDR2 SDRAM modules, Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000 cannot boast any remarkable performance achievements. At this voltage they fail to reach 1GHz frequency even at the least aggressive timings of 5-5-5-15. And once we ajust the memory timings more aggressively, we set them to 3-2-2-8, Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000 loses stability at 667MHz frequency. In this mode Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000 definitely loses to other overclocking friendly memory modules out there.

However, we can hardly expect the memory modules working with the voltage set below the nominal value to show any outstanding results. So, let’s pass over to the tests with 2.2V voltage setting, which is the official nominal value for Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000. Before we start though, let me point out one thing here. You should keep in mind that far not all LGA775 mainboards allow increasing the memory voltage to 2.2V. Therefore, before you make up your mind about getting a pair of DDR2 SDRAM memory modules, such as Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000, you should double-check the voltage settings your mainboard supports.

It may seem that a 0.1V voltage increase is not that much of a change, however, the performance results improved dramatically. According to our practical tests, DDR2 SDRAM chips from Micron respond very well to the voltage increase. They really worked at 1GHz frequency with 5-5-5-15 timing settings once we sent 2.2V to Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000 modules. And when the timings were set to more aggressive values of 3-2-2-8, these modules ran stably at 667MHz frequency. It indicates that we can call these memory modules a universal solution.

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