Articles: Memory

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We can see that the selected timings and frequency of the memory subsystem may have a big effect on the performance of a Pentium 4 system in real applications, too. The FSB frequency also affects the performance quite much. Thus, if you want to squeeze the maximum from your computer, you shouldn’t forget about a proper memory setup besides overclocking the CPU and graphics card.

Memory timings are the performance-determining factor with Athlon 64 systems, but they are not with Pentium 4 platforms. All of our tests indicate that systems with high-frequency memory deliver the maximum performance. This is especially conspicuous when the FSB is clocked at 1067MHz: the systems with DDR2-1067 and DDR2-800 SDRAM are always faster than the systems with DDR2-667 and DDR2-533 SDRAM irrespective of the selected timings.

It’s all the same with an 800MHz FSB, even though DDR2-667 SDRAM with extremely low timings like 3-2-2-8 is just a little faster than DDR2-800 SDRAM with 5-5-5-15 timings. Still, this cannot change the overall picture: memory frequency has a bigger effect on performance than latency when it comes to Pentium 4 systems with DDR2 SDRAM. If you’ve got memory capable of working at 800MHz and higher, you are guaranteed to have more performance than with DDR2-667 or DDR2-533 whatever timings the latter may have. Thus, we fully agree with the manufacturers’ course towards higher frequencies of DDR2 SDRAM they produce.

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