Articles: Memory

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Signature Line – PSD512400K

Let’s start with the regular DDR400 memory modules belonging to the Signature Line family. The marking states that this set consists of two 256MB modules.

Despite the fact that this is a pretty regular memory set, and maybe for this particular reason, the manufacturer’s web-site contains most of the info about it. We managed to discover such details as the fact that these modules are manufactured on six-layer wafers, their nominal voltage is 2.6V +/-0.2V, and they work at CAS Latency equal to 3.0. Although the very last fact can also be found on the memory sticker:

And this is what the SPD of these memory modules contains:

Despite this fact, ASUS P4C800 Deluxe mainboard (i875P chipset, 1016 BIOS), which we used for our test session, set the timings to 2.5-3-3-6 at 200MHz frequency for all the tested modules. By the way, the manufacturer’s site states that in dual-channel mode the memory is tested on all the most widely spread chipsets, such as i875P, i865PE and NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400. And moreover, it is exactly ASUS P4C800 that takes part in this testing.

We ran the check in the way you are already familiar with from our previous memory tests. We sent 2.7V voltage to the memory modules. Although it is higher that the nominal it lies within the allowed range and is quite Ok for most mainboards. We also set the highest timings equal to 3.0-4-4-8 and then revealed the maximum working frequency for the memory to function stably. Then we reduced the memory timings to reveal the overclocking potential in these particular testing conditions and then we continued the same way until we reached the most aggressive timings of 2.0-2-2-5. The frequency changed with 5MHz increment. For our tests we used a CPU, which can work at 300MHz bus frequency, which theoretically allows us to test the memory working synchronously with the CPU at up to DDR600. We used Gold Memory program as a utility to check the memory’s stability during work.

Here I have to make a short comment. You do know that there are no ideal programs for memory check, as well as for CPU or video cards check. The fact that the test has been passed, indicates only relatively stable performance, but doesn’t guarantee stable performance throughout the entire service time. However, the opposite is also true: if the program reports an error, it does not necessarily mean that your hardware will not work in these conditions or will function unstably. For instance, one of my friends has been constantly getting an error in Prime95 every time he tried to check an overclocked CPU, as well as memory. However, his system works just fine, without being shut down for weeks, without a single failure. At it really does work, and not just stays powered on in the standby mode: besides the everyday routine, it is constantly involved in some calculations and is 100% loaded all the time.

We undertook a few experiments and found out that Gold Memory tests RAM much better than Windows memory Diagnostic for instance and at least not any worse than S&M. if the memory has been tested in Gold Memory, then S&M revealed no problems. That is why we considered Gold Memory to be quite enough for our tests.

The diagrams below indicate the nominal frequencies in blue (these are the frequencies the memory should work at according to the specs on the manufacturer’s website), the frequencies and timings written in SPD in green and the actual working frequencies during our test session in red.

This is a wonderful result! The diagram very illustratively shows that the memory works at considerably higher frequencies than it should and at much lower timing settings. When we shift to CL 2.0 the frequency drops down significantly, however, to tell the truth, I was surprised to see the memory working in these conditions at all. Keeping in mind that this is regular inexpensive memory, the results should be regarded as excellent. So, what are we up to next?

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