Articles: Memory

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Testbed and Methods

The use of DDR3-2000 in a Socket AM3 system limits your choice of other components. Particularly, you need an E0-stepping processor, i.e. with six cores, whereas your mainboard should be on the recommended product list.

Besides, you must be aware that DDR3-2000 SDRAM is not listed among the Phenom II X6's standard features. The processor’s memory controller doesn’t have frequency multipliers to clock system memory at 2000 MHz when working in default mode. Therefore you have to overclock your computer to be able to set that memory frequency. With our testbed, we had to raise the base clock frequency from 200 to 250 MHz in order to use our system memory as DDR3-2000. Of course, this affects the rest of the frequencies as well, including the clock rates of the CPU, CPU-integrated North Bridge and HyperTransport bus. So, after changing the base clock rate, you may want to check out and adjust the rest of the frequencies and multipliers.

We will use a Phenom II X6 1090T for today’s tests. Its clock rate increases from its default 3.2 GHz to 4.0 GHz as we raise the base clock rate from 200 to 250 MHz. This overclocking suits us just fine as we know our CPU to be able to work at such settings without any problems. As for the CPU-integrated North Bridge, we additionally increased its frequency with the multiplier to 3.0 GHz. This North Bridge includes a memory controller and L3 cache, so its overclocking helps reveal the potential of high-speed system memory better.

The complete list of hardware and software components used for our test system looks as follows:

  • CPU: Phenom II X6 1090T (Thuban, 6 cores/6 threads, 3.2 GHz, 6 MBL3), working at 4.0 GHz frequency (16 x 250 MHz), 3.0 GHz North Bridge frequency (12 x 250 MHz);
  • Mainboard: ASUS Crosshair IV Formula (Socket AM3, AMD 890FX);
  • Memory: 2 x 2 GB, DDR3-2000 SDRAM, G.Skill F3-16000CL7D-4GBFLS;
  • Graphics card: ATI Radeon HD 5870;
  • Hard drive: Intel X25-M G2 (SSDSA2MH160G2);
  • CPU cooler: Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme with Enermax Everest fan;
  • Power supply unit: Tagan TG880-U33II (880 W);
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64;
  • Drivers:
    • Intel Chipset Driver;
    • ATI Catalyst 10.9 Display Driver.
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