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Date: February 23rd, 2003
Article by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner, Head Editor & Hardware Reviewer)
Product was donated by: Crucial
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TESTING SPECIFICATIONS



Throughout the ram testing, I used exactly the same components with the only variance being the ram itself. The ram I am putting the Crucial against will be a 256meg sample of Samsung PC2700 DDR333 and a 512Meg sample of Mushkin DDR400 with the only variance being that the Samsung is 5ns/CAS2 ram instead of 6ns/CAS2.5 with the Crucial. You might be thinking that this is an unfair matchup seeing that the Samsung and Mushkin is theoretically faster, but as you will see in this review, numbers aren't everything. Just as an interesting addition, I decided to throw some Mushkin DDR400 into the mix for a performance comparison. Should kick the snot out the DDR333 modules, or will it? Hmmm...


The testbed is comprised of:


Intel P4 2.4Ghz with 533Mhz FSB
Via P4PB Ultra Motherboard with Factory Bios
P4X400 Chipset
Albatron GF4 480 8X AGP
Memory set at DDR333 unless testing the DDR400
Integrated LAN
Integrated Sound
256 Meg sample of Samsung PC2700 or Crucial PC2700 DDR Ram or Mushkin DDR400


Testing procedures will entail benchmarking the memory at "By SPD" setting, which is governed by the rams onboard setting and the other test will be to override the BIOS to CAS2 memory latency settings. In order to test the memory at maximum stability, the memory voltage was bumped all the way up to 2.8 volts to eliminate any power problems.


In this review, I will not be overclocking this memory and will be keeping at stock values other than the CAS rating and the settings controlled by the rams onboard EPROM ram timing controller. You may ask "why are you not overclocking?". Well, overclocking today is dependent on many parameters such as cooling, CPU used, quality of power supply, motherboard and motherboard chipset, PCI devices, bios etc... I could go on and on. Having someone buying a product basing their purchase on my findings and not being able to replicate the performance numbers at home really makes me feel guilty and responsible. Nevertheless, when you compare the overclocking population to the mainstream "non-overclocking" population, the mainstream represents the majority of computer owners in the world today. Don't get me wrong, I am an overclocking junkie, but I can't be responsible for you "the reader" not being able to duplicate the performance at home. With that out of the way, lets put the modules to the test....

 

BENCHMARKING


For benchmarking, I used two programs. One is SiSoft SANDRA 2002 Professional "Memory Bandwidth" and the second is Madonion.com's PCMARK 2002 (Free Edition) focusing on the "Memory Score".


As they say in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, LET'S GET IT ON!


SiSoft SANDRA Memory Bandwidth Module (Settings: By SPD)


First off, let's test the Crucial sample.



As a baseline, the crucial memory pulled off a respectable score right about in the range that it should be seeing the "By SPD" settings applied.



The samsung sample using the "By SPD" setting brought about a higher score seeing that it is stock CAS2 ram using faster memory chips.



Adjusting the motherboard to DDR400 settings, I still stuck with the "By SPD" setting of the Mushkin DDR400 which has a rating of CAS2.5. The memory bandwidth was indeed higher, but not as considerable as I was anticipating. Starts to make you think whether the expensive DDR400 is really worth it.

 

 


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