One of the more vexing discoveries as memory performance testing was extended to the Athlon 64 platform was that memory often did not perform the same on both platforms. You simply could not assume that a memory that did DDR550 on the Intel 478 chipset would perform the same on the Athlon 64. We have also discovered that certain memory actually performs much poorer on Athlon 64 than on Intel 478, while other memory consistently performs much better on Athlon 64. With these variations, it was time to establish an Athlon 64 memory test platform and run new baseline tests on some of the best recent memories.

You can see the details of our new Athlon 64 testbed in the recent review, OCZ 3700 Gold Rev. 3: DDR500 Value for Athlon 64 & Intel 478. The decision was made to look to the future on Athlon 64 memory benchmarks with a Socket 939 Dual-Channel test bed. With the recent introductions of the 90nm Socket 939 3000+, 3200+, and 3500+ processors, the starting price for a 939 CPU is now well below $200. This will likely encourage further growth of the 939 as the top-performance platform for Athlon 64. We will soon be bringing you performance and overclocking tests of the new 90nm AMD chips, and our decision to concentrate on Socket 939 for our Athlon 64 memory test bed was influenced by AMD's targeting of the 939 for new product developments.

VIA just launched their first reference boards using PCI Express on the Athlon 64. Later this month, we also expect new Athlon 64 chipsets from others that will add PCI Express capabilities to the Socket 939 platform. While these new chipsets could migrate later to Socket 754 single-channel, the new chipsets will launch with Socket 939. This will further push the 754 to the value side of the Athlon 64 line.

As you saw in our DFI LANParty UT nF3-250Gb: Overclocker's Dream review, the 754 is capable of incredible performance. It is even capable of outperforming the newer 939, since base performance is only about 5% higher for the 939. However, this usually requires the use of one DIMM. Overclocking performance with 2 DIMMs on 754 is normally poorer than 2 DIMMs on 939. While there are many reasons to buy 754 for value and performance, future development will revolve around the 939 socket and dual-channel memory.

To understand better how memory behaves on the Athlon 64, we tested a cross-section of some of the best memory currently available in the lab. This included new Samsung TCCD memory form PQI and G. Skill, familiar Samsung TCCD from Geil and OCZ, top performing Micron-based Crucial Ballistix, and the latest Hynix DT-D5 memory from OCZ. We had originally planned to include the unique OCZ 3700EB also, which had performed well in other Athlon 64 tests. However, OCZ told us EB memory was no longer in production, and we could not find EB in stock at any vendor. We, therefore, eliminated EB from our final testing, since it is no longer available for purchase.

Crucial Ballistix PC3200
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  • xeoph - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    I also wanted to mention it in this artical if it hasnt been already.

    The pricing above the ultra X is for Ultra Platinum. The link is a little misleading because it doesnt give the exact tech specs.

    simply a mistype. m-400-512x2glx1gb3200dc is what your looking for, little X between gl and 1gb.
  • mervine - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    hi Wesley
    You mention the newer Samsung TCCD chips overclock better on AMD64 than the older ones, How long have these new chips been avaliable?
    The reason I ask is I live in europe and stocks over here might not be as new as in the states. I'm looking to buy some ocz rev2 but is there any way to tell if its using old or new revision TCCD?
  • PrinceXizor - Tuesday, October 5, 2004 - link


    I appreciate your point. I suppose I would have been vaguer in my statements than you were, that is my only point (probably a matter of subjective opinion of course). Something like...

    "In the course of testing, it was discovered that we were being adversely limited by the power supply used in our testing rig. Switching to a higher wattage power supply unlocked the potential of many of these DIMMS. While the actual problem with the original PSU requires more analysis time than we had for this review (lower wattage? lower rail amperage? lower rail tolernaces?), hard-core overclockers should carefully inspect the specifications on their PSU's if they plan on maxing out the OC on their memory modules. Switching power supplies, as we did, may help you to reach the overclocks attained in this review."

    Something like that is all I would have liked to see, instead of a blanket recommendation for a higher wattage PSU. That was my point.

    All this being said, I still enjoyed the review! I look forward to more memory module reviews in the future.

  • jynxycat - Tuesday, October 5, 2004 - link

    good review, i was on the edge between the PQI and Crucial sticks, not really knowing what to expect from the PQI on an AMD setup.

    finally a full review of what the respective sticks will achieve on the AMD platform, very much appreciated.
  • Blappo - Sunday, October 3, 2004 - link

    That is true. It might be interesting to see a comparison of PSUs to see which one would give the highest overclock. I would guess that the PSUs with high ratings would perform well, but there might be some lower power PSUs delivering good quality power that perform well, or some high output PSUs that perform poorly because of low quality power.
  • darkwaffle - Sunday, October 3, 2004 - link

    I'm not sure how much of a direct comparison you could make between the 3 PowerStream models, because according to the +5 rail differs on the 420 and 470, and the +12 rail is different on all of them.
  • Blappo - Saturday, October 2, 2004 - link

    I would be curious if using either the 420W or 470W OCZ PowerStream models would change the amount the memory could be overclocked? Since they are in the same model line then any differences when OC would be attributed to the amount of power available, and not the quality of power available.
  • LocutusX - Saturday, October 2, 2004 - link

    I've got the one Wesley mentioned. It's the Enermax EG465P-VE - the *Q4 2001* model. That same model which is *currently* available in stores has slightly different specs. Anyways, I think I'll keep in mind a possible upgrade to the Powerstream since that would probably help my OC situation as well.
  • KingofFah - Saturday, October 2, 2004 - link

    (This is more directed to #20)
    As Wesley said:
    +3.3V - 38A
    +5V - 44A
    +12V - 20A
    -5V - 2A
    -12V - 1A
    +5Vsb - 2.2A
    are the specs of the 465 they used.

    Considering they switched to 520W OCZ Powerstream:
    +3.3V - 28A
    +5V - 40A
    +12V - 33A
    -5V - .5A
    -12V - .5A
    +5Vsb - 2.0A

    Even though there is a drop in amperage on the 3.3 and 5v rails, there is a great increase in the 12v. CPU, GPU, HDDs, Optical drives, fans all get there power off of the 12v line.

    Since w = v x a, if you want a good power supply, it almost certainly will have a lot of watts on it, but you only find good amperage on high quality models... So maybe you can see why they said +500 quality PSU??

    My question is: Which rail does the memory draw from? Is it still the 5v?
  • Marlin1975 - Saturday, October 2, 2004 - link

    Wesley Fink, since it has been shown many times that more and more current systems need better power. Why not do a review of power supplys. Everything form top dollar name brand ones to cheaper high "watt" ones to see if they put out what they say at each rail and if they help or hurt a system when doing normal work to over clocking?
    I know power supplys are one of the most over looked items and I am building a HIGH power system right now and can not find any real reviews other then other people saying use or don;t use brand X


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