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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  • Bugler - Friday, October 1, 2004 - link

    I ordered from Newegg today. I did not see a place on their site for just a 512mb stick. I ordered the 1gb kit.
  • Bugler - Friday, October 1, 2004 - link

  • saechaka - Friday, October 1, 2004 - link

    hey bugler where are you ordering your ocz platinum rev. 2 from? is there any way to find a place where you can order 1 512mb stick only?
  • darkwaffle - Friday, October 1, 2004 - link

    I'm curious, for a socket754 user, is there really any reason why we couldn't (generally) follow these results? I realize that some of the overclocks may not be able to be achieved, but is it safe to say that the modules that perform highly on s939 will also perform highly also on s754 (In comparison to the other modules)?
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, October 1, 2004 - link

    #32 -
    Corsair and Kingston DDR400 2-2-2 were both included in our recent 2-2-2 roundup. Frankly we did test both Kingston and Corsair in the early going for these tests and both did quite poorly on the Athlon 64 test bed compared to other recent TCCD modules.

    However, the Kingston and Corsair were early TCCD dimms and we are confident more recent dimms from these two major manufacturers would perform more like the OCZ, Geil, and G. Skill. Unfortunately we didn't have those more recent dimms to test, and we felt reporting what we had found would have been very unfair to Corsair and Kingston, who both produce excellent memory products.
  • ImJacksAmygdala - Friday, October 1, 2004 - link

    I'm sure OCZ and Geil are great memory for A64, but all I got out of that article was buy OCZ memory, buy Geil Memory, o ya and buy a top of the line OCZ power supply....

    What about Corsair and Kingston? How do they compete?

    This site is smothered with advertisement. Why make it so obvious in the articles? Thanks for the article though...
  • einsig - Friday, October 1, 2004 - link

    And re: the robust +12v rails. They are most crucial for A64 overlocking. I have an Enermax with 31A on two +12v rails and it makes the world of difference.
  • einsig - Friday, October 1, 2004 - link

    One thing that really needs to be stated is that Clawhammer cores automatically set a command rate of 2T at speeds from DDR400 and up. you need to use A64 Tweaker to make the change (can be loaded at startup). I have a Clawhammer 3400+ that has been run on an ASUS K8V Deluxe and MSI K8N Neo Platinum. I was running XMS 2x512 3200LL Corsair, but it didn't want to OC even on the K8N (nothing OCs on the K8V because of the chipset). I now run Crucial ballistix PC4000 and it is incredible, however (as the article states) the command rate of 1T is really ideal. They should just tell people how to set that if they have a Clawhammer.
  • Shinei - Friday, October 1, 2004 - link

    What's really exciting is that the two DDR600 overclockers are board-limited before they top out in speed (K8N Neo2s go to 300MHz on the RAM). I'd like to see what the RAM could do on a more extreme overclocking board, since it seems like these new RAM chips are capable of pushing on to DDR667 or even higher...
    With that said, I agree that the prices for this stuff is getting ridonculous. Cheaper RAM means more sales and increased usage of that 8 exobyte storage capacity the Athlon 64 has. ;)
  • Bugler - Friday, October 1, 2004 - link

    Thank you AnandTech. I have been waiting for greater clarification since you last recommended OCZ 3700 enhanced bandwidth ram and none could be found. I was balancing between that and ballistix. After today's review, I ordered OCZ Plat, rev 2 for the system I am putting together.

    Now if we could get some reviews and testing of the newer 90 speed AMD processors, hint, hint...

    I appreciate this site very much.

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