DDR-2 is here to stay - whether you love it or you hate it - you are going to have to put up with it. Right now it is expensive, provides no real performance increases and involves the purchase of a new processor, motherboard and graphics card on the new Intel 775 platform. While this is all true people are still going to want it since it is new - original DDR memory ran into the same problems at launch. It is not that DDR-2 modules aren't quicker then current generation DDR; it's more the fact that the chipsets aren't yet optimized enough to take advantage of the new technology. There is one thing we can honestly say and that is we won't see another RAMBUS disaster with DDR-2 as memory manufactures all over the world are well and truly prepared for DDR-2. This is made obvious with the amount of memory modules we have here today.
While we have a number of different memory modules from a number of different companies, there are currently only a small number of companies manufacturing the actual DDR-2 chips - mostly Samsung, Elpida and Micron. We have all of these here today and we will see if there is much difference between the different chips but also if there is a difference in the same chip from different manufactures. It is important to keep in mind that all memory modules have SPD timings of 4-4-4-12 - as the technology and platform matures, timings will ramp up.
We will be seeing many of the major memory companies here today - Kingmax, Crucial, TwinMOS and Kingston are making an appearance and some of the other companies better known for performance memory such as Mushkin and Corsair. Some companies are charging more for some brands because of labeling. A prime example of this is the XMS2 series from Corsair, there has been no word of high performance chips from anyone so we will see what gives the latest Corsair modules the right to be named XMS2 compared to their Value Select series.
Our good friends at Legit Reviews wrote an excellent article on DDR-2 not too long ago and one particular part that really stood out was the part about the naming scheme of both 533MHz and 667MHz DDR-2 memories. You would think that it would all be called the same but names vary from PC4200 to PC4400 due to rounding up and down of math figures. For a complete run down we would highly recommend a quick trip over to Legit Reviews DDR-2 Marketing article.
Included in our large pile of memory are some with heat spreaders and some without. The joy of DDR-2 is that they operate cooler then original DDR. We can honestly still say that DDR really doesn't need heatsinks so we will find out if these chips that are supposed to run cooler really need them either. We will be overclocking them, benchmarking them and doing all that fun stuff we do with memory. So let's have a look at the modules and go through the motion to see who comes out on top at the end of the day.
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