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DDR-400 Memory Battle - Crucial vs. Geil vs. Mushkin - The Contenders - Crucial

Today we are comparing DDR-400 enthusiast memory modules from Crucial, Geil and Mushkin which are designed for performance AMD Athlon 64 users. After taking a look at each module and checking their compatibility on a range of DDR based chipsets, we run a bunch of benchmarks to work out which module offers the best performance.

| Editorials in RAM | Posted: Sep 6, 2005 4:00 am

Crucial Ballistix

 

First on the chopping block is Crucial with their Ballistix memory modules.

 

 

Module Size: 2x512MB (1GB Total)

 

Package: Ballistix 184-pin DIMM

 

Feature: DDR PC4000

 

Configuration: 128Meg x 64

 

Error Checking: NON-ECC

 

Speed: 250MHz x2 (DDR500)

 

Voltage: 2.8V

 

Memory Timings: 3-4-4-8

 

The Ballistix range is Crucial's first actual attempt at an enthusiast memory module. Ballistix is designed for ultra high clock speed by sacrificing latency times. With DDR-2 now being the preferred memory for Intel platforms, DDR is set for the AMD realm, which isn't very happy with high latency times due to its on die memory controller.

 

Crucial ships the Ballistix range using gold coloured alloy heat spreaders. These spreaders are held onto the modules with metal clips and thermal tape. These spreaders are easy to remove if you wish to install copper spreaders which do tend to offer a cooler memory module due to the thermal characteristics of copper.

 

 

With the spreaders removed, we get to see the modules themselves for all their naked glory. The PCB is a 6 layer low noise black layout. Crucial uses single sided DIMS for its 256, and 512MB sticks and double sided for the 1GB and 2GB sticks. Using single sided DIMM's are a preference with AMD systems - compatibility will be better especially if you're using four modules in one system.

 

 

The modules from Crucial are Micron based, however, the Micron insignia has been lasered off and the Ballistix label has been installed. This means we aren't truly able to determine the nanosecond rating these modules are rated for; however, we can assume they are the 4ns with the 4v label on them.

 

Compatibility

 

With regards to compatibility we tested the two modules in a variety of platforms that support Dual Channel DDR. We did tests on the AMD Athlon 64 platform with a 3000+ Winchester core on both K8T890 and nForce4 motherboards. We also tested them on Intel I875P and I865PE, VIA PT880 and SiS 655FX. For AMD Athlon XP we did tests on VIA KT880 and nForce 2.

 

All platforms accepted this memory and worked at the specified timings and in some cases slightly higher on boards that allowed native DDR-500 support.

 

How much does it cost?

 

Crucial Technology Ballistix 1 GB PC4000 DDR RAM

 

Further Reading: Read and find more RAM content at our RAM reviews, guides and articles index page.

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