Three Way DDR-550 Memory Rumble - GeIL, OCZ and ShikaRAM

While companies around the world prepare to introduce DDR-II memory modules to the market place in their various channels, DDR kicks on. We've compared DDR-550 (PC4400) memory modules from GeIL, OCZ and ShikaRAM at their default speeds and overclocked, as far as we could take them, on our ASUS Pentium 4 platform.
| Jun 17, 2004 at 11:00 pm CDT
Manufacturer: none

Three Way DDR-550 Memory Rumble - Introduction

IntroductionWhile DDR-II is not too far off, the technology as a whole is going to be out of reach for a lot of people. It will not only involve a new motherboard but also a new processor which is going to make it quite an expensive upgrade. And if you really want to do it right, you should also be looking at a PCI-Express graphics card to go along with the whole package - simply just more dollars to something that is already going to be quite an expensive upgrade for the average consumer.Today we are looking at some of the current generation DDR memory from a couple of our regular memory manufacturer friends - GeIL and OCZ - we also see a company come into the spotlight called as ShikaRAM who have only just began concentrating on the end-user.We are looking at PC4400 memory (or DDR-550) today. It is 275MHz memory - it's for people with extremely high clocking Intel Pentium 4 processors. While 275MHz is a great achievement for DDR, we will also endeavor to find out how much further they can go.PC4400 memory is not cheap, so sit back and find out what you should be spending your hard earned dollars on for your overclocking adventures.

Three Way DDR-550 Memory Rumble - The Modules - GeIL PC4400

GeIL PC4400
- SpecificationsModule Size: 2 X 512 MBPackage: 184-pin LONG DIMMNaming: DDR PC4400Speed: 550MHz DDRChip Density: 32MB X 8Voltage: 2.6V - 3.1VCAS Latency: 3-8-4-4- The ModulesGeIL has got a great looking module here with its mirror heatsink, which is known as their Ultra Platinum series of memory. The Platinum series comes from speeds ranging from PC3200 to PC4400.Something that we haven't seen before is the inclusion of a temperature thermometer embedded on the actual heatsink - as the modules heat up, the black changes into a bright color which gives you an idea on how hot the modules are. The effects of this can best be seen on the picture below taken from the GeIL USA website.
The quality of the heatsink is excellent. It is full copper with nickel plating which gives it an excellent look and very high quality feel. The last modules we looked were the Golden Dragon series which used Wafer Level Chip Scale Package which we didn't have much luck with; these modules go back to the more conventional TSOP chip.
- OverclockingThe last time we had a look at memory from GeIL, we didn't have much luck with it at all. This time around, we had a bit more luck. We were able to achieve a maximum stable overclock of 287MHz (or 574MHz DDR) which isn't too bad from the default 550MHz DDR.

Three Way DDR-550 Memory Rumble - The Modules - OCZ PC4400

OCZ PC4400
-SpecificationsModule Size: 2 X 512 MBPackage: 184-pin LONG DIMMNaming: DDR PC4400Speed: 550MHz DDRChip Density: 32MB X 8Voltage: 2.85VCAS Latency: 2.5-8-4-4- The ModulesFor the longest time, OCZ has produced a classy looking module and the latest PC4400 modules are no exception. With their gold heatsinks, they really stand out and the pictures we've taken don't really do it any justice.One thing you may notice about these modules, compared to the others, is that the memory from OCZ is actually CAS 2.5 instead of CAS 3 like the other modules in the roundup.
- OverclockingThe last time we had OCZ modules they did exceptionally well - unfortunately then because of our processor/motherboard combination, we couldn't get the speed we wanted out of them.For this roundup we were able to get our hands on the ASUS P4P800 which is extremely well known for its ability to overclock memory to its maximum speeds. We weren't able to get the memory as high as the GeIL memory. The maximum overclock that was achieved from the OCZ modules was 281MHz (or 562MHz DDR).

Three Way DDR-550 Memory Rumble - The Modules - ShikaRAM PC4400

ShikaRAM PC4400
- SpecificationsModule Size: 2 X 512 MBPackage: 184-pin LONG DIMMNaming: DDR PC4400Speed: 550MHz DDRChip Density: 32 X 8Voltage: 2.6V - 2.8VCAS Latency: 3-8-4-4- The ModulesShikaRAM has been producing memory modules for OEMs for a long time. Only recently they have started a new division which focuses on the end-user, in particular the enthusiast.They recently contacted us about the release of their PC4400 memory. The particular modules, like the GeIL memory, are rated at CAS 3. Companies like OCZ, Corsair and GeIL have all been making performance memory a lot longer then these guys. The competition is quite hard in this area and it will be interesting to see how ShikaRAM perform.
The modules come with an extremely high quality heatsink which was good to see. The modules we are looking at are 512MB units which come to make a complete 1GB kit.Like OCZ and GeIL, the package is a Dual Channel kit and is guaranteed to work as a pair in a Dual Channel environment at 275MHz.- OverclockingThe modules from Shikatronics did exceptionally well when it came to reaching the spec - it was done without a single hiccup. This is where we began to raise the FSB. We were able to achieve a maximum overclock of 285MHz which is a 20MHz DDR jump over spec which isn't too bad at all. The modules just fell short of what the GeIL was able to achieve but could overtake the modules on offer from OCZ.

Three Way DDR-550 Memory Rumble - Benchmarks - Test System Setup & Synthetics

Test System SetupProcessor(s): Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz ES (unlocked)Video card(s): ASUS P4P800-E (Supplied by ASUS Australia)Video card(s): GeCube Radeon 9600 XT (Supplied by GeCube)Hard Disk(s): Seagate 80GB SATA (Supplied by Seagate)Operating System Used: Windows XP Professional SP1Drivers Used: ATI Catalyst 4.5Using the ASUS P4P800E motherboard and our 3GHz Engineering Sample from Intel which is multiplier unlocked, we were able to achieve the absolute maximum overclock thanks to the help of the vast amount of multipliers available on the ASUS motherboard which help make it a really good choice for Pentium 4 overclocking.While keeping the FSB at 200MHz, we can have the memory running at 533MHz DDR. When moving the FSB up slowly, it gave us an increase in memory speed. To achieve the speed of DDR-550, we didn't need to have a magic processor that could do 275MHz FSB. Instead we had a processor that simply had to hit 220MHz FSB. We know the processor is good up until at least 250MHz but at this speed the memory would be over 600MHz DDR and none of the memory we have here today could achieve this. We eliminated the processor as being the limitation.With that said, let's see what we could get out of the memory and the kind of results it gave us.- SiSoft Sandra 2004SiSoft Sandra (System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) 2004 is a synthetic Windows benchmark that features different tests used to evaluate different PC subsystems.
At default speed, OCZ has the fastest module just by a fraction. As you would expect, the highest clocked memory comes out on top when overclocked.- PCMark 2002PCMark2002 is a multipurpose benchmark, suited for benchmarking all kinds of PCs, from laptops to workstations, as well as across multiple Windows operating systems. This easy-to-use benchmark makes professional strength benchmarking software available even to novice users. PCMark2002 consists of a series of tests that represent common tasks in home and office programs. PCMark2002 also covers many additional areas outside the scope of other MadOnion.com benchmarks.
GeIL takes the win here at default speeds and thanks to their higher overclock, they also take it at maximum overclock.

Three Way DDR-550 Memory Rumble - Benchmarks - Synthetic Gaming

3DMark 20013DMark2001 SE is a part of the popular 3DMark series. By combining DirectX 8.1 support with completely new graphics (including the GeForce4), it continues to provide benchmark results that empower you to make informed hardware assessments.
ShikaRAM at default is not only the fastest memory when clocked at 276MHz but it is also faster then the other modules including itself when they are overclocked.3DMark 20033DMark03 is the latest version of the highly favored 3DMark series. By combining full DirectX9.0 support with completely new tests and graphics, 3DMark03 continues the legacy of being industry standard benchmark.Please Note: Due to recent events with the 3DMark03 series, we are adding results purely for those who are still in favor of 3DMark03. These results should not be taken too seriously and are only added for interest sakes.
Here we see that all the memory is pretty much neck and neck. 3DMark 03 is very graphics card dependent and as a result, you can see the clock speeds made very little difference in the scores.

Three Way DDR-550 Memory Rumble - Benchmarks - Real World Gaming

Quake 3Quake III Arena is a real-world OpenGL benchmark that we have been using here at TweakTown for quite a while now because it has proven itself to be one of the best gaming benchmarks around to compare a wide range of different products. Quake III is getting very old, but is still one of the best ways of testing video and PC systems for any instabilities and best performance.
At 1024 X 768 the GeIL memory gave a slightly weird result. At the lower resolutions the GeIL has a little bit of a lead on the other brands and when overclocked the GeIL and the Shika memory is very close.Unreal Tournament 2003Unreal Tournament 2003 continues the success that Unreal Tournament generated as an online game and benchmark. UT2003 pulls all of its weight onto the 3D and memory subsystems, pushing graphics reality to the maximum is its game, and you need some serious power to gain playable scores with this game.
In Unreal Tournament 2003, the results are so close to each other that you really can't comment on the results.

Three Way DDR-550 Memory Rumble - Conclusions

ConclusionsAll the memory here held up very well which was nice to see. They all had absolutely no problem doing what they were supposed to do and then continued to clock further. The only difference was that the modules were all going to overclock differently.GeIL came out on top with a maximum overclock of 287MHz, Shika was only 2MHz behind on 285MHz and OCZ was running just behind these modules with a maximum overclock of 281MHz. The performance of the memory at their rated speeds was all very similar and if you're not looking at overclocking the modules, the decision on which modules you want to purchase will come down to price and availability in your area.All the memory held up against each other very well and you couldn't go wrong with any of the modules which we've looked at. Computex is over and DDR-II isn't far away so it probably won't be long till we are looking at DDR-II but for the meantime for the people who can't wait, PC4400 is some of the fastest memory available and you can't go wrong with it if you're serious about your computers and overclocking.GeIL SummaryGeIL has got a great set of modules here, the temperature thermometer feature is quite useless as it is hard to see when in your desktop computer but nevertheless is a nice little touch.
GeIL Rating - 9 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Performance AwardOCZ SummaryOCZ has another good looking module and while it did the speed it was supposed to do, it wasn't the best overclocker. 6MHz (or 12MHz DDR) separated it from the top modules here which can be quite a bit when it comes to overclocking.OCZ Rating - 8 out of 10ShikaRAM SummaryFinally Shika, we hadn't heard of this company before they emailed us letting us know that they had finally released some new performance memory. They have done quite a good job and could really generate some serious competition for some of the bigger contenders in the enthusiast market. GeIL, OCZ, Corsair and so on could all have some competition on their hands. Hopefully this isn't the last we see of Shika.ShikaRAM Rating - 8.5 out of 10

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:26 pm CDT

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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