While DDR3 has been touted by Intel to be the memory of choice for the Intel platform, Intel still hasn't given up on DDR2 which is pretty evident in their last three major chipsets. P35, X38 and X48 chipsets all have dual band memory controllers in them, that being they can support either DDR2 or DDR3 memory, depending on what the motherboard manufacturer decides to support. Some have placed both DDR2 and DDR3 slots on their boards for easier upgradability; this helps users who want the latest chipset motherboard but don't want to change their memory right away.
DDR2 is still a big player with all the big names still whipping out newer and faster modules based around the DDR2 standard; this is because of a two-prong attack. First is Intel's continuing support for DDR2 on its high-end chipsets, and secondly AMD's reliance on DDR2 for its AM2 and AM2+ based CPUs. Since AMD can't change memory standards like Intel can by simply changing a chipset, AMD's own CPU memory controller makes it a lot harder to simply swap standards, which has been the biggest problem with AMD's on-chip memory controller.
DDR2 is still kicking, and today we have a new kit from Patriot memory who have come through with a bang in the last six months with new modules hitting the shelves. We have been given their latest PC2-6400 4GB kit with low latency timings on offer. How does it fair compared to our tried and true Geil modules? Let's move on and see.
This is not the first set of modules we have received from Patriot so we pretty well know what to expect from them. The modules come in a plastic protective blister pack that splits open without the need for any tools, so if they are not the right modules for your setup, you can easily return them in as new condition to the shop or manufacturer for refund or swap purposes (some systems don't like certain memory modules, so it's good to have an insurance policy for this, and the returnable blister packs definitely help).
Removing the modules from the protective blister we get to see them in all their glory. Designed on a green PCB the modules make up a 4GB kit containing 2x 2GB modules; this is the norm today as every major player uses Dual Channel to get higher bandwidth without having to increase speeds as much as in past years.
The modules use an alloy chocolate brown heatspreader that has a fin design along its axis to increase surface area to promote better cooling inside the case. The Patriot company logo is embedded into one side of the modules with the DDR2 logo on the opposite side in raised lettering, making it a lot more attractive.
Each module has a sticker on one side that includes the model number, speed rating and timings. These modules are designed for a 4-4-4-12 rating and support up to a maximum of 2.2 volts under the manufacturer's warranty.
Overclocking The Modules
Despite being a high density memory of 4GB the modules still managed to overclock quite well. When lowering the timings to 4-5-5-12 with 2.1v we managed to get the memory to 615MHz which is 215MHz over the stock speed of 400MHz (DDR2-800) that the modules are designed to run at, which we were extremely impressed with.
Important Editor Note: Our maximum overclocking result is the best result we managed in our limited time of testing the motherboard. Due to time constraints we weren't able to tweak the motherboard to the absolute maximum and find the highest possible FSB, as this could take days to find properly. We do however spend at least a few hours overclocking every motherboard to try and find the highest possible overclock in that time frame. You may or may not be able to overclock higher if you spend more time tweaking, or as new BIOS updates are released. "Burn-in" time might also come into play if you believe in that.
Test System Setup and Memory Performance
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad QX6700 @ 3GHz (9x333MHz)
Motherboard: GIGABYTE P35-DQ6 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Hard Disk: 500GB Seagate 7200.9 (Supplied by Seagate Australia)
Graphics Card: MSI GeForce 8800GTS 640MB (Supplied by MSI)
Cooling: GIGABYTE Neon775 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP SP2
Drivers: Intel INF 18.104.22.1689, Forceware 163.21
Today our test system consists of GIGABYTE's P35-DQ6 motherboard which is an extremely flexible overclocker for DDR2 memory modules. To run our stock tests we had the system run with an 800 MHz memory divider which is the highest JEDEC memory standard for DDR2.
EVEREST Ultimate Edition
Version and / or Patch Used: 2006
Developer Homepage: http://www.lavalys.com
Product Homepage: http://www.lavalys.com
Buy It Here
EVEREST Ultimate Edition is an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking it provides essential system and overclock information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings. CPU, FPU and memory benchmarks are available to measure the actual system performance and compare it to previous states or other systems.
Here Patriot's memory has the lower timing ratings at stock and manages a slight lead. At overclocked speeds the Geil manages a better FSB/Memory ratio, so as expected Geil wins out here.
Benchmarks - PCMark05
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/pcmark04/
Buy It Here
PCMark 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. PCMark consists of a series of tests that represent common tasks in home and office programs. PCMark also covers many additional areas outside the scope of other MadOnion.com benchmarks.
Again at stock Patriot managed a win, but at overclocked speeds it's just beaten out by Geil.
Benchmarks - Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0
Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0
Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.adobe.com
Product Homepage: http://www.adobe.com/products/premiereel/
Buy It Here
Our test with Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 is performed with a raw two hour AVI file. It is then compressed into DivX format using the latest version codec. We measure the time it takes to encode and then record CPU usage.
At the stock clock area we see that Geil is behind the Patriot memory, but when overclocked we see that the Patriot falls behind here.
Benchmarks - ScienceMark 2.0
ScienceMark 2.0 is a mathematical program designed to stress the memory subsystems of both desktop/workstation and server environments to determine the read/write latency as well as the overall memory bandwidth available between the CPU and the memory controller.
Sciencemark favors the Patriot memory at stock 800 MHz in both Cipher and Molecular tests, but it gives Geil the lead in the overclocked tests.
Benchmarks - Prey
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2
Timedemo or Level Used: Hardware OC Demo
Developer Homepage: http://www.humanhead.com
Product Homepage: http://www.prey.com
Buy It Here
Prey is one of the newest games to be added to our benchmark line-up. It is based off the Doom 3 engine and offers stunning graphics passing what we've seen in Quake 4 and does put quite a lot of strain on our test systems.
In our gaming tests we see that in the real world there is little difference between the Geil and Patriot modules at stock speeds, and only a few frames difference at overclocked.
Benchmarks - Battlefield 2142
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.25
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.dice.se/
Product Homepage: http://www.battlefield.ea.com/battlefield/bf2142/
Buy It Here
In Battlefield 2142, players choose to fight for one of two military superpowers - the European Union or the newly formed Pan Asian Coalition -in an epic battle for survival.
Armed with a devastating arsenal of hi-tech weaponry, including assault rifles, cloaking devices and sentry guns, players will also take control of the most lethal vehicles known to man. Massive Battle Walkers wage fierce combat on the ground, while futuristic aircraft rule the skies. When taking on this futuristic armor players will need to use their wits and an arsenal of new hi-tech countermeasures like EMP grenades and smart mines to level the playing field.
Lastly we see that with a little more stress on the system the memory results split a bit further apart.
Patriot have really put a lot of work into their memory products; their line of goodies keeps getting longer and it's good to see another player in the memory market who can actually put out some good modules.
The PC2-6400 modules are designed as a high capacity module kit, designed for users who require a lot of memory for encoding or even running Windows Vista, especially 64-bit versions. AMD's love for low latency memory also means this kit is solid gold for it. As for the Intel side of things, any DDR2 supporting platform will love this kit, but in order to get full use out of it you're going to need Windows XP 64 or Vista 64.
In all, Patriot's PC2-6400 modules really have the goods to be worthy of carrying an overclocking title, and with a 4GB capacity you're not going to run out of resources under Vista like 2GB systems can sometimes do.