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Crucial PC-3200 DDR SDRAM Review (Page 2)

By: Shawn Baker from May 5, 2003 @ 23:00 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Crucial Technology


Module Size: 256MB

Package: 184-pin DIMM

Features: DDR PC3200

Configuration: 32Meg X 64 Micron

Error Checking: Non-parity

Speed: 400MHz

Voltage: 2.5V

SDRAM Timings: CL=3


- Packaging

While most companies choose to package memory in a simple plastic covering, Crucial decided to go all out with a nice card board box, which inside consists of padding and instructions on how to install the memory in a number of different languages. Being placed in the card board box, the overall job on the packaging that Crucial offers makes them look a lot more professional then other companies that simply place the stick in a plastic box - not to mention when being shipped in a much more secure environment.

- The Modules

The first thing you notice about the modules is the lack of heat spreader. This isn't uncommon to Crucial memory due to the high quality chips they use - it isn't necessary for them to include a heat spreader on their memory since it is actual PC3200 memory and not overclocked, hot operating, PC2700, for example.

It is a good sign that Crucial aren't using a heat spreader, some people may like to purchase a third part heat spreader mainly for "wow" factor but we have found that it will make very little if any difference to the memory performance when it comes to overclocking.

If you have a slight knowledge of memory, the first thing you will notice as far as specs are concerned is the decision to produce the sticks with a CAS latency of 3 instead of the more common 2.5 or 2. For anyone who doesn't know about CAS latency, here is a simple description:

CAS latency is the time delay from when the module will process the task, 3 was more common in SDRAM a few years ago, for a while now the most common CAS latency is 2.5. High speed memory uses a CAS latency of 2 which of course helps carry out the task quicker; overall this gives you quicker memory and the opportunity to get the most out of your system. Some motherboards have the option to go to a CAS Latency of 1.5, but the difference between this and 2 is very minimal and does put a lot of extra stress on your system due to the extreme speeds.

Crucial only guarantee CAS 3 latency at full speed while Corsairs XMS DD400 sticks we looked at late last year was capable of CAS 2 at full speed but as you will see in the following pages of this review, the Crucial PC-3200 sample we received for testing was able to hit CAS 2 without any problems at 155MHz FSB, which was the highest we could overclock the memory to which was limited by the processor, not the RAM itself.

This official rating defiantly doesn't make the memory lower quality but overall it won't give you the performance that can be achieved out of a XMS stick. Fortunately due to these specifications Crucial are able to make a much more affordable stick and this of course this is a bigger market then expensive high speed memory.

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