Kingmax made a huge name for themselves when they first started making their TinyBGA memory modules. Now they've done it with their DDR line as well and Cameron "Sov" Johnson is here to let you know if they were successful. So come join the fun and see for yourself if Kingmax has what it takes to jump into the DDR market in our latest review of their PC2100 DDR RAM.
IntroductionKingmax Memory has been around in Australia and Taiwan for many years. Believe it or not, in Australia and Taiwan, Kingmax is the highest selling memory. Yet when some people are asked about Kingmax no one really knows who they are, what they produce or just how good their product is. First off here is a bit of history on Kingmax...Kingmax Technology was founded in 1989 and is listed among Taiwan's Top 200 manufacturers (Commonwealth Magazine, May 2000), and is a leading manufacturer of memory modules. Aside from the Taiwan based manufacturing facilities, the company's American, Chinese, Australian and Dutch workforce consists of over 390 employees.Kingmax has gained ISO-9001 certification and developed business partnerships with top enterprises and organizations in the IT industry. A global leader in DRAM memory products, Kingmax announced the world's first memory module with TinyBGA packaging technology in 1997. The award winning TinyBGA package allowed the company's PC-133 DRAM module to triple memory capacity up to 512 MB while maintaining a small form factor. Kingmax has also created 1 GB StackBGA modules for use in high-end servers and workstations. With the market now swinging the overclockers way, Kingmax have pushed their memory fabrication process towards making faster and more stable memory at insane clock speeds, like the new PC166 SDRAM. With the release of the VIA KT266, SIS 735, ALi MagiK 1 and the AMD 760 chipsets supporting DDR SDRAM, Kingmax have once again come to the market with the new TinyBGA PC2100 DDR SDRAM.What is CAS?CAS stands for Column Access Select, and is the name given to the amount of CPU cycles it takes for the SDRAM to align itself with the processor to recieve and transmit information along the memory bus.. Memory either comes in CAS3 or CAS2 for SDR SDRAM, for DDR SDRAM it is either CAS2 or CAS2.5 with CAS2 being the fastest. CAS refers to the number of latency cycles that the module itself needs to synchronize correctly with the system clock. The lower the number the better. PC100 modules come in two CAS latency flavors, CAS2 and CAS3. A CAS3 latency module running at 100MHz requires one extra cycle during its input and output cycles effectively slowing its performance compared to CAS2. A CAS2 module is able to perform both at higher speeds and with more stability because of this design enhancement. All you really need to remember is CAS2 is faster than CAS3.To adjust the CAS setting you will need to access your computer's BIOS (Basic Input Output System) area. To do this, reboot your computer and press DEL while your computer is checking the memory (or other keysytoke as required by your particular motherboard). You may have to search for the CAS delay option because chances are it will not be in the same section in every motherboard's BIOS. When you find the CAS delay setting, it will most likely default at 3. For optimal performance change this setting to 2. If your computer refuses to boot or crashes, change the CAS setting back down to 3. The reason your computer may crash is because you are forcing the memory to perform faster. But if your memory is rated at CAS2 you should have no problems.
Kingmax PC2100 -
From the picture on Page 1 we can see the entire DIMM module, measuring in at around 1.1 inches. This module is quite small for DDR, and is mostly due to the TinyBGA packaging used. The next picture (above) shows the TinyBGA chips used by Kingmax. The sample we received was a Double Sided 256MB model, showing that the 128MB is only single sided. The fewer modules needed, the better.These chips are made in a fabrication plant in Taiwan called Kingpack, which do all the actual work on the chips themselves. These fully ready chips are then tested for speed and then sent to Kingmax construction plant where each chip is placed on a PCB and sold off as memory.
The above picture shows the labeling Kingmax places on the memory to show its speed, make, model and size.
- Results - Highest FSB Achievable (Using 3Dmark2001 to test)
Kingmax PC2100 -
ConclusionWell, all I can say is WOW! Kingmax's first DDR SDRAM sample and already overclocking well. In the past Kingmax did have some problems with its TinyBGA technology, however, these problems were very quickly removed and are to this day able to provide stable and overclockable memory. Another mention on Kingmax's behalf is that while the memory is rated only CL2.5 the memory ran CL2 upto 160Mhz FSB and CL2.5 at 162Mhz. Unfortunately, due to the early sample, the Kingmax RAM wouldn't go above default voltage of 2.5v. Any attempt to run 2.6v or above resulted in instant Windows Crash. So off hand, not bad.Rating - 9.5/10 and TweakTown's Editors Choice Award.
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