Call it a mid-life crisis, but both AMD and Intel have traded in their versatile DDR coupes in favor of DDR2 muscle cars. With this transition, the focus shifts from low latency kits to higher timed chips capable of top speeds never before seen in the world of RAM. In fact, the kit we're looking at today comes spec'd at DDR2-1066, nearly twice the speed of where the fastest DDR kits left off at DDR-600!
The model we're looking at today belongs to Kingston, a company respresenting nearly two decades of experience in the memory manufacturing business. Targeting gamers and enthusiasts, their HyperX line is well known in the overclocking community and instantly recognizable by their blue heatspreaders. But regardless of manufacturer, does DDR2-1066 offer enough to get excited over once we get past the spec sheet, or will the higher latencies that DDR2 brings to the race track beg for a tune up? Join us in the driver's seat as we take these sticks for a ride and put the pedal to the metal.
For testing memory modules, HardwareLogic uses SiSoft Sandra's memory bandwidth benchmark, Sciencemark 2.0, Everest 3.0 Ultimate Edition's memory read and write benchmarks, and Super Pi MOD v1.5 1M and 32M benchmarks. All testing was performed on the following test system:
- AMD 3800+ X2 AM2 Processor
- EPOX MF570SLI Motherboard
- 3DFuzion 7600GS Videocard
- Seasonic M12-500 Power Supply
- HSPC Tech Station
Sisoft Sandra Memory Bandwidth
SiSoft Sandra (the System Analyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is a 32 and 64-bit Windows system analyser that includes benchmarking, testing and listing modules.
Everest Ultimate Editon 2006
EVEREST Ultimate Edition is a 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. For testing memory we use Everest's Memory Read and Memory Write tests.
Super Pi Mod v1.5
Super Pi is a program used by enthusiasts to benchmark system performance. Owned and maintained by XtremeSystems.org, Super Pi is as much a competition as it is a benchmark, with many forums cataloging users times in the 1M and 32M calculations. For testing memory we use the 1M claculation.
Super Pi v1.5 Calc to 32M
Science Mark 2.0 is an attempt to put the truth behind benchmarking. In an attempt to model real world demands and performance, SM2 is a suite of high-performance benchmarks that realistically stress system performance without architectural bias. For benchmarking memory, we use MemBench, an unbiased, synthetic benchmark that sweeps through more than 15 different, publicly available, memory copy algorithms to measure the peak memory performance of your CPU's caches and your memory subsystem.
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AMD and Intel were on to something when they made the switch to DDR2, and if you walk away with nothing else from this review, put your mind at ease knowing that the higher timings characteristic of DDR2 are outweighed by the higher frequencies. Now that both camps have jumped on the bandwagon, RAM manufacturers can concentrate their efforts on tweaking their kits to bring us the best of both worlds, reminiscent of what Samsung TCCDs did for DDR. Kingston is well on their way, with their 1GB HyperX PC2-8500 kit boasting the versatility of tight timings at lower frequencies and the headroom to ramp up the clockspeed for a performance boost. Granted the cost of entry is a bit steep at the moment, but we expect DDR2 RAM prices to level out once the new platforms from each camp settle into the marketplace. Anyone looking for a high end kit to compliment a that juicy Core 2 Duo or swag AM2 rig would do well to check out Kingston's HyperX PC2-8500.