Super Talent & TEAM Join the Fast DDR2 Club

With both AMD and Intel solidly in the DDR2 camp memory makers have pulled out all the stops in creating new and faster DDR2 memory. The latest Intel Core 2 Duo and AMD AM2 platforms both support DDR2-800, and enthusiast memory makers have filled the market with DDR2-800, DDR2-1000, DDR2-1066, and even DDR2-1100 modules. The new DIMMs, mostly based on Micron memory chips, established memory timings of 3-3-3 as the newest standard for Enthusiast memory at DDR2-800. All of these new memories have also reached DDR2-1067 and beyond.

Even Value DDR2 became faster very quickly. Most of the value sticks began using Elpida memory, and while these were usually rated at DDR2-667 or DDR2-533, they managed to run at DDR2-800 at 4-3-3 timings at around 2.2V. None of the DDR2-800, DDR2-667, or DDR2-533 rated modules tested have been able to reach DDR2-1067, which is supported by recent Intel Socket 775 boards, but DDR2-800 at good timings is plenty fast for many users. You will find a recent roundup of Value DDR2 in the Value DDR2 section of the Conroe Buying Guide. However, you will need to ignore the prices quoted just two months ago, because memory is in another period of price escalation. Some memory has increased 50% or more in price, and the great value 2GB memory kits for $150 are no where to be found.

From this stew of ever-escalating DDR2 memory prices, two brands have landed on our test bench that may not be familiar to all our readers - particularly at the high-end of memory performance. Super Talent and TEAM have both established a reputation of delivering solid value in memory, but they are not the names that normally come to mind when you think of the best memory available. However, both companies are out to prove their products are more than competitive when it comes to memory aimed at the computer enthusiast.

We were excited to look at both these new DDR2-1000 offerings because top DDR2 memory has become so expensive so fast. Both Super Talent and TEAM seem to have a knack for pricing their products at the value end of whatever speed they ship, and it was time to find out if the value was real, or whether there were performance penalties for the lower prices.

The first glance at the rated performance of both new modules was not particularly encouraging. Super Talent rates their T1000UX2G4 at 4-4-5-15 timings at DDR2-1000 with 2.2V . The important rating here is the 5 which represents RAS to CAS delay. TEAM is even more conservative than Super Talent, rating their DDR2-1000 at 5-5-5-15 at DDR2-1000 with 2.1V to 2.3V. These rated performance numbers compare to our champion Corsair and OCZ DDR2-1000 modules which both run with complete stability at 4-3-4-11 timings at 2.20V to 2.25V at DDR2-1067 - well above their rated speed. However, we have often seen much more conservative timing and speed ratings than the best memory can actually achieve, and this is particularly true with high-end memory. The proof is in what the memory can actually do in competitive memory benchmarking.

Memory Specifications
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  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    As I stated in the review, we have yet to see a value DDR2-800 that will run at DDR2-1067. The value parts we have tested with Elpida chips can achieve 4-3-3 timings at DDR2-800. We tested and showed results in the Conroe Buying Guide. Part 2 of that guide is in the works and will include more value RAM.
  • Guuts - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    Thanks Wes.
  • deathwalker - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    These modules certainly appear to be a "no go" for most of the 1.8 vlt. C2D platforms...and there certainly seem to be many of them out there that only offer modest voltage settings above 1.8 vlts.
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    This would have been true early on with most of the P965 boards. However, as the bios and memory SPDs have matured this is no longer the case for the vast majority of P965 boards. I have not had an issue with the high end PC2-8000 and up modules booting properly at this time in most of the P965 boards with the latest bios, the lone exception being the Intel branded boards. However, unless you have a E6300/E6400, a very overclocking friendly board, and are benchmarking for money then there are better choices in the DDR2-800 family for the P965 setup. ;-)
  • duploxxx - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    We all know memory performance is much more important on AM2, so what's the point on reviewing it only on Core.

    You should add the performance benches of the fx to this chart. But I am sure you won't. Because many know what will happen to the performance crown when using such memory to the AMD system (without the trick of lowering cas to memoryspeed you did in your performance king review), but marketing is at a whole other level these days.....
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - link

    I stated in the review that AMD bandwidth goes up more than Core2Duo as memory speed increases. We showed that in our C2D vs. AM2 article. However, even with the massively increased bandwidth AM2 performance does not increase accordingly - and we also showed that in our earlier review. The fact is that the current AM2 design is not memory bandwidth starved, so the memory bandwidth improvements have almost no impact on performance. In the future AM2 die-shrink, with perhaps a memory controller update, we might see AM2 make better use of it's memory bandwidth advantage. When that happens, we will definitely report it.

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