Core 2 Duo: Effects Of Memory Timings

Comments 1 to 22 of 22

vengeance 18th July 2006, 16:29 Quote
Good article.
Lower memory timings had no noticable performance boost for my system. But there was an obvious difference between 1T and 2T timings.
Lazlow 18th July 2006, 16:35 Quote
I'm glad you concluded that there isn't a huge difference between the C3 and C4 sticks. I purchased a pair of 6400 (800MHz) 2gb Corsair C4s the other week for just under £200 and wondered if there is a huge difference between them and the lower latency set.

The C5s were around £160, whereas the C4s were near £200, so I was happy stumping up the extra £40, but the difference in price between the C4s and C3s seemed ridiculous.
choupolo 18th July 2006, 16:52 Quote
That's great news for me too. I was just looking into the Core 2 Duo E6600-Asus P5W DH Deluxe-Corsair XMS2 6400CS4 combination. Could be a popular one. :D
ch424 18th July 2006, 17:01 Quote
Thanks for that! Bit-Tech myth busters!

However, I don't get the final conclusion: do people knowingly pay 30% more for 1% performance increase?

Tim S 18th July 2006, 17:19 Quote
The 6400C3 modules we have are good overclockers and that is similar to what I have seen elsewhere on the web. What I'm basically saying is that memory with tighter timings is going to overclock further than 'standard' CAS4 DDR2. So, if you're looking to overclock, the C3 modules might be attractive if you've got more money than sense. :)
ch424 18th July 2006, 17:27 Quote
Ah, I get it now, thanks.

Edit: Post #1111 \o/
rgkgraphix 18th July 2006, 18:29 Quote
woo...I got a little worried when I saw this article. I purchased the Corsair Ballistix 4-4-4-12 yesterday, without reading any reviews. Then I saw the headlines and was crap I hope I did well? I feel better now.
olly_lewis 18th July 2006, 18:30 Quote
Thats one large pile of memory... good roundup, I'm going to go intel in the near future and this is very useful, good roundup...
Kipman725 18th July 2006, 20:36 Quote
Very usefull, should save some freinds of mine some money
bahgger 18th July 2006, 20:47 Quote
"Is tighter always better? Do you always get what you pay for? We investigate how much difference memory timings can make to a Core 2 Duo platform. "

Now was the author's thoughts in the first sentence purely on memory timings, or was he feeling a little aroused too? :P
Highland3r 18th July 2006, 21:00 Quote
The corsair C3 modules also use D9 "fatbody" chips, so scale rather nicely with volts. The BH5 of DDR2 one might say.

Nice roundup :D
Cthippo 18th July 2006, 22:09 Quote
Originally Posted by ch424
Edit: Post #1111 \o/

So is your next post #10000? :p
Sea Shadow 18th July 2006, 22:20 Quote
Originally Posted by Cthippo
So is your next post #10000? :p
Also known as #10 or #20 :p

Anyways back on topic: Great article, though it makes me sad to see so much pretty ram to just sit there in a pile like that (even for a photo shoot). Care to send it to a good home?
scq 18th July 2006, 22:32 Quote
Good article. I am personally debating on lower clocks and tighter timings, or higher clocks and more relaxed timings for 2GB kits.

What would you suggest, if I plan to do some light (but not extreme) air overclocking of a Core 2 Duo?

Of course, due to my budget, I couldn't get high clocks and tight timings. I would need to find a sweet spot.
BossBorot 18th July 2006, 23:08 Quote
If timings dont matter, as much, then why look at low latency Corsair memory at all? You mentioned overclocking but for that you could just pick up a 2gb set of DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) with decent latency for a lower price. I dont know if this is the case in the uk but some newegg links show what i mean.

DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) 2x1gb
(might want to get new heatspreaders lol)

DDR2 800 (PC26400) low latency 2x1gb

If the Corsair can hold its timings at DDR2 1000 speeds it is prob worth the cash but can it do that?

btw I was surfing the net for a long time, well sence the 14th, looking for memory analysis on conroe way to go bit-tech! now all I need is good comprehensive overclocking analysis !
DeX 18th July 2006, 23:44 Quote
Great article (needless to say), but it seems people are drawing their own conclusions.

For me it's a no brainer, go with the slowest memory timings, save £100 and buy the faster processor instead. I don't think you mentioned the differences in price between the C3, C4 and PRO, but I'm sure that it's larger than the difference between the E6400 and E6600.

The only reason for buying the C4 or C3 I can see is if you already have the X6800 and want to overclock that as far as it will go. It would be a waste of money to couple the high speed memory with the slightly slower processor given that also have to shell out on expensive heat sinks or watercooler equipment to get any significant improvement in performance by overclocking

I don't know much about memory really but if you had a Core 2 Duo would you have to have DDR2-800 to get the most out of the processor? Is there a significant performance difference between DDR2-533 or 667 and 800?

Just looked at the prices of these three modules (guessing from the pictures and slight hints in the article that you were using 2x1GB modules) at newegg. These are the prices of the non PRO versions. You used the PRO version of the C5 in the article although I'm not sure what the difference is supposed to be between them it is no doubt minimal. Here are the prices:

Corsair XMS2-6400C3: $469 (£256)
Corsair XMS2-6400C4: $250 (£147)
Corsair XMS2-6400C5: $198 (£108)

I would also like to go further and compare the above with the lower frequency modules which are even cheaper:
Corsair XMS2-5400C4: $168 (£91)
Corsair XMS2-4000C3: $159 (£87)

(Edit2: better make sure you add at least £50 over-the-pond poll tax onto those British prices).

Just trying to figure which option has the biggest bang for buck ratio...
Renoir 19th July 2006, 00:49 Quote
My first post.

DeX that is my thinking exactly. At current prices there's no point in paying for fast ram when you could use that money for a faster CPU (unless of course you've bought the x6800 or intend to overclock).

As for the performance differences between different memory frequencies the following article covers 667/800/1066 at various timings and my reading of the results is that there's no significant benefit of even getting better than 667 c5 memory (other than for reasons mentioned above).

Unfortunately the article doesn't cover 533 ram which is a shame as I'd reckon that could be close to the faster speeds as well. Truth is though that from a practical point of view there is currently very little price premium on 667 over 533 ram so there's not much reason to go lower than 667 and it most likely won't be that long till the same can be said for 800 over 667.

I guess you could look at these results as good (no need for most people to spend loads of money on fast ram) or bad (core 2 duo doesn't currently get much faster even if you throw money at ram). Matter of oppinion I guess.

Would be interesting to see though what affect the higher memory speeds have on integrated graphics especially with aero in vista using the gpu.
BossBorot 19th July 2006, 00:54 Quote
Originally Posted by DeX
Just trying to figure which option has the biggest bang for buck ratio...

all you did is look at corsair. From what you are saying I can presume that you can accept "bad" timings but want high mhz rated speed. If you can buy from newegg these deals look good. I am myself debating what to pick up after reading this article..

(the following prices from USA websites i dont know if what I found relates to the UK as well, as I don't know where you buy you'r stuff) :(

about $155.50 No rebate 2x1gb DDR2 800 (PC 6400) 5-5-5-15

about $160 AR 2x1gb DDR2 800 (PC 6400) 5-5-5-10

this is a lot cheaper then the $400+ for low latency 2x1gb DDR2 800 (PC6400) kits

Edit: also these deals on DDR2 800 (PC 6400) dont cost much more then the cheapest DDR2 667 (PC 5300) at the same website for compairison you might be able to find even better deals then this is you look around

about $145 No Rebate 2x1gb DDR2 667 (PC 5300) 4-?-?-? w/o heatspreaders.

So basically it looks like DDR2 800 (PC 6400) is worth it, at least in the USA, because there is little price premium over lower speed ram.

Note: all of the ram shown here is the cheapest ram at newegg at each speed, measured in mhz not timings, for 2x1gb pairs at the time of posting. hope this helped
Tim S 19th July 2006, 01:05 Quote
whoops, yes I used 2x1GB dual channel kits. The reason I listed the Pro modules is because they're the CAS5-rated modules we've got in the office. I'd be very surprised if you see any performance differences between them and the current 6400C5 modules
Renoir 19th July 2006, 01:43 Quote
Depending on how often you upgrade your system it might be worth thinking about buying better ram with a core 2 duo (especially 800 over 667) so as to better future proof your system.

For example within the lifespan of ddr2 you may want to switch back to socket AM2 in which case 800 would be better than 667 (assuming similar timings of course) due to not being bottlenecked by a FSB. Also intel may up the FSB on the desktop to 1333 although dual channel 667 would likely be enough in that case (you wouldn't need such aggressive overclocking though to make use of ddr2 800 when compared to raising the FSB from 1066 to 1600).

Something to think about especially as the price premium of 800 over 667 goes down which I imagine it should do fairly quickly now that both AMD and intel support it.

Going a bit off topic I must say I've had my athlon xp system for 2.5 years now and with all that's going on at the mo I'm itching to build a new PC just because the performace and prices are looking increasingly good against my system but think I'm gonna wait a while longer. Definitely looking forward to AMD's transition to 65nm as well as the quad cores!
BossBorot 19th July 2006, 03:18 Quote
This is somewhat off topic but..

After reading this article I did my normal rounds around the web. There is a story at the INQ that states that AM2 gets little out of dual channel ddr2 I was wondering if anyone knew if this was the case with Conroe/Allendale chips as well.

This would be an interesting topic to review, that is if no one knows the answer.

Its already been proven here that latency does not matter as much as on other architectures. If we knew if/if not picking up a 2gb stick gives simmilar performance to 2x1gb sticks, then our overclocking potentials could futher benifit, due to not having to match the speed of both dimms to the slower of the two. Not to mention possibly save people some money.
rgkgraphix 19th July 2006, 04:18 Quote
granted these are (2) 512MB modules, it was the best price I could find at the moment.

I don't see myself going over 2GB so I'll fill mine up with 512's.
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