Competition can be a blessing for consumers, a headache for manufacturers and a driving force for an entire industry. Where a market once may have been dominated by one or two big companies with a handful of smaller competitors striving for their piece of the pie, nowadays the scales are somewhat more balanced. A good example of this is with the CD/DVD-ROM market, where a few big names like Plextor and Pioneer set the standard for years. Today, there are many equally good offerings from lesser-known names at lower prices. No longer is it necessary to pay a little extra for name recognition when there are quality alternatives for an economical price.
We've seen a similar trend in the memory market as well. A few years ago we had several major players like Corsair, Crucial and the pricey Mushkin. Today though, companies like OCZ, Geil, and Kingston have also gained their fair share of the enthusiast market with comparable performance, quality and warranties to the bigger names. That trend is continuing to change with even more companies getting in the game with offerings well worth considering.
One of the most recent companies to make waves in the memory market is PQI. After merging their business with PMI, PQI now offers a wide spectrum of memory options including flash storage, DDR and DDR2 memory. We got our first taste of PQI back in August '04 with a review of the PQI3200-1024DBU Turbo DDR Memory and we're still impressed by this memory to this day. These modules offered exceptional performance and overclocking potential, and they are still a worthy DDR1 option. Today, we are going to add a second chapter to the PQI storybook with a review of the PQI24200-1GDB DDR2 Turbo Memory Kit. While it still has higher latencies than DDR memory, the PQI24200 comes with very aggressive timings for the DDR2 line. So, let's take a look and see what PQI brings to us this time around. Then we'll put it to work and see how it compares to the competition.
Rigorously tested in dual
1GB kit (2x512MB)
Two 64M x 64-bit
Mirrored Black Copper
DDR2 533MHz (PC2-4200)
240-pin DDR SDRAM
One of the seemingly little things that we like about PQI's products is their packaging. While it can be a little hard to get open, it does an excellent job of shielding the memory in a plastic air bubble. We have several other packages on hand from other companies that do not offer the same kind of protection. Inside the package was a matched pair of DIMMs with copper heat spreaders donning a black mirrored finish. What was also noticeable was the weight of these DIMMs, which gave an immediate impression of quality.
Each module is configured with 512MB of PC24200 DDR2 memory rated for 533MHz. Additionally, the modules are rated for more aggressive timings than we've seen in the past with DDR2. When DDR2 first came out, we saw initial offerings set to run at CAS 4-4-4-12, often negating any performance gains over low latency DDR1 modules. The PQI24200 memory comes rated for CAS 3-3-3-8 at 533MHz, quite a bit lower in the latency department than offerings before this.
Rated for 2v, these memory modules have a single sided configuration consisting of 8 64MB chips. The heat spreaders come with an adhesive side to adhere to the flat side of the module, where a thermal pad backs the chips themselves. Other than that, there is very little else to point out about this memory. When we look at the specifications and overall construction, we got a sense of real quality, but that's only part of the picture. After all, you can't how good memory is just by looking at it!