DDR2 memory technology has been pushing the envelope in terms of memory clock speeds and tighter latencies as of late. Many enthusiasts were pleased when clock speeds hit the 800MHz mark last year, but Super Talent has eclipsed this mark with its 1GHz 2GB kit we'll be looking at today, the T1000UX2G5. This overclocked, high performance memory kit is geared toward gaming enthusiasts and sports 5-5-5-15 timings.
The Super Talent T1000UX2G5 kit we received featured simple aluminum heat spreaders with the manufacturer's logo and product number on each 1GB stick. It's not the flashiest RAM that's ever passed by our test bench, but we think Super Talent was focused on getting the most performance out of this kit and not necessarily on a overly-stylish exterior. Super Talent also offers a lifetime warranty for this memory, that guarantees their it will perform as advertised and is free from defects.
Super Talent packages this kit in a standard plastic enclosure and everything arrived in our lab without any physical damage. The package advertising could have included more detailed information about the RAM's features and technical specifications. The memory sticks are simple and traditionally designed, but lacked a lot of the modifications available with some of today's high-end RAM kits, like flashing activity LEDs, platinum heat spreaders, and temperature displays. With a price tag of close to $400, these types of modifications should possibly have been considered, especially if they are trying to attract members of the gaming and modding communities.
One minor issue we found with this DDR2 kit was the lack of any technical specifications or latency data printed on each stick. Normally, memory sticks have the timings and memory speeds listed on a description label, but these RAM sticks didn't have anything but the product number displayed.
The RAM is rated at PC2-8000, which translated to DDR2 speeds of 500MHz. Each kit has two 1GB memory sticks in a matched pair for optimum performance, that have been tested for stability. The CL timings are rated at 5-5-5-15, and we used CPU-Z version 1.30 to get an in-depth look at the programming of the modules. This will tell us how the RAM is officially detected with the on-board Serial Presence Detect (SPD) PROM.
The SPD timings are actually a little tighter than their advertised statements claimed. According to Super Talent's website and press release, the timings for this RAM are 5-5-5-15 at 500MHz, but CPU-Z registers its default speeds at 4-4-4-11 at 266 MHz. This equates to PC2-4300 RAM, which is much lower than their advertised timings. After manually configuring the FSB and timings in the BIOS on our Asus P5WD2 motherboard though, we were able to reach the advertised timings and memory speeds.
|Test Setup and Compatibility|
How we configured our test systems: The first thing we did when configuring our test system was enter the BIOS and loaded the "High Performance Defaults. We then manually configured the BIOS to ensure each memory kit we tested ran at its rated speeds. We also formatted the hard drive, installed a fresh copy of Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2, and installed the latest BIOS and motherboard drivers. We then disabled System Restore, Auto Updating, and Windows Messenger. Finally, we installed our benchmarking software, defragged the hard drive and began the testing phase. As a side note, we never raised the RAM's voltages above it's rated 1.65v throughout our testing.
Memory Modules Tested:
Super Talent T1000UX2G5
Corsair XMS2 TWINX1024A-5400UL
ASUS P5WD2 (i955X)
Intel Pentium 4 640 Processor @ 3.2GHz, 3.84GHz, and 4GHz
BFG 7800GTX OC PCI-E video card
On-board audio and LAN
Hitachi 80GB SATA HD
Windows XP Pro with SP2
nVidia ForceWare 84.21
To ensure we were using a fully functional memory kit, we began checking for errors using Memtest86. Memtest86 executes a series of read/write test patterns to check for errors. Using the Asus P5WD2, which will be the primary motherboard for our benchmarks, we used a bootable CD-ROM to start the testing. Both pairs of RAM endured two consecutive loops and passed without any errors.
|Performance at SPD Settings|
The synthetic memory bandwidth test is highly FSB frequency dependent, and our results shows that both pairs of RAM performed almost identically in this benchmark. In Super Talent's defense, we are running their RAM at underclocked settings here, and Corsair's timings are much tighter. Overall, the scores between these two kits don't show any real performance difference at these settings.
"The Memory test suite is a collection of tests that isolate the performance of the memory subsystem. The memory subsystem consists of various devices on the PC. This includes the main memory, the CPU internal cache (known as the L1 cache) and the external cache (known as the L2 cache). As it is difficult to find applications that only stress the memory, we explicitly developed a set of tests geared for this purpose. The tests are written in C++ and assembly. They include: Reading data blocks from memory, Writing data blocks to memory performing copy operations on data blocks, random access to data items and latency testing."
Our PCMark05 scores are right on par with our SiSandra 2005 results. These scores are very comparable at the memory's SPD settings.
We also ran these RAM kits through a couple of rounds of time demos with the first-person shooter Doom 3. We ran these tests at the game's "Fastest" settings with a low resolution of 640 x 480, using 16-bit color and textures. Running Doom 3 with our BFG 7800GTX OC video card at these minimal settings isolates processor and memory performance without being limited by the graphics subsystem.
This benchmark shows that both memory kits are on equal footing at these settings but we should see some more variations when we run Super Talent's RAM at its rated SPD settings in the pages ahead.
|Performance at Overclocked Settings|
For the next segment of our benchmarks, we manually configured each memory kit to run at 16x240 multiplier and FSB, which equates to a 960MHz memory clock. We also overclocked the CPU to 3.84GHz. This will give us consistent data and put both RAM kits on a level playing field for this phase of testing.
As you can see, both pairs of RAM performed well, but this comes as no surprise to us considering the sources they originate from. Both Super Talent and Corsair have done an excellent jobs in making their kits perform at high bus speeds.
This graph includes the original results from our first round of benchmarks and shows how the memory kits perform at overclocked speeds. Each set gained 900-1,000 points in their second round of PCMark05 tests. With both kits running at the same speeds, Super Talent has a minimal edge over Corsair in this benchmark.
Our final graphs show benchmark results of the Super Talent memory kit running at 5-5-5-15 at 800MHz, 960MHz, and 1,000MHz. Although we weren't able to keep our test system stable at 1GHz during Prime95 because the CPU wasn't completely capable of running at 4GHz, we were able to successfully run our benchmarks at 4GHz and 1GHz.
As you can see, Super Talent blasts through the Sandra memory bandwidth test with 6,400GB/s scores at DDR2 1000. This is truly what people can expect from running this memory at its default speeds. If we were able to manually configure the CPU multiplier, we would have been able to overclock this RAM even further, which would have also increased performance.
|Benchmark Summary and Conclusion|
Benchmark Summary: We were impressed with Super Talent's showing in our benchmarks. Even with the T1000UX2G5 memory running underclocked at 800MHz, it stood its ground against Corsair's offering running at 3-2-2-8. When we configured it to run at its default speeds, the T1000UX2G5 also performed well and even slightly surpassed Corsair when overclocked. This RAM is well suited to overclockers, and showed us why it would be attractive to gamers and performance enthusiasts with our Doom 3 results. Memory bandwidth obviously went way up when we increased the speeds to 1GHz, but having the CPU running at 4GHz didn't hurt our scores either.
One small issue consumers should consider is that there are only a handful of motherboards that can run this RAM at its rated speeds without significant overclocking. In the future, when the Intel Conroe and AMD AM2 platforms ship, these speeds will become more commonplace, but currently people should be aware that they will need to manually tweak their BIOS settings to get the results we posted in our tests today. That said, this RAM was stable throughout all of our torture testing, and even felt relatively cool to the touch at 1GHz.
Another issue some might have with this memory kit is its hefty $400+ price tag. Many DDR2 800MHz 2GB kits are available for about $250, so Super Talent's may have to do some convincing to get potential customers to invest the extra money in this memory kit. And as of April 17, the T1000UX2G5 kit was only available at two on-line resellers, which doesn't bode well for those who might want to get a hold of this high performance DDR2 RAM right now.
This is definitely a memory kit enthusiasts should have their eye on for their current LGA 775 systems and future AMD AM2 or Conroe rigs. All told, based on its good performance, overclockability, and 2GB capacity, we're giving the Super Talent T1000UX2G5 2GB PC2-8000 memory kit a 8 on the HotHardware Heat Meter.