DDR3 Memory Round-Up: Corsair, Kingston, OCZ, Super Talent
Test System and Stock Performance
Compatibility Testing: Before we sat down in front of our test machine to evaluate the DDR3 memory kits represented in this article, we installed them into some of the systems we had available at the time to see if there were any compatibility problems to speak of. We tried the sticks in two different systems, powered by the P35 chipset. We tested these modules on the following platforms...
With the exception of the Asus Blitz Extreme, which we used for the benchmarks in this article, to quickly test these modules on the other board all we did was install them, power up the systems, made sure Windows booted and then we ran SiSoft SANDRA's burn-in wizard for a few minutes. We didn't experience any issues whatsoever. All of the memory kits worked perfectly in both of the platforms we tested.
Core 2 Duo E6750
How we configured our test systems: When configuring our test system for this review, the first thing we did was enter the system BIOS and set the motherboard to its default configuration. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows XP Professional (SP2) was installed. When the installation was complete, we installed all of the necessary drivers for our components, and removed Windows Messenger from the system. Auto-Updating and System Restore were also disabled, and we setup a 1024MB permanent page file on the same partition as the Windows installation. Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance", installed all of our benchmarking software, defragged the hard drive and ran all of the tests. Throughout all our benchmarking, we had the memory voltage set to their default values, unless otherwise noted.
We began our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. SANDRA consists of a set of information and diagnostic utilities that can provide a host of useful information about your hardware and operating system. We ran SANDRA's Memory Bandwidth and Latency tests on a Core 2 Duo E6750 powered test bed with all five different brands / types of memory installed. The BIOS was manually configured to each kit's rated frequency and timings, using a combination of multiplier, FSB strap, and FSB manipulation in an effort to keep the CPU speed as close to its default of 2.66GHz and to keep the different configurations as close to the same clock speed as possible. The breakdown of different "stock" configurations is as follows:
As you can see, according to the SiSoft SANDRA memroy bandwidth benchmark, clock speed is king. The higher clocked kits all offered more bandwidth, regardless of their CAS latencies. The highest clock kit, Corsair's TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF, offered the most bandwidth at about 8.2GB/s, followed by the OCZ kit, then Super Talent, and then two Kingston kits.
The higher clocked kits also offered the lowest latency with the Corsair TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF once again taking the top spot. Also note, that despite having a CAS latency of 5, the Kingston KHX11000D3ULK2/2GB has only marginally lower latency than the similarly clocked KHX11000D3LLK2/2G kit which is rated for operation at CAS 7.