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Test System Details: Corsair & Crucial DDR3, Gigabyte X48-DQ6

DDR3 Memory Scaling: Intel's Core 2 Quad Examined
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RAM: Crucial Ballistix DDR3 1600 & Corsair Dominator XMS3

We used two different types of DDR3 memory to reach the 6 GB capacity point, which we also used for the Core i7 and Phenom II X4 RAM scaling tests, since we did not have identical 2 GB and 1 GB DIMMs. Two Corsair CM3X2G1600C9DHX DIMMs provided 2 GB capacity each, and two additional Crucial Ballistix PC3-1800 modules added 1 GB each. Thus, the system ran with 2 x 2 GB and 2 x 1 GB DDR3 DIMMs in dual-channel mode. Although the Corsair timings are rated CL9, they supported CL8 timings at DDR3-1600 speed as well.

Motherboard: Gigabyte X48T-DQ6

This motherboard has been around for more than a year. The X48T-DQ6 is Gigabyte’s highest-end motherboard for Socket 775, with support for the flagship Core 2 Extreme QX9770 3.2 GHz quad-core processor. 

The X48 chipset is still the top model of Intel’s 4 series, but since the introduction of the LGA 1366 Core i7 platform and attractive P45 alternatives, the X48 has lost some of its appeal. We nevertheless decided to use this board, as it officially supports FSB1600 speeds and the fastest Core 2 quad core processor that was released. Both had to be the basis for our memory evaluation, as slower system configurations would return smaller differences between the different memory setups.

The X48T-DQ6 really is a beast, which becomes obvious when looking at its 12-phase voltage regulators, the massive Silent-Pipe heat pipe, and the number of integrated extras: these include 6+2 SATA/300 ports, twin Gigabit Ethernet, and FireWire 400/800 connections. However, the board is equally well-equipped from a software perspective, as it’s a great overclocking platform as well.

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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    cknobman , June 29, 2009 1:22 PM
    To Gin and everyone else bitching about not doing core i7 why dont you actually use your eyes and look for the article. They did a ddr3 scaling article with i7 last week.

    Some people are too quick to bitch and criticize around here.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    doomtomb , June 29, 2009 6:30 AM
    Good read, but shouldn't this article have been done like last year with Core 2 Quad?
  • -4 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , June 29, 2009 9:09 AM
    agreed. you guys have Core i7's laying around , use those.
  • 3 Hide
    scook9 , June 29, 2009 12:42 PM
    the reason they did this using the core 2 quad and not a core i7 is that each processor/chipsets handles its memory differently, so they wanted to see what core 2 quads would do this time.

    I would like to see (or would have liked in the past?) a good comparison between ddr2 and ddr3 on an otherwise identical platform - I assume you would have to use one of those p35/45 boards with both sets of DIMMs.
  • -2 Hide
    raptor550 , June 29, 2009 1:09 PM
    Even 6 months ago was too late. I wouldn't buy 775 because its days of development are limited. Since I am poor I chose the AM3 because at least in a few years AMD will still be developing the platform and I can upgrade my CPU and memory, etc.
  • 0 Hide
    bunz_of_steel , June 29, 2009 1:20 PM
    Not alot of diff in encodeing times. Looks like better off bumping up cpu or putting the $ into terabytes.
  • 12 Hide
    cknobman , June 29, 2009 1:22 PM
    To Gin and everyone else bitching about not doing core i7 why dont you actually use your eyes and look for the article. They did a ddr3 scaling article with i7 last week.

    Some people are too quick to bitch and criticize around here.
  • 6 Hide
    cknobman , June 29, 2009 1:23 PM
    They did a core i7 scaling article last week you morons.

    Quit being so quick to bitch and criticize.
  • 0 Hide
    snarfies , June 29, 2009 1:55 PM
    I should like to point out that Core 2 has been around for VERY much longer than i7 - a LOT more people, myself included, are still using Core 2 quads. And I see no compelling reason to upgrade anytime soon, since there just isn't much out there that require more power than that.
  • 0 Hide
    bounty , June 29, 2009 2:26 PM
    I had this same issue with Anandtech's recent memory scaling article. With DDR3 1600 at 999-24 going for 85$ with free shipping, why buy the slower stuff? Sure you can get DDR3 1333 for 10$ less (without free shipping, and only 1 product at that price on newegg 3x2GB ) but I think you're sacrificing some flexibility when overclocking and some speed in games etc. If you're buying DDR3 then you don't have a slow cpu probably... If it was more than 10$ I could understand.
  • 0 Hide
    avericia , June 29, 2009 5:28 PM
    Great article I got a q9550 last November and I have been curious how much gains faster ddr3 would be with this chip and now i know :p 

    I just got a Gskill 4g kit of ddr2 1100 5-5-5-15 1.8v to replace my dieing corsair sticks and so far it seems to be running great on my 780iftw.

    I'm still very happy with my purchase of my q9550 because only very recently can you build a i7 platform for the same price as the 775 setup cost 9 months ago and the difference in fps for most games going to the i7 from a core2 quad is minimal for running sli 55nm @65nm 260 216 @666 at 1920x1200 in most games so I will hold over until the gulftown comes out and ddr3 is even cheaper and faster :p 
  • 0 Hide
    Proximon , June 29, 2009 5:43 PM
    I agree that LGA 775 is not completely useless just yet, although others make excellent points about AM3 and LGA 1156. I do think that any discussion like this ought to consider the lifespan of DDR3 and the possibility that some future processor will make better use of increased memory speeds.
    CAS 7 DDR3 1600 is quite inexpensive actually, and if there is a possibility it might be more useful in the future, wouldn't it be worth the 5 bucks extra today?
  • 0 Hide
    Honis , June 29, 2009 9:36 PM
    I'd like to see the DDR3 1600 under clocked to 800 levels and see how low the latency can be set. I'm sure clock speed is more prevalent than latency but would be interesting to see latencies of 4 again.
  • -1 Hide
    stefanrp97 , June 29, 2009 10:41 PM
    This article fails to test an important point. LOW LATENCY. If the best latencies at the designated speeds were used, that would give me a much better idea on what to spend my money on. It doesn't help me to show DDR1066 at DDR1600 latencies. Which will be better at those settings? The answer is obvious.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 30, 2009 2:07 AM
    Great Article. DDR2 Vs. DDR3 is the typical conundrul, "Winds of Change", question on many core 2, and core 2 quad owner's minds. Do I upgrade my current system, or go with the new platform for performance per dollar gains? I understand that DDR3 is the future, but it would be nice to see DDR2 added to the test platform so that the DDR2 loyalists are given a reason to upgrade that they can not resist, or perhaps a reason not to. Like most computer subsystems that are not responsible for sales hype, memory, (whoops, other than triple channel coreI7), are often overlooked it seems in the coding world, as bandwidth gains on the hardware front rarely, if ever are realized by software. If given a bottle that might contain a genie, I'd give it a rub and ask,"Please ask Tomshardware, gifted with the best testers and hardware that money can buy, not only test the speed/latency of top memory chips, but spend some time in BIOS pushing the memory sub-system cycle to its limit per clock". In doing so, we would all have clear evidence to email the coders, and I expect by next year, we'd see the benifit of the highspeed/low latency memory that this article shows we now lack.
  • 0 Hide
    hotbbq , July 1, 2009 3:22 PM
    There really isn't a premium on high-bandwidth, low latency DDR3 these days. I picked up 4GB of DDR3-1600 with 7-6-6-24 timings from Newegg last month. Price after MIR was $55. It replaced my 4GB of DDR3-1333 with almost the same timings that I originally bought for $300. The faster rate memory allowed me much more head room to over clock my Q9450.