One Tough Cookie: 10 Boards with Intel i875P Chipset: Part I

Very Critical Subject: Which RAM Should You Buy?

All boards were tested with the seven different RAM types.

Huge variety : a very wide range of RAM is available on the market.

During the course of our tests, it became clear very quickly that one or two different RAM types are not sufficient for an extensive test operation. Assessing the RAM performance of a motherboard is no trivial matter, as it is heavily dependent on the module and timings used. In addition to the different speed classes, such as DDR333, DDR400, DDR433 and DDR466 - which are generally printed on each RAM and only give the clock speed - the access timings alone determine how well the module performs. Single and double-sided modules are another source of confusion : on principle, double-sided RAM modules are faster than single-sided, as they can keep twice as many memory pages open.

The first choice for many applications : Corsair DDR400 RAM.

However, most RAM modules currently sold have chips on one side. There is often confusion here, too, as many manufacturers place the chips on both sides - to enhance the layout - although the module is actually single-sided. In our experience, the double-sided technique provides between three and four percent more performance. There are historical reasons for the market trend towards single-sided modules. Since the days of the old Intel 440BX, chipsets could only manage rows (pages). Usually up to four DIMM slots were available, so that it wouldn’t have made any sense to expand your RAM with double-sided modules. And, as big things are made of little ones, so the Intel i875P shows the most progress in its details : it can now handle eight pages.

GeIL DDR400 RAM modules.

Clearly recognizable : GeIL single-sided module.

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