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While it’s next to impossible to find one single RAM module that will work on all four platforms, that won’t really affect our test results. We weren’t aiming to compare different platforms, but to see what kind of an impact best-case and worst-case timings would have on performance.
We used the fastest-possible memory configuration for each platform. For the Pentium 4 and Pentium 4 Extreme Edition on the Asus P4C800-E (Intel 875P), we used four 256 MB DIMMs from Corsair because they allowed us to set the fastest-possible timings of CL2.0-2-2-5.
This was not possible with two 512 MB DIMMs because the fastest ones we could find - also from Corsair - supported "a mere" CL2.0-3-2-6.
That means that we had to test all the other platforms because the Athlon 64 FX and the Athlon 64 would only run stably with four DIMMs and much slower timings, while the nForce2 board from Asus only ships with three DIMM slots. For the Athlon 64 FX, we swapped out the Corsair RAM for a matched pair of Legacy Electronics modules.
|System||Platform||RAM Used||Reason Why|
|AMD Athlon XP||nVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400||2x 512 MB Corsair TWINX, CL2.0-3-2-6||No faster 512 MB DIMMs available|
|AMD Athlon 64||VIA K8T800||2x 512 MB Corsair TWINX, CL2.0-3-2-6||No faster 512 MB DIMMS available, 4x 256 MB only possible with slow timings|
|AMD Athlon 64 FX||VIA K8T800||2x 512 MB Legacy Electronics, CL2.0-3-2-6||The fastest-possible RAM since no faster 512 MB DIMMs were available|
|Intel Pentium 4||Intel 875P||4x 256 MB Corsair TWINX CL2.0-2-2-5||Fastest-possible RAM|
|Intel Pentium 4 EE||Intel 875P||4x 256 MB Corsair TWINX CL2.0-2-2-5||Fastest-possible RAM|
|Best Case||Average||Worst Case|
|AMD Athlon XP||2.0-3-2-6||2.5-3-3-6||3.0-4-4-8|
|AMD Athlon 64||2.0-3-2-6||2.5-3-3-6||3.0-4-4-8|
|AMD Athlon 64 FX||2.0-3-2-6||2.5-3-2-6||3.0-3-2-6|
|Intel Pentium 4||2.0-2-2-5||2.5-3-3-6||3.0-4-4-8|
|Intel Pentium 4 EE||2.0-2-2-5||2.5-3-3-6||3.0-4-4-8|