How do you define mainstream in an enthusiast market dominated by value-seeking overclockers ? Everyone loves performance. Yet, even in enthusiast circles the average buyer is looking for the best value. A memory budget limit of $200 should be reasonable for a mid-priced performance PC, and kits over $300 should be reserved for big-spenders, but that leaves a huge grey area in the middle.
Vendors and readers alike have been asking for a DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800) shootout ever since our DDR3-1333 Comparison, but we waited for these parts to reach mainstream prices before obliging. By the time 2 GB kits finally reached out price point, the reality of living with Windows Vista and its huge memory demands had finally set in.
That left us in another tight spot. Should we compare the sub-$200 2 GB kits an average enthusiast can afford, or should we instead choose the 4 GB capacity that performance buyers really want ? Capacity was the dominating factor for us.
The average buyer might instead choose a DDR2 configuration, but that would only be a short-term solution. Intel’s new socket is on the way, with mainstream parts following the high-end release by only a few short months. Today’s article comes in anticipation of tomorrow’s needs.
9/26/08—Update : Our tests in this story were conducted on an ASUS X48-based motherboard chosen for its overclocking capabilities in our X48 Motherboard Comparison, Part 2. However, the benchmarks in that piece were run using a pair of 1 GB (single-sided) memory modules, resulting in the observed performance.
We didn’t see the same yields in this comparison of 4 GB kits made up of double-sided modules—clear from our overclocking results across the board. We weren’t the only ones to notice the shortfall, though. We’ve been talking to representatives at Corsair, who say the company’s own 4 GB kit should be able to do more than 1,800 MHz, whereas we clocked them under 1,700.
As it turns out, Corsair’s testing reveals that you may need a northbridge voltage manually set to 1.61 V in order to achieve optimal overclocking of these 4 GB kits with the X48’s memory controller. Given the 1.25 V stock voltage of X48, we wouldn’t recommend running voltages that high for prolonged periods of time. However, it is worth noting that faster frequencies should be possible for many, if not all of these kits.
Heya emp! It'll officially be doing DDR3-1066 out of the gate. However, you're probably going to see motherboard vendors enabling 1333, 1600, and 2000 as well, which is why we were hoping some of these modules would hit that number with overclocking.
I'll look into the issue you're talking about lacrits--thanks for the heads-up.
this is said like its not happened.... my most recent build on a gigabyte p45 board is running 2gb of ocz platinum ddr3-1333 @ 750mhz like a champ...
this was built well over a month ago and there were several boards then supporting 1600 fsb and ddr3-2000.
my ram defaulted out at its stated 7-7-7 timings @ 667mhz stated speeds.
It hasn't--X58 isn't out yet. The response was to emp's question on Nehalem =)
ddr3 hardly offers a solid 1% over ddr2 while the price would suggest otherwise. Same goes for the i7. How fast will it have to be to compare to 3.6ghz core2 quad? at what price?
face it, ddr3 is useless to us, and only reason any sane person would even be considering it is due to intel making it mandatory for the i7.
sure it will be nice one day in the future. So, 'till the future comes, in a year or two, stick with ddr2 pc800, you dont need any faster anyways.
LOL, I know you meant PC2-6400. Because PC800 is DDR...RDRAM.