Hardcore DDR2 RAM by Corsair, G.Skill, OCZ and Patriot

Conclusion: Patriot Wins, But

We have a new winner ! While the Corsair Dominator PC10000 RAM was the only memory to boot into Windows XP at DDR2-1333 speed, it is the Patriot PC2-10100 RAM that is capable of running both quick timings and high clock speeds. Our attempts to run CL4-4-4-12 timings on the Dominator RAM failed at below DDR2-1200 speed, while the Patriot DIMMs made it through the test bench. Of course, the difference is so small that both Corsair and Patriot have to be considered equal choices.

OCZ stands out by showing off new ways of squeezing more performance out of memory modules. Its FlexXLC line was designed for optional liquid cooling, while the Reaper HPC dissipates heat using a small heat pipe. It is very difficult to judge the impact of these cooling solutions without trying different memory chips (which also applies for the Corsair Dominator). At the end of the day, the memory chips used are still more important than the cooling technology, because the Patriot memory runs its high clock speeds on an ordinary heat sink. Memory cooling enables a better overclocking margin, but high performance margins have to be based on high-grade ICs.

Patriot wins, but we really have to ask ourselves if spending hundreds of dollars on sophisticated, heat pipe equipped memory to achieve performance gains in the very low single-digit range make any sense. As you can see in our benchmark section, the performance results do not vary much. DDR2-1200 at CL4-4-4-12 timings offers great performance for a few benchmarks, such as file compression or certain video transcoding tasks. However, in the majority of benchmarks, hardcore memory speeds aren’t faster than good old DDR2-800 at decent timings.

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