PC Memory: Just the Facts

DDR2: Memory Technology's Sweet Spot

Dual Data Rate 2 or DDR2 memory is relatively new, and follows the introduction of Intel's LGA 775 socket and accompanying chipset architectures, as well as subsequent support for DDR2 in the AMD AM2 socket architecture and its accompanying chipsets. DDR2 has been in circulation for over three years as we write this article, and is the prevailing type of memory used in new computing equipment currently on sale in retail channels.

Label Bus speed Data rate Typical timings Remarks
PC2-3200 200 400 3-3-3-12 Seldom encountered, not covered
PC2-4200 267 533 4-4-4-12 Popular, esp. on older DDR2 mobos
PC2-5300 333 667 5-5-5-15 Most popular DDR2 speed
PC2-6400 400 800 5-5-5-15 Widely used, growing support
PC2-8000 500 1000 5-5-5-15 Overclockers only here on down
PC2-8500 533 1066 5-5-5-15
PC2-8888 556 1111 5-5-5-15
PC2-9136 571 1142 5-5-5-15
PC2-10000 625 1250 5-5-5-18

Table 3: Common DDR2 Memory Speeds and Nomenclature

Though PC2-3200 falls within JEDEC specifications, you hardly find it in actual use on desktop PCs (perhaps because it's the same speed and data rate as DDR-400/PC-3200). Our standard coverage concentrates on PC2-4200, -5300 and -6400, because those are the most commonly purchased varieties (even PC2-4200 memory can be hard to find). According to our vendor sample, in fact, PC2-5300/DDR-667 is the most-popular type of memory in the marketplace today. As in the preceding section, we cover performance DDR2 memory at the higher echelons of the price spectrum.

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