Although DDR2 memory debuted in 2004, it was only recently that the technology became incorporated into the AMD platform. With the release of the AM2 processor, AMD finally joins Intel as the PC industry continues the transition to bring DDR2 memory into the mainstream. With all the brands of DDR2 memory that are presently available, it was time for AMD to make the switch. Super Talent is one such brand that is relying on 20 years of experience to break into the enthusiast market that is dominated by the likes of Corsair, Crucial, OCZ and Kingston.
This review covers Super Talent's 1GBx2 dual channel 800MHz DDR2 memory kit, part number T800UX2GC4, which was used in building an Athlon 64 4600+ AM2 system. Featuring super-low latencies of CL 4-4-3-8 (CAS, tRCD, tRP, tRAS respectively), this "over-clocked memory for gaming enthusiasts" has some of the tightest DDR2 timings in the market.
Modders and enthusiasts may be disappointed by the plain appearance of the kit. Apart from the metallic silver heatspreaders and dark blue logo, there is nothing else that causes any flair such as activity monitoring LEDs or a coat of UV paint.
Super Talent 800MHz DDR2 Memory Kit
But looks can be deceiving, which is often the case with computer hardware.
INSTALLATION AND TEST SYSTEM
Installation was a breeze and this is actually the first time I have assembled a system almost completely from scratch that went so smooth. The system successfully booted on the second attempt after having cleared the CMOS after the first attempt failed to post. The test system consists of the following components:
Initially detected by the system as 533MHz, I swiftly remedied the situation by updating the frequency to 800MHz via the BIOS and ensured timings were at their rated speed. The memory was then tested using Prime95, which ran over 24 hours without incident. As far as I was concerned, the memory was good to go.
With minimal adjustment, I was able to get the memory running stable at the advertised frequency and CAS timings. The ability to use a 1T command rate, as opposed to 2T, is a plus as the communication time between the memory controller and memory bank decreases.
Futuremark's PCMark05 benchmark was used to measure overall system performance. PCMark05 features a system test suite that stresses the processor, memory, and hard disk drive.
PCMark05 System Performance
A comparison with the useful Online Results Browser revealed that a score of 5795 PCMarks was the 12th highest among Athlon 64 X2 processors running at 2.4GHz. The top PCMark05 score for Athlon 64 X2 processors running at 2.4GHz was 6289.
PCMark05 Ranking - 2.4GHz Athlon 64 X2
Overall Results for Positions 11 and 12 Shown
For reference purposes, the system produced an overall score of 4132 in 3DMark06 at the default benchmark setting.
3DMark06 Overall Results
SISOFT SANDRA 2007 RESULTS
SiSotware's Sandra also provides performance comparisons against a range of systems. Regardless of how true to life their stock results are, it is still informative to find out how one's system compares other set ups. I ran the memory bandwidth test and compared results to a couple of nForce 570/FX-62 and Intel 975X/P4 Extreme Edition systems.
SiSoft Sandra 2007 Memory Bandwidth
Click Image to Enlarge - 873x239 (36KB)
Not surprisingly, the results are between the Athlon FX-62 processor with DDR2/533MHz and DDR2/1066MHz memory. Unfortunately, I was unable to overclock the memory as the BIOS on the MSI K9N Platinum was limited to frequencies of 400MHz, 533MHz, 667MHz and 800MHz. That was very disappointing, but the restriction was due to the BIOS, not the memory. Nevertheless, many reviews of the Super Talent T800UX2GC4 were able to reach frequencies of 1000Mhz and higher.
Super Talent's 800MHz DDR2 memory is fantastic. It does what it sets out to do without any flashy, and arguably useless, amenities. Super-tight timings, excellent performance and lots of estimated overhead for overclocking leaves me with a big smile on my face. Super Talent knows memory and the T800UX2GC4 kit proves that.
The only real negative to this memory is an almost complete lack of availability. According to our PriceGrabber feed at the time this review was published, there were two merchants offering the kit at a price around $260. All that being said, I cannot award this memory anything lower than our highest rating - the Grand Slam Hardware award. Thanks to Super Talent for the review sample and best wishes at getting availability up so more folks can experience all that Super Talent has to offer.