The memory industry of late has been amazing in its ability to launch impossible memory speeds at impossible timings. At the technology launch of the P35 chipset on May 21st all of the DDR3 memory available for testing was rated DDR3-1066. Interestingly all of the DDR3 also ran fine at the next milestone of DDR3-1333, albeit at timings of 9-9-9-25. These timings sound slow to DDR users accustomed to 2-2-2 timings at DDR400 or DDR2 users running at DDR2-800 3-3-3, but in fact at the increased speeds of DDR3 these timings were reasonably fast.

It took less than a week for low-latency DDDR3-1333 to appear with the launch of Kingston's new DDR3-1333 7-7-7 memory. This new memory dropped those 9-9-9 timings to 7-7-7 at 1333 and ran at 1066 at 6-6-6 timings - about as fast as the DDR3 BIOS would allow at that speed. It was interesting to see reader comments to the Kingston LL article, with some proclaiming they would not move to DDR3 until it could hit DDR3-1600. We believed, as did most readers, that DDR3-1600 would appear sometime next year, probably as 9-9-9 parts.

Less than 2 months after the launch of P35, and just a few days after launch of the processors that can officially use the new 1333 bus, we were notified by several vendors that they were ready to launch DDR3-1600! Some rated the new DIMMs at 9-9-9 timings, but others like Super Talent rated their retail DDR3-1600 at 7-7-7 timings at 1.8V.

Almost all memory makers buy raw memory chips available in the market, perform their magic binning or speed-grading, and assemble the finished DIMM using generic or proprietary circuit boards and SPD programming. There are always some variations on performance of different brand DIMMs, but we always see a cluster of memory performance based on the memory chip used in the memory. In the last couple of weeks Micron has finally introduced their new DDR3 memory chip, called Z9, and this memory chip is what is making DDR3-1600 and beyond a reality.

All of the major memory manufacturers have just announced or will soon announce DDR3-1600 parts. Many of the smaller makers have also developed DDR3-1600 parts. Of course you are interested in how these new memory rockets perform, and samples were requested whenever we received a new announcement. The first two kits to appear in our lab are from Super Talent and TEAM. Both kits are 2GB (2x1GB) based on a single-sided DIMM. This certainly means there will potentially be 4GB kits available with these new memory chips down the road, but the timings for a 4GB Z9 kit are still open for speculation. The Super Talent kit is rated DDR3-1600 7-7-7 at 1.8V, and the TEAM is rated DDR3-1600 at 9-9-9 at unspecified (default for DDR3 is 1.5V) voltage.

In this review we will take a closer look at the capabilities of these new DDR3-1600 DIMMs based on Micron Z9 memory chips. What are the best timings possible at DDR3-1600? Can these new parts reach DDR3-2000, which will be the next DDR3 speed, or even higher? What timings are possible at slower DDDR3 speeds? Does the faster DDR3 really improve performance compared to DDR2 and DDR?

Super Talent W1600UX2G7
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  • retrospooty - Friday, July 20, 2007 - link


    I would really like to see the effects of latency on the new DDR3 platform. Now that more options are availbale, it would be great to see scores using the lowest and highest latency settings achievable at 1066, 1333, 1600 etc...

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