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Old March 3, 2009, 11:58 AM
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Arrow Guide to Choosing DDR2 Memory

As I was searching for DDR2 RAM for my new build, I learned many things. One of the first things I learned was that the quality of the RAM isnt necessarily based off the brand name, but off of the IC the RAM was assembled with.

Apparently this guide is misinformed, so you can read it, but just take what you want from it. If it is infact as bad as the the two people below this say, then a moderator can delete it. Sorry.

If you own a Dell or any other name brand computer and are looking for RAM, just buy any ValueRAM from a trusted company since you cant overclock it anyways, you dont need to read this.

What is an IC?
An IC is an integrated circuit on the RAM.

Why should the IC be the deciding factor, and not that brand name?
The IC is basically the RAM. IC determines what clock speed the RAM can do at what voltages and at what timings. Different brands can use the same IC but just slap on their branded heatspreaders.

How do I find out which IC a certain type of memory uses; it isn't on the vendor site?
The only way to find out exactly what IC the memory is question is using, is to pull off the heatspreaders and see the labeling on the IC itself (usually voids warranty).

Is there a way of finding out the IC on RAM before you buy it?
Yes, there is a website called the RAM list, and it lists which ICs are used in which memory. Alternatively, you could call the company of the RAM and ask them, some disclose the information and some don't.

DDR2 RAM List

There are next to no 4GB kits on there/RAM in my price range isnt on there, now what do I do?
Use Google. Not everyones findings are posted on the RAM list, and are just sitting on some random forum.

Wow, thats great, but how do I know which IC is good?
Well, you research it, but since I already researched it I will present my findings. The best IC for overclocking is the MicronD9GMH and MicronD9GKX. Promos and MicronD9GCT are good too.

I am in the market for a 4GB kit and all that seems to be listed are 2GB kits. When I do find a 4GB kit, they aren't using Micron. Does that mean 4GB kits don't overclock?
The reason 4GB kits don't use Micron is because they can't make 2GB sticks of it; the IC is too big(there is a new Micron chip that can be used, but isnt used widely). Most good 4GB kits use PSC (Powerchip Semiconductor Corp.) ICs which overclocks well. The higher end really expensive kits use highly binned ProMOS.

What does highly binned/hanpicked mean?
Highly binned or handpicked ICs are just RAM that has been hand selected from good batches to be used in top end RAM because it can clock better.

The RAM I want has two IC's listed. One is good an the other isnt, how do I know which one I will get?
I would suggest avoiding the RAM all together in this case. Chances are when the RAM in question was first made they used good ICs, and then later switched to the cheap stuff. Which is exaclty what Crucial did...

Two different sets of memory are listed and have the same IC but are at different speeds. The slower one is cheaper, should I get it instead?
In theory you should be able to buy the cheaper/slower RAM and be fine, but if the faster stuff is highly binned, then you wont be able to reach the same speeds. RAM is cheap, just get the faster stuff.

What sets you recommend?
Well it all depends on your price range. I would suggest any 4GB G.Skill set end in with a PK/PQ (PK>PQ). If you want to spend more money, you could pick up some G.Skill ending in PI. From Mushkin I would recommend you pick up some Ascents. Yes they are abit more pricey, but the customer service is worth it. My final recommendation would be the new Crucial Ballistix Tracers with the RED heatspreaders.

Its all up do you though, just do a bit of research and you should be set.

Happy RAM shopping!
I have to go to work now, so there may be some mistakes I haven't had a chance to read over yet. I will read over it when I get home. If I missed anything let me know.

Last edited by decivox; March 3, 2009 at 09:17 PM. Reason: Apparently, its a peice of shit.
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Old March 3, 2009, 12:26 PM
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Micron D9s are very overrated and poor memory now.

They were ONCE king of the hill for overclocking but now not so much. I have 2 pairs of DDR2-800 D9 sets sitting on my desk that have both been RMA'd once and will not again. Search the internet and you'll find its quite normal for the memory to just randomly die.

In regards to the Dell, HP etc computers no you have to be very careful in what memory you put into these machines as they can be very finicky and not all value ram WILL work.

Don't just blatantly say you recommend Mushkin. If this is to help people make choices then you should state that other brands like G.Skill and Corsair offer very good kits as well that overclock and work just as well as Mushkin.

Higher binned memory means the manufacturer has tested the memory to its max specs and then rated it at that which is why a lot of kits don't have much room for overclocking anymore because its ran at its maximum memory and you may get another 100mhz out of it IF you are lucky.

Crucial memory is not bad. Their ballistix had some issues especially with the Tracer line and the D9 line they had then they decided to bring out single sided memory sticks which had some compatibility issues with P35 boards but both of these issues have been resolved. Crucial Rendition is a great valueram that places usually sell for extremely cheap and runs VERY well.

Calling yourself a Genius? Far from it even I'm not silly enough to call me that as you can see I've picked out some things in your post that are either misguided or incorrect.
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Old March 3, 2009, 02:51 PM
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What enaberif said made a lot more sense .

In your "Guide," you only mention about g skills, mushkin and crucial. What about the popular dirt cheap OCZ with there awesome rebates? When it comes to pricing i can almost said no one can beat OCZ. And like enaberif said, what about those corsair dominators?

Most of us buy things base on price/performance ratio . Most people would paid $60 for a ocz 4gb that runs at 1066mhz any day then paid for the $76 mushkin redlines that run at 1000mhz. Its a $16 dollar difference and its slower by 66mhz . When it comes to overclocking, most of us wont be running at 500FSB so why go for the 1200mhz rams
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Old March 3, 2009, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enaberif View Post
Calling yourself a Genius? Far from it even I'm not silly enough to call me that as you can see I've picked out some things in your post that are either misguided or incorrect.
All I was trying to do was help people, as for the genius comment I was trying to be sarcastic. Maybe I should have added /s?

Last edited by decivox; March 3, 2009 at 07:09 PM.
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Old March 3, 2009, 06:53 PM
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Some people just don't appreciate when people try to help out... they'd rather make snickering comments and try to shut down everyone else, instead of just adding what they know.
Not sure what poster #2 said, and I'm not going to hit "view post"... as I already have an idea...
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Old March 3, 2009, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake_HT View Post
Some people just don't appreciate when people try to help out... they'd rather make snickering comments and try to shut down everyone else, instead of just adding what they know.
Not sure what poster #2 said, and I'm not going to hit "view post"... as I already have an idea...
Its not that people don't appreciate but if your going to make an attempt at helping a fellow being in making a choice of purchasing ram its best to be less biased than this article sounds like.
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Old March 4, 2009, 09:52 AM
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I wouldn't go as far to say that his review is biased, just not very well informed.
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Old March 4, 2009, 10:30 AM
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I think its a good idea, and a good start. I wouldn't mind seeing a list of RAM to stay away from, which could be just as valuable as recommendations. Although inevitably you'll get some bashing of perfectly fine ram, just someone got a bad stick or two. Maybe a list of what ram seems to have issues with what chipsets as well.
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Old March 5, 2009, 03:05 AM
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And price doesn't always mean anything either.

One of the biggest deals is your onboard chipset-motherboard too.
People want to plop 4 sticks in and it can change things depending on what you have to work with.

I have a pair of cheap(paid $20) ddr2 800 sticks OCZ loafing along at 850 2GB Dual Channel Kit P/N - OCZ2P800R22GK
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Last edited by tyreman; March 5, 2009 at 03:14 AM.
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Old March 16, 2009, 06:40 PM
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There's a lot of information missing in this "guide", but i'll throw in some IC info i've collected specifically on DDR2 2x2 GB kits.

I get IC information from all over.

I consider r00n & Miravo (usernames on XS) to be the most knowledgeable people on the internetz regarding ICs, particularly when it comes to identifying them from pictures, especially when there are no identifiable markings.
I've merely learned from them & others what types are what, & can match shape/size/markings accordingly.

I cannot even guess how many thousands of RAM-related threads/posts on forums all over i've read...after a while you learn a little i guess.

As i've been using 2 GB DDR2 DIMMs for a couple years now, i've followed that specific market as closely as i can.

Prior to that i followed the 1 GB DDR2 market, mainly because of the popularity of Micron D9GMH/GKX.

I have yet to heavily research DDR3, but i can say that presently, the more overclockable "enthusiast" oriented stuff is from Micron & Samsung in DDR3 presently. (Micron for higher voltage/scaling; Samsung for nice speeds with low voltage.)


Chaintech Apogee GT DDR2-1066 5-5-5 2x2 GB (ProMOS)
Source: OC Report: Chaintech Apogee GT PC8500 2x2 GB - XtremeSystems Forums


Crucial Ballistix DDR2-800 4-4-4 2x2 GB (Micron D9JKH*)
Source: 2x2GB Crucial Ballistix PC2-6400 new IC revisions are here - XtremeSystems Forums


G.Skill Pi DDR2-1200 5-5-5 2x2 GB (ProMOS)
Sources: highgertz - View Article
Indonesian Hardware Review Site - G.Skill F2-9600CL5D-4GBPI Freakzzz !!!
G.SKILL F2-9600CL5D-4GBPI Sample testing - XtremeSystems Forums


G.Skill DDR2-800 5-5-5 2x2 GB (very initially D9HNL, all newer PSC)
Sources: XS thread somewhere...


G.Skill Pi DDR2-1000 5-5-5 2x2 GB (PSC)
Source: OC Report: G.skill F2-8000CL5D-4GBPI - XtremeSystems Forums


G.Skill DDR2-1000 5-5-5 2x2 GB (PSC)
Sources: [MemoryReaction] G.Skill F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ - Low in cost, high in speed! - XtremeSystems Forums
A thread here on OCN where i asked someone to post the IC details as they had no pic.
Quote:
Well I couldnt get any good pics of them without the heat spreader on but for those that want to know the only thing on there which is stamped into the chip and is black (hence why I cant get any good pics) is "XBN400-AA3G"
G.Skill Pi Black DDR2-800 4-4-4 2x2 GB (Qimonda)
G.Skill Pi Black DDR2-900 4-4-4 2x2 GB (I strongly believe these are also Qimonda though i do not have IC pics)
Sources: Legion Hardware
GSKILL PI Black series F2-6400CL4D-4GBPI-B - XtremeSystems Forums


G.Skill Pi DDR2-1100 5-5-5 2x2 GB (ProMOS, though i suspect early batches were PSC based on poor OCing)
Source: Overclock.net - Overclocking.net - View Single Post - Need Memory That will hit 1100mhz+


Geil EVO One DDR2-800 4-4-4 2x2 GB (PSC)
Source: XtremeSystems Forums - View Single Post - G.SKILL F2-9600CL5D-4GBPI Sample testing


Another pic i have filed under Geil, not certain which kit (PSC though)


Generic Micron D9HNL 1 GB DIMMs (double sided = 2 GB DIMM, poor OCer, it's crappier Micron)
Sources: many, i've seen so much of this all over in person, nevermind online
Micron D9HNL chips (78nm 1Gb DDR2) single side - XtremeSystems Forums


Mushkin Redline 996593 DDR2-1000 5-5-5 2x2 GB (PSC)
Source: AT post i can't find



Mushkin 996580 DDR2-800 4-4-4 2x2 GB (PSC)
Source: t-break - Mushkin 4GB XP2-6400


Mushkin EM2-6400 DDR2-800 5-5-5 (PSC)
Mushkin XP2-6400 DDR2-800 4-4-4 (PSC)
Mushkin Redline DDR2-1000 5-5-5 (PSC)
Source: OC Report: 12 GB of Mushkin memory (PC6400 XP2 / PC8000 Redline / PC6400 EM2) - XtremeSystems Forums




OCZ Reaper HPC DDR2-1066 5-5-5 2x2 GB (PSC)
Source: Overclock.net - Overclocking.net - View Single Post - OCZ DDR2 Reaper IC's


OCZ Reaper DDR2-800 4-4-4 2x2 GB (PSC)
Source: Overclock3D


Transcend aXeRam DDR2-1066 5-5-5 2x2 GB (PSC)
Source: mini review: 4GB Tanscend aXeRam - XtremeSystems Forums


Buffalo Value Select 2 GB DIMM (PSC)
Source: me


Crucial value 2 GB DIMM (Micron D9FTB)
Source: me




Various ICs shown (copy of r00n's site's page)
Source: r00n
Various DDR2 ICs

Craploads of IC info on Corsair
DDR II IC Inquiry - The Corsair Support Forums

Tons more pics on my site here: Index of /pics/ram
(I just picked the IC ones out for this post.)

There is so much more info i've gathered on ICs for DDR2 that i don't get pics of, or don't link to, so that just stays in my head...sorry i sometimes can't remember how i know where i read/saw it...i can't save everything.
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