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Old November 30, 2007, 06:00 PM
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Default "Reviewer Tryouts" 2x1gb DDR2 800 Galore!!!

*New*

Table of Contents

1. Intro
2. Products
3. Initial View
4. Test Setup
5. Test Methodology
6. Benchmarks
7. Overview
8. Conclusion

Intro

I just got all the parts for testing today and you are all in for a treat. Here, we have four sets of PC2-6400 DDR2 800 RAM from three different companies. Before we start, I apologize for the picture quality because I don't have my usual camera with me today. Crucial and G.Skill have a long standing reputation for good ram and the internet is a buzz with reviews about Crucial with their for sure Micron D9 IC's. Kingbox however is a very new Taiwan based company which has somehow made its way into Canada. By the looks of it, Kingbox is serving the lower end of the market with more competitive prices. Could they deliver an early knockout with the one two punch of cost and performance? Finally, I also want to add that I did not get sponsored for any of these items and they all came out of my own pocket. Hope you enjoy the review.




Products


1.



Product: Crucial Ballistix DDR2 PC2-6400 BL2KIT12864AA804
Company: Crucial
Price: 114.99 @ NCIX
Specs:
2.2V
4-4-4-12
8 Layer PCB
EPP Enabled


2.



Product: G.SKILL F2-6400PHU2-2GBHZ PC2-6400
Company: G.Skill
Price: 164.99 @ NCIX
Specs:
1.8-2.0v
4-4-4-12
6 Layer PCB
EPP Enabled

3.



Product: G.Skill F2-6400CL5D-1GBNQ PC2-6400
Company: G.Skill
Price: 114.99 @ NCIX
Specs:
1.8-2.0v
5-5-5-15
6 Layer PCB

4.



Product: Kingbox DDR2 1GB/800MHZ
Company: Kingbox
Price: 45.98 @ eCShop
Specs:
1.8v
5-5-5-15
6 Layer PCB

5.



This is what we'll be using to cool the ram we're testing.
Product: OCZ XTC Cooler
Company: OCZ
Price: $24.99 @ NCIX

6.

Product: A-Data DDR2 800
Company: A-Data
Price: $60.63 @ NCIX


Initial View

Firstly I just wanted to note that all three ram companies do provide lifetime warranty. However "Lifetime" usually translates into as long as the manufacturer still sells the product so you have to be a bit careful about the fine print. You should also note where the company is located before you want to claim your RMA. Some companies may be located far away which will delay your RMA process and could cost a bit more in shipping. As for Crucial and G.skill they both have headquarters in the US while Kingbox is located in Markham Ontario.

1. Crucial Ballistix 6400



The packaging for the Crucial Ballistix 6400 wasn't very flashy just the typical sturdy brown box with a label from crucial. Inside the box contains the two sticks sealed in anti-static bags. The Ballistix are supposed to be Crucial's line of higher end products second to only the Tracers which include activity L.E.D.'s at the top. On initial inspection I did notice a flaw in these ram sticks. The heat sinks are not seated perfectly level with the ram sticks which is causing a gap. It's not the biggest problem but it will cause the heat not to dissipate as quickly. Hopefully this is only a localized case. These sticks have been much touted for its Micron D9GMH ICs. Hopefully we will see if these perform true today.

2. G.Skill 6400HZ



G.Skill 6400HZ came with a glossy gradient (black to marine green) box. In the middle, a photo of a yellow F1 racing car is 'blended' into the gradient background which is a modest change from the previous packaging where a Lamborghini was used instead. Inside, the RAM comes with a molded plastic container. The HZ comes with new, flat, black heat spreaders on a green PCB. The HZ label from G.Skill mark their performance line. These sticks are also well known for having Micron D9GMH ICs. However, it is tricky to determine without removing its heat spreaders. This is the most expensive kit in this test so hopefully we get what we paid for.

3. G.skill 6400NQ


The packaging of the G.skill 6400NQ is the exact same to the G.skill 6400hZ (as described above). The only difference is the NQ comes with new, flat red heat spreaders. Unlike the HZ line the NQ line was not meant to be the highest in performance. On inspection these sticks had the same problem as the Crucial where the heat spreaders did not sit well on the chips so there was a bit of a gap on one side. This line of G.Skill sticks most commonly contain Elpida ICs. This kit is meant for the mid ranged buyer but with so many price drops recently they still seem to be high for a mid ranged buyer.

4. Kingbox 6400



The Kingbox6400 is by far the cheapest sample today which means it could have the highest performance-cost ratio. It comes only in a molded plastic container. However, this modest look is compensated by the unique colours of the RAM itself. The RAM has a dual colour design - Red on one side and Maroon on the other. The RAM has a single L.E.D. which is used to determine if the RAM has been placed in the slot correctly. A quick search on the Web reveals that Kingbox sticks can contain Micron D9, however our test samples do not. Instead, it looks as though it contains Elpida ICs.


Test Setup

CPU: Intel E6600 @ 3.6ghz
CPU Cooling: Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme
Motherboard: Asus P5K Deluxe
Hard Drive: Western Digital 80GB Raptor ADFD
Video Card: eVGA 8800GTS 640mb
Video Cooler: Thermalright HR-03 Plus
Power Supply: Enermax Noisetaker 2 600watt
Memory Cooler: OCZ XTC Cooler
DVD Drives: Pioneer 212D
Case: Thermaltake Armor
OS: Windows XP Professional 32bit

Test Methodology

Although I am testing these parts, I am only testing a single sample which may not necessarily represent the entire line as a whole. So just keep in mind that the results I get may not be the exact same as the one that you may get at home.

Programs Used:
CPUZ
Memset
SuperPi

MemTest86+


Procedure:

For this bench test we will find the maximum stable clock speeds reachable at different setting ranges. The ram has to pass three loops of MemTest86+ before each of the settings can be considered stable. Each set of ram will be tested for their maximum clock speeds at cas 4 and cas 5 latencies as well as from 2.0v to 2.2v. Where applicable I will also run the ram through SuperPi at 1 million. The SuperPI test will only be done when the cpu clock speed is at 3.6ghz so that the marks will not be skewed from clock speed. The reason for the clock speed problem is because the P35 chipset does not allow asynchronous ram dividers to give us a wider range of ram speeds to choose from (seen in the 680i chipset). Also note that the results of SuperPi may be partially skewed from the different chipset latencies which is a result of the divider that is being used.

Benchmarks


1. Crucial 6400
Stock:


Highest 2.2v


2. G.Skill 6400 HZ
Stock:


Highest 2.2v:


3. G.Skill 6400NQ
Stock:


Highest 2.2v:


4. Kingbox 6400
Stock:


Highest 2.2v:



Overview




Overall there were some surprising results which I'll go into detail one by one. One note I would like to add is that the sub timings for all these kits could have been further optimized to produce even better SuperPi results. For the purpose of this review the sub timings and performance level were left at auto.


Conclusion

1. Crucial Ballistix 6400

This highly raved ram did not perform as well as expected. Although it did perform as it was marketed to, it didn't have much headroom for overclocking. This comes as a surprised and makes me wonder that maybe it was just the luck of the draw that this kit did not perform as well as hoped. To top it off the heat spreader had problems staying flush with the chips. This kit did not respond well to voltage which yielded hardly any benefit going from 2.0v to 2.2v which makes me doubt that going to 2.3v or higher would have helped. Overall price wise it did perform very close to the G.Skill 6400NQ so all was not lost.

2. G.Skill 6400HZ

This kit was by far the best performer in our little round up. It responded well to voltage in general and there was almost no end in sight. I also should mention that out of the three kits with heat spreaders this one was the only kit with no gaps. However this kit does also command the heftier price when compared to the other kits. At the price of this kit you may just want to take a chance at the PC2-8500 Crucial's instead for only $134.99 @ NCIX. The last road block is that not many retailers carry G.Skill in Canada.

3. G.skill 6400NQ

In this test these sticks managed to pull ahead of the Crucial's by a little bit. While clocking with this kit, they did seem to respond to voltage a bit better yet it you could tell the stick was near its max. Once again like the other G.skill kit it is possible to find ram of equal quality at a lower price.

4. Kingbox 6400

So is Kingbox really the King? Not this round it wasn't. At $22.99 per gig the quality is just that (cheap). In the lower 4Cas latency the ram could not even ramp up past 740mhz. These sticks also responded horribly to voltage which makes me wonder if there was some sort of over voltage protection. Any voltage over 2.2v would cause it to not boot at all. If you're looking for the best price performance ratio you should look elsewhere but if you just need something to run at stock then these are your sticks. Kingbox is still a baby in this competitive world of computer hardware so there is still plenty of time for it to find its place in the market but for now its position is exactly where it is priced.

Last edited by ineedaname; December 7, 2007 at 12:36 PM.
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Old December 3, 2007, 05:13 PM
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Well I didn't win the PS3 or the Reviewer tryouts so I drowned my sorrows in MORE RAM!!!
So I guess I'll add it to my review up there in a few days.
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Old December 3, 2007, 05:39 PM
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My System Specs

Default oh nice

you lined up a load of different sticks-mmm im glad i didnt buy the crucial now.
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Old December 3, 2007, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ineedaname View Post
Well I didn't win the PS3 or the Reviewer tryouts so I drowned my sorrows in MORE RAM!!!
So I guess I'll add it to my review up there in a few days.
Just curious, what do you do with all that ram?
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Old December 3, 2007, 06:53 PM
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These days it seems that you can pretty much count on crucial to perform just slightly better than as advertised- their binning process seems to quite efficient. I know it's common to have their heat spreaders pull away from the vhips as well, but if you ask me, I'd argue that they were mostly cosmetic anyway. I'd like to see some heatsink on vs off overclocking tests.
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Old December 4, 2007, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieTO View Post
Just curious, what do you do with all that ram?
I hold it to sleep with me at night! MY PRECIOUS!!!

But yea I actually just sell them all. I've already sold all my kingbox but still have the g.skill, crucial and new a-data left over.

BTW is it just me or do some of the pics not show sometimes?
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Old December 4, 2007, 11:08 AM
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It's not just, some of your photos don't show. If you haven't already, you should put them up for sale in the F/S section.
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Old December 4, 2007, 02:28 PM
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I've always been so curious as to whether the heat-spreaders on ram chips running at stock volts or under 2.2v necessary. Hmmm
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Q6600 G0 @3.5ghz (Thermalright Ultra X 120)
Asus Maximus Formula 903
A-Data DDR 800 4 x 1gb, EVGA 8800GT SSC (Zalman VF900)
Antec NeoPower Blue 650W, Antec 900

HTPC: X2 64 5000+ Black @3.3ghz (AC 64 Pro)
A-Data DDR 800 2 x 1gb, Radeon 2600 Pro HDMI
Asus M2N-E, Antec Sonata, 380W TruePower


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Old December 4, 2007, 03:42 PM
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Hmm i think I have too many pictures or something cuz they dont' seem to all wanna show
sometimes they do and soemtimes they don't

Stupid gmail photo's don't seem 2 wanna work.

Last edited by ineedaname; December 6, 2007 at 12:21 PM.
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Old December 18, 2007, 12:54 PM
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They all showed for me.
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