OCZ markets both of these dual-channel DDR kits to the performance and enthusiast PC buyer, and we're looking to use a similar platform for our reference testing. This would involve either a dual-channel DDR AMD or Intel board, and after some initial testing, we decided on the VIA K8T800 Pro as the base platform. The integrated memory controller of the Athlon 64 allows more rigorous latency testing, and the MSI MS-6702E motherboard provides for high-end memory overclocking.
The rest of our hardware base is also at the high-end of the scale, and includes a 2.4 GHz Athlon 64 4000+ processor, an ATI Radeon X800 XT 256-MB video card (66 MHz AGP at all times), and a 10K RPM SATA hard drive. This maintains our reference system at the same level as the OCZ PC3200 and PC3700 DDR and provides a nice base for the high-end memory benchmarking and overclocking. The base operating system is Windows XP Pro SP1, along with DirectX 9.0c installed.
The benchmarking has been performed in two different ways, with the first one dealing with the overclocking capabilities of the OCZ DDR, and how this impacts performance. The second part of the equation is performing standard comparisons at 400 MHz and judging how each module's timings and speed reflect in the benchmarks. For this, we've included several different types of DDR, including Corsair PC3200LL and OCZ PC4200 EL, along with more generic PC3200 and PC2700.
The benchmark list has been shortened from our usual CPU and video card selection, and only includes the system and game tests that reflect at least one aspect of memory performance. On the memory bandwidth side, there is PCMark 2004 and SiSoft SANDRA 2005, while the game benchmarks include Half-Life 2, FarCry, Unreal Tournament 2004, and Quake 3: Arena. Our default game benchmark setting is 1024x768x32, which is demanding enough for comparisons and allows memory clock speed and timings to impact the performance numbers, but doesn't get into the realm of video card limitations.
To ensure a directly-comparable set of performance benchmarks, each of the overclocks in our benchmark testing used a close-to 2.4 GHz clock speed that emulates the default CPU clock. The Athlon 64 4000+ was set at 11x218 MHz (2398 MHz) and 10x240 MHz (2400 MHz), thus accurately reflecting the impact of higher FSB and memory speeds. This resulted in the following DDR clock speeds: 11x218 MHz (436 MHz DDR) and 10x240 MHz (480 MHz DDR) at the stated CPU bus speeds. This not only gives the OCZ PC3200 EL and PC3700 Gold a good workout, it also allows us to evaluate FSB/DDR performance effects without a higher CPU clock speed screwing up the comparisons.
The overclocked benchmark section is informational only and it's really just the OCZ PC3200 EL Platinum Rev 2 and PC3700 Gold Rev 3 competing, but at the 400 MHz level, we introduce a few different competitors. Higher bus speeds may also enact a penalty to memory timings, and here are the different memory brands and their benchmarked bus speeds and timings.
Processor: Athlon 64 4000+
Motherboard: MSI MS-6702E
Motherboard chip set: VIA K8T800 Pro
ATI reference drivers: Catalyst 4.12
Video Card: ATI Radeon X800 XT 256-MB
Hard-Drive: Western Digital WD360 SATA
IDE Interface: Serial ATA-150
CD/DVD: AOpen Combo Drive
Power Supply: ANTEC 430 Watt
Operating System: Windows XP Pro SP1
Desktop Resolution: 1024x768
Color Depth: 32-bit
Quake III Arena Test Specifics
Version: 1.30 (retail)