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In September 2003, the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association officially published the DDR2 memory standard and the first consumer use of DDR2 memory starting with DDR2-533 began in 2004 with Intel's introduction of the LGA 775 platform. DDR2 quickly gained traction as the next generation memory and speeds were soon ramped up to 667 and 800MHz. In 2005, a little less than a year from DDR2's debut, the overclocking and enthusiast segment began showing prominence in the performance PC market and ultra high-speed DDR2 memory pushing 1GHz started to appear. Since then however, there hasn't been anything really exciting happening in the DDR2 world. The memory has already matured into a slow simmer and has now become an industry staple for the PC platform.
The biggest news in memory over the past year has been the steady downward price trend of DDR2 memory, making it extremely affordable and not too uncommon to see mid-range systems and OEM PCs carrying DDR2-800 and even performance DDR2-1000 memory is not out of reach of the average consumer.
Today, the enthusiast angle is still a strong driver for DDR2 development, but manufacturers are basically trying to achieve better performance through radical cooling designs (such as OCZ's Flex-XLC hybrid cooling memory) and hand picking chips to ensure overclocking capacity. You can find enthusiast DDR2 memory in the speeds of 1200MHz, but the last real DDR2 specification to meet the JEDEC standards was DDR2-800. Every other high-speed DDR2 memory you see today above DDR2-800 can be considered custom factory-overclocked memory. Their speeds, timings and voltage requirements can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. For example, the JEDEC standard for DDR2 specifies operating voltage of 1.8V. However, all DDR2-1000 and above memory modules run outside of the specifications anywhere between 2.1V to 2.35V in order to function properly.
Then in May this year, Micron announced sampling and production of the first DDR2-1066 chips that are actually able to run at a stock voltage of 1.8V through their 78nm fabrication process. This is the first big announcement for DDR2 memory as it could possibly see the setting of a new official JEDEC standard for DDR2 memory and running into favor with AMD, which will not be moving to DDR3 till 2008 at the very earliest. Micron's new DDR2-1066 chips operate with a CAS Latency of 7.0 however, which may very well cripple its performance advantage seeing that standard DDR2-800 memory have dropped to CAS 4.0 and even 3.0, while regular enthusiast DDR2-1066 in the market run at CAS 5.0.
In Comes XTUNE
This is where Micron's German rival Qimonda AG comes into play. Through their AENEON brand, Qimonda has essentially beat everyone to the punch by launching their new AENEON XTUNE DDR2-1066 memory into the retail channels. The XTUNE is the performance model of AENEON's memory lineup and this DDR2-1066 memory is not only guaranteed to operate at a stock 1.8V at 1066MHz, it also runs at CAS 5.0 latency and carries NVIDIA's Enhanced Performance Profile (EPP) timings. That's a triple bonus in a single stick of RAM and we intend to put the AENEON XTUNE DDR2-1066 through its paces to find out just how well Qimonda's newest DDR2 wonder-RAM will fare. In this review, we will be testing the AENEON XTUNE DDR2-1066 2GB dual channel kit (AXT760UD00-19D).
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