As it has been a while since we've last reviewed DDR2 memory, we will be using a brand new test bed configuration to benchmark the AENEON XTUNE DDR2-1066. The platform of choice is the NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI due to the fact that NVIDIA's memory controller can be unlinked from the FSB with a 1MHz granularity, allowing for much greater control of memory settings. We will also be able to test out the XTUNE's EPP settings through the nForce 680i SLI as well, making it an obvious selection. The rest of the system configuration is listed below and will be used as our standard test bed for throughout the rest of this article.
- Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor
- ASUS P5N32-E SLI Plus (NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI)
- 2 x 1GB AENEON XTUNE DDR2-1066 @ 5-5-15 CAS 5.0 (SPD)
- 2 x 1GB AENEON XTUNE DDR2-1066 @ 5-5-15 CAS 5.0 (EPP)
- 2 x 1GB AENEON XTUNE DDR2-1066 @ 4-4-9 CAS 5.0 (OC)
- 2 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR2-1066 @ 5-5-15 CAS 5.0
- 2 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR2-800 @ 4-4-12 CAS 4.0
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 200GB SATA hard disk drive (one single NTFS partition)
- MSI GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB - with ForceWare 162.18 drivers
- NVIDIA nForce 9.53 driver set
- Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 (and DirectX 9.0c)
To benchmark the AENEON XTUNE DDR2-1066 memory, we will be comparing it with a pair of Kingston HyperX DDR2 -1066 as the baseline for DDR2-1066 performance. The Kingston HyperX memory will be benchmarked with the same settings as the XTUNE, which is 5-5-5-15 (and the default recommended settings for both memory pairs). We will also throw in standard DDR2-800 memory performance scores to act as a guideline on the improvements of DDR2-1066 memory above the current industry standard. For the XTUNE itself, we will run three benchmark scenarios as follows:-
- Benchmark using stock voltage and SPD timings.
- Benchmark using stock voltage and SPD timings with EPP profile enabled (no system or CPU overclocking as we just want to test memory performance).
- Benchmark using stock voltage at fastest memory timings.
The first two scenarios pretty much speak for themselves, but the last scenario might warrant some explanation. The XTUNE DDR2-1066 memory is rated at 5-5-5-15, which is pretty normal for DDR2-1066 memory. However, we wanted to know if it could operate at tighter timings without needing to increase its voltage. After much fiddling around, we managed to get the XTUNE DDR2-1066 to run stable at 5-4-4-9 and this is the timing that will be used for extended benchmarking. Incidentally, these timings are exactly what Corsair's first DDR2-1000 low latency memory modules debuted back in 2005, but have now been discontinued.
The following benchmarks are used in this article to gauge the performance of the AENEON XTUNE DDR2-1066 memory:-
- BAPco SYSmark 2004
- Futuremark PCMark05
- SPECviewperf 10.0
- Futuremark 3DMark06
- Unreal Tournament 2004