4GB Gets Cheap: 9 Dual-Channel Kits Compared

Test Setup

We tested every module pair using the following components:

Test Configuration
Component Base Settings
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo E8600, (3.33 GHz, 6.0 MB Cache)
Overclocked to 4.00 GHz, FSB-1600
Motherboard Asus P5Q Deluxe Rev 1.03G
P45 Express Chipset, BIOS 1406 (10/07/2008)
Graphics Gigabyte GV-R487-512H-B
HD 4870 GPU (750 MHz), GDDR5-3600
Hard Drive Western Digital WD5000AAKS, 500 GB
7,200 RPM, SATA 3 Gb/s, 16 MB cache
Sound Integrated HD Audio
Network Integrated Gigabit Networking
Power Coolermaster RS850-EMBA (850W, ATX12V v2.2)
Software and Drivers
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate SP1
Graphics Driver ATI Catalyst 8.9
Onboard Device Drivers Motherboard Driver DVD

Notice that we overclocked our motherboard and processor to FSB-1,600. A combination of this setting and the “400 MHz Boot Strap” allowed us to test our modules at 800, 1066, and 1200 MHz data rates without changing CPU speed. Configuring FSB-1,600 was easy with the overclock-friendly Core 2 Duo E8600 processor, as the resulting 4.00 GHz clock speed accelerated testing without incurring instability.

Because modules that use the same capacity, speed, and timings have identical performance, today’s tests will concentrate solely on the capabilities of each module to achieve high frequencies and/or low latencies at various voltage levels. We used MemTest86 v1.70 to verify stability for each setting.