10th Anniversary PC2-5300 From Crucial

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Product: Crucial 2GB Kit of PC2-5300 DDR2-667 10th Anniversary Ed.
Provided By: Crucial
Price: $339.99USD

Introduction:

It's hard to believe that Crucial has been around for 10 years.  They've come a long way from their humble beginnings of 16MB of RAM.  They have a nifty little interactive tool on their page that is interesting to play with and see how Crucial, the world and technology have evolved over the years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To celebrate the 10 year milestone the company has released a nice set of PC2-5300 that is sure to turn some heads - especially those who complain about Crucial's standard gold colored heat spreaders.  These beauties are where it's at and with timings of 3-3-3-12, they should fly.  Take a look below at these sweet modules and tell me that they are an improvement over the standard DDR2 from Crucial.

10th Anniversary Sticks
Click For Larger Image

Specs & Features:

This kit is has the official part number of TY2KIT12864AA663, but we'll just call it 10th Anniversary DDR2.  We've ripped the modules details from Cruial and posted it below.

  • Part Number: TY2KIT12864AA663
  • Module Size: 2GB kit (1GBx2)
  • Package: Tenth Anniversary 240-pin DIMM
  • Feature: DDR2 PC2-5300
  • Configuration: 128Meg x 64
  • DIMM Type: UNBUFFERED
  • Error Checking: NON-ECC
  • Speed: DDR2-667
  • Voltage: 2.2V
  • Memory Timings: 3-3-3-12
  • Specs: DDR2 PC2-5300 • 3-3-3-12 • UNBUFFERED • NON-ECC • DDR2-667 • 2.2V • 128Meg x 64

This only comes in a 2GB kit or in single 1GB modules, but that should appeal to most people as 2GB is getting to be pretty much the standard in memory size these days.

On the next page we'll fire up the test system and jump right into testing this memory!


Test Setup & Info:

It is really hard to test memory bandwidth in real-world tests on virtually any system.  In order to speed up the memory on Athlon 64 systems, you first select the appropriate memory speed in the BIOS.  Unfortunately, the integrated memory controller on the CPU runs at the same speed as it is based on the overall CPU speed.  In order to speed up the memory very effectively, the CPU must also be sped up as well.  Our tests on these memory modules are actually synthetic benchmarks that show theoretical memory performance, and are very effective at showing how the memory scales when the system is overclocked.  Speaking of systems, check out the specs below.

  • AMD Athlon 64 4200+ X2 AM2 Processor 2.2GHz - MemoryExpress
  • MSI K9N Platinum Motherboard - MemoryExpress
  • 2GB Kit - Crucial Ballistix PC2-5300 (DDR2-667) - Crucial
  • LG GSA-H10L DVDRW
  • Seagate 250GB 7200.9 SATA HDD
  • eVGA 7600GT 256MB 
  • Windows XP Professional with all available updates.
  • nForce 9.16 Platform Drivers
  • Forceware 91.47 Graphics Drivers

We ran a series of benchmarks to find out how stock performance compared to overclocked performance.  We wanted to see how high these little 667MHz sticks could go at 3-3-3-12 1T timings.  We were very impressed as they settled in over DDR2-800 with no trouble and finally topped out at DDR2-834.

We overclocked our system using only FSB adjustments and left the multiplier at stock 11x on our 4200+ X2.  This gave us a 228MHz bus speed and an 1140MHz HT Link.  Below are some CPU-Z screenshots for your viewing pleasure.

CPU-Z SPD Settings
CPU-Z SPD Settings


 

Crucial has stated that this memory is PC2-5300 which runs at 667MHz.  They also state that the memory timings are 3-3-3-12 at 667MHz.  As you can see in the CPU-Z screenshot above, their are three sets of timings on these modules - 3-3-3-12 or 4-3-3-12 at 266Mhz (533MHz) and 5-3-3-15 at 333MHz (DDR2-667).  This is the only major issue we had with this memory - the advertised SPD timings are much looser than what the memory modules are detected and run at in our test system.  While this appears to be an issue at first glance, this is actually designed for compatibility.  Most high-end DDR2 requires more than the standard 1.8v.  These modules actually require 2.2v to function properly.  If the came clocked at 3-3-3-12 at 667MHz, and a new motherboard tried to run them at 1.8v, it may not post.  Because they run at relaxed timings by default, they should post on virtually any system.  Once running you can up the voltage and tighten the timings.

CPU-Z Overclocked CPU
 CPU-Z Overclocked CPU

CPU-Z Overclocked Memory
 CPU-Z Overclocked Memory

By adding a little extra voltage to the memory we were able to keep the timings at tight stock 3-3-3-12 all the way up to DDR2-834.  This offers much better performance than most DDR2-800.  Take a look at the performance numbers on the next page.


Testing:

We ran our MSI K9N Platinum at stock speeds 2.2GHz at 200MHz x 11 at DDR2-667 settings.  To clock this up, we bumped up the FSB and ran the memory at DDR2-834.  We had to bump up the voltage from 2.2v to 2.35v to keep things stable.  We monitored the temperature of the modules and recorded 40.5C at stock speeds and 44.5C when running fully loaded.  Our test rig has very little airflow so the temperature looks very good for such high voltage.

Everest Chart
Click For Larger Chart

Everest Ultimate scores show that this memory has excellent performance even at stock speeds.  When we overclock it an additional 25%, we gain more bandwidth.  25% is a very impressive overclock when you consider that we are running at CAS 3 at over 800MHz!!!

ScienceMark 2.0 Chart
Click For Larger Chart

ScienceMark 2.0 is a little application that really stresses out the memory bus.  It has a built in benchmarking feature as well.  The numbers we see here reflect what we have seen in Everest Ultimate.  We gain a nice performance boost with our 25% overclock.  We actually see a 15% gain here instead of the 25% that we have clocked up.

Lastly we take a look at SiSoft Sandra 2007.  This is the latest release of the popular system analysis and benchmarking program.  Strangely we don't see the same performance increase with this benchmark that we do with the other tests.  I re-ran the test, but the results were consistent each time.  This is how it shapes up.

SiSoft Chart
Click For A Larger Chart

Conclusion:

This memory is a very nice special addition to Crucial's excellent line of memory.  The embossed and machined heat spreaders really make this memory pop and appeal to more people than their regular modules with the gold heat spreaders.  As far as performance goes, it is downright incredible for PC2-5300.  This memory runs at 3-3-3-12 1T and offers very impressive bandwidth for the clock speed due to its tight timings.  Not only can it run that tight at stock speeds, it can also clock up to well over DDR2-800 and still keep the same timings!  This has pushed memory bandwidth close to 9GB/sec when running Everest Ultimate on our K9N Platinum Athlon 4200+ test system.  It performs like this with the processor only mildly overclocked!

Pros:

  • Nice blue heat spreaders.
  • Tight memory timings for DDR2-667.
  • Excellent performance.
  • Crucial Lifetime warranty.

Cons:

  • More expensive than the competition, but you get what you pay for.

 

BCCHardware.com Rating
Quality:
10/10
Performance:
10/10
Software Pack:
n/a
Stability:
10/10
Features:
10/10
Value:
10/10
Total Score 10

 

Even though I listed a "Con" as being more expensive than the competition, you really do get what you pay for.  This memory costs more than other memory, but it is worth the price as has exceptional performance.  There is a lot of "cheap" memory on the market, and I don't just mean inexpensive - I mean cheap.  When you buy Crucial memory, you don't get a cheap product.

I'd like to thank Crucial for dropping these modules our way for a review and also for the chocolate bar that we "reviewed" earlier.

If you have any questions, comments or just want to flame me, please post them in the forum at the comments link below.