Date: August 30, 2006
Author(s): Rob Williams
In the memory market, there are two things I am skeptical of. 1GB kits, and EPP. Today we are looking at a new kit from A-Data that has both. It proves to have some solid overclocking ability, thanks to it’s GMH chips. Are you willing to pay $200+ for a 1GB kit though?
Back on the Techgage workbench, we have some brand spanking new A-Data EPP sticks. We took a look at their 2GB PC2-8000 kit last month, and were impressed. Those modules offered superb speed, but came in at a premium price as all DDR2-1000 modules do. The sticks we are looking at today are in the same boat, so they are not for everyone.
Before we get into the exact specifications, lets first take a look at what we are physically dealing with.
Like the rest of the modules in their Extreme Edition lineup, the packaging is a clean plastic blister pack. It’s essentially two pieces of plastic clipped together to hold everything inside, in its place. It’s one of the easiest packages to open though, so I do question it to a degree. If dropped, I feel that the package would be more apt to opening compared to other blister packs on the market. Either way, these were well packaged so they didn’t have a ding on them after I removed them from the box.
The packaging is quite clear in telling you what you are dealing with. With a quick look we see that this is a 1GB kit rated for PC2-8000 speeds. However, you would not know that they are EPP enabled unless you look closely at the stickers on the sticks themselves.
Red is the color they have chosen for all their Extreme Edition modules, and it works. They are not as extreme looking as some other modules out there, but they don’t look bad either. Decal wise the modules include the A-Data logo, Vitesta Extreme Edition logo in addition to the warranty sticker. On that sticker we can find serial code information, model number, density, timing info and even a link to their website. I was unable to click this link, however ;-)
What you see is what you get! Nothing more to say here, so lets move on to see what these modules offer under the hood.
While the 2GB PC2-8000 modules we looked at last month were triple spec’d, these ones are dual spec’d. Officially, these are DDR2-1000 speeds with 5-5-5-15 timings for 2.2v. The other spec in the SPD is 400MHz 4-4-4-12. But who’s going to run those speeds when they pay a premium for the modules? Regardless, 500MHz is actually a reading in the SPD which is somewhat rare, even with PC2-8000 modules.
The modules have Micron D9GMH chips. I’ll wait while you get over your shock. Done? Ok, yes these chips are being used in almost every ‘midstream’ enthusiast kit. More expensive kits sometimes use D9GKX chips instead, which are binned 400MHz while GMH is 333MHz. Oddly enough, the non-EPP version of these modules use GKX chips… but cost the same. Right there… I would recommend getting the non-EPP version for that reason. Chances are good that if you are going to pay $250 for a 1GB kit, then you want the best performance possible. The non-EPP with GKX chips should prove better overclocking than these without any doubt.
Being the GMH that they are, I had expecations of what I could acheive, since most kits I review lately are GMH also. Well, they did clock quite well, but I was unable to push them beyond DDR2-1100 speeds. While 570MHz seemed stable, it would crash quick upon running any benchmarks. That was with 2.5vdimm which the M2N32-SLI maxes out at. Here are the successful overclocks:
DDR2-1120 proved rather unstable, crashing after a few runs of Sandra. I consider the DDR2-1100 overclock to be the highest possible on my machine. However, if you are willing or able, to go beyond 2.5vdimm, these will go further. Keeping CAS4 didn’t prove very successful much past 500MHz.
Throughout all of our benchmarks regardless of what we are reviewing, testing is done in a clean and stand-alone version of Windows XP Professional with SP2. Prior to testing, these conditions are met:
If you are interested in using the same benchmarks as us, feel free to visit the developers website:
The testing rig used for today’s benchmarking is as follows:
I chose the Corsair 1GB PC2-8500 kit to pit against these A-Data. They also use D9GMH chips, and I believe they were the first modules on the market to do so. All overclocks done with the A-Data were just as possible with these Corsair.
Sandra is one of my favorite benchmarking tools overall, and it’s not just for memory which makes it essential in any enthusiasts toolbox. Close results here, as were expected really. Broke through 9,000, which is nice to see for a 1GB kit.
For our unbuffered tests, you should see our exact settings since we use specific ones to cut down on the CPU usage. Overall, similar results here. Corsairs kit stole the crown from A-data.
Incredibly close results can be found from Everests Read and Write tests. At the max overclock, both kits had an identical Write speed, and only differed by 12 for the Read.
Another tight race with identical results at the top spot. Nothing like a smooth, even number!
PC Mark and 3D Mark are of the least important of these tests, but they make it quick and easy to see gains. That’s ignoring the five minutes it takes for PC Mark to open, of course. The PC Mark scores were quite close to one another… there is no clear winner. The Corsair sticks helped put a little more oomph into the 3D Mark results though.
Interestingly enough, Corsair cleaned up in every overclocking stage, except the last one! Overall, still very close results.
Again, the Corsair sticks managed to come out on top here. Though both modules use the same chips, Corsair must’ve struck it lucky with the batch they received.
Without a doubt, this is some great memory, however it’s not the best I’ve used. EPP features aside, this memory did not overclock as far as other D9GMH I have used in this pricerange, such as OCZs VX2. Sadly, I am unaware of how much this memory will cost when it hits these shores, so I will estimate. Going by what these sell for in Taiwan, we should be seeing these over here for around $250US. That’s rather expensive when you consider other 2 * 1GB GMH kits, such as the G. Skill 2GBHZ goes for a few dollars more. Both the G. Skill kit, and this one overclock the same as I have found out in our recent review.
The reason this kit costs more to begin with is the EPP addition, which is really not necessary for the enthusiast. However, if you are able to find the non-EPP version of these sticks, I would be much quicker to recommend those. Since they have GKX chips and supposedly cost the same, you would get a better kit that would offer better performance, but more importantly better overclocking ability.
Though these are good modules, I can’t outright recommended them. If you for some reason are looking for a 1GB PC2-8000 then these are a good choice, as the competition have similar prices. Sadly, the Corsair kit I included in the benchmarks seems to be scarce in online stores, for some reason. I am awarding the A-Data PC2-8000 EPP modules a 7 out of 10.
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