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-- BuffaloTech Firestix PC4000 1GB DDR
-- Category: Review
-- Posted by: GideonX
-- Posted on: 2004-06-22
-- Price: ~ $170.00 ea. USD
-- Pages: 1 [ 2 ]
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We will be using our trusted test rig that consist of:

  • Abit IC-7 Motherboard with latest BIOS
  • Intel P4 'C' 2.4Ghz
  • Abit Siluro GF4 Ti-4200 64MB
  • Maxtor 80GB 8MB Cache 7200RPM HD
  • Windows XP Professional SP1

Upon boot up, I entered into the BIOS to see if everything went smoothly. The ram was recognized and through SPD, showed a timing of 3-3-3-8. Saved and rebooted at 250Mhz and was met with boot up errors. Strange, 250 is the rated speed at those timings I assumed, so back into the BIOS I went. Changed the timings to 3-4-4-8 and tried again with much better results. Arrived into Windows without an issue too.

I thought this was a bit odd so I asked Bruce over at BuffaloTech if he knew about this. He explained that the timings for SPD are there for a base speed of 200Mhz. Users are then supposed to bump it up as they increase their bus speeds according to their overclock. Strange I thought, but nonetheless, 3-4-4-8 caused no issues and shouldn't be much of a difference from 3-3-3-8. Some people may wonder why I usually do not bench at 200Mhz, which is the stock speed of the P4. Simply put, there really is no need to. We are more interested in the rated speed and the max speed of the memory. I know it can perform at 200Mhz, but the benches will be lower than 250Mhz, which just tells me 'it works'. I want to know what's the max these FireStix can accomplish ;) 

Here's an update from Bruce, who goes into a bit more depth about the 3-3-3-8 timings:

"There are some NFII MBs that will not boot if they start with SPD of 3-4-4. NFII do not like the looser timing structure. We wanted to make sure that everyone could at least boot with the default timings and adjust their timings after they got to the BIOS."

Sisoft Sandra 04 memory test:

Sisoft Sandra 04 Buffered

( 250 / 500 )

Int 5907 MB/s
Float 5937 MB/s

PiFast calculator:

PiFast

Time

Digits: 10000000
Method: Chudnovsky
Size of FFT: 1024
44.19 seconds

PCMark 2002 memory:

PCMark02

Score

Memory 9804

Not too shabby in the scores, nearly 6GB's at rated speeds of the modules. After bumping up the bus speed, the final speed that was stable was ... 256Mhz. Not really mind blowing, but an overclock nonetheless. The ceiling was hit rather quickly. I attempted 260 first, which booted into the Windows boot screen but never completed. I have previously had the CPU at 269 without a problem with other ram, so I can safely rule out that bottleneck. So what can it do at 256Mhz?

Sisoft Sandra 04 memory test:

Sisoft Sandra 04 Buffered

( 256 / 512 )

Int 6064 MB/s
Float 6029 MB/s

PiFast calculator:

PiFast

Time

Digits: 10000000
Method: Chudnovsky
Size of FFT: 1024
43.31 seconds

PCMark 2002 memory:

PCMark02

Score

Memory 10011

At least the 6GB/s mark has been broken. I wanted to think that the PCMark score would have been higher, but after a few runs the scores remained about the same.

Overall, these modules are very nicely priced and a good bang for the buck. The MSRP is $170, but once these start hitting retailers they should be lower. Buy a matched pair and you have a nice dual channel combo for yourself. I was a bit disappointed with the overclocking ceiling being reached so easily. However, it did surpass the rated DDR500 speed, so all is not lost. If you have a red motherboard, these modules will fit in even better in the visual department.



Pros:

  • Easy to install, heatshields do not get in the way
  • DDR500 rating
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Affordable


Cons:

  • Overclock ceiling reached easily
  • Awkward SPD timings?

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