DDR2 vs DDR3 memory - the benchmarks have arrived

Posted on Wednesday, May 16 2007 @ 16:17 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
The guys from AnandTech spend some quality time with some DDR2 and DDR3 memory modules from Corsair and a couple of Intel P965 and P35 based motherboards.
What this review does address is the performance of the new DDR3 memory that is launched with P35. The new Intel P35 chipset, known as Bearlake during development, supports either DDR2 or DDR3 memory. This presented a perfect opportunity to look at the performance of both DDR3 and DDR2 on the new P35 chipset. We were also able to compare performance to a Gold Editors' Choice Intel P965 motherboard. The results of these comparisons provided interesting results about the capabilities of the new P35 memory controller. It also answered the question of whether you should care about DDR3 in any upcoming system purchase.
You can check it out over here. AnandTech's conclusion is that there's not really a performance difference between DDR2 and DDR3 on the Intel P35 based motherboards, but they did found that they were both faster than the same DDR2 memory on the Intel P965 based motherboard.

The biggest performance gain comes from the P35's new memory controller which improves the buffered memory bandwidth by 16-18%, increasing real-world performance in games and applications by 2-5%.
Even at slow timings, DDR3 shows a great deal of promise. It is as fast as very fast DDR2 on the P965, but it can't match the same DDR2 memory performance on the P35. DDR3 can run at higher speeds than DDR2 and as faster memory timings inevitably appear DDR3 will be the right choice for computer enthusiasts looking for the best performance. While we can't prove better latency or significantly better performance with the slow timings of launch DDR3, the evidence is all there in these tests. DDR3 will get faster in speed and will provide the best performance in the long term.
While the new P35 chipset is definitely worth it, it's not worth it to buy DDR3 memory modules yet. The biggest problem is that a decent 2GB DDR3 memory kit costs a whopping $480, while decent 2GB DDR2 memory kits can be found for under $150. However, over time DDR3 will become much cheaper and just like with DDR2 memory wen can expect that memory makers will release modules with much better timings and higher clockspeeds in the future.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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