IntroductionHow best to increase system performance without compromising stability?. That's a thought that I've been ruminating over for the past few weeks. I've had the fortune to try out AMD's new powerhouse CPUs for socket-939, and I've found both the Model 3800+ and FX-53 to be about the best money can currently buy for a home environment.
There's literally nothing faster; Intel's Pentium 4 Extreme Edition is a sideways move at best. U.K-based system integrators will soon be shipping high-end systems equipped with these processors, so massively fast default performance simply requires deep pockets. Yet we'll do well to remember that both Intel's and AMD's fastest processors still use PC3200/DDR400 memory. Sure, you can purchase PC4400 RAM that's ratified at DDR500 speeds, but high latencies make it a poor choice for super-fast default performance.
That's precisely why RAM coated in Winbond BH-5 goodness is such a sought-after commodity. BH5 ICs were binned and tweaked such that many guaranteed low-latency access at DDR400 speeds. Lowering the time it takes for system memory to respond when a data call is initiated by the CPU is a sure-fire way of increasing performance. However, if you've been following the ins-and-outs of system RAM over the last year, you'll have noticed a sharp turn towards higher speeds and relaxed timings.
Corsair, it now transpires, is going back to providing the enthusiast with ultra-low-latency DDR400 memory. That should be a boost in default performance and the ability to maintain tight latencies with moderate overclocks. Just my kind of memory, really. I was eager to test out Corsair TwinX-3200XLPRO memory, for it arrives with default timings of 2-2-2-5 (CAS-tRCD-tRP-TRAS, respectively) at DDR400 speeds. That's some specification, too, as Corsair's previous low-latency champion was XMS3200LL stuff, which ran at 2-3-2-6.
Time to get excited about default performance in a long time. Let's take a closer look.