Extreme DDR 400

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DDR to use at 200 FSB — Joe

SUMMARY: Runs at 200 MHz, although whether your PC can handle it is another question. Discount Coupon at end of review valid through Saturday, September 14th.

DDR 400

Seen one, seen them all.

The good guys at E Powerhouse PC sent over a sample of Xtreme DDR 400. This is 256MB stick which uses Samsung C4 -5ns Chips to allow users to hit 200 MHz FSB. The spec timings are 3-6-3, 2T, CAS 2.5.

According to the manufacturer:

XtremeDDR takes pre-manufactured memory such as Samsung and tests each module for the highest possible stability…Each stick is hand tested for the highest performance.

You can see more details on XtremeDDR DDR400 True with this link.

This module ships with a heat spreader. As I looked at it, I found this:

Gap

Hmmm…not much help from the heat spreader here.

Now, all you good folks KNOW that you need solid contact between the chip you’re cooling and the heatsink; in this case, one side of the heat spreader was OK and one side had a noticeable gap. Might be better if both sides of the heat spreader did the job rather than one.

UPDATE:

Being curious about what’s inside (and responding to email requests), I VERY CAREFULLY removed the two clips holding the heat spreader onto the chips:

Inside

The heat spreader is held in place by some sticky (thermal?) tape, so I VERY CAREFULLY pried off the side that did not fully contact the chips and found these chips:

Chip

I added the white text for clarity.

From Samsung’s site (thanks Jason!), you can use this link to decode Samsung chips – C4 designates a 5ns, CAS3 part. The “C4” designation is also posted on Xtreme’s wesbite in a Samsung document HERE (p3) indicating “DDR400 (200 MHz @ CL3)”.

In a conversation with XtremeDDR, they strongly suggest that this module ONLY BE USED in
DDR 400 Motherboards – click on the link for recommended motherboards.

THE TEST

I tested Xtreme DDR 400 using an ABIT KR7A RAID motherboard (200 FSB max) with an XP 1400 MHz, running at a 7x multiplier; this avoids any issues due to the CPU running out of spec. PCI settings were fixed at 4:2:1, so if I had to use a hard drive, I doubt that it would have worked. I had to boost the voltage to 2.65 volts to boot at 200 MHz.

To test the RAM, I used Ultra X’s RAM Stress Test Professional (R.S.T. Pro). This is a stand-alone PCI card – it does not need hard drives or an OS to run. The motherboard boots up and then the R.S.T. Pro takes over. The testing is quite rigorous and, after running at least 5 loops, will identify problems down to the chip and sectors within the chip.

I ran two tests – one at spec settings and one at CAS 2, with the following results:

Mem Settings

FSB

Result

3-6-3, 2T, CAS 2.5

200

PASS

3-6-3, 2T, CAS 2

184

PASS

CONCLUSION

It ran as advertised. More aggressive CAS settings knocked the speed down, as expected. I would not suggest running at 200 MHz unless you have a /6 divisor to keep PCI speeds reasonable.

At a /4 divisor, the PCI bus is running at 50 MHz – 50% faster than spec.

I doubt if many hard drives and a lot of PCI cards would stand up to this level of overclocking at all, or too long.

If you have a system capable of running OK at 200 MHz, the Xtreme DDR 400 is up to the task, although not at aggressive memory settings. Xtreme strongly recommends that this part only be used in DDR400 motherboards.

Thanks again to E Powerhouse PC for sending this our way – they are giving a coupon to get $5.00 off a memory purchase.

Coupon Code 327vn37

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