RAM TEST: Kingmax PC2100 CAS2 vs Crucial PC2100

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We received a 256Mb stick of Kingmax PC133 CAS2 from Crazy PC.

We put it against the long-time champion, Crucial PC2100.

We tested the RAM as usual with a PCI card from Ultra-X Inc. called RST Pro PCI. This card performs a number of memory tests to burn in and identify malfunctioning SDRAM modules. When you install the card, the PC boots to RST Pro, so there is no OS interfering with RAM testing. The tests it performs can be used to identify the highest stable FSBs for a particular motherboard/SDRAM combination.

Testing includes over 30 testing algorithms using unique methods developed by Ultra-X to validate RAM with maximum amount of data traffic. Some rely on stressing the bus with data throughput to achieve a full load to create a failure that would occur under standard or stressful use, like running Prime 95. When errors are reported, it’s even possible to identify which chip is failing. Each test series is run five times, taking about seventy five to ninety minutes to complete.

This is the first time I’ve worked with the card, but I can vouch that it’s pretty rough on memory.

We used a Shuttle AK31 version 3.1 to test both sticks, running an unlocked 1500XP at an 8X multiplier. All tests were run using a DDR voltage of 2.7V (the maximum available on the board). We tested as high as the motherboard would let us without help from programs like CPUFSB (we’ll test Crucial with this later): 166Mhz. We used two separate memory settings.

Fast

CAS Latency

2

Bank Interleave

4-way

Precharge to Active (TrP)

2T

Active to Precharge (Tras)

5T

Active to CMD

2T

DRAM Queue

4

DRAM Command Rate

1T

Slow

CAS Latency

2.5

Bank Interleave

4-way

Precharge to Active (TrP)

3T

Active to Precharge (Tras)

6T

Active to CMD

3T

DRAM Queue

3

DRAM Command Rate

2T

The Winner?

Settings

Crucial At 2.7V

Kingmax At 2.5V Kingmax At 2.7V
Fast

156MHz

156MHz

150MHz
Slow

166MHz

166MHz

<152MHz

The performances need to be explained a bit.

Revision: 11/8/01

We initially ran all these tests at 2.7V, figuring that the modules needed all the juice these could get. As you can see, the
Kingmax did poorly at 2.7V and we reported that. We had wondered about voltage a bit, but when the Kingmax had run at 2.7V at 133Mhz, we thought that wasn’t the problem.

Then Adam Martin wrote in with the following:

I’ve owned Kingmax ram for a few years now. One thing I have learned is that upping the voltage on the Kingmax products causes the TinyBGA chips to have problems operating at high memory speeds. I would recommend testing the memory again at the default voltage. It will more then likely do a lot better in your tests.

So we reran the tests at 2.5V, and sure enough, he proved to be correct. Thanks, Adam!

So it’s basically a dead heat between Crucial and Kingmax, at least at the voltages used.

I’d still have to give Crucial a cost edge and also an edge for the hardcore folks into voltage modifications, since more voltage can sometimes help the Crucial, but hurts the Kingmax.

I’d have to give the Kingmax the edge if you’re buying a mobo without DIMM voltage adjustment. The Crucials like power.

So depending on your circumstances, either could be a good choice.

Again, thanks to Crazy PC for the RAM.

Email Ed

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