The first thing you'll notice about the 10th Anniversary DDR2 module is its price -- a little more expensive than its competitors. It also only comes in one package: a PC2-5300 (DDR2-667) 1GB module. Here are the specific stats:
- Chip brand: Micron
- CAS Latency: 3
- Timing: 3-3-3-12
- Voltage: 2.2V
Not that you'll spend much time staring at your RAM, but the 10th Anniversary modules have rather attractive blue-tinted brushed metal heat spreaders. Since DDR2 doesn't usually generate a significant amount of heat in properly-cooled systems, I hardly think a heat spreader is necessary, but it is useful in a different way: it protects the surface-mount components on the module board from the physical stress of handling and installation.
For CL3 PC2-5300, these timings are good but not great -- most other brands have the same or lower timings, some of them being significantly lower. To most people, this will never make one bit of difference, though.
|The Crucial 10th Anniversary PC2-5300 module|
In a Core 2 Duo E6700-based machine with an Asus P5B motherboard, I used oggenc and OpenSSL to record some initial performance benchmark numbers, then restarted and went into the BIOS to try to set the memory timings on the 10th Anniversary memory manually to see if it made any difference in performance. Turning off SPD (serial presence detect) and setting the CAS latency to 3 and the other timings to the specifications listed above resulted in a system that would get halfway through booting the OS before giving a segmentation fault. I tried higher and higher timings until the system booted properly, then ran the benchmark tests again and compared the numbers to the first run. There was absolutely no measurable difference.
The only other modules I have here for testing are DDR2-800 512MB, and you can't rightly compare that against the lower frequency but higher capacity Crucial RAM.
I used to do a lot of memory benchmarking back in the early days of the Pentium 4 Northwood and Athlon XP Thoroughbred cores, and at that time it was possible to squeeze some measurable results out of optimized memory timings on high-performance RAM. That little measurable difference would end up translating into unnoticeable differences in actual real-world performance, but at least the numbers were higher. These days memory bandwidth is so much higher that I don't see how a little tweaking is going to make even a measurable difference in performance anymore. Personally I think it's a bunch of hype built on the old days when a few more MB/sec memory bandwidth could make a real difference. I think the only real advantage to these modules is for overclockers (if people still bother doing that anymore) who want to push the frequency a little higher. I'd have to challenge the sanity of anyone who puts more than $1000 worth of computer equipment at risk to get a few extra MHz.
I conclude that the Crucial DDR2-667 10th Anniversary RAM module is good, but perhaps a little overpriced. Curiously, I was able to find the same RAM at considerably more competitive prices at third-party online resellers like Newegg. I don't understand why the Crucial Web site offers the same module for over $80 more, but I suspect there was some sort of mistake in pricing.
Is it worth the price? Well, considering the fact that it's cheaper than a comparable Crucial Ballistix module while being of practically identical electrical design, I'd say it's not that unreasonable a price. Other 1GB modules or 2GB matched kits are roughly the same price or a little bit less, but those other brands don't have the same reputation that Crucial Technology has. My advice is to give Crucial a little birthday present and pick up the 2GB matched pair kit; you'll get good RAM, and they'll be around for another ten years.
|Device||240-pin DDR2 DIMM|
|Device support||Motherboards that support DDR2-667 (PC2-5300) memory. Must be installed in pairs for optimal performance.|
|Market||System builders, upgraders, performance enthusiasts|
|Price (retail)||U.S. ~$229 for a matched pair of 1GB modules|
|Product Web site||Click here|