In June of 2004, Corsair 3200XL appeared on the market. It was the first time since the death of Winbond BH5 that we had seen a memory with 2-2-2 timings at DDR400. More than that, this new memory also proved to reach DDR500 performance levels - something that Winbond BH5 could never do. That performance first seen in The Return of 2-2-2: Corsair 3200XL & Samsung PC4000 soon became a deluge as almost every memory manufacturer introduced their own version of high-speed DDR memory based on Samsung TCCD memory chips.

Along the way, we saw many innovations, as discussed in =F-A-S-T= DDR Memory: 2-2-2 Roars on the Scene and Geil PC3200 Ultra X: High Speed & Record Bandwidth. The revolutionary performance of that first Corsair 3200XL soon became average as memory makers tried to out-do each other with new PCB's and SPD programming that squeezed even more out of the Samsung TCCD chips. It seemed almost overnight that the Samsung TCCD became the high-speed standard for DDR memory.

What many may have forgotten along the way is that Samsung never really rated TCCD as a DDR400 memory chip. In the Samsung catalogs, TCCD was listed as a DDR500 part, and the higher costs also went along with Samsung's classification as DDR500. Most manufacturers binned (speed-sorted) the Samsung TCCD, and the parts that could do 2-2-2 at DDR400 went into the best memory. In fact, not all of the Samsung TCCD chips can do DDR400 2-2-2 timings, and some of the very best performers at very high DDR speeds simply will not do 2-2-2 timings at DDR400.

This background is to put into perspective Corsair's latest memory offering, XMS4404v1.1. This new memory is based on Samsung TCCD chips, but it is rated at PC4400 or DDR550. Corsair has targeted this memory at the highest DDR speeds achievable on the DDR platform, and the design, from top to bottom, is to reach the highest DDR speeds possible on the Intel Socket 478 and AMD Athlon 64 platforms. Does Corsair succeed in their design goal? To determine that, the performance of Corsair PC4400 is compared to the best TCCD DIMMs tested at AnandTech.

Corsair PC4400
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  • kmmatney - Tuesday, January 4, 2005 - link

    The review did have some mid-range memory in the tests. Their value was noted in the last sentence of the review, but it should be highlighted more.

    According to the review, the PQI turbo 3200 performed almost as well, but is almost half the price! The money saved can be spent on a cpu or video upgrade.

    A quick glance at NewEgg shows PQI turbo 4000 memory priced at $95.50, which I think is a good deal.

  • PrinceGaz - Tuesday, January 4, 2005 - link

    #6- I've been wondering about the value/mid-range round-up too. Looking at the AMD 533/2.4GHz results page, the largest difference between the best and worst memory types in the real-world applications is just over 3%, and these are applications that were chosen because they are more affected by memory-bandwidth than usual. At the end of every review of premium memory it should say "it doesn't really matter which premium module you get for an AMD system so buy the cheapest as it'll make no real difference in performance, and the money would be better spent on a higher-rated CPU or better cooling". Maybe the worry is that if they test some budget/mid-range memory, they'll find you'd be better off getting that instead of the premium modules because it makes so little difference, and that would annoy the companies that send them premium samples :p

    Intel platforms are more affected by memory bandwidth, but they are moving to DDR2 which makes DDR tests increasingly irrelevant for them.
  • HardwareD00d - Tuesday, January 4, 2005 - link

    Wes - Thank you for the clarification.

    I'll trade you my 2 sticks of ShikaXRam for your Corsair sample. ;)
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, January 4, 2005 - link

    #9 - No conspiracy intended. Our AMD memory test bed was not even set up when we tested the Shikatronics memory in June. We have stated many times that Hynix B, the chipsets used in the Shikatronics, does not generally perform as well on the Athlon 64 platform as it does on Intel. TCCD usually does better on AMD than Intel. Also the timings are 3-4-4 on the Shika which are slower than TCCD at the same memory speed.

    Just to make sure we weren't blowing smoke, I popped the Shikatronics 550 into the AMD test bed. It did it's specified DDR550 on the A64 at 3-4-4-10 2.85V, which is excellent for Hynix B on AMD. However, I could not make it to even DDR560 as the memory topped out at 554 on the AMD platform.

    We are testing new memory on both AMD and Intel, but we have not gone back to past Hynix B dimms for an AMD update, nor do we plan to.
  • HardwareD00d - Tuesday, January 4, 2005 - link

    I've got the Shikatronics PC4400 DC kit for my Athlon64, and I'd like to see that compared against the Corsair modules. It IS on the Intel side, and is the clear winner. Seems strange that you wouldn't compare the "priorly fastest" memory (per a previous review) against the new Corsair modules. This omission seems a little fishy to me.
  • erinlegault - Tuesday, January 4, 2005 - link

    Maybe other PC4400 rated memory from other companies should be compared, especially the OCZ PC4200 Pt Series ram. All the ram used was PC3200, except for the PC3700 OCZ, and overclocked from the rated 400MHz to near 600MHz. The Corsair PC4400 memory was only overclocked from the rated 550MHz to 636MHz. I would personally like to see if any other PC4000 or higher rated memory could do any better.
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, January 4, 2005 - link

    #2 - We used 5X HT at stock speeds, 4X HT for 218 and 240, and 3X HT for 267 up. All other settings are in the reviews.

    #4 - With the huge number of memories reviewed at AnandTech, we feel comfortable in talking about relative positioning of tested memory. With 28 memories compared in performance on the Intel charts and seven different DDR400 2-2-2 memories in the AMD charts, there is certainly comparative info to draw conclusions. The Corsair 4400C25 proved to reach the highest FSB, but it was not the best choice in the DDR400 to DDR450 range. We state that clearly in our conclusion.
  • eetnoyer - Tuesday, January 4, 2005 - link

    Wow, another elitist memory review. As if TCCD weren't reviewed to death already. By the way, still waiting for that value memory round-up. Any idea when you will be able to get around to reviewing memory products that are useful for the majority of your users?
  • Marlowe - Tuesday, January 4, 2005 - link

    Really interesting IMO.. But I would love if you could review the A-Data Vitesta PC4800 ram also. They are based on TCCD and have maby Brainpower PCB. On my P4C800 my 2x512 kit can do 2-2-2-5 at 220MHz and tops out around 275-280 MHz on 2,5-3-3-5, both on 2,85V. Well that's what I could do with my 3,0E and watercooling anyways :P Also they're quite affordable in comparison.
  • arswihart - Tuesday, January 4, 2005 - link

    anandtech reviews are more and more praising a product as ultimate, best, etc... all based on in some cases, insufficient testing to say such things. granted all review sites do that to some respect, its just the conclusions pages are getting kind of narrow viewed as if they have a whole picture and are 100% sure of there recommendations, while often they haven't tested enough competing products or taken all of their recommended product's potential drawbacks or limitations into consideration. still, its a really good review site

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