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Our testing methods
We've tested several different memory configurations to illustrate the performance impact the key memory timings settings, including DRAM command rate. Tests were conducted with a set of low-latency OCZ DIMMs rated for 2-2-2-5 timings at 400MHz. We also tested with 2.5-4-4-8 timings to simulate the performance of more affordable "value" memory. Some budget memory is rated with CAS latencies as high as three cycles, but since CAS 2.5 memory is already quite affordable, we've limited our testing to CAS 2 and 2.5. In addition to testing system performance with 2-2-2-5 and 2.5-4-4-8 memory timings, we've also tested each configuration with both 1T and 2T command rates.

All tests were run three times, and their results were averaged, using the following test system.

Processor AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 2.4GHz
System busHyperTransport 16-bit/1GHz
Motherboard DFI LANParty UT NF4 Ultra-D
BIOS revisionN4D623-3
North bridgeNVIDIA nForce4 Ultra
South bridge
Chipset driversForceWare 6.66
Memory size1GB (2 DIMMs)1GB (2 DIMMs)1GB (2 DIMMs)1GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type OCZ PC3200 EL Platinum Rev 2 DDR SDRAM at 400MHz
CAS latency (CL)222.52.5
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)2244
RAS precharge (tRP)2244
Cycle time (tRAS)5588
Command rate1T2T1T2T
Hard drives Western Digital Raptor WD360GD 37GB SATA
AudionForce4/ALC850
Audio driverRealtek 3.75
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT with ForceWare 77.77 drivers
OS Microsoft Windows XP Professional
OS updatesService Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c

Our test system was powered by OCZ PowerStream power supply units. The PowerStream was one of our Editor's Choice winners in our latest PSU round-up.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The test systems' Windows desktop was set at 1280x1024 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.