Socket AM2 memory performance examined

AnandTech has an article up examining memory performance on AMD's upcoming Socket AM2 platform. A Socket AM2 system is fitted with some high-end DDR2-800 memory at 3-3-3 timings, and is compared against an equivalent Socket 939 machine with DDR400 RAM at 2-2-2 timings. In a rather interesting overclocking test, both systems are overclocked to 10x250MHz, with the AM2 machine running at an effective DDR2-833 memory speed with 3-3-3 latencies, and the Socket 939 one running at DDR500 also with 3-3-3 timings. While the DDR2 system has significantly higher read and write bandwidth as well as lower latency scores in synthetic memory tests, its performance advantage in games over the DDR500 Socket 939 system is very small. The Serious Sam 2 test score is only 2.67% higher, and other games only show a 1.03% gain on average. Unless Socket AM2 chips have improved memory performance when they ship in just over a month and a half, gamers may want to think twice before tossing out their Socket 939 rig—especially considering 1GB DDR500 DIMMs are actually slightly cheaper than comparable DDR2-800 modules.

Update 4/19/2006 — Post changed to better reflect the source article. It looks like I skimmed over it a little too fast and compared the overclocked DDR500 system to the DDR2-800 one running at stock speed, when AnandTech was really comparing it to the similarly overclocked DDR2-833 configuration.

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