What to look for in the test results
We're not comparing OCZ's PC3000 memory to anything other than itself, which makes interpreting the test results a little more complicated than usual. Instead of seeing several different products tested against each other, you're going to see the same DIMM benchmarked at different front-side bus speeds and latencies.
So, when looking at our test results, keep in mind that the test system's hardware doesn't change at all. Instead, the only variables are the front-side bus and memory latencies that we've manipulated in the BIOS. Higher front-side bus speeds and lower latencies should yield better performance. OCZ's memory will simply allow the system to remain stable at those speeds.
Including memory from other manufacturers in our testing would have been a little redundant. RAM modules are a commodity of sorts, and DDR SDRAM chips on different DIMMs should yield identical performance when running at the same front-side bus speed and memory timings. Regardless of whether the DIMM is from Crucial, Corsair, Kingston, or OCZ, performance should be identical provided the memory settings in the BIOS remain the same. The real test of a DIMM's worth is how fast you can set the front-side bus and how much you can lower the latency while retaining overall system stability.
What we're testing here is how well a system performs with an astronomical FSB speed and super-aggressive RAM timings, so you can see what buying a stick of fancy RAM can do for you.
Our testing methods
As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run three times, and the results were averaged.
Our test systems were configured like so:
We tested the system at the following speeds and settings to see just how much of a performance boost could be had from only front-side bus overclocking.
The test systems' Windows desktops were set at 1024x768 in 32-bit color at a 75Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests. The motherboard's BIOS was tweaked with the most aggressive settings possible, without sacrificing system stability.
We used the following versions of our test applications:
- SiSoft Sandra Standard 2001.3.7.50
- ZD Media Business Winstone 2001 1.0.2
- ZD Media Content Creation Winstone 2001 1.0.2
- MadOnion 3DMark 2001 Build 200
- Quake III Arena 1.30 Final Release
- Serious Sam v1.02
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.