Despite all the gripes about DDR2 being an inferior technology the newer products are performing and scaling very well indeed. And as the frequencies rise, so those performance-hindering latency issues begin to melt away. It was noticeable that modules with tighter timings performed better at 266MHz while those that did well tended to automatically ease of the timings at higher overclocks.
Also worth remembering is that weâ€™re using relatively tight timings even for our overclocking tests, and that our CPU is air-cooled, so donâ€™t for one moment think weâ€™ve come close to hitting any concrete overclocking limits. With a little time, patience and experience Iâ€™ve no doubt that significantly higher speeds can be reached from most if not all of these modules, but as our prime concern here is the less experienced user we felt it best to decide on a set of parameters and stick to them across the board.
Corsairâ€™s 5400UL has set new standards for DDR2 timing and stock performance, and very much lead from the front under normal operation, and although that kind of performance comes at a cost today, prices only seem to travel in one direction where forefront technology is concerned.
Already I can see that DDR2 prices are considerably lower than they were for the DDR memory I reviewed just nine short months ago, and that was of course based on a more mature technology with presumably better yields.
So, to the winners. For pure, out-and-out torque at stock speeds, Corsair takes top honours with its XMS4-5400UL. For fractionally less horsepower but at a considerably lower price, PQI are an irresistible proposition for those not wanting to overclock. Crucialâ€™s value DDR2 range is well priced but no slouch either, which makes it one worth considering provided you donâ€™t mind your memory unclothed. Crucialâ€™s Ballistix modules are also impressive for both their price and their performance.
All told though, based on its all-round prowess and a price so ridiculous I had to keep checking it, this particular round goes, without question, to Buffalo for its no-name 5400 - an absolute steal if every module can do what ours did.