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Crucial DDR400 (DDR400 – 200MHz) CL3.0

Pence per Megabyte - 12.40

Torture Test at 200MHz – Passed

Torture Test Overclocked - Passed

Crucial Technology is a division of US based Micron, one of the world’s biggest memory manufacturers. Established in 1996, the name Crucial is known worldwide though its products are linked less with the enthusiast sector and more with the notions of value and reliability.

The supplied modules are rated to run at 200MHz at 2.6v 3-3-3. The memory chips used are Micron manufactured.

No heat spreaders were employed on these modules.

First Impressions

Unlike any of the other modules in this roundup, Crucial actually uses single-sided modules featuring eight TSOP wire bonded chips per module on a traditional green PCB. The memory we were supplied came in non-standard packaging though as the world’s largest direct supplier of memory products, we know from experience that in the past they have always arrived pristinely packed and protected between two slabs of foam.

Testing – 200MHz

Rank When Tested on a Prescott CPU at 200MHz: 17th from 18

Rank When Tested on a Northwood CPU at 200MHz: 18th from 18

As a long-time users of Crucial memory we weren't expecting to see such a strangely below-par performance from these modules. Not only were memory write speeds lower than a snake’s belly when run on our Northwood setup, the numbers mysteriously didn’t improve even when the modules were overclocked to 255MHz. We spoke to Crucial about this and, after getting identical results on a setup in its lab, the company is now looking into the problem and can only guess that it must be linked somehow to the particular system configuration or the way the benchmark (AIDA 32 in particular) is coded.

Even ignoring this fact, a 17th place finish on our Prescott system means that this is among the worst memory in this roundup and if the good overclocking headroom is anything to go by it would appear that Crucial has ample latitude to tighten up performance at stock speeds.

Testing – Overclocking

Maximum Frequency - Overclocked using SPD settings: 260MHz

Maximum Frequency - Overclocked using manual settings (CL-4-4-8) low ambient of 18c: 260MHz

Maximum Frequency - Overclocked using manual settings (CL-4-4-8) high ambient of 28c: 255MHz

Rank - overclocked performance (high ambient): 8th from 18

If Crucial needed a silver lining to its performance cloud, the overclocking performance is probably it. It seems that the AI7 motherboard accurately read the SPD data meaning that we were able to reach 260MHz without adjusting the timings manually. Under increased ambient temperatures the limit dropped to 255MHz but this was still enough to place it in the top half of the table overall which is good going with so many big hitters on the list.

Verdict

Overall Rank, all performance parameters included: 18th from 18

The fact that Crucial finished propping up the competition in last place came as a real surprise, no, make that a shock, to us. Crucial has never attempted to market its memory as high-end enthusiast parts but to see such a poor showing was certainly an eye-opener.

It seems ironic that a company that stresses so strongly that it doesn’t endorse or support overclocking of its products should do so much better when overclocked. Maybe Crucial should have forsaken some of the overclocking headroom for a little tighter performance at 200MHz instead.

Bear in mind that this is some of the cheapest memory on test and things doesn’t seem quite so bleak, but clearly Crucial has work to do if it wants to stay competitive as well as cheap.

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