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Memory Module Analysis, Part 29: GeIL DDR2-1160 PC2-9280 Ultra Plus Dual-Channel Kit

November 5, 2007



We continue our analysis of the primary features of high-speed DDR2 memory modules using our RightMark Memory Analyzer tool. Today we'll take a look at a new high-speed DDR2 product, 2 GB DDR2-1160 Ultra Plus memory kit from GeIL.

Manufacturer Information

Module manufacturer: Golden Emperor International Ltd. (GeIL)
Manufacturer of module chips: unknown
Manufacturer's web site: http://www.geil.com.tw/products/category/id/1

Module exterior




Module Part Number




The manufacturer's web site does not publish the DDR2 Part Number expansion. The description page runs that it's a dual channel kit of PC2-9280 DDR2 memory modules with the ultra low latency of 4-4-4-12. This product comes in limited supply of 1 GB and 2 GB modules. These modules are based on 64Mx8 FBGA DDR2 chips certified for overclocking (GeIL OC Certified). Module voltage is record-breakingly high - 2.45 V.

SPD data

General SPD standard description:

DDR2 SPD standard specification:

Parameter Byte Value Interpretation
Fundamental Memory Type 2 08h DDR2 SDRAM
Number of Row Addresses on this assembly 3 0Eh 14 (RA0-RA13)
Number of Column Addresses on this assembly 4 0Ah 10 (CA0-CA9)
Number of DIMM Banks 5 61h 2 physical banks
Data Width of this assembly 6 40h 64 bit
Power supply voltage 8 05h SSTL 1.8V
SDRAM Cycle time (tCK) at maximum supported CAS# latency (CL X) 9 25h 2.50 ns (400.0 MHz)
DIMM configuration type 11 00h Non-ECC
Refresh Rate/Type 12 82h 7.8125 ms - 0.5x reduced self-refresh
Primary SDRAM Width (organization type) of the memory module chips 13 08h x8
Error Checking SDRAM Width (organization type) of the memory chips in the ECC module 14 00h Not defined
Burst Lengths Supported (BL) 16 0Ch BL = 4, 8
Number of Banks on SDRAM Device 17 04h 4
CAS Latency (CL) 18 38h CL = 5, 4, 3
Minimum clock cycle (tCK) at reduced CAS# latency (CL X-1) 23 3Dh 3.75 ns (266.7 MHz)
Minimum clock cycle (tCK) at reduced CAS# latency (CL X-2) 25 50h 5.00 ns (200.0 MHz)
Minimum Row Precharge Time (tRP) 27 32h 12.5 ns
5.0, CL = 5
3.3, CL = 4
2.5, CL = 3
Minimum Row Active to Row Active delay (tRRD) 28 1Eh 7.5 ns
3.0, CL = 5
2.0, CL = 4
1.5, CL = 3
Minimum RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 29 32h 12.5 ns
5.0, CL = 5
3.3, CL = 4
2.5, CL = 3
Minimum Active to Precharge Time (tRAS) 30 2Dh 45.0 ns
18.0, CL = 5
12.0, CL = 4
9.0, CL = 3
Module Bank Density 31 80h 512 MB
Write recovery time (tWR) 36 3Ch 15.0 ns
6.0, CL = 5
4.0, CL = 4
3.0, CL = 3
Internal write to read command delay (tWTR) 37 1Eh 7.5 ns
3.0, CL = 5
2.0, CL = 4
1.5, CL = 3
Internal read to precharge command delay (tRTP) 38 1Eh 7.5 ns
3.0, CL = 5
2.0, CL = 4
1.5, CL = 3
SDRAM Device Minimum Active to Active/Auto Refresh Time (tRC) 41, 40 39h, 00h 57.0 ns
22.8, CL = 5
15.2, CL = 4
11.4, CL = 3
SDRAM Device Minimum Auto-Refresh to Active/Auto-Refresh Command Period (tRFC) 42, 40 69h, 00h 105.0 ns
42.0, CL = 5
28.0, CL = 4
21.0, CL = 3
Maximum device cycle time (tCKmax) 43 80h 8.0 ns
SPD Revision 62 12h Revision 1.2
Checksum for Bytes 0-62 63 28h 40 (true)
Manufacturer’s JEDEC ID Code 64-71 7Fh, 7Fh,
7Fh, 13h
Golden Empire
Module Part Number 73-90 - CL4-4-4DDR2-1160
Module Manufacturing Date 93-94 06h, 27h Year 2006, Week 39
Module Serial Number 95-98 00h, 00h,
00h, 00h
Not defined

It seems that SPD data do not have any peculiarities. Three different CAS# latencies are supported - 5, 4, and 3. The first of the supported values (CL X) corresponds to DDR2-800 (2.5 ns cycle time) with 5-5-5-18 timings. The second value (CL X-1) is meant for DDR2-533 mode with 3.75 ns cycle time and 4-4-4-12 timings. The third value (CL X-2) - DDR2-400 mode (5.0 ns cycle time) with 3-3-3-9 timings. The manufacturer identification code and the manufacturing date are stated correctly, the part number looks like "CL4-4-4DDR2-1160", which contains the unofficial operating mode of these modules. There is no info about the serial number.

The non-standard part of the SPD (EPP profiles), represented by Bytes 99-127, is not included in our modules under review.

Testbed configuration

Testbed 1

  • CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ (Socket AM2), nominal frequency - 2.6 GHz (200 x13)
  • Chipset: NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI
  • Motherboard: ASUS CROSSHAIR, BIOS 0702 dated 20.06.2007

Test results

The modules were tested on the AMD platform - AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ processor and ASUS CROSSHAIR motherboard (Testbed 1). We ran the tests in two modes - nominal DDR2-800 mode (2.4 GHz CPU clock, 400 MHz bus clock) and overclocked to DDR2-1160, recommended by the manufacturer (2.9 GHz CPU clock, 580 MHz bus clock).

Parameter Testbed 1
CPU clock, MHz
(FSB clock x FID)
2400
(200x12)
2900
(290x10)
Memory frequency, MHz
(DDR2 MHz)
400
(800)
580
(1160)
Default memory timings, voltage 5-5-5-18-2T,
1.8 V
5-5-5-18-2T,
2.45 V
Minimal memory timings, voltage 3-3-3-2T,
2.45 V
4-4-4-2T,
2.45 V
Average memory read bandwidth, GB/sec,
1 core
3.93
(4.10)
4.98
(5.07)
Average memory write bandwidth, GB/sec,
1 core
3.30
(3.45)
4.16
(4.28)
Max. memory read bandwidth, GB/sec,
1 core
7.78
(8.08)
9.68
(9.79)
Max. memory write bandwidth, GB/sec,
1 core
6.73
(6.76)
8.11
(8.11)
Average memory read bandwidth, GB/sec,
2 cores
6.62
(6.83)
8.45
(8.67)
Average memory write bandwidth, GB/sec,
2 cores
4.06
(4.27)
5.51
(5.70)
Max. memory read bandwidth, GB/sec,
2 cores
8.56
(9.10)
11.37
(11.71)
Max. memory write bandwidth, GB/sec,
2 cores
6.46
(6.67)
7.92
(8.07)
Minimum pseudo-random access latency, ns 28.1
(26.2)
21.7
(20.9)
Minimum random access latency*, ns 79.8
(73.8)
62.3
(60.0)

*32 MB block size

The default timings scheme used by the ASUS CROSSHAIR motherboard in DDR2-800 mode matches 5-5-5-18 timings from SPD (addr CMD rate equals 2T, a typical value for the 2 GB kit). The minimum timing scheme with memory voltage increased to 2.45 V (recommended by the manufacturer) is 3-3-3 (that is it matches the minimum possible scheme for this platform; changing tRAS does not affect memory operation, as usual). This scheme increases memory bandwidth (by up to 6%) and reduces latencies (by up to 8%).

The unofficial "DDR2-1160" mode uses a 290 MHz FSB (2.9 GHz) and the default timing scheme of 5-5-5-18. In our tests we managed to reduce it to 4-4-4 (these values are specified by the manufacturer for this mode). Any attempts to reduce them even further resulted in system failures. Nevertheless, this reduction of timings has an insignificant effect on memory bandwidth (2% gain) and latencies (4% reduction). It's weaker than the effect from reducing timings from 5-5-5 to 3-3-3 in the standard DDR2-800 mode. Thus, trying to use minimum possible timings is of purely theoretical interest in both cases, at least on our AMD platform.

Bottom line

The GeIL DDR2-1160 PC2-9280 Ultra Plus Dual Channel kit consists of high-speed DDR2 memory modules compatible with our AMD AM2 platform. Memory performance and latency values are typical of modules of this speed group. Timing overclocking potential in the standard DDR2-800 mode is on the usual level - the minimum timing scheme is 3-3-3 at 2.45 V. In the fastest DDR2-1160 mode, our modules could work with 4-4-4 timings recommended by the manufacturer.

Dmitri Besedin (dmitri_b@ixbt.com)
November 5, 2007

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