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DDR Memory Analysis. Part 3: Kingmax DDR2 Modules

October 24, 2004




We proceed with a new series of articles devoted to the low level analysis of the most important characteristics of memory modules using our RightMark Memory Analyzer test package. I remind you that the purpose of this analysis is to provide all interested readers with information on compatibility of a given memory module from a given manufacturer with different mainboards based on various chipsets. The object of our next analysis is 256 MB DDR2 Kingmax modules.

Manufacturer Information

Module manufacturer: Kingmax Inc.
Chip manufacturer: Micron Technology, Inc.
Web site of the module manufacturer: http://www.kingmax.com/product/ddr2.htm
Web site of the chip manufacturer: http://www.micron.com/products/dram/ddr2sdram/

Module Appearance

Photo of the memory module




Photo of the memory chip




Part Numbering System of Modules and Chips




Module Part Number Expansion

Kingmax DDR2 data sheet (http://www.kingmax.com/product/dsdram/ddr2.PDF) does not contain any information on the expansion of several components of a module part number. The documentation provides only brief technical characteristics pertaining to some part numbers. The characteristics of the module under review are provided below.

Field Value Expansion
0 KLBB68K-38MP4 Module density: 256 Mb
Configuration: 32M x64
Module bandwidth: 4.3 GB/sec
Memory clock: 3.75 ns
Data rate: 533 MT/s
Timings: 4-4-4

Chip Part Number Expansion

FBGA code Part Number
D9BQM MT47H32M8FP-37E

As we have previously noted, due to space limitations FBGA-packaged Micron memory chips used in Kingmax DDR2 modules have an abbreviated part marking that is different from the part number. You can decode an abbreviated part marking of any Micron memory chip into a part number at http://www.micron.com/decoder/

Field Value Expansion
0 MT Manufacturer code:
MT = Micron Technology
1 47 Product family:
47 = DDR2
2 H Process technology:
H = SSTL 1.8V VDD CMOS
3 32M8 Device number: 256Mbit (32Mbit x8)
4   Device version (n/a)
5 FP Package code:
FP = lead plating, FBGA, 60-pin 8x12
6 -37E Access/cycle time:
-37E = 3.75 ns (266.7 MHz), 4-4-4
7   Special options (n/a)
8   Operating temperatures:
Blank = 0..85oC
9   Special conditions (n/a)

SPD module chip data

Description of the SPD general standard:
JEDEC Standard No. 21-C, 4.1.2 - SERIAL PRESENCE DETECT STANDARD, General Standard

Description of the SPD specific standard for DDR2:
JEDEC Standard No. 21-C, 4.1.2.10 - Appendix X: Specific SPDs for DDR2 SDRAM (Revision 1.0)
JC-45 Appendix X: Specific PD's for DDR2 SDRAM (Revision 1.1)

Function Byte Value Expansion
Fundamental Memory Type 2 08h DDR2 SDRAM
Number of Row Addresses on this assembly 3 0Dh 13 (RA0-RA12)
Number of Column Addresses on this assembly 4 0Ah 10 (CA0-CA9)
Number of DIMM Banks 5 60h 1 physical bank
Data Width of this assembly 6 40h 64 bit
Voltage Interface Level of this assembly 8 05h SSTL 1.8V
SDRAM Cycle time (tCK) at maximum supported CAS# latency (CL X) 9 3Dh 3.75 ns (266.7 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 18h CL = 3, 4
Minimum clock cycle (tCK) at reduced CAS latency (CL X-1) 23 50h 5.00 ns (200.0 MHz)
Minimum clock cycle (tCK) at reduced CAS latency (CL X-2) 25 00h Not defined
Minimum Row Precharge Time (tRP) 27 3Ch 15.0 ns
4, CL = 4
3, CL = 3
Minimum Row Active to Row Active delay (tRRD) 28 1Eh 7.5 ns
2, CL = 4
1.5, CL = 3
Minimum RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 29 3Ch 15.0 ns
4, CL = 4
3, CL = 3
Minimum Active to Precharge Time (tRAS) 30 2Dh 45.0 ns
12, CL = 4
9, CL = 3
Module Bank Density 31 40h 256 MB
Write recovery time (tWR) 36 3Ch 15.0 ns
4, CL = 4
3, CL = 3
Internal write to read command delay (tWTR) 37 1Eh 7.5 ns
2, CL = 4
1.5, CL = 3
Internal read to precharge command delay (tRTP) 38 1Eh 7.5 ns
2, CL = 4
1.5, CL = 3
Minimum Active to Active/Refresh Time (tRC) 41, 40 3Ch, 00h 60.0 ns
16, CL = 4
12, CL = 3
Minimum Refresh to Active/Refresh Command Period (tRFC) 42, 40 4Bh, 00h 75.0 ns
20, CL = 4
15, CL = 3
Maximum device cycle time (tCKmax) 43 80h 8.0 ns
SPD Revision 62 00h Revision 0.0
Checksum for Bytes 0-62 63 0Fh 15 (true)
Manufacturer’s JEDEC ID Code (only the first significant bytes are shown) 64-71 7Fh, 7Fh,
7Fh, 25h
Kingmax Semiconductor
Module Part Number 73-90 - KLBB68K-38MP4-MAA
Module Manufacturing Date 93-94 04h, 00h year 2004 (reserved)
Module Serial Number 95-98 00h, 00h,
00h, 00h
Not defined

On the whole, the SPD chip contents of the module under review looks typical. Supported CAS# latencies are 4 and 3. The first value (CL X) corresponds to the memory clock of 3.75 ns, that is to the DDR2-533 mode, the second value (CL X-1) – 5.00 ns, which corresponds to operation in the DDR2-400 mode. Corresponding timings can be considered standard – 4-4-4-12 for the first case and 3-3-3-9 for the second. Among the unusual values one can note the revision number of the SPD chip (00h), which expands into a permissible but non-existent document revision 0.0, as well as a "reserved" value of the module manufacturing date (week code 00h).

Testbed Configurations and Software

Mainboards based on the chipsets of Intel 915 series

Testbed #1

  • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (Prescott core, 1 MB L2)
  • Chipset: Intel i915G
  • Mainboard: Intel D915GUX, BIOS 1028 dated 06/29/2004
  • Memory: 2x256 MB Kingmax DDR2-533
  • Video: Leadtek PX350 TDH, nVidia PCX5900
  • HDD: WD Raptor WD360, SATA, 10000 rpm, 36Gb
  • Operating system: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2
  • Drivers: Intel Chipset Utility 6.0.1.1002, nVidia Forceware 61.77

Testbed #2

  • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (Prescott core, 1 MB L2)
  • Chipset: Intel i915P
  • Mainboard: Foxconn 915A01-P-8EKRS, BIOS 6.00 PG dated 06/10/2004
  • Memory: 2x256 MB Kingmax DDR2-533
  • Video: Leadtek PX350 TDH, nVidia PCX5900
  • HDD: WD Raptor WD360, SATA, 10000 rpm, 36Gb
  • Operating system: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2
  • Drivers: Intel Chipset Utility 6.0.1.1002, nVidia Forceware 61.77

Testbed #3

  • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (Prescott core, 1 MB L2)
  • Chipset: Intel i915G
  • Mainboard: Foxconn 915M03-G-8EKRS2, BIOS 6.00 PG dated 05/29/2004
  • Memory: 2x256 MB Kingmax DDR2-533
  • Video: Leadtek PX350 TDH, nVidia PCX5900
  • HDD: WD Raptor WD360, SATA, 10000 rpm, 36Gb
  • Operating system: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2
  • Drivers: Intel Chipset Utility 6.0.1.1002, nVidia Forceware 61.77

Testbed #4

  • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (Prescott core, 1 MB L2)
  • Chipset: Intel i915P
  • Mainboard: MSI 915P Neo2, BIOS V1.3B0 dated 09/08/2004
  • Memory: 2x256 MB Kingmax DDR2-533
  • Video: Leadtek PX350 TDH, nVidia PCX5900
  • HDD: WD Raptor WD360, SATA, 10000 rpm, 36Gb
  • Operating system: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2
  • Drivers: Intel Chipset Utility 6.0.1.1002, nVidia Forceware 61.77

Testbed #5

  • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (Prescott core, 1 MB L2)
  • Chipset: Intel i915G
  • Mainboard: MSI 915G Combo, BIOS 080011 dated 07/14/2004
  • Memory: 2x256 MB Kingmax DDR2-533
  • Video: Leadtek PX350 TDH, nVidia PCX5900
  • HDD: WD Raptor WD360, SATA, 10000 rpm, 36Gb
  • Operating system: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2
  • Drivers: Intel Chipset Utility 6.0.1.1002, nVidia Forceware 61.77

Testbed #6

  • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (Prescott core, 1 MB L2)
  • Chipset: Intel i915G
  • Mainboard: ASUS P5GDC-V, BIOS 1003.003 dated 08/18/2004
  • Memory: 2x256 MB Kingmax DDR2-533
  • Video: Leadtek PX350 TDH, nVidia PCX5900
  • HDD: WD Raptor WD360, SATA, 10000 rpm, 36Gb
  • Operating system: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2
  • Drivers: Intel Chipset Utility 6.0.1.1002, nVidia Forceware 61.77

Mainboards based on the chipsets of Intel 925 series

Testbed #7

  • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (Prescott core, 1 MB L2)
  • Chipset: Intel i925X
  • Mainboard: Gigabyte 8ANDXP-D, BIOS F1 dated 06/07/2004
  • Memory: 2x256 MB Kingmax DDR2-533
  • Video: Leadtek PX350 TDH, nVidia PCX5900
  • HDD: WD Raptor WD360, SATA, 10000 rpm, 36Gb
  • Operating system: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2
  • Drivers: Intel Chipset Utility 6.0.1.1002, nVidia Forceware 61.77

Testbed #8

  • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (Prescott core, 1 MB L2)
  • Chipset: Intel i925X
  • Mainboard: Intel D925XCV, BIOS 1259 dated 08/19/2004
  • Memory: 2x256 MB Kingmax DDR2-533
  • Video: Leadtek PX350 TDH, nVidia PCX5900
  • HDD: WD Raptor WD360, SATA, 10000 rpm, 36Gb
  • Operating system: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2
  • Drivers: Intel Chipset Utility 6.0.1.1002, nVidia Forceware 61.77

Testbed #9

  • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (Prescott core, 1 MB L2)
  • Chipset: Intel i925X
  • Mainboard: ASUS P5AD2, BIOS 1004.007 dated 07/02/2004
  • Memory: 2x256 MB Kingmax DDR2-533
  • Video: Leadtek PX350 TDH, nVidia PCX5900
  • HDD: WD Raptor WD360, SATA, 10000 rpm, 36Gb
  • Operating system: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2
  • Drivers: Intel Chipset Utility 6.0.1.1002, nVidia Forceware 61.77

Testbed #10

  • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (Prescott core, 1 MB L2)
  • Chipset: Intel i925X
  • Mainboard: MSI 925X Neo, BIOS 6.00 PG dated 06/18/2004
  • Memory: 2x256 MB Kingmax DDR2-533
  • Video: Leadtek PX350 TDH, nVidia PCX5900
  • HDD: WD Raptor WD360, SATA, 10000 rpm, 36Gb
  • Operating system: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2
  • Drivers: Intel Chipset Utility 6.0.1.1002, nVidia Forceware 61.77

Testbed #11

  • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (Prescott core, 1 MB L2)
  • Chipset: Intel i925X
  • Mainboard: Foxconn 925A01-8EKRS, BIOS 6.00 PG dated 08/28/2004
  • Memory: 2x256 MB Kingmax DDR2-533
  • Video: Leadtek PX350 TDH, nVidia PCX5900
  • HDD: WD Raptor WD360, SATA, 10000 rpm, 36Gb
  • Operating system: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2
  • Drivers: Intel Chipset Utility 6.0.1.1002, nVidia Forceware 61.77

Test Results

As we have already written before, we tested memory modules in two modes. The first series of tests (performance tests) were carried out in normal mode, that is with standard timings written in the SPD chip. The second series (stability tests) – in the "extreme" mode with maximum possible timings for a given module on a given mainboard.

Mainboards based on the chipsets of Intel 915 series

Performance tests

Parameter* Testbed 1 Testbed 2 Testbed 3 Testbed 4 Testbed 5 Testbed 6
Timings
4-4-4-12
4-4-4-12
4-4-4-12
4-4-4-12
4-4-4-12
4-4-4-12
Average memory read bandwidth, MB/sec
4478
4495
4480
4548
4500
4512
Average memory write bandwidth, MB/sec
2025
2013
2019
2054
2016
2033
Max. memory read bandwidth, MB/sec
6359
6370
6350
6448
6382
6392
Max. memory write bandwidth, MB/sec
4267
4267
4266
4324
4267
4282
Minimum Pseudo-Random Access Latency, ns**
54.6
54.6
54.6
53.9
54.5
54.4
Maximum Pseudo-Random Access Latency, ns**
63.6
63.6
63.6
62.7
63.5
63.2
Minimum Random Access Latency, ns**
129.6
130.0
129.8
128.2
129.7
129.3
Maximum Random Access Latency, ns**
154.9
155.1
154.9
153.1
155.1
154.5

*the best results are in bold
**Block size – 16 MB

In the first series of tests, MSI 915P Neo2 (Testbed #4) is an absolute leader among mainboards based on Intel 915P/915G, demonstrating its superiority in all parameters. It is actually achieved due to a higher FSB frequency on this mainboard, we already wrote about it. The second place is taken by ASUS P5GDC-V (Testbed #6) based on i915G, which demonstrates some advantage over its competitors in real memory bandwidth. The third place is taken by Intel D915GUX (Testbed #1), Foxconn 915A01-P and 915M03-G (Testbeds #2, 3) and MSI 915G Combo demonstrating almost the same results. It should be noted that you can see here mainboards based on i915P as well as on i915G. That is there is no obvious advantage of the i915P chipset over i915G, which was demonstrated in the DDR2 Micron module tests.

Stability tests

Proceeding to the stability tests, first of all we want to note an interesting peculiarity of DDR2 Kingmax modules, which has something to do with changing timings. We have found out that you can set ANY tRAS values for these memory modules, from 15 to 3(!), without any obvious changes and consequences to the system stability. In all probability, these modules just ignore the value of this parameter specified in the chipset and use their own default value (for example, the value written in the SPD chip – 12). In this connection, we'll provide only the first three timings (tCL-tRCD-tRP) hereafter, which modification directly influences the operation of the memory system.

Parameter* Testbed 1 Testbed 2 Testbed 3 Testbed 4 Testbed 5 Testbed 6
Timings
4-4-3
4-4-3
4-4-3
4-4-3
4-4-3
4-4-3
Average memory read bandwidth, MB/sec
4494
4488
4493
4557
4491
4517
Average memory write bandwidth, MB/sec
2137
2065
2074
2139
2069
2157
Max. memory read bandwidth, MB/sec
6375
6369
6381
6473
6395
6400
Max. memory write bandwidth, MB/sec
4267
4266
4267
4324
4267
4282
Minimum Pseudo-Random Access Latency, ns**
54.6
54.8
54.7
53.8
54.6
54.3
Maximum Pseudo-Random Access Latency, ns**
63.6
63.7
63.7
62.6
63.5
63.2
Minimum Random Access Latency, ns**
126.8
127.0
127.0
125.2
126.8
126.4
Maximum Random Access Latency, ns**
152.5
152.3
152.4
150.2
152.5
151.7

*the best results are in bold
**Block size – 16 MB

Thus, the lowest timing values, which we managed to set on all mainboards in our tests, are 4-4-3. Note that in some cases we managed to set even lower timings – for example, 4-3-3. However, it resulted in memory operation instability (our special stability test quickly detected read/write errors) in all cases. What concerns the "alignment of forces", that is performance characteristics of the memory system in this series of tests, you can easily see that it hasn't changed, at least noticeably. MSI 915P Neo2 is still a leader, the second place is taken by ASUS P5GDC-V, all the other mainboards are sharing the third place.

Mainboards based on Intel 925X

Performance tests

Among the mainboards based on Intel 925X, the first series of tests again puts forward the product from MSI – MSI 925X Neo mainboard (Testbed #10). The second place, with minimal differences, is taken by Gigabyte 8ANDXP-D (Testbed #7) and ASUS P5AD2 (Testbed #9) mainboards. Foxconn 925A01 (Testbed #11) is almost on the par with them and by some parameters (maximum real memory bandwidth) it even outscores them. The worst results (noticeably lesser real memory bandwidth and noticeably larger memory latency) are demonstrated by Intel D925XCV (Testbed #8).

Parameter* Testbed 7 Testbed 8 Testbed 9 Testbed 10 Testbed 11
Timings
4-4-4-12
4-4-4-12
4-4-4-12
4-4-4-12
4-4-4-12
Average memory read bandwidth, MB/sec
4665
4520
4663
4696
4645
Average memory write bandwidth, MB/sec
1954
1994
2082
2038
1999
Max. memory read bandwidth, MB/sec
6372
6343
6379
6489
6403
Max. memory write bandwidth, MB/sec
4287
4267
4282
4327
4267
Minimum Pseudo-Random Access Latency, ns**
51.8
54.5
51.8
51.5
52.0
Maximum Pseudo-Random Access Latency, ns**
60.1
63.2
60.1
59.5
60.3
Minimum Random Access Latency, ns**
124.5
129.3
124.7
123.5
125.3
Maximum Random Access Latency, ns**
149.5
154.4
149.5
148.3
150.7

*the best results are in bold
**Block size – 16 MB

Stability tests

The picture with the minimal timing values, which do not lead to the memory system instability, is the same as with the mainboards based on the i915 series chipsets. Namely, minimal stable timings – 4-4-3; the tRAS value (3..15) specified in configuration registers of the chipset is also ignored here.

Parameter* Testbed 7 Testbed 8 Testbed 9 Testbed 10 Testbed 11
Timings
4-4-3
4-4-3
4-4-3
4-4-3
4-4-3
Average memory read bandwidth, MB/sec
4671
4514
4653
4708
4639
Average memory write bandwidth, MB/sec
2043
2054
2144
2237
2199
Max. memory read bandwidth, MB/sec
6419
6353
6405
6507
6425
Max. memory write bandwidth, MB/sec
4287
4267
4282
4327
4266
Minimum Pseudo-Random Access Latency, ns**
51.8
54.6
52.2
51.4
52.4
Maximum Pseudo-Random Access Latency, ns**
60.1
63.3
60.6
59.7
60.6
Minimum Random Access Latency, ns**
120.9
125.2
121.2
119.9
121.7
Maximum Random Access Latency, ns**
146.4
150.4
146.3
145.1
147.3

*the best results are in bold
**Block size – 16 MB

The second series of tests introduces only the slightest differences into the memory performance rating of the mainboards. The leadership is retained by MSI 925X Neo. However this time the second place is entirely for Gigabyte 8ANDXP-D, which pushes ASUS P5AD2 to the third position together with Foxconn 925A01. No changes in the last place – it is steadily occupied by the Intel D925XCV mainboard.

Results

Our today's tests of Kingmax DDR2 modules prove again that DDR2 memory is better with mainboards based on Intel 925X reaching higher memory bandwidth and lower latencies. MSI 925X Neo, Gigabyte 8ANDXP-D and ASUS P5AD2 are the best models in this mainboard series. The worst mainboard is Intel D925XCV, which demonstrated somewhat worse results than the best models based on chipsets of the Intel 915 series. Concerning this series of mainboards, one can note that these memory modules did not reveal any definite advantage or preference to the chipset type – 915P or 915G, because both representatives, MSI 915P Neo2 and ASUS P5GDC-V, demonstrate quite good results. In conclusion we should say a few words about the operating stability of DDR2 Kingmax modules in the "extreme" mode. It can be considered more or less the same on all tested mainboards, primarily because the modules themselves allow quite mediocre minimal timings in this series of tests.

Dmitry Besedin (dmitri_b@ixbt.com)

October 24, 2004


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