G.Skill F1-3200 2GBZX (2x1GB 2-3-2-5)
There is a commonly understood, yet very unscientific computer industry rule known as Moore?s law which was the brain child of Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel, and at its simplest interpretation dictates that every 12 month period will produce double the computing power to the previous. In theory you could pretty much use this law to predict memory size increases, though the 12 month period should be increased to 24 months, which coincidently is the latest recommendation used for Moore?s law.? Every now and then – of which does seem to be a 24 month period – recommended memory sizes seem to increase two-fold.
So far most enthusiasts have been happy with 1GB of system memory, but times are a-changing. Games – and it?s almost always games that dictate mainstream memory recommendations – have once again pushed the boundary of what can be considered optimal performance from system memory. It is now recommended that 2GB, which still sounds like a huge amount to me, is now the standard for cutting edge performance. Games such as Battlefield 2, Quake 4 and F.E.A.R all demand 2GB of system memory if you want to use high texture and image quality settings.
For the first time, a small crack appears in AMD?s choice to stick with DDR1, but only from the enthusiast?s perspective. AMD has set out to be the only choice for enthusiasts, and for a long time they have done everything right to keep this perception at peak, but it?s now obvious that DDR1 is starting to look outdated compared to DDR2, and it?s the move to 2GB in the mainstream that shows it more than anything. The first thing you need to understand is that if you remove overclocking from this equation, AMD?s memory subsystem still look extremely rosy (though dual cores show bandwidth is limited with DDR1 they are in there infancy from a real word perspective), it?s when you look at 2GB overclocking performance you notice a steep down curve to what is currently possible compared to 512MB dimms.
It?s true that every time we enter one of these transitional periods from one capacity to another, like the jump from 2x256MB to 2x512MB there have always been issues with performance. Motherboards and there bioses are all optimised toward the older products and the new capacities are just that: new! And so you should expect overclocking to be tough just as you should expect a new breed of CPU to start life as average clockers and then superseded with a new stepping that overclocks significantly further than the original release stepping. RAM is no different, and with each new introduction of capacities it need to mature heavily before we the consumer see what can really be achieved, so it?s early days for 1GB Dimms.
A problem could present itself here in that it?s not really the memory chip producer?s top priority to invest heavily in DDR1 anymore. AMD?s M2 socket is due next year and will replace all desktop options by the 2nd half of 2006, so I do have some reservations as to whether we will see the overclocking performance of 2x1GB modules reach the dizzying heights of what we saw with 2x512MB. We will have to wait and see on this, though a few sticks do seem to be appearing on the market that raise my confidence, and perhaps we will once again see 300MHz with reasonable timings, and no one will be more happy than me.
Today?s memory review is an interesting one, though, as it?s a 2x1GB offering that is seriously well priced compared to the competition. It?s also rumoured to offer decent overclocking headroom. These modules are the G.Skill F1-3200PHU2-2GBZX which guarantee DDR400 2-2-3-5 with 2.6~2.6v for $215 (newegg) or ?167 (pc-memory-upgrade). This is a superb price for sticks of this quality.