Winchip DDR2 667 MHz 16 GB Quad Kit 9

Winchip DDR2 667 MHz 16 GB Quad Kit Review

Value & Conclusion »

Test Setup

Test System
CPU:Intel E6300 Conroe
1.86 GHz, 2 MB Cache
Motherboard:Asus P5KC Intel P35C, BIOS 1001
Video Card:PowerColor X800XL Pro 16 PCI-E
Harddisk:Samsung P80 80 GB
Power Supply:Ultra V-Power 450W
Software:Windows XP SP2, Catalyst 8.3

As you can see an ASUS P5KC was used for this review. Due to the high density kit, not every modern mainboard like the P/X 30 or P/X 40 Series board will work with the memory. Trying to boot the full 16 GB on a MSI P35 Neo2-FR at the rated speed of 667 MHz was simply not possible, even with the newest bios. Winchip is currently testing various mainboards and the ASUS P35 and P35C as well as X38 boards have passed these tests.

Performance & Overclocking

We usually concentrate our memory reviews on the overclockability of the DIMMs. Considering that the Winchip 16 GB kit is already pushing the envelope on what is possible with non-ECC memory on mainstream motherboards, you should not expect any overclockability in this case. Such high densities can usually only be found in the workstation or server segment, with ECC equipped memory or FB-DIMMs.

Nonetheless we tried pushing the Winchip memory to its limits using all 4 DIMMs in a 16 GB configuration and running just two of them for a total of 8GB in dual channel. Using all four DIMMs at the default 1.8V, the memory only managed to budge up to 677 MHz and that did not change at 2.2V or even 2.4V.

Winchip also offers the same memory in a 2 x 4 GB configuration, thus this was the next step. Using just two of the 4 GB DIMMs, the memory manages a bit more, hitting the wall at 716 MHz at CL5-5-5-15 and 2.4V. Considering these results, we will not focus on benchmark results in this area, as the main purpose of such a kit certainly does not lie in pure speed/performance but other areas.

A new scenario with such memory would be the use of a Ramdrive. This can easily be done with various programs, freely available on the Internet. The Gavotta Ramdisk adds a GUI to the ramdisk capability already present in Windows XP. With this program we are able to allocate the 12.7 GB which Window 32Bit cannot access in form of a vitrual drive, which is always present in Windows.

Due to the nature of the memory, all the contents of the ramdrive are lost, when the PC is turned off or restarted. This means that the virtual drive should only be used to store temorary files. You may use the drive for the windows pagefile or as give programs like Photoshop direct access to it.

Futuremark PCMark05

To give you some numbers on performance of the Ramdrive when compared to a system drive, we used PCMark05. Besides the default benchmarks, the HDD suite was selected as well.

 Hard Drive RamDrive
 Samsung P80 80GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache SATA
12.7GB Winchip DDR2 667 MHz CL5 Ramdrive
PCMark 05 Score49178970
HDD - XP Startup7.9 MB/s296.0 MB/s
HDD - Application Loading 6.5 MB/s255.4 MB/s
HDD - General Usage 5.3 MB/s189.8 MB/s
HDD - Virus Scan 78.7 MB/s2158.2 MB/s
HDD - File Write58.1 MB/s1663.5 MB/s
Physics and 3D169.5 FPS165.5 FPS
3D- Pixel Shader114.9 FPS114.1 FPS
Web Page Rendering3.3 Pages/s3.3 Pages/s
File Decryption51.7 MB/s51.7 MB/s
Graphics Memory1139.9 FPS1126.9 FPS
Audio Compression1944.9 KB/s1851.4 KB/s
Video Encoding341.7 KB/s355.9 KB/s
Text Edit134.3 Pages/s134.4 Pages/s
Image Decompression26.5 MPixel/s26.5 MPixel/s
File Compression4.3 MB/s4.3 MB/s
File Encryption26.5 MB/s26.3 MB/s
Memory Latency8.0 MAccesses/s8.1 MAccess/s

Photoshop Performance

To test the performance between a traditional setup and one using the 12.7 GB ramdrive using Photoshop can easily be done with the Driverheaven actions. They have created a list of filters which are applied to a 700 MB JPG image and the time for each filter is displayed after it has been applied. First the scratch disk of Photoshop was placed on C:, then it was switched to the ramdrive

It is interesting to see, how some actions benefit from the Ramdrive. Some are much quicker, while others are not. This is normal, but all actions see some sort of benefit from the use of the faster ram disc.

While the benefits do not seem like a lot, when looking at each action, the use of such a setup does shave off a lot of time taken for these actions. If you consider environments where more complex images are being edited and filter applied, then the difference should grow as well.

Other Areas of Use

While we are trying to show you examples with applications which are used in everyday life, there are certainly other, very specific applications for such large capacity memory kits. The more obvious would be in small business servers, which tend to be normal computers with mainstream motherboard and RAID arrays. In such computers, more memory can go a long way. Virtualization on a single computer is also an area which is becoming more interesting nowadays. With quad core CPUs, the use of a single machine with multiple virtual operating systems running on the host environment, having more memory means being able to run more such virtual OSes. Of course Universities and industrial applications can also benefit from large memory kits. Such uses are usually project based and can take on many shapes or forms. So we tried out VMWare while using the internal hard drive as a virtual OS storage device. An ISO image of a Windows XP Professional was used for the virtual optical drive. It was stored on the hard drive. The installation was prepared, so that very little user interaction is required.

The second run was done with the 12.7 GB ram drive. In this benchmark the ISO image of the operating system was stored on the ram drive as well. This means that the traditional hard drive is not part of the equation.

The time taken from first start of the virtual PC to the completed installation and boot into Windows was noted. As you can clearly see, there is a vast difference in the duration taken. There are plenty of tools out there on the web, which give you the possibility to save a compete image of a RAM disk when shutting down the PC and restoring it after a successful boot. The overall performance of such a virtual OS is incredibly quick. Even faster than the host OS at times.
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