So you thought the ol’ RAM market was getting abit bo

It became evident last year that CPU’s were getting faster, North and South Bridge Bus’s were becoming faster, even the mear AGP slot was put in its place with PCI-X, however the thing all these had in common, was there was always two mediums. For S-ATA there was standard P-ATA, for AGP there was PCI-X. This meant that people could always choose a slightly slower, albeit cheaper, or vice-versa option if they decided.

With RAM however, it was rather clear cut. DDR-400 or nothing else. Sure there was DDR-533, but these where mainly for hardcore overclocking, or the odd obscure P4 board that supported them.

Now fairplay to VIA, Intel and SIS they managed to really push the RAM for all it was worth, by tightening the timings. But like all things it was time for change. Thats where DDR2 came in. Now DDR2 has been around for a while, but only recently has it really taken off, have the ‘Three Wise Chipset Manufactures’ started to encorperate DDR2 into their latest motherboards.

So last week both Corsair and Kingston both announced 675, 750, 800 MHz memory modules, that would appear in their 2005 line-up. And Corsair, being one of the leaders in performance DDR RAM even went to say ‘The fastest memory in the world’.

Corsair said their RAM is optimised for LGA775 standard, and the nVidia nForce 4 chipset, although they said it would still work well with rival chipsets. Corsair could guarentee speeds up too 800Mhz, but said their RAM was designed with overclocking in mind, and 20-30% increases in performance would be fairly easy, and with work over 1Ghz RAM speeds could easily be smashed. The timings are also very tight with a Latency of CL1, and a RAS to CAS Pre-Charge of 2. Although these can be altered, depending on the motherboard. These modules are expected to hit the shops in the next month or so, for a fairly modest £200 for a 512Mb Module.

Mean-while Kingson upped the competition, they where also sporting similiar speed RAMS, however with slightly looser timings, but on the upset they sported lower stock voltages. Their new DDR2 RAM runs at 1.9Volts, so there is more scope for increasing voltage, during overclocking to enchance stability.

Meanwhile things in the OCZ and Crucial camp remain normally quiet, but reports are OCZ are currently working with DFI LanParty to create some high-speed DDR2 RAM for production this Summer, and as of yet Crucial are keeping their lips sealed.

Without futher benchmarks – its impossible to tell who to go for. No doubt THG will sport benchmarks in the latter part of the Spring. One thing is for certain though – 2005 is the year of the RAM.