We set out to see if there was a significant difference between DDR2 and DDR3 memory on both of the Intel P35 Express based ASUS motherboards and found that there really isn’t. Right now there is no clear call as to what would be better for gamers and enthusiasts as it depends on your tastes. As with all new technology it will only get better as time goes on and with memory companies hitting ~1,800MHz on the initial 512Mb DDR3 IC’s it shows great promise for the new memory type.
A few of our sharp readers might have noticed there has not been any mention of DDR3 pricing in this article and that is because it’s a bit high because it’s so new. The 2GB Kingston HyperX PC3-11000 kit that we used in this article has an MSRP of $518, which is more than double the 2GB Kingston HyperX PC2-9600 memory kit that we compared it to in the performance benchmarks. The Corsair 2GB kit of DDR3 PC3-8500 (TWIN3X2048-1066C7) has an MSRP of $410 while the 2GB kit of DDR3 PC3-10600 (TWIN3X2048-1333C9DHX) is $450. As you can tell the price on DDR3 memory is far and above that of DDR2 and for this reason alone DDR3 will be reserved for trend setters and enthusiasts that are serious about their hobby.
If you do plan on holding off for the time being that might not totally be a bad move as Micron’s 78nm 1Gb DDR3 IC’s as well as Qimonda’s are coming to market really soon. With 1Gb DDR3 IC’s memory companies will be able to launch 4GB memory kits, which is now becoming a standard for high end gaming systems thanks to Microsoft Vista eating up system resources. The memory kits from Corsair and Kingston that were used in this article are based off 512Mb memory chips. Nearly all DDR3 IC makers are now producing 512Mb (64Mx64) and 1Gb (128Mx64) memory chips and get this, Samsung is claiming DDR3 16GB module densities not far away. The year 2007 is the year that will be remembered as the start of the transition from DDR2 to DDR3 DRAM, but don’t expect DDR3 sales to take over until 2009.
Both the ASUS P5K Deluxe and P5K3 Deluxe motherboards were a joy to use and were found to be stable and easy to overclock with the latest BIOS version. The Intel P35 Express Chipset works great from what we have seen so far and expect a review of a number of these P35 based boards in the near future. In closing, we would like to take our hats off to Corsair, Kingston, ASUS and Intel for bringing us some killer DDR3 technology on launch day!
Legit Bottom Line: DDR3 memory has arrived and it’s fast, but due to pricing DDR2 memory will still offer the best bang for the buck.