OCZ PC-3200 ECC Registered MemorySun, Jan 05, 2003 - 9:00 AM
How Do We Define Stable Memory?
Have you ever run across a review website that reviews a product and shows a couple amazing scores and gives it an award? Sure you do as most review sites do just that, but how stable was it? I would be willing to bet that most sites don’t know what stable memory is and therefore give fairly inaccurate results. Yes, I hate to break the news, but there is more than just running a memory bandwidth test and calling memory stable.
Ever wonder what the memory companies use to test their modules? So did we, and we found out that they use the RAM Stress Test Professional 2 (R.S.T. Pro2). It is a Self-Booting, Operating System Independent memory diagnostic card for exercising and validating RAM. The R.S.T. Pro2 runs all tests in protected mode which can completely and thoroughly test up to 64 gigabytes of memory. This utility provides users the options of running sophisticated test patterns to detect hard to find memory errors, which are not detected by other test software.
While using the R.S.T. Pro2 we were able to find memory errors that other testing methods could not find or reproduce. Since we want and encourage our readers to follow up our testing on their own we also used the free testing program called Memtest86 which is a stand alone memory test for x86 architecture computers that boots off a floppy disk. This software is getting old and will not run on all platforms, so in the future we will begin using just the RST Pro2.
We also ran Prime95 while running loops of 3dmark2001 for a minimum of twelve hours to make sure that under hours of stress and heat buildup that the modules were truly stable.
We considered memory stable when it was able to run 1 extended pass of Memtest86, twelve hours of Prime95/3dmark testing and ran without locking up while running all tests on the RST Pro2. Many consider if any errors are found using the RST Pro2 testing the memory has failed.
By this combination of tests we feel that this review is one of the most accurate completed in terms of memory stability. Sure, not everyone will agree with our stability testing methods, but not everyone can afford the cost of a review like this nor the time that went into this testing.
Bottom Line: There is no industry standard for professional reviewers, but hopefully reviews like this will cause other professional reviewers to change their methods and ways of looking at memory.
The RST Pro2 tested the Base/Extended memory and after 1 loop errors were found! We then individually tested each module and found that one module was throwing some random errors. (more than likely one bad IC) This is something that happens occasionally and we were happy to see we were not getting "hand picked" modules. This also gave us a great chance to check out OCZ’s tech support.
Since our modules tested out bad we got the brilliant idea to send an e-mail via an anonymous Hotmail account to test OCZ’s tech support. We sent the e-mail on Saturday, December 27 @ 12PM and received a reply Monday, December 29 @ 8PM. In our e-mail we explained that our modules were throwing errors and we got the following e-mail in response:
What DDR voltage did you use for this memory as it is rated at 2.6 volts? Most of Athlon 64 FX board default at 2.5 volts. If that
does not solve your problem, please provide us the following information for replacement. Then we will send you an email with RMA# and
instructions for shipping. If you have any other questions, please feel free to let us know. We would be happy to take care of it for you.
Description of the product (quantity, size and model):
Brief Description of problems:
Motherboard model (with chipset):
OCZ replied to our e-mail the first business day after our message was sent to them and offered to RMA the modules for us without any hassles. Our second set OCZ modules passed our stability testing and those were used for the following benchmarks.