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.
Stability & Overclocking Results:
The RST Pro2 tested the Extended and Base memory at default ratings (DDR500 & 3-4-4-8 timings) and after 5 loops no errors were found! Memtest86 was used and again confirmed these results.
We then found the maximum stable overclock of these modules to be 513MHz. The modules would start throwing errrors when run above 514MHz DDR, even with bumping up the vDimm. Since they were no longer stable the overclocking ended there.
Well now that the modules passed stability testing and you know how they overclock let’s look at some benchmarking!