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MEMORY

256Meg Kingmax PC2400 Review
By: Dev Harware
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    2003-10-02

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    It's been quite awhile since OCA has looked at the Kingmax Tiny BGA memory. Although that's not to say we haven't been using it quite a bit. With the passing dominance of SDRAM, I would have to say Kingmax was up there with the best of them. Kingmax busted out with PC150MHz memory back in the day when that SPeeD was unheard of. They sent other manufacturers scrambling to bring their memories up to spec. Soon followed Corsair, Mushkin and others. But not before Kingmax pioneered these enormous steps forward in speed and performance. Which brings us to what we have today. 300MHz DDR memory.

    Company: Kingmax Semiconductor INC.
    Product
    : 256Meg Kingmax PC2400
    Price
    : $70 approx
    Availability
    : Now
    Written by
    : Mack (SPeeD) Littleton
    Reviewed:  December, 2001


     


    Introduction: It's been quite awhile since OCA has looked at the Kingmax Tiny BGA memory. Although that's not to say we haven't been using it quite a bit. With the passing dominance of SDRAM, I would have to say Kingmax was up there with the best of them. Kingmax busted out with PC150MHz memory back in the day when that SPeeD was unheard of. They sent other manufacturers scrambling to bring their memories up to spec. Soon followed Corsair, Mushkin  and others. But not before Kingmax pioneered these enormous steps forward in speed and performance. Which brings us to what we have today. 300MHz DDR memory.


    DDR Explained:  DDR specs can be confusing if your not quite sure what they mean. Lets break it down real quick before we continue on with the review. DDR or Double Data Rate Memory is similar to typical SDRAM (Single Data Rate Memory) but doubles the rate by transferring data twice per cycle. It transfers data on both the rising and falling edges of the clock, theoretically providing twice the memory bandwidth of SDRAM. I do emphasize the word theoretically. As we all know. DDR is much faster, but we don't see double the performance as SDRAM. Still, the gains are there and are an evolutional step in the process of attaining higher speeds, better graphics, and faster handling of programs and applications. You see 300MHz because the memory is a Double Data Rate of 150MHz. 150MHz x 2 = 300MHz. Also, the PC2400 stands for 2.4GBs bandwidth speeds. Personally I break it down like this. 

    • 100MHz x 2 = DDR200 or PC1600

    • 133MHz x 2 = DDR266 or PC2100 

    • 150MHz x 2 = DDR300 or PC2400 

    • 166MHz x 2 = DDR333 or PC2700

    And the recently released OCZ DDR DDR370 or PC3000 which is not yet endorsed or sanctioned by the JEDEC standard.

    Ok, that's not so bad is it? DDR also requires less voltage than SDRAM. DDR uses 2.5v as opposed to SDRAM which uses 3.3v. 


    Overview: Lets cover a few advantages of the Kingmax Tiny BGA

    • Smaller Package Outline: 128Mbit (11x133mm) 45.6% smaller than 128Mbit 66-pin TSOP

    • Superb Electrical Performance: Lower RLC value and higher maximum withstanding frequency up to 300MHz

    • Better Thermal Dissipation: Lower thermal resistance value, keeps components cool and functioning.

    • Standard: JEDEC 184pin format

    • CAS Latency=2 at 300MHz

    • Burst Length: 2, 4, 8

    • Device Physicals: TinyBGA 11mm x 13mm x 1.4mm

    • Module Capacity Option: 128 and 256MB

    • PCB height 1.2" allow double sided components

    Here is a little bit more "press info" before we continue on.

    To 300MHz BEYOND!
    Kingmax Semiconductor Inc. has once again outdone the competition by introducing the world's first DDR 300 PC-2400 128/256MB 168-pin unbuffered DIMM based on the most advanced TinyBGA technology components and finest DRAM die geometry process .15um. The advanced TinyBGA package technology drastically reduces the size of the chip itself and increases the overall electrical and thermal performance of the SDRAM component. Finer die geometry plus advanced chip scale package equalize faster speed and lower power consumption. Now, Kingmax DDR 300 TinyBGA PC-2400 based DIMM can deliver up to the peak bandwidth of 2.4GB per second to satisfy the need of the performance hungry users and die-hard Overclocker's alike. Welcome to the new era in high-speed memory technology.


    One thing that stands out here with Kingmax that you rarely if ever see, is the fact that they actually encourage overclocking. Not something you normally see in this business and a refreshing change of pace from the norm. Kingmax is that absolutely confident in their product that they believe it will satisfy the needs of the most demanding overclockers. Another sweet deal is Kingmax's commitment to quality. They guarantee the memory for life. Quite a bonus in this day in age when your lucky to get a 30-day warranty from most items. Lets head over to page 2 for some more pics and benchmarks.

     


     

    One of the first things you'll notice if you look closely at the Kingmax memory chip is that it's rated at 6ns. Currently there are VERY few (if any) system memory modules rated at this low speed. Lets take a look.


    A low rating like this will not only guarantee stable speeds at default clock levels, but stability beyond rated speeds as well. Lets take a look at the size of the memory compared to a stick of standard Crucial PC2100 memory.

     


     


    As you can see, the Kingmax is quite a bit smaller than the Crucial. Kingmax advises the Tiny BGA is up to 45% smaller than most TSOP (Thin Small Outline Package). The results of this are better thermal dissipation. It's also easier to install because of this and you don't get that "wobble" feeling when trying to install it properly. Helps keep airflow resistance in the case to a minimum as well.


    Test System Specs:

    • Shuttle AK31 V3.1 mobo (BIOS rev AK31S2EC)

    • AMD 1.4GHz Tbird

    • 1 - 256meg Kingmax PC 2400 Memory stick

    • Visiontek GF3 (23.11 Det drivers)

    • Maxtor 40G 7,200rpm HD

    • Windows XP Professional


    Alright. Lets checkout some benchmarks of the memory at default and overclocked speeds. The first is a shot of the Kingmax memory running 150FSB, CAS2, 4-Way Interleave, default voltage.

     


    Pretty impressive. The Kingmax at PC2400 is very close to Rambus memory scores and ofcourse, dusting PC2100, PC1600 and PC133 scores. The Shuttle AK31 v3.1 maxes out at 166FSB in the BIOS so that is the highest speed we could test the memory at. Will it do it? 


    In order to run the memory at 166FSB, I did have to lower the CAS rating from 2 to 2.5. I also had to up the voltage to 2.70 (the shuttle's max) in order to get it to run stable. Still, very impressive to be running DDR333 SPeeDs on the ol' KT266A platform. While the memory was fully stable at 150FSB, I saw a few crash and burns at 166FSB. It would run nearly everything rock stable to include games and applications, yet 3DMark2001 would drop back to the desktop from time to time. Not quite sure if this was a motherboard limitation or memory, but since I did have to change CAS rating to 2.5 and raise the voltage as well, I would assume this is where the Kingmax PC2400 tops out at. Still a worthy overclock for this memory with a 10% increase in clock speed. Here's a shot of CPU ID showing the system bus.



    Conclusion: I'm pretty impressed with the Kingmax. Considering it's only rated at CAS 2.5 at 150MHz, yet it will easily run at CAS 2.5 at 166MHz. I actually had this review in the works when I was using the MSI K7T266 Pro2-RU motherboard. However, the MSI completely topped out at 155FSB with aggressive memory settings, and 158FSB with non-aggressive settings (no interleave, CAS2.5 instead of 2, etc.) However, I suspected the Kingmax was capable of quite a bit more, and to my delight, it certainly was.

    Highs

    • Very stable at a high FSB

    • Cost is comparable to other memories

    • Lifetime Warranty

    • Newer technology than other memories

    • Lower speed/ns rating

     

    Lows:

    • Only available in 128 and 256meg sticks

     

    With what we've seen here today with Kingmax PC2400, we believe the product easily deserves our Editor's Choice award for performance and quality.

     

    We'd like to thank Kingmax for providing us with this excellent memory. If your looking to purchase more memory for your system or simply looking to upgrade to the DDR platform from SDRAM, I cannot recommend a higher quality memory than the Kingmax. Also, there are 2 places I can recommend purchasing the Kingmax online. Kommax.com and ComponentAuthority.com. Both very reputable online dealers as well as competitive pricing.


    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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