TwinMOS Memory Products Review 2nd March 2003
TwinMOS have been around since 1998 and look set to become a major player in the memory field. No one can argue with their philosophy of high quality products at rock bottom prices. If you were to do a search for DDR333 or DDR400 memory using our "find lowest prices link" above there is little doubt that twinMOS would be the cheapest branded part you could find. Even in these price conscious times people are looking for quality products and to test this aspect TwinMOS sent us the following:
Here's what they look like (you can click on these images for a larger and more detailed photo).
The second image is that of the Compact Flash card we have been using in our digital camera. We've been testing both the DDR333 and the DDR400 memory for almost a month now in a variety of test systems. In every board except our AOpen ones we were able run the memory at CL2 with perfect stability. On average a 10% overclock was achievable without any problems under a heavy load and in the following tests we have used aggressive memory settings. We quickly established that DDR333 memory actually produced better results than DDR400 memory due to the 333MHz FSB on our Athlon CPUs and synchronous memory timing and latency issues so we have used DDR333 for all of the tests. This does not mean buyers should not consider DDR400 memory - on the contrary, we recommend DDR400 as it is more future proof. The new Pentium 4 chips will use dual channel DDR400 memory and there have been rumors for a while that the new Athlons with the Barton core will quickly switch to a 400MHz FSB. After all you can still run DDR400 memory at DDR333 speeds by selecting the appropriate BIOS settings.
Let's start with the synthetic benchmarks. Readers should note these are largely dominated by factors that are not that important for most uses so they should be viewed from an academic standpoint.
As expected the NForce2 board is no match for the PC1066 memory in the P4 system. The twinMOS memory puts in a good showing with all the DDR chipsets. To get some idea of how it will perform on a dual channel board just double the scores since this is a synthetic benchmark.
Here things have narrowed considerably here and we can see the efficiency of the Intel memory hub on the 845PE board.
Things are getting closer now with only the Hyper-Threading skewing figures.
Hyper-Threading appears to give the P4 a big boost and the Athlons struggle to keep up but its clear the TwinMOS memory is putting in a good showing.
3D Mark 2001
Enough synthetic benchmarks, let's see how well the memory performs in the real world.
The advantages of the 850i chipset don't help so much here. The performance of the KT400 board is disappointing but this is due to a flaw in the chipset (we're waiting for a KT400A board) rather than the memory performance.
Unreal Tournament 2003
Now for some real world benchmarks starting with UT2003 Flyby.
Matching the memory speed to the FSB speed allows the Athlon systems to pull ahead at the higher resolutions. The flaw in the KT400 board exhibits itself again as a curious bottleneck.
The botmatch scores are what's really important to gamers and here the difference is even more stark. The P4s may have won in the synthetic benchmarks but well-matched low-latency DDR memory shows its superiority here.
Rambus is well and truly dead, making no appearance in any Intel roadmap and we can dismiss this as competition. Similarly we can disregard DDR2 memory as we wont be seeing it in anything other than graphics cards for a couple of years yet. This leaves most people to choose between various brands of DDR memory. Until now Crucial Technology (a division of Micron) have been quite successfully targeting their memory at consumers on the basis of price and quality. TwinMOS are now on the scene offering quality that is just as good at an even lower price point. Why pay 3 times as much for Corsair memory with the same performance and a marginal overclocking advantage? The memory we tested has been in constant use for almost a month and even in a server for several days without any problems whatsoever.
We haven't shown any tests for the Compact Flash Card because it really is impossible to tell between such cards in terms of performance. The increase of memory to 256MB in our high end Fuji camera allowed us to use the highest uncompressed settings (about 30MB per picture in TIF form). We could also fit several hundred standard resolution images on it so such a card would be ideal whilst on holiday. The card came in a sturdy plastic holder which allows several cards to be kept on hand and swapped around when full - something that will no doubt appeal to amateur and professional photographers alike.
At the end of the day the only thing consumers want from their memory is stability and all things being equal a buying decision boils down to price and here TwinMOS can't be beaten.
Memory prices are at rock bottom currently and now is an ideal time to upgrade to make full use of XP or Win2K (in our experience about twice as much memory is required to run a game in XP than with Windows 98).
We would like to thank TwinMOS for the review sample memory products.
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