Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I get my info from all over.
r00n's list is great, but most of my info on new kits i get from forums, whether it's XS, AT, here, or elsewhere.
Good reviews sometimes list the ICs as well.
A general knowledge of the DDR2 market also helps, & since i tend to closely follow the market for whatever RAM i'm buying for my systems, it makes things easier.
Right now, if you know the 2 GB dimms landscape, you'd know that basically every good clocking 2x2 GB kit uses Powerchips.
There is nothing good for decent clocking from any other manufacturer presently.
Edit: When they first came out, I was under the impression that the new 2x2 GB Crucial Ballistix were a new Micron IC, but i have still seen zero evidence of this.
By far the most commonly confused thing is what Micron is good.
Micron D9GMH & D9GKX are amazing ICs, absolutely no question.
But the issue is that most people don't understand that "D9" doesn't automatically mean good.
Micron makes a crapload of different "D9xxx" ICs, as you can find on their site, or on r00n's list, & very few actually overclock well.
Aside from these new Microns in the Crucial 2x2 GB kits, the only good Micron in a 2 GB dimm was the short lived D9GSV, which was used in the old Mushkin 2x2 GB kits.
Most people don't remember this since no one was buying 2x2 GB early last year, but Mushkin basically dominated the high end 2x2 GB market when it first became an option.
No other manufacturer had anything that was remotely as good, as they weren't using this awesome IC by Micron.
In fact, if you ever checked out 2x2 GB kits early 2007, you'd have a hard time finding much that even did DDR2-800, & usually it could just barely hit 400 MHz @ tCL 5. OCing? Not a chance, unless a few MHz was all you wanted.
I think the main issue with D9GSV becoming a common option was a very high price, & i know the Mushkin kits were about double what everything else was...they also clocked very well.
All i know is that it basically was all gone by the time the 2x2 GB frenzy started last fall, though if you look hard enough, you can still find the original Mushkin 2x2 GB kits selling used, etc.
It seems that sometime last fall, PowerChips managed to create a fantastic 1 Gb IC, which is what you now see in basically every good 2 GB dimm.
Back on the topic of Micron confusion though, something people don't understand is that again, excepting the insanely priced discontinued D9GSV, there has never been anything that clocked well at all from Micron in terms of a 1 Gb IC
This should explain why:
D9GMH is a 512 Mb IC.
On a normal Micron D9-based RAM dimm, you have either 8 ICs one side (single sided dimm), or 8 on each side (double sided).
Here's the math which explains why it is not possible to have D9GMH on a 2 GB dimm.
8x512 Mb = 4096 Mb / 8 = 512 MB dimm
16x512 Mb = 8192 Mb / 8 = 1024 MB dimm
Those would be either your singled sided 512 MB, or double sided 1024 MB.
To get 2 GB, you need 1 or 2 Gb ICs.
16x1024 Mb = 16384 Mb / 8 = 2048 MB
That's what is in nearly all 2 GB dimms in existence.
(Though you can find 2 Gb IC-based stuff if you really want.)
Now back on the topic of the current Redlines, they do not overclock like D9s really, not really at all.
First off, we have to assume you mean D9GMH, since as mentioned earlier, you will find the majority of Micron D9 ICs do not OC well.
Now assuming D9GMH, it's famous for a number of things, but the main characteristic it's recognized by is how well it scales with voltage, which is how i'd interpret "clocking like D9s to mean".
With D9GMH, you can run it on 1.8V JEDEC standard & run not bad speeds.
But the real trick it had was that with a voltage bump to 2.1V, you'd easily hit DDR2-1000/DDR2-1066 in many cases.
Of course, if you were willing to pour more vdimm into it, you could usually hit DDR2-1200 or higher.
Basically though, the more voltage, the merrier.
Considering D9GMH is actually a default 1.8V DDR2-667 5-5-5 part, it's pretty insane how high it gets sold as every day, not to mention how high it OCs...
I had some Team Xtreem D9GMH myself...& damn, that stuff could fly if you fed it voltage.
Powerchips (or in this case, your Redlines which use that) are not remotely like that.
You'll rarely see any improvement past 2.1V with PC ICs, & even the difference between say 1.9V to 2.1V is usually very small with PC ICs.
It's just how they are.
There are countless reports of very minimal to no gains when adding vdimm & OCing Powerchips.
As for knowing what IC are in the Mushkin, i pretty much knew the moment it was released, since although Mushkin doesn't officially say, the results it was achieving for overclocking was exactly what you get with similar Powerchips kits.
The lack of improved speed from vdimm, the need for loose tRFC, the inability to get anywhere with tCL 4, etc...there are many characteristics of Powerchips that one can pick out.
This thread here has the OP actually showing pics of his without the spreaders for you to see if you don't want to pull yours off to see for yourself.
My Mushkin uses PC as well, & also overclocks basically indentically to your Redlines, it's just binned as a different SKU.
As for recognizing what IC is what, that's where r00n tends to be the guru you want to pay close attention to.
I have no idea how he knows all this, but he knows ICs like the back of his hand, so you can see him confirm the type from pics on XS all the time, which is usually how i learn which are which.
Since the different manufacturers use different looks to their ICs, if you look closely you can tell what to look for to identify at least the basics, based on shape, certain markings, etc.
edit: crap, looks like he deleted the pics he'd hosted.
I saved them though
These aren't my pics.
Credit belongs to SteelSix from anandtech forums.
Here's what's in the G.Skill 2x2 GB DDR2-800 PQ 5-5-5 kits.
Note: the very original versions of this kits actually had D9HNL, which doesn't clock at all.
Credit belongs to Cordovader on XS forums.
Here's what's in my Mushkin 996580 2x2 GB XP2-6400 4-4-4 (not my pics though).
Credit to a review that i cannot recall unfortunately.
Notice the similarities?
Those are all PowerChips.
When r00n's RamList page goes back up, you can see lots of pics of Micron ICs to compare too.