PIII Memory and Chipset Comparison

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Test Results

One thing caught my eye while testing, something I’ve not tracked in the past – the actual time in seconds that it took to complete the MemTach benchmark. Now I’m not an engineer so I can’t tell you how valid this test is, but the results are interesting:

Notice that the VIA chipset using VCM was the fastest, but the i815 and SDRAM was just as fast – within 4 tenths of a percent. DDR was next at almost 18% slower, followed by the VIA SDRAM at almost 29% and the RDRAM came in dead last at a bit over 31%.

So how does that reflect with some of the other scores? Lets take a look at the CPUmark 99 scores – a test of not only the CPU, but also cache and memory performance:

The overall performance difference between the highest and lowest score is only 3.8% – not much. It is interesting to see the i815 and SDRAM do so well, but the question is if it is the chipset or chipset AND memory combination. RDRAM and the i820 don’t fare too well at all, while all three types of memory used with the VIA are very close, with only almost 7 tenths of a percent difference between SDRAM (PC133) and DDR SDRAM (PC2100).

So what about a business application benchmark such as Winstone? It should be a good test of overall system performance running with multiple windows open:

The Business Winstone range is a bit over 2%. All but the i815 with SDRAM were in the 34-point range. There is a larger difference with Content Creation Winstone – almost 6%. Again, the i815 with SDRAM is the fastest, VIA with SDRAM the slowest, and VIA with VCM and DDR very close to each other. RDRAM didn’t fair to well again, but did ever so slightly outperform the VIA with SDRAM.

Now, there is one recent benchmark that I’ve been using that I feel should give an idea of memory bandwidth performance, I think this might just show that it does:

Granted there isn’t a huge difference, but both memory technologies’ that should show better results due to higher bandwidth do – the RDRAM and DDR. But the i815 and it’s SDRAM hold their own. About a 22% difference between the highest (VIA with DDR) and the lowest (VIA with VCM), and that is quite a bit. But only about 4% between the i815 with SDRAM and VIA with DDR, and 18% between the VIA with SDRAM and VIA with DDR.

The 3D Bench 2001 didn’t show any significant differences – only about 3% across the range, but the Quake scores did:

RDRAM and the i820 did poorly – about 7.5% difference between it and the fastest (i815 with SDRAM). The VIA with SDRAM and i820 with RDRAM were very close, both the VIA with VCM and VIA with DDR did quite well, but still not quite as fast as the i815 with SDRAM.

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