ConclusionWe will start with the worst, which is something we never do. The GeIL, Kingston and OCZ respect initial specifications, don’t go too much higher, and are often last in tests, especially with aggressive timings. While the GeIL and OCZ modules make up for this because of their low price, the Kingston doesn’t even offer this, and is therefore of little interest.
In terms of performance, two kits really stand out; the Crucial and G.Skill HZ. Whatever the timings, they always finished in the lead. At 220 €, the G.Skill HZ also have the advantage of being in the average price range for this type of module. The Crucial is a little more expensive, but the counterpart is that they have a more attractive design with the activity diodes and the ones that light up the PCB of the motherboard. This is of course a negligible point for some.
Amongst those priced at around 200 €, once again the G.Skill comes out on top with its HK model. It reaches very good frequencies (except with an average result in 5-5-5-15) and needs slightly more voltage than our two preferred models. These good results overshadow the more expensive modules with equivalent performances, the A-Data, Corsair or Kingston. As a reminder, following the large drop in DDR2 prices in recent weeks, this should be even more pronounced with decreases of 10 to 20% in the next few weeks.
Overall, if there are three kits that are preferable, none are to be avoided like the plague. Of course, you can always have isolated problems like we had, but generally specifications are respected and they are surpassed. We finish this article with a warning regarding the validity of these test results in the long term. Some manufacturers interchange chips or even brand names incognito, while official specifications remain the same. Luckily, the Crucial and G.Skill HZ, which finish first, are known to stay with Micron chips (to which Crucial is a subsidiary) of the D9 line, which are currently some of the best.Update
: The announced price drop has already started. Before the cheapest model was the GeiL at 190 €, and now it is the OCZ and G.Skill HK starting from 160 €. You may recall that this last kit was in our top three at 200 €.
Our two co-winners, the G.Skill HZ and Crucial Ballistix Tracer will also go down, because they were from 220 to 245 € and now are at 195 to 170 € ! At this price the Crucial is by far currently the best choice.
These differences are of course related to various delays in price decreases. In the next few weeks most should be found at 150-170 €.