As of late I've been on something of an RDRAM kick. I'm not sure why that is. I suppose it's just interesting technology and this old Anandtech review brought up some memories of discussions I'd had with friends back in the day that the i850E was essentially par with the i875, as mighty as the latter seems in retrospect.
I find this to be quite interesting, since RDRAM is basically maligned now--almost universally--as a great failure by Intel; it's seemingly heralded as one of the company's greatest missteps, and perhaps it is so. In actuality, and in terms of real-world use case scenarios, DDR RAM is certainly more useful and amenable. It provides the same--or greater--bandwidth without a number of downsides, including: RDRAM's excess heat; the requiring of RIMM pairings to function; and the narrow 16-bit bus on which RIMMs are based.
And yet, it's not that bad. After taking a gander at this chart from TomsHardware, I was sold on acquiring some hardware:
It seems that PC800 in dual channel is really only matched by DDR400 single channel RAM or DDR266 in dual channel, the latter of which seems less impressive in terms of the grander comparison at hand; however, considering that dual-channel DDR chipsets weren't as common as dual-channel RDRAM chipsets at this time, the comparison grows a little more favorable for RDRAM's case.
As such, I went ahead and purchased the two boards you see here. The ASUS P4T-E is a nice one, being a reference model and a logical upgrade from my old P4T. Unfortunately, this one lacks the Cypress RDRAM clock generators required for PC1066 operation, but the FSB is stable at 133MHz without issue.
The D850EMV2, however, is a monster of a board. It's stable, fast, and really easy to work with. It's surprisingly modern, offering something akin to today's "fast boot" and boy does it boot fast! I appreciate that this board can drive the 3.06GHz Northwood with HT, and I've got one on the way just to see how it does. Unfortunately, however, I have discovered that this board--whilst being of late enough revision to natively run PC1066--cannot handle more than 1.5GB of PC1066 RAM, confirmed by the issues another fellow member of the forum had here. (Check out this build by the way, it's quite nice!) Does anyone have any ideas as to why this is the case? Apparently, it's fine with 2GB of PC800, and other RDRAM boards based on the i850E are good to go with 2GB of PC1066.
It's funny to me that I've gotten so deep into this niche now, and it all started with a search for an RDRAM Pentium III board! I've got one of those FIC KC-19+'s that can handle RDRAM and Pentium IIIs, but I'd really be interested in finding an ASUS P3C-E or some other i820-based board with ISA that's not a VC820 and can run a Tualatin one of these days; while RDRAM's bandwidth can't help the 133MHz FSB-driven PIII platform, I'm curious to see how these boards do with a Pentium III-S because RDRAM chipsets had a place in later Pentium III days, whereby the i820 could run a 133MHz FSB while keeping AGP in spec, unlike the fabled 440BX. I'm curious to compare one with i815 and see if it was worth it or not, especially since the i820 was awfully close to rivalling the 440BX in performance, just like the i815.
Anyway, that's enough rambling! I hope you found this somewhat interesting.
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