ADATA Vitesta Extreme Edition DDR2 800 Memory Review

ajmatson - 2007-10-16 05:34:28 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: October 24, 2007
Price: $69.99


In the memory world, there are so many options to choose from. You have everything from value ram modules to high-end DIMMs that use state of the art technology. With all the different types and manufacturers out there, how do you choose the right one for your system? Well that depends on your needs, and of course your price range. That is where we come in; to give you the information you need to make the correct purchasing decision. The latest JEDEC Industry Standard Speeds are DDR2-800. Sure there are manufacturers out there that push beyond that, but natively, that is where the sweet spot resides. For those of you not into overclocking, you want to find a set of RAM that performs at its peak, right at that spot. ADATA has made available a set of RAM called the Vitesta Extreme Edition Series that pushes the envelope at the DDR2-800 speed with some pretty nice advertised timings.

ADATA, based in Taiwan, was founded in 2001 and had only twenty employees, including Founder and CEO Mr. Simon Chen. Based on an April, 2005 iSuppli report, A-DATA ranks third in the world for DRAM Module and fifth for Flash Disk. According to ADATA's CEO "A-DATA Technology has been profitable every year, even when the DRAM market cycle and pricing was fluctuating dramatically."


Closer Look:

This set of RAM came in a blister type packaging that holds the modules nice and securely. I have received some sets in the past where the package was separating all over and the modules fell out. It was nice to see ADATA take the extra step to secure your investment. On the front side you get a nice view of the modules, as well as the specs. The back side has some features and a nice little guide that helps you open the blister back, keeping it intact for storage if needed. I received two sets to test, so I will be conducting this review with scores for one set (2x1GB) and two sets (4x1GB)



These modules are 2x1GB sticks sets and use Micron D9 or ProMos Chips and Brainpower PC Boards. They are designed for high-end systems and gamers; for the speed and stability that is needed when running them hard.  The Vitesta Extreme Edition modules come wrapped in a red colored aluminum heat spreader with the logos and foil spec stickers that you tend to see on memory modules these days. Both sides of the heatsinks are the exact same design with the logos but one side has a sticker with the speed specs and the other side has one with the timing scales.



I have seen on some auction sites knock-off versions of different types of modules, so I like the fact that ADATA incorporated a logo foil with the memory speeds on it to deter fakes. This particular set is advertised to run at 4-4-4-11 timings at 667MHz and 4-4-4-12 at 800MHz.


Now that we've had a quick look at the modules, let's see what they're really made of.  


Memory installation is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. I want to warn you of the risk of ESD (Electro Static Discharge), which can harm your components if you are not careful. I recommend wearing an ESD Bracelet or at least touching a metal surface prior to installing to prevent blowing out any parts of your computer. To install the modules, the first and most important thing to do is make sure all power is off and disconnected. Slide back the retention clips from the old memory and carefully remove them from the motherboard. Now take the new memory modules and line them up, making sure the notch in the memory slot matches up with the groove on the memory module. Carefully press on the two ends of modules until they snap into place and the retention clips should automatically click into place. Voila! Now just plug your computer back in and turn it on.

Below you can see the final step of the install for one set (2GB) and two sets (4GB), respectively.




Vitesta Extreme Edition
2GB (1x2GB)
DDR2-800 (PC2-6400)
Cas Latency
4-4-4-12 @ 800MHz
2.0v - 2.1v
EPP Ready?





One of the most crucial determinants of a computer's performance is the memory. There are so many types and speeds that choosing the right one for your system may be the most difficult choice to make when building or upgrading. We are going to test the ADATA Vitesta RAM against two well known modules to see how well they stack up. We are going to test at stock speeds of 800MHz and then overclock them to 1066MHz to check the ability to push them and keep them stable. The tests we are going to run are stated below. All drivers have been updated to the latest versions for testing. As stated before, ADATA has supplied us with two matched sets of the Vitesta Memory. We will be testing them once as a 2GB set and then again as a 4GB set to see if there's any performance improvement of doubling the RAM. It is important to not, however, that I am using a 32-bit version of Windows XP Professional, so only 3.25GB will actually be utilized by Windows. To use the full potential of 4GB of memory, you would need to run a 64-bit operating system.


Testing Setup:

Memory Types Compared:


CPU-Z This is an application that will precisely display your system information without having to reboot and go into the BIOS. Below is the information on the modules at the standard DDR2-800 JEDEC speeds.



Windows Task Manager - The task manager allows you to view real-time performance of your memory and system information. For memory, it will let you know how much is being used and what you how much is remaining.




PCMark05 - For the next test we are going to run the PCMark05 System Suite for overall performance and also the Memory Suite to gauge the memory on an individual basis. For all scores in these tests, higher is better. 






Sisoft Sandra XII - With Sandra we are able to dig down deeper into the memory performance by running tests for cache and memory subsystem, memory bandwidth, and memory latency. Again, higher is better with the exception of the memory latency test, where the lower time is better.




Cachemem - This is another popular tool that will test the read and write capabilities of the modules. Since this measures FPS (Frames per Second), higher is better. 






Far Cry - This game has been a very popular first person shooter since its release in 2004. For this test we'll be using the Hardware OC 1.8 benchmarking program and the scoring will be in FPS, so higher is better.




To my surprise, these were a joy to overclock. All I did was add a memory divider to raise the speed of the modules to 1066MHz and up the voltage to the specified 2.1 volts and they booted with no problems at all. This is the first set of ram that I did not have to perform trial and error too much to get them overclocked. That is one of the benifits of having a set of ram with good overclockable chips on them. On a side note, I do recommend active cooling when you are overclocking memory modules, but I especially emphasize it for the Extreme Edition set. These did get quite hot to the touch more than the other two, but I did not have any stability issues with them from the heat. For testing purposes, I only overclocked to 1066MHz with 5-5-5-15 timings stable, which is a 25% increase.  However I did get them to boot at 1185 MHz, but Windows would not load, nor did it pass memtest version 1.70. For optimum running performance, I had the RAM set at 900MHz (450x2) with timings of 5-5-4-14 at 2.0v. This offered the best performance to stability ratio and allowed for me to keep this running 24/7 with no problems. The highest that this set would run on the stock timings of 4-4-4-12 were 428MHz or 856MHz. After that, I had to increase the timings to get them to boot up and pass the tests. As a noted, I did find out from ADATA's website that this set is guaranteed to run at 1066MHz with timings of 5-5-5-15 and at 2.2 - 2.3 volts. This information is not posted anywhere on its packaging or the manuals.


PCMark05 - Again we are looking for the higher scores on this one. 









Sisoft Sandra XII - Here we are running the same tests as before, but with them being overclocked. For all scores, higher is better, expect the memory latency score, where lower is better.





Cachemem - Higher scores are better.  








Far Cry - Overclocked using the Hardware OC 1.8 Benchmarking Utility. Higher is better.




Because my test system has a processor of 2.6GHz and the test system of the Ballistix Tracer's were run on a 2.4GHz system I wanted to test the ADATA set at those speeds to get a truer comparison. As you know PCMark05 compares all components of the system. So what I did was downclock my processor to 300x8 (2.4GHz) and re-ran the tests at 400MHz with timings of 5-5-5-12 to truly see which set had the higher speeds.




Now that things are even you can see that the scores are very close, but the ADATA still has a little bit of a speed edge over the Ballistix Tracers. Keep in mind, though, that we had to loosen the timings to get the comparison, as the ADATA nativly runs at timings of 4-4-4-12.  Thus, it would be faster overall.  


So you must ask yourself, what makes these so extreme? Sure we got some great results at 800MHz, and since it did beat the other sets at nine of the stock speed tests and three of the overclocking tests, it certainly looks like a great contender. But the thing that separates this RAM apart is the fact that it is guaranteed to run at 1066MHz with timings of 5-5-5-15. It's like getting DDR2-1066 RAM for the price of DDR2-800. Considering that JEDEC timings for DDR2-800 is 5-5-5, that is pretty "extreme" to me. Now just to make sure you understand the full potential of this RAM, it does run at timings of 4-4-4-12 for 800MHz, but at those timings I could only get to the speed of 856MHz before I had to loosen the timings to 5-5-4-13. After approximately 1000MHz, I had to loosen them all the way to 5-5-5-15 and up the voltage to 2.1v. This gives you the headroom to run them stably from 800MHz to 1066MHz with no problems guaranteed! Adding the second set was even better, adding a nice margin to the overall scores in the stock speed testing. During the testing at 1066MHz speeds, the modules did not fare as well as they did in the stock speed testing. The scores were still in the ballpark, but it was clearly not superior outside of the 800MHz box. But guaranteed 1066MHz ram for $69 is something you can't turn away from.

Nevertheless, there is a heat issue that needs to be addressed. With the XMS2 and the Ballistix RAM, I could touch them my fingers and be fine, but the ADATA ram was too hot to keep my fingers on. This did not seem to affect the performance at all, but I would recommend that you have some sort of active cooling on the modules so that you avoid the chance of them overheating. With both sets installed, I could feel the heat radiating so much that it was enveloping the CPU cooler and might cause a problem with the CPU temps over longterm use if not cooled properly. This may have been advoided by having the top part of the PC board exposed to give off the heat. This set had the top fully enveloped so there is no room to breathe. Also the heatsinks are not as secure as other manufacturers' sets that I have used and might wiggle off over time.