The impact of material crystallization characteristics on the switching behavior of phase change memory cells has been investigated using finite element simulation. Both a conventional vertical cell and a horizontal line cell have been analyzed, using the widely used Ge2Sb2Te5 (GST) which is a nucleation dominated material for the vertical cell, and Ag5.5In6.5Sb59Te29 (AIST) which is a growth dominated material for the horizontal cell. Nucleation and growth models were implemented for both materials. Both RESET and SET program cycles were simulated. From these simulations, it was shown that the crystallization models gave realistic results for switching voltages, currents and switching times for the two different cell types. It is found that for GST, both nucleation (at lower voltages) and growth (at higher voltages) can play an important role in the crystallization. However, for AIST, crystal growth from non-amorphized crystal regions dominated over nucleation for all program conditions. The high growth rate of AIST moreover is shown to allow much shorter SET times in the line cell compared to that of GST in the vertical cell.