Welcome to Techgage’s first DDR3 memory review, courtesy of OCZ. Up until now, we haven’t seen much of a need to publish a slew of DDR3 reviews as it’s slow to catch on, but we will begin publishing much more in the months to come, as it’s beginning to become more popular among enthusiasts.
This is not to say that you should run out to pick up a kit though, simply because it’s “catching on”. As I have mentioned in previous articles, I see absolutely zero need to move to a DDR3 platform. It offers no immediate benefits, unless you run absolutely hardcore bandwidth hogging applications. As it stands, I have a hard enough time trying to push DDR2 to it’s limit, let alone DDR3.
I consider myself to be a memory enthusiast, but when DDR3 launched, I felt no enthusiasm whatsoever. One reason might be the lack of overall performance gain, another might be the fact that it’s ridiculously expensive. That said, it’s up to you to decide whether DDR3 is for you. It -is- faster, but it’s just a matter of pushing it the right way in order to notice the difference.
You could almost compare the current state of memory to cars. Corvettes cost far less than Ferraris, but still offer great performance. So much so, that you will likely never reach the ‘Vettes full potential. So while the Ferrari is beautiful to look at and enthusiasts all look at it in awe, there comes a time when something is overkill. In this case, most Ferraris cost 3x as much as a nice Corvette, and likewise with DDR3 vs DDR2.
With all of my DDR3 rants out of the way, the fact is that DDR3 is faster and is the obvious choice of memory enthusiasts. While most companies released DDR3-1333 kits at launch, they quickly seemed obsolete with some overclocks that some were seeing, as high as DDR3-2000. So one thing is for sure, if you want a kit of ram that has loads of overclocking potential, most DDR3 kits will treat you well.
Today’s DDR3 kit comes from a company that we’ve come to enjoy working with over the past few years. Most everyone at OCZ is young, and it’s reflected in their products. They conjure up new ideas all the time and keep things fresh, something we like to see.
The particular kit we have here was received before DDR3 officially launched, so the packaging might be the same as a kit you’d receive, but the heat spreaders are not. The official DDR3 heat spreaders have a small “3” to the right of the big “Z” in the middle of the spreaders.
OCZ originally introduced their XTC heat spreaders in late 2005 and they became quite popular very quickly. How they compare thermally to competitors heat spreaders, I’m unsure, but they certainly get the job done.
As with most of the launch kits, this ones clock speed is DDR3-1333, aka 667MHz aka PC3-10666. It has stock timings of 7-7-7-20 with a slightly high 1.8v rating. By comparison, Kingston’s DDR3-1375 kit only requires 1.7v for the same timings. Since these launches though, memory chips have improved, and will continue to improve, to push higher frequencies and lower voltages.
With our initial look out of the way, let’s move on to our overclocking results and testing methodology.