IntroductionIt's no surprise to anyone in the enthusiast market just how fast PC's are now running - higher speed processors are coming out just about every month, new motherboards are hitting the market and even memory is skyrocketing.Not so long ago we took a look at memory at the 800MHz to 1GHz DDR range of RAM from quite a few companies, and there is no sign of it stopping just yet. DDR-2 has truly opened the door for extreme speeds for memory technology, and its no wonder both AMD and Intel are using this juga naught - it still has some life left in it before the newer DDR-3 technology takes over. While there has been criticism of DDR-2 memory running clock for clock with DDR not measuring up, it can be said that DDR cannot nearly hit the speeds that DDR-2 is showing us today.Companies like OCZ, Corsair and Crucial have really made some names for themselves with modules breaking into the 1000MHz+ DDR barrier, and today we are about to show off some of the latest enthusiast memory from one of these companies, namely OCZ.Today we have the FlexXLC Edition memory modules designed to run at 1150MHz DDR or 575MHz out of the box using a few memory voltage tweaks along with some really innovative cooling. So come and see just what OCZ's latest memory modules have to offer.
Package and Modules
Packaging and Modules
First off we have a look at how OCZ ships the FlexXLC Edition memory modules. The 2GB kit of two matched pairs of 1GB modules arrived in a protective plastic blister package that doesn't take the world and then some to open, thankfully.
The packaging explains how OCZ's new cooling system works to keep the modules cool when running such high speeds.
The modules themselves are quite impressive. They are by far the largest DDR-2 memory modules on the market thanks to the XLC liquid cooling system that they use - that's right, these modules are water cooled. The diagram below from OCZ explains how the cooling concept actually works:
They not only operate with water cooling, but if you don't want to use water, that's fine, these modules can be cooled conventionally without water just by plugging them into your motherboard. The large heatsinks on the top keep the modules cool without the aid of water.
OCZ has put these modules out from the factory designed to run at PC2-9200 mode - 1150MHz DDR or 575MHz. The modules come with 5-5-5-18 timing ratings and support up to 2.4v with OCZ's Extended Voltage Protection (EVP) program without voiding the warranty. In fact, you need to use around this higher than usual voltage to operate the RAM at 1150MHz DDR. Our testings even showed that it will even operate stable at 2.5v without any problems at all when using the water cooling. To keep the electrical interference down, OCZ has gone to the largest PCB they have ever used, and 8 layer design, which will aid in added stability when overclocking to extremes.
From the top of the modules we get a better look at the heatsink that OCZ has used for when you run the modules with passive cooling. This is an all alloy heatsink that connects to the copper base of the water cooling system. The barbs used for the water cooling system are quarter inch (or 6mm) diameter tubing. Our Gigabyte 3D Galaxy II water cooling system has these ports on their splitter systems ready to go, which we found quite helpful.
Overclocking the RAM
Overclocking the RAMNow we come to what we all want to know, just how far this RAM can go in the overclocking department.
With a Core 2 Duo processor and an overclocking friendly Gigabyte P965-DQ6 motherboard, we managed to squeeze out a total of 600MHz (or 1200MHz DDR) out of the modules using the 2.4v maximum voltage that OCZ recommend.We had to relax the timings a little with them running at a slightly higher 5-9-9-24. It is quite an impressive result considering the modules are essentially already overclocked out of the factory. This was the maximum stable speed we could get to run our tests.We managed to load Windows XP at 1220MHz DDR but were unable to launch any applications without the system rebooting. No matter how much extra voltage we dumped into her, we didn't get any extra stability.We also tested the stability with water cooling and passive cooling and hit 600MHz on both water and passive configurations. Running water cooling kept the modules operating at a lower temperature, we didn't have a thermal probe to test, but the touch test left us with a good impression.Let's move onto the benchmarks now and see how it actually performs!
Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Everest
Test System SetupProcessor: Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 (Supplied by Intel)Motherboard: Gigabyte P965-DQ6 (Supplied by Gigabyte)Hard Disk: 500GB Seagate 7200.9 SATA (Supplied by Seagate)Graphics Card: 2x MSI Radeon 1950PRO in Crossfire (Supplied by MSI) Cooling: Gigabyte 3D Galaxy II (Supplied by Gigabyte)Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP SP2Drivers: Intel INF 220.127.116.111, ATI Catalyst 7.1 and DX9cWhile we did start our testing on the nVidia nForce 680i chipset, we also tested on the Intel P965 chipset just to see what we could get. The results appeared identical in terms of maximum clock speed attainable. We used Gigabyte's P965-DQ6 motherboard in our benchmark results so we could use Crossfire in our game tests to eliminate the VGA as the bottleneck in our results.Our tests put the OCZ FlexXLC Edition memory (2 x 1GB in dual channel) up against the Corsair PC2-8500 (also 2 x 1GB in dual channel) at DDR2-800 at SPD, DDR2-800 at the tightest timings possible and then at 1200MHz DDR for the OCZ memory with the timings on SPD.We managed to run the OCZ memory at timings of 4-4-4-15 at 800MHz DDR without any problems and the Corsair memory operated at 4-5-4-18 at 800MHz DDR for its tightest timings and 1066MHz for its highest memory clock with relaxed timings.Let's get things underway and check out the performance numbers!EVEREST Ultimate EditionVersion and / or Patch Used: 2006Developer Homepage:http://www.lavalys.comProduct Homepage:http://www.lavalys.comBuy It Here
EVEREST Ultimate Edition is an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking it provides essential system and overclock information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings. CPU, FPU and memory benchmarks are available to measure the actual system performance and compare it to previous states or other systems.
Everest is the newest addition to our testing system as it performs more tests on the memory and CPU systems including latency tests. OCZ leads the way in all of the tests in both stock, tight timings and of course, overclocked.
Benchmarks - ScienceMark
ScienceMark 2.0ScienceMark 2.0 is a mathematical program designed to stress the memory subsystems of both desktop/workstation and server environments to determine the read/write latency as well as the overall memory bandwidth available between the CPU and the memory controller.
In our ScienceMark tests we see that the OCZ memory once again is able to take a lead, though only just in the stock settings, when overclocked it really shines.
Our test with Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 is performed with a raw two hour AVI file. It is then compressed into DivX format using the latest version codec. We measure the time it takes to encode and then record CPU usage.
When the memory is put to the stress tests of encoding and transition effects, OCZ makes good use of the extra bandwidth available to it.
PREY is one of the newest games to be added to our benchmark line-up. It is based off the Doom 3 engine and offers stunning graphics passing what we've seen in Quake 4 and does put quite a lot of strain on our test systems.
In our last test, real-world gaming with PREY really shows that the memory is able to make quite an impact on the game when its clocked up nice and high. We tested at a lower resolution with the detail set to low which enables us to put more of the emphasis back on the memory and CPU systems and off the GPU.
Final ThoughtsPC hardware is now accelerating quite fast in terms of technological improvements, and to make it in this game now, you need something that works, something that is fast and above all, something that is reliable.OCZ has fit the bill here with their brand new FlexXLC Edition memory - it not only has extreme speed, it works with its water and passive cooling and from what we saw during our testing, is an extremely reliable product.Memory is one of the most cut throat industries along with the CPU and GPU market. If you want to survive, you need to have the best product and OCZ by far has achieved that goal with this memory.The use of the water cooling didn't gain us any extra performance out of our memory. However, we feel, that while this should be the aim for water cooling, there is one greater feature that this has, longevity. Running the modules cooler allows the memory's life to extend beyond normal overclocked modules which can die an earlier death due to over voltage and heat, OCZ has managed to take care of that for you.The only major problem we see with this memory will be the price. being such a niche market that this memory is aimed for, expect to pay quite a bit more than the other modules on the market otherwise if you're are looking for extremely fast and reliable DDR-2 memory with a difference, pay close attention to the FlexXLC Edition memory from OCZ.- ProsFastHighest memory clock we have had on Intel P965 (1200MHz DDR)Unique dual mode cooling (water and passive)Stable and reliable2.4 volts extended voltageLifetime warranty- ConsHigh price tag- Latest PricingRating - 9.5 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Editor's Choice Award!
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