When building a high performance machine there are several aspects of which you want to ensure you have not only the "Performance Factor"but the "Quality Factor" as well. When it comes to memory, there are several good choices out there to help you build a system that can perform with the best of them, while ensuring stability. Today I am reviewing one such kit, the .
Although you can run non Dual Channel memory in Dual Channel mode, you don't always get the performance of a matched pair of sticks. Dual Channel sticks are still a little more costly than buying two sticks of the same make and speed, but that is for a reason, they are matched to perform at the rated speed in Dual Channel mode, and then some. If you are still using a motherboard that does not support Dual Channel mode, than I would stick with the more cost effective non-kit memory sticks.
First off, let's go over the specifications and PR blurb for this kit:
• ULN Technology: Ultra Low Noise shielded PCB
• Lifetime Warranty
• 512GB or 1GB Hand tested kits available
• Gold-Layered Heatspreader
• OCZ HyperSpeed® technology for outrageous top end speeds*
• Optimized for High Speed applications on Intel i865/i875 chipsets.
• 466Mhz CL 2.5-3-3-7
• EVP®(Extended Voltage Protection) Technology allowing up to 2.9 volts DDR while maintaining full warranty
The packaging is nicely done, with you being able to see the ram and it's specifications quite easily.
Looking at the back of the packaging we notice a slew of "Editor's Choice" and "Recommended" awards (hey wait, how can they put that there before I finish my review? :P). A couple of things that caught my eye off the list above are the Optimized for i865/i875 chipsets and the EVP. It makes we wonder how these would perform in an nForce 2 environment, but I guess they want you to go for OCZ's Platinum if that is your chipset. It is also nice to know they expect you to crank up the voltage a notch on their sticks.
Ed. Note: The reason why this kit, as well as many other PC3700+ kits suggesting Springdales and Canterwoods is due to the fact that it is extremely difficult for Athlon XPs (and pretty much impossible for Athlon 64s) to reach 233FSB at low latencies using anything but the most of extreme cooling solutions. Most i865/i875 motherboards (with the right CPU) can do these speeds without breaking a sweat. Simply put, if your hardware can't hit 233FSB and higher, you're wasting your money with anything faster than PC3500.
Each of the sticks is covered in a gold colored heat spreader, although how effective this will be is open to debate. Regardless they do look very good. You can check out the timings for the memory on the sticker that gives you the usual pertinent info.
The sticker tells us this sticker is a 512MB stick of PC3700 ram, and is part of a Dual Channel 'Matched' pair. We also have the memory timings listed here, 2.5-3-3-7.
Let's take a look at what is inside the test rig for this review:
ABIT AI7 Motherboard
1GB (2x512 in Dual DDR Mode) OCZ PC3700 Kit
Intel Pentium 4 2.4C (800MHz FSB)
ATI Radeon 9600XT
Hitachi Deskstar (IBM Deskstar renamed) 80GB, 8MB buffer, 7200 RPM, SATA Drive
Windows XP SP1 and Pre-SP2 hotfixes
ATI Catalyst 3.9
I will be comparing the OCZ PC3700 Kit to the original OCZ PC3200 (non-paired) memory as well as a 1GB Corsair TwinX PC3700 Kit.
This OCZ PC3700 overclocks very well, and the timings (2.5-3-3-7) remain tight all the way to 240FSB (2.88GHz), it is only at 250FSB (3.0GHz) that I must relax the timings some for solid booting/testing. Although this memory is rated for 233MHz, 240FSB was easily obtained without loosening any timings or increasing the DDR voltage. Once I got to 250FSB however, no matter how much juice I supplied (all the way to 2.95V), she would not boot all the way to windows login. I had to relax the timings to 3-4-4-7 and increase the DDR voltage to 2.85V, I was, however, able to maintain 1:1 FSB ratio.
To get to 260FSB (3.12GHz) I had to move to 3:2 FSB ratio and run it at 2.9V with 3-4-4-7 timings, which can and does hurt memory performance quite a bit.