Geil Black Dragon DDR3 Gaming Series PC3 12800 2x2GB Reviewccokeman - December 14, 2009
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The introduction of Intel's Nehalem architecture opened up a new era for high performance DDR3 memory. No longer would voltages of 2.0v and higher be acceptable for use with its latest flagship processors. The voltage recommendation from Intel was 1.65v maximum. This had memory manufacturers scrambling to find compatible ICs that would work at the same speeds with the lower voltage specification. Fast forward to September 2009 and Intel dropped the mainstream version of its Nehalem architecture, the socket 1156 Core i5 and I7 8 series processors and P55 equipped motherboards. While the flagship 9 series made use of a triple channel memory controller, the mainstream variant was limited to a dual channel setup with the same voltage constraints to keep the integrated memory controller happy. That leads us to what I will be looking at today, a dual channel set of memory from Geil. The Black Dragon PC3 12800 2x2GB gaming series modules are rated to run at latencies of 8-8-8-28 using just 1.6 volts. Kind of right around where many performance modules are running these days. What's different about these modules is that they have been run through Geil's Die-Hard Burn process to ensure that these modules can perform in even extreme conditions. Let's take a look and see how well they perform.
The Geil Black Dragon modules come in a retail package that is gold themed and carries the image of a dragon on the front. This set of modules is part of the DDR3 Gaming series and has been subjected to Geil's in house DBT process that enhances the lifespan of the modules.The rear facade has a couple of windows so you can see the modules and the specifications sticker. The back also lists the part number and latencies. The DBT logo is again on the lower side of the panel with the slogan "Tough on Performance Tougher on Reliability."
The modules are sealed in a clamshell blister pack and come with a small caution label that talks about the SPD (Serial Presence Detect) settings that are programmed on the modules' SPD chips and how they may differ from the rated timings. The voltage part of the label educates the consumer on following the Geil recommended voltages and where you can find the rated voltage.
The Black Dragon Modules are part of Geil's DDR3 Gaming series of memory. These modules are available in a variety of speed and latency combinations. This set is rated at DDR3 1600MHz (PC3-12800) and are shipped with timings of 8-8-8-28 at 1.6 volts. The modules use a black PCB that has the outline of a set of the dragon's eyes in gold. The modules have a red LED at each corner that gives the modules a little bit of flash on top of the gold and black theme. Once installed, it's easy to see where the modules are. These LEDs are lit full time and do not flash with activity like Crucial's Ballistix Tracer lineup.
With the modules installed it's time to see if the dragon has teeth!