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Geil Black Dragon DDR3 Gaming Series PC3 12800 2x2GB Review

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Many people believe that memory modules all perform the same, but this is not true. Every module overclocks and performs differently. You want to get the best for your money and there are many ways to test what memory performs best. To test the Geil Black Dragon Gaming series modules, I will be running them through the OverclockersClub suite of benchmarks to see how the performance compares to that of modules that are rated at both a lower and higher rated speed, but with similar timings of 8-8-8; these modules run at 8-8-8-28 at 1600MHz. The CPU is run at a clock speed of 200 x 16 on the Patriot modules, while the Corsair and Kingston modules are run with the CPU at 160 x 20 with the memory multiplier of 10 to keep the modules at their rated 1600MHz speed. For the overclocking test, I will use a combination of voltages and increasing the bclock on the CPU to increase the clock speed of the OCZ XMP modules to see if they are capable of reaching higher speeds.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Modules:

CPU-Z: This application shows us the settings that we have chosen in the BIOS. Items shown in this application include CPU speed and bus settings, motherboard manufacturer, BIOS revisions, memory timings, and SPD chip information.




Task Manager: We use this utility to show physical memory, kernel memory, page file, and processor usage.


Overclocked settings:

  • Processor: Intel Core I7 920
  • Memory: Geil Black Dragon 1923MHz 9-9-9-28

Overclocking these modules on the ASUS Maximus III Formula and P7P55D Premium proved fruitless. By fruitless I mean not by a single MHz higher, regardless of timings or voltages, would they budge from the rated 1600MHz speed. Kind of strange considering the fact that I could tighten up the timings at 1600MHz to 7-8-7-20 with a slight bump in voltage. This offered a small jump in performance that really was only measurable in the synthetic benchmarks. Thinking there had to be something wrong I swapped the modules out into my X58 platform and promptly took them up to just over 1900MHz with little effort. I updated the BIOS on the Max III (1105) and P7P55D Premium (1102) to the latest publicly available BIOSes and still could not get them above the 1600MHz threshold. I had a similar problem on the Gigabyte P55UD6 as well. All of these boards are on the qualified vendor list of supported motherboards so it's a shame to see these modules not able to push above the 1600MHz threshold on several P55 boards, the board and chipset these modules are designed to be run on. Get a board without a compatibility problem though and they rocket right on up to almost 2000MHz.



The benchmarks used in this review include the following:


  • CPU-Z Version 1.52
  • Windows Task Manager
  • PCMark Vantage
  • SiSoft Sandra 2009
  • Left 4 Dead

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Specifications & Features
  3. Testing: Setup
  4. Testing: PCMark Vantage, SiSoft Sandra
  5. Testing: Left 4 Dead
  6. Conclusion
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