Geil Black Dragon PC3 12800 CAS 9 6GB Review
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06
Reviewed on: March 29, 2010
Are you looking for a new kit of memory for your desktop setup? Well if you are looking for the newest type of setup, utilizing the Intel Core i7 processor with one of the x58 chipsets, you should look at the DDR3 memory kits that allows for triple channel memory (three DIMMs). With the memory controller being moved off of the chipset and on to the processor itself, the voltages that go to the memory need to be down in the 1.65V range, to prevent any damage or degradation to the processor. This has been one of the concerns for memory overclocking with the new standard as to achieve the high frequencies and low timings, we were requiring voltages around the 2.0V mark. I am very curious to see exactly how well the Geil Black Dragon PC3 12800 CAS 9 6GB kit of DDR3 memory will perform when it is put up against some of the other kits out on the market, not only in the overall performance that they can provide, but also in the overclocking section.
The Geil Black Dragon PC3 12800 CAS 9 kit of memory has a very unique looking package. A print of a dragon is on the packaging to the right side with the print "The Ultimate Gaming Experience Triple Channel Kit" printed inside of the dragon's head. In the bottom right hand corner, you see the Geil logo and the Black Dragon logo is printed in the top left corner. When we take a look at the back of the package, we see a few cut outs in the packaging that show you a first glimpse at the sticks themselves. There also is a sticker that gives you the information about the kit, such as that every stick is 2GB for a 3 x 2GB setup, and the timings are set at 9-9-9-28 and will operate at 1600MHz. When you pull the sticks out of the package, you are going to see that they are all placed in a clear plastic holder to keep them in place while they are in the package.
When we get the sticks pulled out of the plastic holder, we can see exactly what they look like. On the front of the sticks, we see the same sticker that was on the back of the packaging, but here we are going to see one extra piece of information about the kit, the recommended voltage setting of 1.6V. All three of the sticks are "naked" meaning that they do not have any heatspreaders on them to help keep the sticks from overheating during normal operation. The backside of the sticks shows a gold design on the PCB - it is a pair of golden dragon eyes.
Now that we know what the Geil Black Dragon PC3 12800 CAS 9 6GB kit of DDR3 memory looks like, it's time to take a look at the specifications of the kit.
240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM
6GB (3 x 2GB)
DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800 )
Limited Lifetime Warranty
All information courtesy of Geil@http://www.geil.tw/products/showSpec/id/218
To find out just how well a product performs, you have to test it in a real world environment so that you don't just blindly believe what the manufacturer says the product will do. Some are right on the money, while others fall somewhat short. On the other hand, there are products that exceed the manufacturer's specifications and will perform at a higher level than what the specifications lead you to believe. To find out what kind of performance the Geil modules deliver, I will be running them through the OverclockersClub suite of benchmarks to see how the performance compares to that of modules that are rated both lower and higher than the rated speed and timings of 9-9-9-27. The CPU is run at the default clock speed of 133 x 20 and the memory multiplier is increased to reach the rated speed of each set of modules. For the overclocking test, I will increase the bclock on the CPU to increase the clock speed of the Geil modules.
- CPU: Intel Core i7 920
- Motherboard: MSI X58 Eclipse
- Memory: Geil Black Dragon PC 312800 9-9-9-24
- Video Card(s): NVIDIA GTX 260-216
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800 watt Modular Power Supply
- Hard Drive: Seagate 1 TB 7200.11 SATA
- Optical Drive: ASUS DVD-R
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit SP1
- Comparison Module #1: Kingston HyperX PC3-12800 3x2GB 1600MHz
- Comparison Module #2: Mushkin XP3 15000 3x2GB 8-9-8-24 1866MHz
- Comparison Module #3: Mushkin HP3-12800 3x2GB 9-9-9-24 1600MHz
- Comparison Module #4: Patriot Viper Series DDR3-10666 3x2GB 9-9-9-24 1333MHz
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.
- Processor: Intel Core i7 920 167x20 = 3340MHz
- Memory: Geil Black Dragon PC3 12800 9-9-9-28 2000MHz
The Geil Black Dragon PC3 12800 CAS 9 6GB kit of memory does not have any heatspreaders on them. At first glimpse this would give you the impression that they are not going to be able to overclock very well at all. This is not the case with this particular set of memory. As I begun overclocking the memory modules, I needed to bump the base clock of the i7 up a little bit to raise the operating frequency of the memory. I was able to raise the base clock of the processor all the way up to 167MHz, which allowed the memory to achieve 2000MHz, which is a 400MHz overclock. Now to achieve this, I did need to raise a few of the voltages. The memory voltages needed to be raised to 1.72v to keep them operating stable, QPI volts up to 1.44v and the IOH up to 1.22v. I could have tried to get the memory's frequency higher, however this would have required me to change to CAS 10, which in turn would have been quite counter productive.
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
PCMark Vantage: With this benchmark, I will be running the system suite, as well as the memory test suite. The measurement for the system suite will be the total score. The measurement for memory performance is the total memory score.
SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP4: In this program, I will be running the following benchmarks: Cache and Memory, Memory Bandwidth and Memory Latency. Higher is better in all tests, except for Memory Latency, where lower is better.
The Geil Black Dragon modules deliver a pretty solid performance in all the benchmarks. When overclocked, they push to the top of the charts in every test here.
Left 4 Dead is a new release from Valve that leaves you as part of a group of survivors in a world where an infection has rapidly turned the populace into a zombie horde. You goal is to make it to a rescue point, all the while fighting what seems like overwhelming odds. Along the way there are safe houses where you can replenish your weapons and health. The movie 'I Am Legend' comes to mind to set the stage for this game. But unlike the movie, there are four characters, not just a lone gun and his faithful companion. The horde is not at all like the typical slow walking, foot shuffling zombie. These zombies are quick and work with the pack mentality. Your job: survival!
- Anti-Aliasing: x0
- Anisotropic Filtering: x2
- Game Settings: High
- VSync: Off
Gaming performance testing shows that the Geil Black Dragon modules deliver similar performance to the other modules tested.
The Black Dragon set of modules from Geil does not disappoint. This set of modules delivered comparable performance when run at stock speeds and showed increased performance when overclocked. The Red LED's are a nice touch and give the modules an added bling factor on top of the satin black PCB and gold painted eyes. The only thing I could think of to make them look better would be to relocate the LED's to where the eyes would be, giving them that oh-so-evil look, which would match up with any of the similarly colored motherboards on the market. Many of today's performance modules come with heatspreaders even when running the lower voltages required by Intel's specification (less than 1.65 volts through the modules to prevent damage to the CPU). This is not so with the Black Dragon modules. One reason may be the rigorous in-house testing methodology used called DBT or Die Hard Burn in Technology. What Geil does is take up to 1000 modules and subjects these modules to a torture test at temperatures that reach up to 100 degrees Celsius. Users can have no fear that heat is going to kill the modules. They have most likely gone through a more extreme test than the any end user will ever put them through. Therefore, the slogan on the packaging, "Tough on Performance, Tougher on Reliability" has an added meaning and creates a value for the consumer. While looks are nice, performance and overclocking headroom are are even better. This set of modules reached the cusp of 2000Mhz with some serious tweak-time, all the while staying cool. What you get with the Geil Black Dragon modules is a set of memory that is proven long before it hits the consumer's hands. It has the looks to go with just about any system, for a price that is sure to be affordable based on the cost of the last Black Dragon set we looked at. If the looks are appealing, the performance and overclocking are there.
- Looks - red LEDs
- Overclocked performance
- DBT Tested
- CAS 9