Geil Ultra DDR3 2x1GB Review
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06
Reviewed on: September 2, 2008
Are you looking to build a new computer for gaming or maybe something else? There are quite a few motherboards out there that are using the latest and greatest chipsets but force you to use the DDR3 memory standard. Well, do you feel it's time to make the switch? For most people out there, the higher stock clocks, as well as the lower voltages that are required to run the memory at those speeds, of DDR3 memory modules make them look very attractive. Geil has released its Ultra series for the DDR3 type memory modules. The Geil Ultra DDR3 memory kit comes with two sticks at 1GB per stick. I am interested in seeing exactly how well the memory is going to be able to perform when it comes to the benchmarks as well as how far they can be overclocked.
The packaging for the Geil Ultra DDR3 2x1GB memory kit looks very interesting as it is a very busy looking package that not only shows you what you need to know, but it is also very eye catching with its metallic/reflective front. Taking a look at the front of the package, you are able to see that there is a very interesting looking computer generated picture of a motorcycle with the DDR3 logo on the tailpipe that grabs your attention and makes you want to look more closely to see what exactly the product is. On the upper left hand corner of the package is where you are going to find the Intel Core 2 Extreme XMP Ready badge, letting you know that there are XMP profiles that can be enabled on an Intel based platform for easy one setting overclocking of the memory, very much like the EPP profiles for Nvidia chipset based motherboards. In the lower right hand corner is where you are going to find Geil's logo and above that is where the DDR3 Ultra Dual Channel Kit is going to be displayed. When you take a look at the back of the package, you are going to find all of the information that you are going to need to know about the memory. This is where you find that the kit is a 2x1GB kit operating at PC3 12800 (1600MHz) speeds with CAS7 latency. There are cut outs in the packaging that allow you to see the bar codes printed on the back of the sticks. When you pull the sticks out of the packaging you are going to see that they are placed in a molded plastic tray that will keep them from moving around during the shipping process to keep them safe from incurring any damage.
When you get the Geil Ultra DDR3 memory sticks out of the plastic molding, you are able to see exactly how they are constructed, which takes the most simplistic and effective design. They do not have any extra large heat spreaders installed on them, however they do actually have heat spreaders installed to help reduce the temperature at which they will be operating at. The front of the sticks is where you are going to find the Geil logo as well as the Intel Core 2 Extreme XMP ready badge that will help remind you that they are able to be set up with an XMP profile. The other side of the Geil Ultra DDR3 stick is where you are going to find the Ultra DDR3 logo from Geil. When you look at the back, the left hand corner is where the bar codes are located and the opposite side is where the information is going to be listed on the stick. 1.9V is what the sticks are rated at when operating at CAS7 1600MHz (7-7-7-24 timings). Of course, the JEDEC spec for these modules is CAS7 as well, just at 1333MHz (7-7-7-24) 1.5v.
The heatspreaders on the Geil Ultra DDR3 memory kit are nothing special, as they are the simple and very commonly used heatspreader design; however, you are able to tell that they are very light and thin, which will allow for the heat to be displaced through the material quickly, allowing for the heat to be displaced off of the sticks more quickly. The spreaders are attached very tightly and do not move or wiggle at all when an attempt is made to remove them.
After taking a look at how these Geil Ultra DDR3 sticks look, it's time to see exactly what they are made of and see how well they are going to perform.
|2GB Dual Channel|
8x128MB FBGA Chips
2GB - 1.9V 1600MHz
|Heat Spreader||Neo-Metalilic-Blue Aluminum|
- Highest performing memory with official data trasfer rate that doubles the speed of the DDR2 architecture with lower power consumption
- Lifetime Warranty
- XMP profile for optimized compatibility purposes
The best way to verify that one set of memory modules is better than another is to run a series of benchmarks to put down some basic comparison data. When all things are equal and the only variable is the module being tested, the results are a great way to compare performance, good or bad. In order to eliminate the variables, the only settings that will be manipulated are the memory timings and voltages when overclocking. The comparison modules will be run at the manufacturer specified timings and voltages at 1333MHz, the common DDR3 speed. The Geil Ultra DDR3 2x1GB kit will be run at stock speeds and voltages at both 1333MHz, as well as 1600MHz, and then finally overclocked. The G.Skill kit just could not make the 1600MHz mark so it was excluded from that level of testing.
- CPU: Intel Q9450 Core 2 Quad 333 x 8
- Motherboard: Asus Maximus Extreme
- Memory: Geil Ultra DDR3 1600 2 x 1GB @ 7-7-7-24 1.8V
- Video Card(s): VisionTek HD3850
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800watt Modular Power supply
- Hard Drive: Western Digital 500GB 16MB cache SATA
- Opticals: LiteOn DVD-RW
- O/S: Windows Vista Ultimate
- Comparison: Aeneon XTune DDR3 1600 2 x 1GB @ 8-8-8-24 1.5V
- Comparison: Aeneon XTune DDR3 1333 2 x 1GB @ 8-8-8-24 1.5V
- Comparison: G.Skill DDR3 1333 2 x 1GB @ 8-8-8-21 1.65V
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 usage and processor usage (%).
- Processor: Intel Q9450 @ 440x6 with 1.368 volts
- Memory: Geil Ultra DDR3 1600 @ 1760MHz @ 7-7-7-42 and 2.12 volts
When it comes to overclocking the Geil Ultra DDR3 2x1GB kit, I will be only adjusting the frequency at which they operate as well as the voltages that it takes to get there, I will be leaving the timings at 7-7-7-24 to see how high I can possibly get them to go. I did have to up the voltages to 2.12 volts to be able to get the memory stable at 1760MHz with the stock timings (7-7-7-24). It was actually quite simple and easy to overclock this memory and once I threw some extra voltage at them, they would just fly and take the MHz easily.
As an enthusiast community, we tend to push our hardware to the max all the time. At OverclockersClub, we do not condone running your hardware outside of the parameters set by the manufacturer and will not be responsible for any damage to your hardware while trying to duplicate the results of our testing. With that out of the way, let the testing begin.
The benchmarks that will be used in this review include the following programs.
- CPU-Z Version 1.45
- Windows Task Manager
- PCMark Vantage
- SiSoft Sandra XII
- Company of Heroes
PCMark Vantage: With this benchmark, I will be running the system suite as well as the memory test suite. The measure for the system suite will be the total score. The measure for memory performance is the total memory score. A comparison will be made of the performance at what the Geil Ultra DDR3 kit can do at 1333MHz, 1600MHz, as well as the highest achievable speeds compared against the scores achieved at stock speeds for the other kits.
SiSoftware Sandra XII: In this program, I will be doing the following benchmarks: Cache and Memory, Memory Bandwidth, and Memory Latency. Again, I'll be comparing the sticks at DDR3 1333MHz as well as 1600MHz and the highest possible overclock. Higher is better in all tests except for Memory Latency, where lower is better.
The total score for PCMark Vantage and the Cache and Memory Sandra tests are the only tests at the overclocked settings that the Geil Ultra DDR3 kit fell short of the others it was compared against. The other tests were able to show that the Geil Ultra DDR3 memory was able to beat out all others when it was overclocked. I was impressed by the scores that the overclocked Geil memory was able to yield.
Company of Heroes is a real time strategy game set during World War II. The object is to occupy and control the ground you capture, while forcing the opponents to capitulate. We will use the in-game performance test to measure the performance of the system.
The settings used in this test are listed below:
- All settings to maximum
Higher is Better
The Geil Ultra DDR3 Memory kit was edged out in the 1333MHz testing by the Aeneon and G.Skill kits. Once the Geil kit was run at the 1600MHz mark, things started looking up at the higher resolutions. As expected, when the modules were overclocked it took the lead across all four resolutions.
The Geil Ultra DDR3 fared very well against the other kits of DDR3 memory that it was put up against, while also looking very well while it was doing it. With stock speeds of 1600MHz, the Geil Ultra features an XMP profile to allow the memory parameters to be set by just checking the XMP profile in your motherboard's BIOS. This, of course, is easier than setting the parameters manually, which some less avid overclockers will surely make use of. I was very impressed with the performance of the Geil Ultra modules even when they were underclocked to 1333MHz (DDR3 JEDEC spec) and the scores that these speeds were able to produce. While we are talking about the stock settings, the low timings of 7-7-7-24 were also very helpful in the high scores that were able to be produced. The memory was capable of being kept at these timings even when it was overclocked to 1760MHz (10% overclock) with only a little more voltage needed to keep it stable. The stock voltage of 1.9 volts is higher than some of the other kits that are out on the market, but 0.4 volts above JEDEC spec should not be a cause for concern because Geil backs the module with a lifetime warranty. I would have liked to see these sticks to run the 1600MHz stock speeds and timings at 1.5v like some of the other DDR3 kits out there, but just like most things in life, there is a cost for going faster and/or quicker; however, the modules did make up for the higher voltages in the performance they were able to produce. If you are looking for a new kit of DDR3 memory that is going to allow you to get a higher FSB when overclocking your processor and not run into any RAM limitations, then the Geil Ultra DDR3 kit is for you. I would suggest these sticks to anyone looking to move over to the DDR3 scene not only for the overclockability but for the performance as well.
- High stock speeds
- Low timings
- Lifetime warranty
- Stock volts (1.9v)