OCZ PC3-12800 OCZ3X1600LV4GK Intel XMP 2x2GB Review
Reviewed by: ccokeman
Reviewed on: November 15, 2009
When you get ready to build a new system, memory is one of the parts that people either agonize over or just pick the cheapest kit they can find, so that they can fit something else into the already strained budget. The current pricing on performance 4 GB DDR3 memory kits is still pretty attractive and allows you to spend pretty wisely. Intel's latest revision of the Nehalem architecture is meant to entice the mainstream user by offering the benefits of the latest technology at a more affordable price point. Part of this strategy is to drop down to a dual channel memory controller, so you have to spend less on the peripherals like the memory. What OCZ has done with this kit is partner up with Intel to co-brand this set of modules that are specifically designed to work with the Intel socket 1156 P55 platform, by equipping the modules with Intel's XMP(Extreme Memory Profiles), which allow the modules, as well as the system, to run with an enhanced level of performance. The voltages, timings, and speed settings are all programmed in the SPD (Serial Presence Detect) of the modules so that you have a verified and tested level of performance. Let's see if the performance of the XMP profile will deliver comparable or better performance than its contemporaries.
The OCZ Intel branded XMP low voltage memory kit comes in a retail blister pack that, from the front, highlights the "Low Voltage" capabilities of this kit. The rear panel of the package highlights include low voltage for use with Intel's Core I5 platform and Nehalem microarchitecture, OCZ performance, OCZ Quality, and the customer support they provide - which, in all honesty, is pretty tough to beat. These modules carry OCZ's Lifetime warranty.
This OCZ PC5 12800 Intel XMP low voltage, dual channel kit consists of two 2GB modules that run in a dual channel configuration. These modules are meant to be run at DDR3 1600MHz speeds with the timings set to 8-8-8-24, using the Intel specified maximum 1.65 volts. Included on the SPD of the modules are two Intel XMP profiles. Profile 1 is set up to run the modules at the rated 1600Mhz with the timings set to 8-8-8-24, while Profile 2 is set for a more aggressive 1800MHz with the timings set to 9-9-9-28, again at 1.65 volts.The XMP profile is a series of settings that have been tested and verified to work by OCZ's engineers, to provide the optimal level of performance from the modules and profiles. The modules use OCZ's proprietary XTC (Xtreme Thermal Convection) heat shields to keep the modules cool during those all night gaming sessions. The heat shields are finished in gloss black with the Intel co-branding seen on the label on both sides of the modules. A nice touch on the modules is the OCZ logo on the PCB!
With the 1800MHz capabilities, the testing and overclocking should prove fruitful on these modules.
- Designed specifically for the Intel® P55 chipset
- XMP Profile 1: 1600MHz 8-8-8-24 1.65V
- XMP Profile 2: 1800MHz 9-9-9-28 1.65V
- Available 4GB D/C Optimized kits
- Intel Branded XTC Heatspreader
- Lifetime Warranty
- 240 Pin DIMM
- Meets low voltage requirements
- Co-branded by Intel
- Part Numbers 4GB (2x2048MB) T/C Kit PN - OCZ3X1600LV4GK
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. In order to test the OCX XMP 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 8-8-8-24. 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.
- CPU: Intel Core i5 750
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus III Formula
- Memory: OCZ PC3-12800 OCZ3X1600LV4GK
- Video Card(s): ASUS ENGTX260 MATRIX
- 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
- Comparison Module #2: Corsair Dominator
- Comparison Module #3: Patriot Viper II Sector 5
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 i5 750 175x20
- Memory: OCZ Intel XMP 8-8-8-24 877MHz
Overclocking the OCZ modules was, to be honest, a bit difficult since they really did not want to play nice to far above the rated 1600MHz. Overclocking on any piece of hardware does not come with guarantees. The only guarantees you get are that a product will perform as advertised. The OCZ modules are meant to be used with Intel socket 1156 Core i5/i7 processors and feature two XMP(Extreme Memory Profile) profiles, one that operates at 1600MHz, and the other for 1800 MHz, and the memory would work when either profiles were invoked in the BIOS. However, change one setting and you were in for a failure in MemTest version 4.0. After trying to manually duplicate all of the timings that are set with the XMP profile, I could not manually get the modules to 1800MHz, but could get to 1750MHz, a 150MHz (75MHz) improvement over the stock 1600MHz speeds. Voltages, timings, the latest BIOS for the Maximus III Formula, nothing helped. However, back at the 1600MHz level, I could run the timings at 7-7-7 without any issues up to 1622MHz. These modules did not give up a lot of headroom for overclocking, but they at least allow you to tighten the latencies for increased performance. This is the second set of 1600MHz modules that I have tested, that has not broken the 2000MHz barrier on the P55 platform, although the other was two modules out of triple channel kit.
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 SP2: 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 PCMark Vantage scoring shows that the OCZ modules hold a slight performance edge over the other 1600MHz kits. In the Sandra testing, the OCZ modules deliver almost identical numbers to the other 1600MHz kits with the latency being the only area of concern.
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. Your goal is to make it to a rescue point, all 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 and not just a lone gun and his faithful companion. The horde is not at all like the typical slow walking, foot shuffling zombies. These zombies are quick and work with pack mentality. You have but one job: survival!
- Anti-Aliasing: x0
- Anisotropic Filtering: x2
- Game Settings: High
- VSync: Off
When run at 1600MHz, the OCZ Intel XMP modules deliver performance on par with the rest of the 1600MHz modules with a slight benefit when overclocked.
This set of modules from OCZ are designed to be used with the latest socket 1156 processors from Intel. The modules feature not one, but two XMP profiles, so you can boost performance with just a few quick changes in the BIOS. The first profile is set to run the modules at 8-8-8-24, with the second runs the modules at 1800MHz with the timings set to 9-9-9-28. By choosing the XMP profiles, the rest of the system settings are modified to enhance the whole systems performance. By using the profiles, you don't have to worry about playing with the settings in the BIOS and you can be assured of a system that will have its performance optimized. The black XTC (Xtreme Thermal Convection) heat spreaders not only look good and will complement just about every system out there they also do the job of keeping the modules cool.
When it came to overclocking the modules, just trying to get to the 1800MHz level without setting the 1800MHz XMP profile proved challenging on my test setup. So challenging that, the modules only could be run at a maximum speed of 1750 MHz and this is the only set designed for use on the P55 platform I have tested that has not breached the 2000MHz mark. When checking the voltages at the 1800Mhz level, the XMP 2 profile set the memory at 1.75 volts - well above the 1.65V that Intel specifies as the maximum voltage. The difficulty could be a compatibility problem and I cannot rule that out at this time, but the modules are certified with the ASUS P7P5D and Intel DP55KG. Testing on the P7P55D Premium delivered results similar to those reached with the Maximus III Formula, each board equipped with the latest BIOS. Two boards, two different processors and still the same result. Voltages from 1.5V up to 1.765V did not get the modules any higher, nor did manually adjusting the timings from 9-9-9- to 10-10-10 or any combination in between, yet the XMP 2 profile was stable at 1800MHz.
While all that sounds quite negative, there is an up side to this set of modules. At the 1750Mhz maximum speed, I could run the modules at the same 8-8-8 latencies. This set of OCZ modules allowed me to go as tight as 7-7-7 at 1622MHz, so you can get a small bump in system feel and performance. The price point of $142, which these modules will be offered at, is higher than most of the currently available sets of i5/i7 P55 specific memory kits by between $15 and $35. This set of modules most likely won't be for the enthusiast, but for the mainstream user looking for a step up from the 1333MHz kits on the market. There are kits with more overhead available for the enthusiast for a lower price, but when it comes down to no fuss overclocking of the memory, the XMP profiles prove beneficial and offer an increase in performance without the headaches. Couple that with OCZ's lifetime warranty and legendary support, and you have a set of modules that you can be sure will work as they are intended.
- XMP profiles
- XTC heatspreader
- Lifetime warranty
- Timings can be run tighter
- Low OC overhead on my test system
- XMP 2 Profile (1800MHz) set the voltage high