OCZ Reaper HPC DDR2 1066 2 x 2 GB Review
Reviewed by: ajmatson
Reviewed on: March 19, 2008
With Windows Vista becoming ever more popular and with the anticipation of the first service pack being released soon, computer users are realizing that the generally accepted sweet spot of 2GB of system memory is just not cutting it anymore. With Vista's increased memory demands, as well as the demands by many of today's games and applications, the average user is finding themselves having to upgrade to a minimum of 4GB of memory. Since DDR3 is still too expensive for most users, companies like OCZ are producing 4GB sets of RAM in high-end DDR2 speeds.
The OCZ Reaper HPC PC2-8500 edition is one such set. A lot of newer motherboards are natively supporting speeds higher than 800MHz, so why stick with the slower speeds? Today we are going to be taking a look at the 4GB PC2-8500 version of the Reaper series, which has a stock clock speed of 1066MHz and timings of 5-5-5-18. Cooling has always been an issue with memory modules, but something that is often lost in the spotlight of CPU and VGA cooling. With overclocking enthusiasts, the standard heatspreader is just not enough anymore.
The OCZ Reaper HPC memory comes packaged in a blister pack that is very easy to open, unlike many blister packs I've seen where you risk breaking the product. The packaging is the traditional OCZ packaging with the orange and brown color scheme. The back side of the packaging has some information on how the Heat Pipe Conduit works.
The first thing you will notice about the OCZ Reaper HPC PC2-8500 memory is the unique heatspreaders with the heat pipes coming out of the top. These heatspreaders are thick and not flimsy at all. On one side of the heatspreader is an OCZ logo, as well as the information sticker containing the stock speed and timing information. From the top and the side you can see the work that went into designing the heatspreader to dissipate heat off the modules.
Now that we have seen what the OCZ Reapers look like, let's see how well they perform.
2 x 2GB Dual Channel Kits
EVP (Extended Voltage Protection)
OCZ Lifetime Warranty
- Patent-pending Reaper HPC Heatsink
- 2.15V EVP
When I first started building computers, I used to think that all memory was created equal. Boy, was I mistaken. Once I got into benchmarking and heavy gaming, there was a world of difference. So how different will the OCZ Reapers be? There is only one way to find out, so I am going to put the OCZ Reaper HPC memory through a series of benchmarks used to stress the memory and record its performance. I am also going to compare it to two other sets of memory; the OCZ Platinum Edition PC2-8000 and the Patriot Extreme Edition PC2-9600. The OCZ Platinum Edition is going to be overclocked to 1066MHz and 5-5-5-18 timings and the Patriot downclocked to 1066MHz with 5-5-5-18 timings to match the stock speeds and timings of the OCZ Reaper Series for an even comparison.
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 333 x 9.5
- Motherboard: Gigabyte X38-DS4 w/ Bios version F2
- Memory: OCZ Reaper HPC PC2-8500 5-5-5-18 2 x 2GB
- Video Card: Foxconn NVidia 8600GTS 256MB Forceware 169.25
- Power Supply: Ultra X2 750w Extreme Edition
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 320GB SATA
- Opticals: Lite-On 8x DVD+/-RW
- O/S: Windows Vista Ultimate Edition
- Comparison Memory: OCZ Platinum Edition PC2-8000 5-5-5-18 2 x 2GB
- Comparison Memory: Patriot Extreme Edition PC2-9600 5-5-5-12 4 x 1GB
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 Core 2 Duo E8500 (336 x 9.5)
- Sytem Memory: 1120MHz (5-5-5-18 @ 2.2v)
I wanted to see how far I could get the memory to go, so I started playing with numbers. The highest overclock I could get was 1167MHz, but to get there I had to loosen the timings all the way to 5-8-8-22. At these timings, the scores were lower than the stock speeds so they were not usable as an overclock. The sweet spot that I found for the best performance was at 1120MHz with the stock timings of 5-5-5-18. This gave a slight improvement and was thoroughly stable. These are the scores I am going to use for overclocked benchmarking later in this review.
The following benchmarks are going to be used to measure performance and for comparison.
- PCMark Vantage
- SiSoft Sandra XII
- Company Of Heroes
PCMark Vantage: I am going to run this benchmark to get two scores; the total score is for the entire system's performance and the memory score will be the total just for each set of memory. Higher is better.
SiSoftware Sandra XII: In this program, I will be doing the following benchmarks: Cache and Memory, Memory Bandwidth, and Memory Latency. Higher scores indicate better performance in all tests except for Memory Latency, where lower is better.
When compared against the OCZ Platinum Edition and Patriot memory with the same speeds and timings, the OCZ Reaper pulls high scores in the PCMark Vantage and Sandra tests with the exception of the memory bandwidth scores, where the Patriot set is a little better.
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. I will use the in-game performance test to measure the performance of the system. The higher the score the better.
The settings used in this test are listed below:
- All settings to Maximum
Here we see that the OCZ Reaper gives a slight advantage in the frames per second on the Company of Heroes benchmark at higher resolutions.
The OCZ Reaper HPC PC2-8500 memory performed well, having a slight lead over the OCZ Platinum Edition at the same speed, timings, and capacity. Even though it is nothing to write home about, when it comes to memory, any improvement is something that can mean the difference in winning a game or finishing a task in a timely manner. The heatpipe did keep the modules cooler to the touch more than the standard heatspreader that OCZ uses on the majority of its memory, and for overclocking it will keep the chips cooler for longer periods of time. I was disappointed with the lack of performance at higher clock speeds because of how loose the timings had to go, but once I tightened them back up and got the memory to 1120MHz they performed very well.
With memory intensive applications and games these days, 4GB seems to be a minimum now. For a $154.99 average price this is a no brainer; that's only $38 per gigabyte for high speed and dependable memory. With the unique HPC heatspreader you will not have to worry about the modules getting too hot. One thing I did notice is that you may have problems with some aftermarket CPU coolers. I am using water cooling with the test rig and it was a pain having to re-route the water tubing to keep it from touching the heatpipes, so depending on your setup, you may have issues with that. Being that the only downfall is the size I would have to say I would recommend the OCZ Reapers to anyone looking for the best bang for the buck. I know I am going to be using them from now on.
- HPC Heatpipe for maximum cooling.
- Enhanced 5-5-5 timings.
- 4GB capacity for today's memory hungry applications.
- Overclocking ability.
- Heatpipe may be too big for some aftermarket CPU coolers.