OCZ are without a doubt one of the worlds best memory manufacturers, of the many products ive reviewed in the past few years they have all been exemplary. OCZ have been diversifying over the last year, branching out into the power supply market and have even brought to the public a unique ram booster device. When I hear the name "OCZ" the first thing that comes to mind is "quality ram". Today ill be looking at their new 533mhz 4200 Platinum Edition Rev 2 LTD DDR2 8-2-2-3CAS rated modules.
OCZ sent me two 1024 megabyte modules giving a whopping matched 2 gigabytes of ram, these come supplied with some high end heatspreaders with a wonderful chrome effect.
DDR2 had quite an uneventful impact onto the scene with poor latencies and results compared to tighter performing DDR, all this has changed since the recent release of the wonderful corsair 5400 sticks which I looked at a while ago here
Reassuringly heavy, the weight and quality of OCZ, these are some serious modules, you can also see from the image above that the OCZ logo is now presented in an embossed style with a very eyecatching sticker on the heatspreaders. Hard to photograph !
Pictured above, the Corsair 5400 side by side with the OCZ 4200 modules, quite a contrast in size, but how do they compare? Thats what I intend to find out.
While DDR2 is similar to DDR memory, there are a number of enhancements. The biggest feature of DDR2 is its 4-bit prefetch, allowing it to read/write four times the amount of data per clock cycle. This feature effectively doubled the data bus speed while keeping the same 64-bit interface that the original DDR memory used. DDR has 184 pins and DDR2 has 240 pins, without treading old ground as most of us know already DDR2 also requires less power.
So with all these high figures, why isnt DDR2 outperforming its older DDR counterpart? Well basically this is all down to latencies of the ram. tight DDR400 memory can operate at 7-2-2 CAS 2 while most 533mhz DDR2 operated at 12-4-4-CAS 4. The looser (higher) latencies have been counterbalancing the effective clock gains.
As OCZ state these modules post at 8-2-2-3 at 533mhz. slowly raising ram speeds i was able to maintain tight timings right up to 720mhz at 7-2-3-4! an awesome overclock for 533mhz rated ram. Higher speeds were possible but I found this figure gave the highest scores. In the picture below you can see a shot of mid testing results with memtest.
OCZ sent me an early test sample but after voltage of 2.1 for a short while (with a 120mm cooling the sticks) one of the modules failed during post, so even though I was assured by OCZ it was more than likely a faulty board I was unwilling to crank the voltage to this level again. Speaking with Tony in OCZ, he has assured me that the modules he has tested have ran at 2.2 volts for sustained periods. All my testing was with 1.8 volts as I found these boards are massive overclockers even at stock voltages - this combined with the previous failed stick has put a doubt into my mind as to whether these boards thrive on voltage, almost a 200/400mhz overclock with stock voltages and 24 hours of flawless stress testing certainly would add credence to my findings. Ive always found OCZ customer support to be excellent and they offer cross shipping with tracking numbers for all RMA's. This RMA happened outside of normal working hours and the replacement boards arrived in two days.
The Asus Premium P5DA2 board failed to detect SPD timings correctly and instead delivered 12-4-4-4 with bios 1008. Manual timings were selected within the bios to rectify this, over 555mhz CAS3 would give a no post.
The Corsair ram takes some beating, but the OCZ ram really is getting some incredible figures across the board in the benchmarks ran above, quite why this ram is being marketed as "4200" is anyones guess, especially when its capable of maintaining excellent latencies up to and above 700mhz.
For anyone moving to DDR2 memory - in stark contrast to the early days, it really is turning out to be an excellent platform for memory bandwidth as companies like Corsair and OCZ push ram to its limits.
If you have recently purchased an intel slot 775 processor and 925x motherboard and are in the market for some high performing DDR2 then look no further, this OCZ gives some seriously mind blowing performance and are the best modules ive ever tested. An unreserved gold medal award.
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