OCZ DDR3 PC3-17000 Gold XTE 4GB Kit

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Product: OCZ DDR3 PC3-17000 Gold XTE 4GB Kit
Provided By: OCZ Technology
Price: ~$120USD Online (Shop for OCZ Memory Here)

 

Introduction:

DDR3 is now the main memory standard as it spans current Intel and AMD systems.  It's been quite a while since this has been the case and I am pretty happy about this standard.  The only thing that separates the two is the fact that Intel X58 systems run triple-channel memory and require a full three sticks of memory while Socket 1155/1156 and even AMD's latest AM3 systems all use dual-channel kits that ship with either two or four sticks.

The dual-channel kit is still the most popular kit however and OCZ Technology has dropped us one of their fastest kits available - the DDR3-2133 kit of Gold XTE memory.   OCZ does have some memory that clocks in at 2133MHz with CL9 timings, but this CL10 DDR3-2133 memory is still pretty darn fast.  Today we will find out just how fast it can run and how this affects memory performance in both real-world and synthetic benchmarks.  We will be using AIDA64 (formerly Everest), SuperPi - to see how this affects raw CPU performance, as well as Cinebench to see how fast memory can affect workstation performance.

Package Front
Package Front
Package Back
Package Back

 

OCZ has taken a very generic package and places different modules into the clamshell and lets the memory speak for itself.  There isn't a lot of decoration or information on either the front or the back of the package, but the modules have the main memory specifications on them by way of a sticker.

 

First Impressions:

This is the first kit of OCZ memory that I've had in my possession for a very long time.  The last kit I bought was PC-3500 that is still running today.  Memory has come a long way and now this PC3-17000 is on the bench and looking pretty slick today.  This "Gold XTE" kit has slightly slower timings that the "Platinum XTE" kit but has the same heatspreaders and basic overall design.  The chips on the "Platinum" memory have been selected to run at slightly higher clock speeds with tighter timings.  That being said, over 2GHz on your memory is still pretty impressive.

Profile 
OCZ Gold Memory

 

All of the important information is located on the modules sticker - including the basic timings (10-10-10) along with the voltage and size of the modules.  OCZ even includes the part number and the series (OCZ3XTEG2133LV4GK and XTE Gold Series).  One thing they don't include is the TRAS setting of 30.  The typical rule of thumb is that TRAS should be 3x the CAS Latency - so CL10 memory should have a TRAS of 30 - CL7 memory should run at TRAS of 21, etc.  The full basic timing of the OCZ3XTEG2133LV4GK kit are 10-10-10-30.  This should help you out as it will not run at 2133MHz with tighter timings.  We tried.

 

Information & Specs:

For this part we'll take a look at the information pulled from the OCZ Technology product page for this kit.  For up to date information and all the details, please check out their site.  For your convenience, some of the information has been posted below.

Developed for gamers and case-modders making use of the latest platforms, these new OCZ Gold XTE were engineered with blazing performance standards along with unique compact design to allow for superior passive cooling. By using sophisticated IC-screening methods and qualifying on a variety of motherboards, OCZ low-voltage XTE kits are the perfect complement for Intel/AMD dual channel chipsets and choice CPU to deliver the maximum stability. For the system building hobbyist to the gaming guru, OCZ XTE Gold modules are the ideal option for cutting-edge performance desktops.

OCZ’s Dual Channel kits are 100% hand-tested for quality assurance and compatibility and feature propriety heatspreaders for the most effective heat dissipation. Furthermore, each OCZ memory module is backed by the industry leading OCZ Lifetime Warranty and technical support for unparalleled peace of mind.

 

Front and BackSpecifications:

  • 2133MHz DDR3
  • CL 10-10-10-30 (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS)
  • Available in 4GB Dual Channel Optimized kits
  • XTE Aluminum Alloy Heatspreader
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • 1.65 Volts
  • 240-Pin DIMM

 

On the next page we'll take a look at our new test setup for high-speed DDR3 memory before we jump into testing.


Test Setup:

 

In this section we will show the setup of the test system for our memory testing. This memory comes with SPD timings of 760MHz at CL5, 914MHz at CL6, 1066MHz at CL7 and 1218MHz at CL8.  It should have no trouble of running at 2133MHz at CL10.  We didn't test the memory at low speeds and started our testing at PC3-12800 (DDR3-1600MHz) at CL7 with a 1T Command Rate.  Our other tested speeds for this kit are the somewhat standard DDR3-1866 CL9 (wouldn't run stable at CL8) 2T, DDR3-2133MHz CL10 2T as well as the fastest speed we could hit stable at 1.65v - DDR3-2202MHz CL10 2T.  This makes it the fastest kit we've tested yet - but that could change soon as more memory just arrived.

 

Test System:


Sandy Bridge
CPU
Intel Core i5-2500K @ 3.30GHz
Motherboard
Gigabyte P67A-UD3 Motherboard
Memory
4GB OCZ DDR3 PC3-17000 Gold XTE
Graphics
1x Radeon HD 5870
Cooling
Stock Intel Cooler
Hard Drives
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
ATI Drivers
10.12 Drivers

 

We only used all four main memory settings for testing the OCZ DDR3-2133 memory.  We use the timings on the label - 10-10-10-30 2T at 1.65v as well as 7-7-7-21 1T at 1600MHz, 9-9-9-27 2T at 1866MHz and 10-10-10-30 2T at the fastest speed we could run - 2202MHz.

 

 

CPU-Z - CPU
CPU-Z CPU Speed (Turbo to 34x Multiplier)
CPU-Z - SPD
CPU-Z SPD Timings

 

When benchmarking this memory we put it up against some Crucial DDR3-1600 that comes in at 8-8-8-24 1T for a comparison.  Those results will be on the next page. 

DDR3-1866
DDR3-1866
DDR3-2133
DDR3-2133
DDR3-2200
DDR3-2200

 

On the next page we fire up the system and put this memory to the test at stock CPU speeds - except for the DDR3-2202 settings - so you can see just how much actually memory speed affects performance.


 

 

Benchmarking - AIDA64:

Because there is a lot of system tweaking that goes along with clocking up memory to non-standard speeds, we haven't included a lot of "real world" benchmarks.  Often, in order to get the memory to run at speeds other than 1066MHz, 1333MHz, or 1600MHz, the motherboard bus and CPU must be clocked up in order to achieve these speeds.  As we've shown before the CPU plays a huge roll in benchmark performance and so it's not fair to compare WinRAR compression when the CPU is clocked up 400MHz faster.  Of course the "RAM" will look faster, but in reality the CPU is the one doing the work.

With that being said, the new Sandy Bridge Core i5/i7 platform has a native 1333MHz memory controller and many motherboards have options that allow you to change the memory multiplier to achieve fast memory speeds (up to 2133MHz on the P67A-UD3 from Gigabyte) without overclocking the CPU or bus.  This will allow us to show how simple memory speed improvements affect total system performance...or how little the affect performance.  The results are below.  First up is AIDA64 (formerly known as Everest).

AIDA64

 

When it comes to memory performance in AIDA64 - the higher number the better in terms of read/write/copy and lower latency numbers are better.  You can see that at stock DDR3-1600MHz, the Crucial kit holds its own even though the OCZ kit is running on CL7 timings.  As the memory speed increases, so does the performance and the latency even drops - although the CAS latency settings are raised.  The MHz performance speed offsets the great latency set in the BIOS.  It is impressive to see over 21,000MB/sec read speed through a dual-channel kit that is rated at 17,000MB/sec performance.

 

The other two tests are SuperPi and Cinebench.  We used SuperPi to calculate Pi to 1 Million decimal places using different memory speeds to see if memory speed affects programs that are largely CPU dependent.  The results pretty much speak for themselves.   Cinebench 11.5 was used in both CPU rendering as well as GPU / OpenGL modes to see how memory speed affects workstation performance.  I was surprised to see CPU scores stagnate while OpenGL score improved as the memory became faster.

SuperPi
 Cinebench

 

SuperPi scores stayed basically the same regardless of memory speed.  They ranged from 11.045 seconds to 11.138 seconds when the CPU speed wasn't changed.  When we overclocked the CPU slightly to increase our memory speed to 2202MHz, we saw the largest improvement.  

Cinebench told a slightly different story.  OpenGL scores improved steadily as the memory speed increased, but CPU scores remained pretty much the same - only when overclocking the CPU did we see better performance on the OCZ kit.  The Crucial kit trailed behind in CPU performance but edged ahead slightly at stock DDR3-1600.

 

 

Final Thoughts:

OCZ Technology has done wonders for the RAM industry and has raised the bar over the past few years in terms of memory performance, aesthetics and pricing.  The Gold XTE series is their "mainstream high-end" kit that offers some pretty incredible speeds with looser timings in order to keep it affordable.  Running memory at speeds of up to 2.2GHz is pretty impressive and it stayed rock-solid at 2200MHz where it would fail at 2233 if we edged up the bus another single MHz.  They manage to push this memory to pretty incredible levels at 1.65v - which is higher than the JEDEC 1.5v standard - but is in line with many performance memory companies.

We did have issues trying to get this memory to run at anything faster than 1800MHz on a Core i7 920 X58 system as well as a Core i7 860 P55 system as these processor support memory controller configurations of up to 1066MHz - requiring a full 100% overclock of the CPUs memory controller.  Some people have got these systems to work, but we had to upgrade our test bench to a Sandy Bridge CPU that supports a native memory controller of up to 1333MHz - requiring less than a 100% overclock.  Also, as technology has improved we were able to easily hit these speeds without any issues at all.  We simply dialed in the BIOS setting and booted into Windows.

Pros:

  • Large heat spreaders
  • DDR3-2133 at 1.65v
  • Runs at 7-7-7-21 1T at 1600MHz

 

Cons

  • Could not run DDR3-1866 at CL8 or DDR3-2133 at CL9

 

  BCCRating

Gold

I'd like to thank OCZ for setting us up with some fast DDR3-2133 for this review.  I was impressed at getting over 20GB/sec of performance on a dual-channel kit and how smoothly everything worked when we used hardware that supports this speed of memory.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them at the "Comments" link below.