The memory market has been rather routine lately. After the introductions of AMD AM2 and Intel Core 2 Duo memory was a unified solution again - with both camps supporting DDR2. Micron had the best chips, as they have almost since the first DDR2 DIMMs became available, and the top of the memory heap could do DDR2-1067 to DDR2 1100 at spectacular 4-4-3 timings and the more mainstream DDR2-800 at 3-3-3 timings. The best memory was expensive, at about $400 to $500 for a 2GB kit, and the mid and value performed almost as well, but at about half the price.

Buyers have shopped for a value/mid memory solution if cost was a big concern. With memory bandwidth not making a huge difference in performance on either the C2D or AM2 solutions, many were not willing to invest in the best memory available. Those who did want the best could choose from Corsair, OCZ, Mushkin, Patriot, Team, G.Skill, Kingston, Geil, and Super Talent but there was very little to distinguish between the top performers. Perhaps a company might have done a better job of binning chips for the high-end, but the real differences were small and they mostly looked the same - different-colored heatspreaders combined with some variations on how to build a heat-spreader that stood out from the crowd.

Enter OCZ with a new idea - memory with built-in water blocks. OCZ Flex XLC is built for record-setting performance in regular air cooling, with the option to cool with water when you want even more. It is sold with the heatsinks and nipples to connect water-tubing and it is aggressively binned to provide unheard of performance levels in overclocking - on either air or water.

The new OCZ solution certainly looks impressive, but AnandTech readers are used to pretty packages. The real question is whether OCZ Flex XLC delivers the performance it promises. Does OCZ's bold new approach deliver the record-setting performance it promises?

OCZ PC2-9200 Flex XLC Specifications
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