OCZ Flex XLC: PC2-9200 Pushes the Envelope

by Wesley Fink on 12/8/2006 8:00 PM EST
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  • snout - Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - link

    I would like to see the ocz up against the Team Group Extreme 800 mhz c3 sticks at 3.3.3.8. The memory choices at test make it (ocz) look better than it is. Reply
  • ZOOAIRZ - Saturday, December 30, 2006 - link

    Reguarding article:
    http://www.anandtech.com/memory/showdoc.aspx?i=288...">http://www.anandtech.com/memory/showdoc.aspx?i=288...

    Quote:
    "On the nForce 680i the OCZ Flex XLC took DDR2 memory performance to a new gold standard. On Air Cooling, Flex XLC reached DDR2-1300 at the rated timings of 5-5-5-18."

    OCZ Flex with the following stable ratios:

    1) cpu: 3.22 (11x293) FSB: 1172 - linked 1 to 1 - RAM: 1172 Quake4 FPS: 127.3
    2) cpu: 3.03 (7x433) FSB: 1733 -unlinked 1.3 to 1- RAM: 1300 Quake4 FPS: 122.1

    Say one then ups the multiplier as follows and assume it is stable:

    1) cpu: 3.52 (12x293) FSB:1172 - linked 1 to 1 - RAM: 1172 Quake4 FPS: ?
    2) cpu: 3.46 (8x433) FSB:1733 -unlinked 1.3 to 1- RAM: 1300 Quake4 FPS: ?


    Which combo is better/faster overall?

    - 1) Linked (fast) FSB and RAM with slightly higher (+.05GHz) CPU speed
    or
    - 2) Unlinked (raging) FSB and RAM with slightly lower CPU speed?

    This question comes from the following statement found in this article:

    http://www.pcpro.co.uk/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=17384...">http://www.pcpro.co.uk/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=17384...

    Quote:
    Now you have your OCed system. Here is something to remember a
    processor running 200*10 =2000MHz and a processor running
    210*9.5=1995MHz yet the second is faster because its running a faster
    FSB so it has more memory bandwidth.(note that if you have to use a
    slower ram speed i.e. using the FSB:RAM ratio of 5:4 you wipe out this
    increase in bandwidth)

    I don't see a FSB:RAM ratio 1.3 : 1 wiping out too much bandwidth but I just don't know. I am just interested in the overall good of playing my favorite games And getting the most out of a PC. If gettting that crazy 1300 speed of the memory just sets a record, that doesn't do it for me.

    Thanks in advance.
    Reply
  • Gannon - Thursday, December 14, 2006 - link

    Could we get better simpler graphs when doing these comparisons? I hate looking at having just these charts, the overlapping colored lines and dots are useful for analysis but not for someone who's time is valuable and simply wants to know whats the best at a glance and thats what you guys should be doing! Serving your users the information they want in the way they want it. Anyone interested in performance is going to go for the highest performing ram, but it's also good for those of us curious to be able to tell at a glance what different ram will buy us.

    i.e. the way firingsquad does graphs or the way you do it ususally when comparing FPS between video cards would be just as useful.
    Reply
  • Beachboy - Saturday, December 09, 2006 - link

    This OCZ Flex RAM is the equivalent of a chrome exhaust-pipe extension on a Hyundai... a $490 one that is, lol. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Sunday, December 10, 2006 - link

    For the Hyundai analogy to make sense we would have to have a BMW in DDR2 memory. The Flex XLC is as good as it gets, so it is the BMW even though it doesn't go a lot faster. The chrome exhaust extension on the Hyundai would be a matched pair of 2GB value dimms based on Elpida memory chips with flashy heatsinks. You will reach DDR2-800 just fine, but nothing over about 900. It will definitely get the job done.

    Of course the BMW isn't only about speed, and luxury cars sell well despite the fact that you probably would have a hard time justifying "value per dollar" on anything more than a Japanese V6. Some buyers want the handling and flexibility that comes with the best.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Sunday, December 10, 2006 - link

    I agree with your analogy for the most part. I guess the only real question is: "is it worth buying". Which of course, you've already answered in the article.

    I would think this memory would be perfect for you guys, in testing potential OC's of systems you're reviewing, other than that, IMO, it would be a waste of money.

    </my_two_cents>
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Sunday, December 10, 2006 - link

    The Flex XLC actually DOES go a LOT faster, so the BMW analogy applies, but you don't get similarly big gains in performance with the big speed increases since our DDR2 processors are not particularly sensitive to memory bandwidth.

    It's sort of like a world where a 500 horse power engine doubles your speed, but 80% of the speed increase just goes to fighting the incresed head wind. It does not mean the Flex XLC is not a good design, because it definitely is as good as it gets in current DDR2 designs.
    Reply
  • Avalon - Saturday, December 09, 2006 - link

    It seems to me that it was the 680i that allowed the OCZ Flex to reach an outstanding DDR2-1300, so why not test previous memory modules to see how much further they'd also get on the new Nvidia platform? It seems only fair. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, December 09, 2006 - link

    We also tested on our standard platform - the Asus P5W-DH Deluxe - where the Flex reached DDR2-1172 on air cooling. That was the highest ever on that platform - the previous high was DDR2-1111. That was fair, which is why we tested on the current memory test bed.

    As we said in the review, we will add overclocking tests with the 680i going forward, but we will still do base testing with the 975x baord.
    Reply
  • Avalon - Sunday, December 10, 2006 - link

    Right, but my point was that many other modules might have a ton of additional headroom if placed into the 680i platform. I'm not contesting the fact that the Flex reached the highest speeds on the 975x, but that previous modules should be tested on the 680i to see how much of a difference it makes, not just for the Flex. Reply
  • photoguy99 - Saturday, December 09, 2006 - link

    Thanks for your help Wesley, it's just takes a little time for me to get my head around this stuff.

    Just to clarify, I think I see the answer two #2:

    If you have an unlocked CPU, the only benefit to this memory is a 5-8% performance increase.

    In this case I don't think it matters if you are an extreme overclocker - extreme as you wanna be - this is the only benefit you can ever get with this RAM with an unlocked CPU, no matter what you do.

    If you have the cash, nothing wrong with a small performance bump for $300 extra - I am not judging anyone who buys this, just trying to clarify.

    regards,
    pg

    Reply
  • photoguy99 - Saturday, December 09, 2006 - link

    apologize for double post, accident... Reply
  • photoguy99 - Saturday, December 09, 2006 - link

    Sorry for being ignorant here, but can someone help break this down:

    1) What % faster is FlexXLC-1150 on real life benchmarks (on average), compared to value DDR2-800, at the same CPU speed?

    2) Do I understand correctly that if you have an unlocked CPU multiplier, then the only benefit to this memory ever is the % improvement from question 1?
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, December 09, 2006 - link

    The tables on page 4 show performance at the same 2.93GHz from DDR2-400 to DDR2-1172. There are also results on the last line for the top speed on the 975X at stock 11X multiplier - so results can be compared to previous test results. You can see the performance differences in each benchmark in those tables. Performance increases are there as speed increases, but they are extremely small. We also commented several times in the review that those shopping for value per dollar should buy a good value to mid DDR2 memory rated at least DDR2-800.

    Flex XLC is for extreme overclockers who want as few limits as possible on their overclcoking. With the ability to run to DDR2-1300 it allows great flexibility in OC settings.
    Reply
  • photoguy99 - Saturday, December 09, 2006 - link

    Thanks for your help Wesley, it's just takes a little time for me to get my head around this stuff.

    Just to clarify, I think I see the answer two #2:

    If you have an unlocked CPU, the only benefit to this memory is a 5-8% performance increase.

    In this case I don't think it matters if you are an extreme overclocker - extreme as you wanna be - this is the only benefit you can ever get with this RAM with an unlocked CPU, no matter what you do.

    If you have the cash, nothing wrong with a small performance bump for $300 extra - I am not judging anyone who buys this, just trying to clarify.

    regards,
    pg

    Reply
  • cmdrdredd - Friday, December 08, 2006 - link

    Why is there no 1T memory results testing? The bandwidth scores from this memory even at DDR2-1300 are pathetic to say the least. My Current system with 2Gb crucial DDR2-667 10th anniversary running DDR2-1000 at 5-4-4-8 gets 7607 Int/7631 Float buffered scores with Sandra. This is on a P5B Deluxe with E6400 running 3.2Ghz (400x8) Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, December 09, 2006 - link

    We try to get memory as close to stock speed and multipliers as possible in our testing, which yields comparable data but not the higher bandwidths you are seeing at extremely high bus speed overclocks. End users can get high numbers with overclocking, which are great for ego comments, but that tell us very little about comparative performance. Run your memory at the same settings and compare bandwidth. Those are numbers that relate to memory comparisons. This memory will run at 8x400 just like you are using and bandwidth will be similar to what you are seeing.

    The standard bandwidth scores at DDR2-1300 are pretty much in line with expectations, but the unbuffered scores are extremely low. We don't yet have an answer for why that is the case on the 680i but we are trying to find answers. The 680i runs a 2:3 ratio at that speed, where the 975X is running 1:2 at its highest speed. The underlying "strap" can make a huge difference in apparent memory performance and it is usually programmed by the board maker, and not always visible or adjustable to the end user.

    1T is useful for a very small performance increase on some boards, generally below DDR2-800. However, that option is not available on all boards and it really makes a small differenc on current DDR2 platforms. The differences you are seeing in bandwidth are the result of high FSB overclocks and not 1T.
    Reply
  • Hulk - Friday, December 08, 2006 - link

    I for one feel the most important part of a memory review is what timings will it run at each frequency and at what voltage?

    I realize that info is in the memory reviews but always in a little table that you must click to enlarge.

    Please put the timings/speed/voltage in a bar graph as well. Speed on the x-axis. Timings and voltage in the horizontal bar for each speed tested. We know that if the memory works at a certain frequency/latency/voltage the performance will be the same for any stick at those conditions.

    Better yet, tell me how fast it will run 4-4-4-12 and 5-5-5-18, as well as a few other timings.

    But as always the reviews are great. Thanks for your hard word.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, December 08, 2006 - link

    I'm curious, if the savvy enthusiast used chilled air in place of water, what the end results would be. I don't think it would be hard to built something that forced cool air through these memory sticks instead of water. i.e. Chilled air in, and hot air vented out.

    End result should be a cooler safer system overall.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Saturday, December 09, 2006 - link

    Other than "for shits and giggles" I see no point in doing that. Water will do a better job. Remember, air is such a bad heat conductor, compared to water.

    A properly installed watercooling system is also very safe.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Saturday, December 09, 2006 - link

    There is no "for shits and giggles" about it, it would help. How much it would actually help would be open for debate (until someone actually tested it).

    For one, it would help, because, IF you for example had air coming in from the bottom, and air exiting out through the top, you would be using convection to recycle cooler air from the outside, and the heat would travel out through the top. To some small degree, you wouldn't even need a pump to accomplish this. This would also keep hot air from recycling, well, at least concerning *from* the memory(to a small degree) , which wouldn't mean a whole lot.

    Now, if instead of using convection, you use forced air, whether chilled or not, dependent on the CFM pushed through, you *could* reduce the temperature on the heat spreaders drastically. This may not cool as well as water, but there would be no chance of water leakage either, and would result in a definite improvement. Granted, I can not see people wanting to go out an buy a <insert brand here> air compressor, for what whatever amount, when it would be cheaper to go water(which, its self, isn't cheap either). I've priced components for a good water cooling system, and we're talking around $400 usd, for a decent setup, which IMO, would be better just spending the extra cash on a better/faster CPU(if possible). Less problems, and hassle.

    Never seen a Dell that uses a plastic "funnel" over the CPU, without a CPU fan directly over the CPU? They exist, and they do very well in keeping the system very cool. Same concept, on a smaller scale.
    Reply
  • Larso - Monday, December 11, 2006 - link

    Though the idea is interesting, I think you would be better off pushing air over the cooling fins the usual way, than to push air through the water cooling intake. Remember that air and water have very different properties and the cooling interfaces has been designed to optimize each of those elements.

    It could be an interesting experiment I must admit, but I suspect you would get just get a lot of hissing noise from the end of the hose - and not a lot of cooling...
    Reply
  • cruzer - Saturday, December 09, 2006 - link

    If you pumped cold air in through the block, you will get condensation in the lines. Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Saturday, December 09, 2006 - link

    Erm, no you wouldn't. Condensation only forms when the air is cooled down by something, such as on a cold window in a warm room, because cooler air is unable to hold as much moisture as warm air so excess moisture has to be dumped as condensation when the relative humidity reaches 100%.

    Pumping cold air through the block carries no risk of condensation because the air will be warmed rather than cooled. In fact it would be an effective way of removing any moisture because the air warmed by the block would have a fairly low relative humidity.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, December 08, 2006 - link

    Hell, I'd even venture to say that if you forced room temperature air through these fast enough, even on a warm day, the results would be great. Granted, you would have to be strategic about it. Reply
  • Frumious1 - Friday, December 08, 2006 - link

    I realize you don't normally test water cooling (or cooling products in general), but it seems one of the major points for this RAM is that it is ready to be used with water cooling. Rather than speculating about if it will help or not, how about actually testing it? Seems like this RAM would be great for people looking to build a silent system, as you now don't have to worry about the RAM overheating either with water cooling.

    Also, this wasn't mentioned in the article, but can you fit two DIMMs next to each other? Meaning, could you go all the way to four DIMMs? Reason I ask is that if you can't then there are going to be some boards where this RAM won't work at all in dual channel mode. Hopefully OCZ wasn't so shortsighted as to make the DIMMs take more than a single slot width, but at the same time I don't know how you get effective water cooling without the HSF getting quite a bit thicker than the typical heatspreader.
    Reply
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  • Wesley Fink - Friday, December 08, 2006 - link

    We should have mentioned that the OCZ Flex XLC is thin enough that 4 dimms can be fitted in standard memory slots. We tried side by side slots in a number of boards and the dimms fit fine side-by-side.

    We considered testing with water also, but we did not have the correct fittings available, it would have taken a while to get the fittings we needed, and we wanted to get the info to our readers as fast as possible. OCZ emphasizes the Flex nature of the memory, and we thought you would want to know about the outstanding performance on air with Flex XLC.

    Perhaps we will relent and test with water in a future review, but we're not completely sure we want to go in that direction. We generally find we can overclock using air cooling at speeds similar to some other sites who insist you can only cool with water.

    The "silent" aspect is a good argument for water cooling, but most water systems still have a fan to cool the liquid and a pump for recirculating the fluid. Some water cooling systems are therefore about as "noisy" as a good air-cooled system - though we do agree that many water cooling systems are very quiet.

    Reply
  • brownba - Friday, December 08, 2006 - link

    no doubt the water cooled feature should have been tested.

    I'm also wondering how the heatsink is designed - does the water flow down the front of the stick over the actual memory chips?
    Reply
  • Hypernova - Friday, December 08, 2006 - link

    If you look at the last page on the "Pre-CES Taiwan 2006, Day 1" article that's exactly what they had in there. Reply
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