The memory industry of late has been amazing in its ability to launch impossible memory speeds at impossible timings. At the technology launch of the P35 chipset on May 21st all of the DDR3 memory available for testing was rated DDR3-1066. Interestingly all of the DDR3 also ran fine at the next milestone of DDR3-1333, albeit at timings of 9-9-9-25. These timings sound slow to DDR users accustomed to 2-2-2 timings at DDR400 or DDR2 users running at DDR2-800 3-3-3, but in fact at the increased speeds of DDR3 these timings were reasonably fast.

It took less than a week for low-latency DDDR3-1333 to appear with the launch of Kingston's new DDR3-1333 7-7-7 memory. This new memory dropped those 9-9-9 timings to 7-7-7 at 1333 and ran at 1066 at 6-6-6 timings - about as fast as the DDR3 BIOS would allow at that speed. It was interesting to see reader comments to the Kingston LL article, with some proclaiming they would not move to DDR3 until it could hit DDR3-1600. We believed, as did most readers, that DDR3-1600 would appear sometime next year, probably as 9-9-9 parts.

Less than 2 months after the launch of P35, and just a few days after launch of the processors that can officially use the new 1333 bus, we were notified by several vendors that they were ready to launch DDR3-1600! Some rated the new DIMMs at 9-9-9 timings, but others like Super Talent rated their retail DDR3-1600 at 7-7-7 timings at 1.8V.

Almost all memory makers buy raw memory chips available in the market, perform their magic binning or speed-grading, and assemble the finished DIMM using generic or proprietary circuit boards and SPD programming. There are always some variations on performance of different brand DIMMs, but we always see a cluster of memory performance based on the memory chip used in the memory. In the last couple of weeks Micron has finally introduced their new DDR3 memory chip, called Z9, and this memory chip is what is making DDR3-1600 and beyond a reality.

All of the major memory manufacturers have just announced or will soon announce DDR3-1600 parts. Many of the smaller makers have also developed DDR3-1600 parts. Of course you are interested in how these new memory rockets perform, and samples were requested whenever we received a new announcement. The first two kits to appear in our lab are from Super Talent and TEAM. Both kits are 2GB (2x1GB) based on a single-sided DIMM. This certainly means there will potentially be 4GB kits available with these new memory chips down the road, but the timings for a 4GB Z9 kit are still open for speculation. The Super Talent kit is rated DDR3-1600 7-7-7 at 1.8V, and the TEAM is rated DDR3-1600 at 9-9-9 at unspecified (default for DDR3 is 1.5V) voltage.

In this review we will take a closer look at the capabilities of these new DDR3-1600 DIMMs based on Micron Z9 memory chips. What are the best timings possible at DDR3-1600? Can these new parts reach DDR3-2000, which will be the next DDR3 speed, or even higher? What timings are possible at slower DDDR3 speeds? Does the faster DDR3 really improve performance compared to DDR2 and DDR?

Super Talent W1600UX2G7
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  • metalgrx - Thursday, December 13, 2007 - link

    If you check the official site of TEAM ("> you ll see the PC3 12800 DDR3 1600MHz CL7 (2*1GB),7-7-7-21-2T, 1.75V~1.85V which is available in my country and i must say it's quite cheap compared to the other options...what do you think about this? To set it clearly...should i buy it?
  • Bozo Galora - Friday, July 20, 2007 - link

    FWIW: I picked this little blurb up from EVA's forum:

    BTW... The Micron Z9's are just Engineering samples (rev B), while the D9's are going to be on the market soon (if not already out there), and those are the non-Engineering samples.

    Hopefully the D9's can overclock as well as the Z9's (or even better)


    So it looks like the DDR3 will also have D9's
  • DigitalFreak - Friday, July 20, 2007 - link

    Wait a sec... so all this Z9 memory being reviewed isn't what will actually be available for sale? I thought these were retail DIMMs?
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, July 21, 2007 - link

    We have kits identified as Retail from both Super Talent and OCZ. Both have also announced the availability of these parts and pricing for the retail parts. TEAM has told us the TEAM kit is an Engineering Sample, but that retail kits will be announced soon.

    EVGA boards use nVidia chipsets and do not support DDR3. I would guess EVGA and its users would not be happy with DDR3-2000 chips being available as it would likely hurt their sales.
  • Bozo Galora - Friday, July 20, 2007 - link

    Another fine memory review - you da man, Wesley.

    Please ignore all the knuckle draggers - they have nothing better to do in their boring empty lives than to argue just for for the sake of arguing.

    Keep up the good work - don't let the losers get to you.
  • theprodigalrebel - Friday, July 20, 2007 - link

    TEAM's timings are listed as 5-4-3-9 2.1V @ 1900MHz in the 'Highest Speed' column.
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, July 20, 2007 - link

    The charts have all been corrected and now show the correct DDR3-1900 TEAM settings of 9-8-7-18 at 2.1V. Since our Web Editor is traveling and not available I ended up redoing the charts myself, so I added a few things like larger type to communicate the winner at each memory speed.
  • strikeback03 - Monday, July 23, 2007 - link

    while you're at it, last page, 4th paragraph from the end mentions DDR2-2000 DIMMs, assume that should be DDR3.
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, July 20, 2007 - link

    Thank you for pointing that out. It will be corrected.
  • MadBoris - Friday, July 20, 2007 - link

    At first I was like wow.

    Then I saw all DDR2 comparisons were at 33% less CPU frequency.
    We need to get back to real world thinking here.

    As an example if I am buying a MOBO capable of DDR2 or DDR3 with a 2.8 GHZ CPU. I would like to know what the actual performance difference would be on that platform for extra cost of DDR3. As it is, by guessing, a faster CPU would probably be a better value and keeping DDR2.

    Anyway, unique charts and data this time guys. I know it shows the scaling of memory speed and I am sure this some amazing electronic achievement in some laboratory, but it doesn't communicate much value to me until I see some apple to apple comparisons.

    I'm sure that will come around next time, looking forward to it.

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