G.Skill TridentX Review: 2x4GB at DDR3-2666 C11-13-13 1.65Vby Ian Cutress on October 28, 2012 12:00 PM EST
When it comes to memory overclocking, there are several ways to approach the issue. Typically memory overclocking is rarely required - only those attempting to run benchmarks need worry about pushing the memory to its uppermost limits. It also depends highly on the memory kits being used - memory is similar to processors in the fact that the ICs are binned to a rated speed. The higher the bin, the better the speed - however if there is a demand for lower speed memory, then the higher bin parts may be declocked to increase supply of the lower clocked component. Similarly, for the high end frequency kits, less than 1% of all ICs tested may actually hit the speed of the kit, hence the price for these kits increase exponentially.
With this in mind, there are several ways a user can approach overclocking memory. The art of overclocking memory can be as complex or as simple as the user would like - typically the dark side of memory overclocking requires deep in-depth knowledge of how memory works at a fundamental level. For the purposes of this review, we are taking overclocking in three different scenarios:
a) From XMP, adjust Command Rate from 2T to 1T
b) From XMP, increase Memory Speed strap (e.g. 1333 MHz -> 1400 -> 1600)
c) From XMP, decrease main sub-timings (e.g. 10-12-12 to 9-11-11 to 8-10-10)
There is plenty of scope to overclock beyond this, such as adjusting voltages or the voltage of the memory controller. As long as a user is confident with adjusting these settings, then there is a good chance that the results here will be surpassed. There is also the fact that individual sticks of memory may perform better than the rest of the kit, or that one of the modules could be a complete dud and hold the rest of the kit back. For the purpose of this review we are seeing if the memory out of the box, and the performance of the kit as a whole, will work faster at the rated voltage.
In order to ensure that the kit is stable at the new speed, we run the memory test within OCCT for five minutes. This is a small but thorough test, and we understand that users may wish to stability test for longer to reassure themselves of a longer element of stability. However for the purposes of throughput, a five minute test will catch immediate errors from the overclocking of the memory.
With this in mind, the kit performed as follows:
F3-2666C11D-8GTXD – 2x4 GB rated at DDR3-2666 11-13-13-35 2T 1.65 volts
Adjusting from 2T to 1T: Passes Linpack
Adjusting from 2666 to 2800: Passes Linpack
Adjusting from 2800 to 2933: No Boot
Adjusting from 11-13-13 to 10-12-12: Fails Linpack
It should be noted that overclockers are getting very good results from these high end G.Skill kits – the fact that I was able to push this kit from 2666 C11 to 2800 C11 with nothing more than changing the memory strap is great. G.Skill inform me that a lot of these kits will do 10-12-12 with a small voltage increase as well, taking performance a stage higher. In fact, as part of my hobby of competitive overclocking, I have got this memory to 2950 MHz C11-13-13 by pushing some more voltage into the kit.
I wonder if this means that there may be recourse for manufacturers to release kits with a 1.75 volt profile, especially if it pushes the performance a little. Then again, it is still debatable if the majority of users will see the performance increase.