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Closer Look at GeIL EVO ONE PC3-17000 (GE34GB2133C9DC)

In order to test the processor with a memory controller that allows (theoretically) using DDR3-2133 SDRAM without even increasing the base clock, we meticulously searched for suitable memory that wouldn’t run into any problems at such high frequencies. We decided to go with the DDR3 EVO ONE series from GeIL that has long been popular among overclockers. The GE34GB2133C9DC kit included a pair of 2 GB modules that were designed to work at 2133 MHz frequency with 9-9-9-27 timings. I have to say right away that a solution like that is something pretty rare in the today’s market of enthusiasts memory, so it is obviously worth a closer look.

Although GeIL GE34GB2133C9DC memory comes in a standard package, the modules inside look pretty extraordinary. No wonder, since memory modules working at high frequency like that, even without a significant voltage boost, require advanced chips cooling: obviously simple stamped aluminum heat-spreaders like the ones installed onto most enthusiasts memory modules won’t be enough.

EVO ONE modules cooling consists of two parts. The first part is made of pretty typical aluminum plates that are glued to the chips with sticky thermal interface band. The second part consists of a straight heatpipe with 25 thin fins on it that are turned across the module itself. The ends of this heatpipe are pressed between the heat-spreader plates on top of the memory chips, that is why it doesn’t get any direct heat, which gives us some cause for concern whether this cooling solution is in fact effective at all. However, this cooling configuration does have one indisputable advantage: it is built in such a way that the airflow from the processor cooler blows right through it.

Among the advantages of EVO ONE I have to point out that it is tested with DBT technology (Die-hard Burn-in Technology). This testing procedure implies that the modules undergo a 24-hour stress-test with significantly increased voltage and the ambient temperature increased to a 100°C. This approach allows the manufacturer to single out potentially weak chips that may fail during the beginning operation period, which most returns usually fall into.

But even these significant advantages can’t make up for a pretty serious drawback of GeIL modules from EVO ONE series: their cooling system is extremely large. The heat-spreaders are so tall that the modules cannot fit into every system out there. A relatively large number of high-performance processor coolers hang over the DIMM slots, and in this case EVO ONE modules have absolutely no chance of fitting into these DIMM slots.

The stickers attached to both modules contain the product part number alongside with their primary specifications. The complete list of GeIL GE34GB2133C9DC specs looks as follows:

  • Dual-channel kit of two modules 2 GB each;
  • Nominal frequency: 2133 MHz;
  • Timings: 9-9-9-27-1T;
  • Voltage: 1.65 V.

In other words, this memory works at 2133 MHz frequency at the usual memory voltage of 1.65 V that has become an unofficial standard for overclocker modules designed for LGA1156 and LGA1366 systems.

GeIL GE34GB2133C9DC modules support XMP profiles. One of these profiles duplicates the official specs:

Moreover, the profiles also indicate that the manufacturer promises fault-free operation of the kit with 8-8-8-25 timings at 1900 MHz frequency, and at 7-7-7-22 timings – at 1666 MHz frequency. The SPD, as usual, contains settings that guarantee the system operation without any configuration adjustments.

DDR3-2133 memory from GeIL proved in the course of practical tests that its high-end specifications are exactly what they claim they would be. When we used this memory in a system built with Asus P7P55D Premium mainboard on Intel P55 Express chipset and a Core i7-860 processor that was previously used in our DDR3 SDRAM reviews, we could get our memory to work stably as DDR3-2214 with 9-9-9-27-2T timings. At the same time the voltage of our DDR3 memory modules was 1.65 V, which is exactly as the official specification and Intel recommendations state.

This is highly positive outcome and it speaks very highly of GeIL memory kit. But it is twice as great that with aggressive memory timings, GeIL EVO ONE PC3-17000 also doesn’t disappoint us. To be more exact, this memory worked quite stably as DDR3-1745 with 7-7-7-20-1T timings.

And as we see from the screenshot above, in this mode the memory subsystem performance is only a little lower than at the maximum frequency and slightly more “lenient” timings settings.

At this point we could have finished our story of excellent DDR3-2133 memory modules from GeIL, if it hadn’t been for one thing. You may have noticed that we checked out the overclocking potential of our GeIL GE34GB2133C9DC kit in an LGA1156 system based on a Core i7 processor, which has very little to do with the topic of our today’s review. And we had our reasons for that. The thing is that the memory controller in Clarkdale processors is different from the memory controller in Lynnfield CPUs, not only in terms of its location inside a separate semiconductor die. As our practical tests showed, DDR3 works in a completely different way when used with dual-core LGA1156 processors: we couldn’t reach the same high results during memory overclocking with a Clarkdale processor. And looks like this may be a general issue: any high-speed memory for computer enthusiasts works slower with dual-core LGA1156 processors than it would with a quad-core CPU.

For example, GeIL EVO ONE PC3-17000 kit that is initially designed for work as DDR3-2133, and in fact can remain fully stable at over 2.2 GHz frequencies, dropped down to the following level when installed into a Core i5-655K based system:

DDR3-2000 is the maximum our Clarkdale processor can offer GeIL GE34GB2133C9DC memory. In other words, overclocking of the memory controller in dual-core LGA1156 processors does reveal a few hidden obstacles, and the mere fact that overclocker Core i5-655K processor allows setting DDR3-2133 mode for the memory means nothing. In fact, we failed to find any practical corroboration of the fact that this memory could be used with a processor like that.

By the way, as further tests showed, Clarkdale’s memory controller causes problems not only when we try to use high-speed DDR3 memory. You may encounter some difficulties also when you try settings aggressive memory timings, although a lot depends on the divider you are using for the memory frequency. Nevertheless, it is an undeniable fact that the memory controller of the dual-core LGA1156 processors is less flexible than the memory controller in Lynnfiled CPUs.

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