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OCZ DDR2 PC2-8800 Gold Edition

Although Corsair was throwing around words like “the fastest” and the “world’s first” upon the announcement of its Dominator series, products with a similar specified frequency already exist. Particularly, they are offered by OCZ, a long-time rival of Corsair. Since early August there is PC2-8800 memory, OCZ DDR2 PC2-8800 Gold Edition, among overclocker-friendly DDR2 SDRAM modules supplied by OCZ. This memory was introduced without much pomp because OCZ’s engineers didn’t redesign the cooling system to achieve the 1.1GHz frequency. The fast memory from OCZ uses the well-known and time-tested XTC heat-spreaders (Xtreme Thermal Convection).

The XTC heat-spreaders ensure good heat dissipation thanks to their meshed design that enlarges the surface area. Besides that, the heat-spreaders are made of copper which has higher thermal conductivity in comparison with aluminum. Such heat-spreaders are capable of cooling memory chips clocked at 1100MHz and guarantee their stability and long service life as is confirmed by the lifetime warranty OCZ provides for all of its products.

The OCZ DDR2 PC2-8800 Gold Edition modules are also interesting for the fact that the manufacturer doesn’t declare the necessity to increase their voltage to 2.4V to achieve the record-breaking frequency. The voltage of the modules is specified as 2.2-2.4V, so they can be used at 2.4V, but do not normally require that voltage. In other words, the OCZ DDR2 PC2-8800 Gold Edition can be clocked at 1.1GHz at 2.2V voltage, but the manufacturer also guarantees the memory will work well at 2.4V, too.

The specification says the OCZ DDR2 PC2-8800 Gold Edition kit includes two 1GB DDR2 SDRAM modules that are to be clocked at 1100MHz with 5-6-6-15 timings and 2.2-2.4V voltage.

As you can see, the product from OCZ has worse specified timings, but not frequency, in comparison with the Corsair TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF. Corsair’s Dominator memory, equipped with an innovative cooling system, is capable of working at 1.1GHz with 4-4-4-12 timings whereas the OCZ DDR2 PC2-8800 Gold Edition with their XTC heat-spreaders can only work at that frequency with very relaxed timings of 5-6-6-15 (according to the specification). Externally, OCZ’s DIMMs don’t look as impressive as Corsair’s Dominator. Well, the gold-sputtered XTC heat-spreaders on the OCZ DDR2 PC2-8800 Gold Edition certainly have a good style of their own. A letter Z is embossed in the center of each heat-spreader as the symbol of OCZ. The stickers on the heat-spreaders tell you the part number, frequency and default timings of the product.

The SPD information of these modules describes DDR2-533 and DDR2-800 modes so that you could start your OCZ DDR2 PC2-8800 Gold Edition up on any system. Then you should go into the mainboard’s BIOS Setup to configure memory parameters as necessary. Unlike Corsair’s modules, the OCZ ones do not support the EPP.

We tested the OCZ DDR2 PC2-8800 Gold Edition memory on the same testbed as we used to check the Corsair TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF out. The graph below shows the highest frequencies the OCZ memory is stable at with different timings. The stability of the system was tested by running three utilities, Memtest86, S&M and Prime95. The memory voltage was set at the maximum value allowed by the specification, i.e. at 2.4V. The results are presented in the next diagram:

First of all, we should note that the OCZ DDR2 PC2-8800 Gold Edition kit is inferior to the Corsair TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF not only in declared, but also in real parameters. Its frequency potential is considerably worse than that of the Corsair Dominator at 4-4-4-12 and lower timings. At 3-3-3-10 timings the OCZ DDR2 PC2-8800 Gold Edition kit proves to be unable to work in DDR2-800 mode. At 4-4-4-12 timings, its max frequency is just a little over 1GHz. When the timings are more relaxed, the OCZ modules begin to behave more like Corsair’s Dominator. With 5-5-5-15 timings, for example, the OCZ memory is capable of working at frequencies up to 1155MHz. In other words, the OCZ DDR2 PC2-8800 Gold Edition modules stick to their specifications and conquer high frequencies only with high timings.

Unlike the above-described modules from Corsair, the OCZ memory remains stable in the default mode as well as at 2.2V voltage. It could work at frequencies up to 1116MHz with 5-5-5-15 timings and 2.2V voltage.

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