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DDR3 SDRAM Modules

Since the launch of Intel P35 chipset and mainboards with DDR3 SDRAM based on it, we managed to collect a few DDR3 SDRAM kits from the leading manufacturers of memory for computer enthusiasts.

Let’s take a closer look at these kits. However, before we start I would like to warn you: all mass production DDR3 memory, even that coming from well-known makers of overclocker solutions, turns out pretty disappointing. The thing is that the maximum frequency mass-production DDR3 memory managed to hit so far is at best 1333MHz with 7-7-7-20 timings, which doesn’t look very impressive considering that you can get your hands on DDR2 SDRAM working at 1250MHz and supporting 5-5-5-18 timings. We hope the situation will get better after the recent launch of SuperTalent DDR3-1600 kits with 7-7-7-18 timings. However, despite SuperTalent’s claims, this memory is not available yet: not only for users, but even for reviewers.

So, we are going to investigate how big of a performance improvement we may get from DDR3 SDRAM memory on Intel Core 2 Duo platforms using DDR3-1333 SDRAM modules. We received three memory kits supporting corresponding working frequencies and consisting of two 1GB DIMMs.

Corsair did a great job on their high-performance DDR2 SDRAM, and this time they provided us with their TWIN3X2048-1333C9DHX kit.

This is the today’s fastest DDR3 memory from Corsair. It is designed to work at 1333MHz, but despite the massive Dual Heat Exchange heat-spreaders of Corsair’s own design, it work with very weak timings of only 9-9-9-24. So, it turns out to be the slowest DDR3-1333 SDRAM kit.

Even overclocking doesn’t help Corsair TWIN3X2048-1333C9DHX. By raising the voltage from the nominal 1.5V to 1.8V we can get this memory to work at 1333MHz only with 8-8-8-22 timings. The maximum frequency with these timings and voltage settings when the modules remained stable equaled 1380MHz.

Luckily, there are a few better options available today. For example, Kingston offers pretty good DDR3-1333 SDRAM - KHX11000D3LLK2/2G.

These modules are designed to work at 1375MHz with 7-7-7-20 timings and 1.7V voltage. The remarkable thing about this top Kingston product is that it is available in numerous stores, which means that this is the memory that can provide the highest performance for DDR3 platforms today.

During overclocking, Kingston KHX11000D3LLK2/2G modules can reach slightly higher frequencies than the specified ones. For example, we raised the voltage to 1.8V and the modules remained pretty stable at 1420MHz with the nominal timings of 7-7-7-20. Unfortunately, further voltage increase would worsen overclocking results. Even setting the timings to less aggressive values will not help here: at 8-8-8-22 Kingston KHX11000D3LLK2/2G can hit 1440MHz, not more than that.

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