Articles: Memory
 

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Testbed Configuration

We are going to test GeIL memory kits in an LGA 2011 system built on Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe mainboard based on the newest Intel Z77 Express chipset. Since overclocking memory modules are primarily purchased by enthusiasts, we also used Intel Core i5-3570K processor overclocked to 4.5 GHz.

As a result, the complete list of hardware and software components in our testbed looked as follows:

  • CPU: Core i5-3570X, overclocked to 4.5 GHz (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores, 6 MB L3);
  • CPU cooler: NZXT Havik 140;
  • Mainboard: ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe (LGA 1155, Intel Z77 Express);
  • Memory:
    • GeIL EVO Veloce PC3-12800 C9 GEV38GB1600C9DC (2 x 4 GB, DDR3-1600, 9-9-9-28);
    • GeIL EVO Veloce PC3-12800 C9 GEV316GB1600C9DC (2 x 8 GB, DDR3-1600, 9-9-9-28);
    • GeIL EVO Veloce PC3-14900 C9 GEV38GB1866C9DC (2 x 4 GB, DDR3-1866, 9-10-9-28);
    • GeIL EVO Veloce PC3-19200 C10 GEV316GB2400C10ADC (2 x 8 GB, DDR3-2400, 10-12-12-30);
    • GeIL EVO Veloce PC3-19200 C11 GEW316GB2400C11ADC (2 x 8 GB, DDR3-2400, 11-12-12-30).
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 (2 GB / 256 bit GDDR5, 1006/6008 MHz);
  • Drive: Intel SSD 520 240 GB (SSDSC2CW240A3K5);
  • Power supply unit: Corsair AX1200i (80 Plus Platinum, 1200 W);
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 Ultimate x64;
  • Drivers:
    • Intel Chipset Driver 9.3.0.1019;
    • Intel Management Engine Driver 8.1.0.1248;
    • Intel Rapid Storage Technology 11.2.0.1006;
    • NVIDIA GeForce 301.42 Driver.

Overclocking

As we showed in our special review of the memory controller in modern LGA1155 CPUs, it is the operating frequency of dual-channel memory kits that has the biggest effect on the platform's performance. Therefore, increasing it above standard levels is the key feature of overclocker-friendly memory kits that helps ensure an additional performance boost.

The GeIL memory looks promising in this respect. In our previous test of GeIL products we could see that they could often be clocked at higher frequencies than specified. The company is known to ensure a large safety margin for its products, so we can expect that the EVO Veloce memory kits we've got today are actually capable of working at much higher clock rates than written in their specs.

Here’s our algorithm of testing the overclocking potential of DDR3 SDRAM:

  • Memory voltage is increased to 1.65 volts which, according to Intel, is the maximum value that doesn’t lead to degradation in the memory controller’s performance. We also increase the VCCSA voltage to 1.0 volts, which should theoretically have a positive effect on the memory controller’s stability;
  • Failsafe timings of 11-13-13-31-2N are selected to find out the highest frequency the memory kit is stable at;
  • Using the maximum frequency we’ve found, we then look for the most aggressive timings at which the memory kit is still stable.

The stability of the memory subsystem is verified by 10 runs of LinX 0.6.4 AVX Edition using the whole memory amount and by an additional 1-hour-long check with Memtest86+ v4.20.

GeIL EVO Veloce PC3-12800 C9 2x4GB (GEV38GB1600C9DC)

Consisting of two 4GB modules and rated for DDR3-1600 mode, the simplest of the GeIL memory kits produced exceptional results. It was stable at a clock rate of 2200 MHz.

We had to increase the timings to 11-12-11-33-1N and voltage to 1.65 volts, yet the 600MHz frequency gain is impressive anyway. So, despite its ordinary specs, the 8GB dual-channel EVO Veloce PC3-12800 C9 kit is truly an overclocker-friendly product.

GeIL EVO Veloce PC3-12800 C9 2x8GB (GEV316GB1600C9DC)

With the same specs but twice the capacity of the previous product, this kit can't match its overclocking potential. These modules could only be stable in DDR3-2000 mode.

However, after increasing the voltage to 1.65, we could select more aggressive timings: 10-12-12-33-1N. Frequency is more important than timings for the resulting performance, so the above-discussed GEV38GB1600C9DC kit seems preferable.

GeIL EVO Veloce PC3-14900 C9 2x4GB (GEV38GB1866C9DC)

Rated for 1866 MHz, the midrange GEV38GB1866C9DC could not beat the overclocking results of the EVO Veloce kits rated for 1600 MHz. At a voltage of 1.65 volts, it was only stable in DDR3-2200 mode, just like the similarly configured DDR3-1600 kit.

The GeIL EVO Veloce PC3-14900 C9 memory turned out to be better in terms of timings than the slower products of the series, though. It was stable not only at a CAS Latency of 11 but also at 10-12-10-31-1N. That’s quite an achievement for DDR3 SDRAM clocked at over 2 GHz.

GeIL EVO Veloce PC3-19200 C10 2x8GB (GEV316GB2400C10ADC)

Rated for 2.4 GHz, this EVO Veloce PC3-19200 C10 kit can be expected to do well in our overclockability tests, especially as its timings are untypically low for such a high frequency. Indeed, these modules were stable in DDR3-2600 mode.

The frequency gain isn't large, but there are not so many memory modules available that are rated even for 2.4 GHz. And there are even fewer products that can be overclocked further. Our timings were far from aggressive at 2.6 GHz, though. The best we could achieve was 11-13-13-33-1N.

GeIL EVO Veloce PC3-19200 C11 2x8GB (GEW316GB2400C11ADC)

The limited-edition white-colored EVO Veloce PC3-19200 C11 kit is somewhat worse in our tests than its red-colored DDR3-2400 cousin. It may be due to its worse default timings or just bad luck. Whatever the reason, this 2x8GB kit refused to overclock at all. It was perfectly stable at 2400 MHz but not higher.

Moreover, we couldn’t make it stable at lower timings than specified. DDR3-2400 with timings of 11-12-12-30-1N is the best the albino can do. On the other hand, DDR3-2400 is a very speedy mode, especially as we’re talking about two 8GB modules. So, the lack of overclocking potential can hardly be viewed as a downside of the GEW316GB2400C11ADC kit.

Overclocking Summary

Let's sum up our overclocking results in the following table:

 
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