Two DDR2 Xtreem Memory Kits from Team Group Inc.

Overclocker memory modules from Team Group Inc. are extremely interesting solutions and are very popular among computer enthusiasts, including the extreme overclocking fans. We are going to test two top Team Xtreem memory kits that boast a remarkable cooling system from Thermalright.

by Kirill
06/05/2007 | 11:53 AM

We have already reviewed quite a few high-speed DDR2 memory kits on our site and looks like we can shape up an absolutely new tendency we are observing in this market. If the memory manufacturers used to compete mostly with the working frequencies and aggressive timing settings of their solutions, now they are trying to impress the users with the exterior designs.

 

This is quite logical, as there is no new component base for designing faster DDR2 SDRAM at this time: all contemporary overclocker solutions use the well-known Micron chips. As a result, different high-speed memory kits for overclockers from different manufacturers have become very similar to one another from the specification standpoint. In order to stand out in any way and attract customers’ attention the manufacturers have to come up with unique cooling system designs that serve not only as a major distinguishing feature but also as an important marketing advantage of different memory kits.

And there are a lot of examples all around us these days. Remember the original DHX heat-spreaders from Corsair or Flex XLC and Reaper memory modules from OCZ Technology. These manufacturers of memory solutions for enthusiasts try to compete with the best chip cooling designs and technologies. As for the actual technical specifications, the top solutions in the PCZ and Corsair product lineups are hardly that much different.

The heat-spreader competition forced some memory manufacturers to seek help by third-party cooler designers who could engineers an efficient cooling solution for them. This way they are showing that they really care about the thermal performance of their high-speed memory solutions in the first place. A great example here could be Team Group Inc. that launched a memory module series that comes accompanied with a cooling system from Thermalright, a well-known and respected cooling solutions manufacturer. So, today we are going to discuss this particular solution – a joint creation of Team and Thermalright – new Team Xtreem DDR2 memory.

Specification

Model name: Team Xtreem TXDD2048M1066HC4
Memory type: PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066)
Capacity: 2x1024 MB
Chips: Micron D9GKX
Nominal voltage: 2.35-2.45V
Default timings for PC2-8500 mode: 4-4-4-12-2T
ЕРР support: yes
Cooling system: Thermalright HR-07
Warranty: lifetime

Model name: Team Xtreem TXDD2048M1200HC5DC
Memory type: PC2-9600 (DDR2-1200)
Capacity: 2x1024 MB
Chips: Micron D9GKX
Nominal voltage: 2.35-2.45V
Default timings for PC2-9600 mode: 5-5-5-15-2T
ЕРР support: yes
Cooling system: Thermalright HR-07
Warranty: lifetime

Package and Accessories

The package contents is quite unusual. The plastic bag with a sticker indicating the modules model name and number contain three boxes.

The memory modules without any heat-spreaders on them are packed into transparent plastic holders.

Another two boxes included with the shipment are retail packages with the Thermalright HR-07 memory cooling systems. Besides the actual cooler, each contains thermal pads, retention screws and additional brackets for fan fastening on top of the cooler.

Closer Look

Both kits, Team Xtreem TXDD2048M1066HC4 and TXDD2048M1200HC5DC, look identical - only the stickers are different.

Since the modules are shipped without the preinstalled cooling system, we will start our examination with their PCB. The Team Xtreem solutions tested today are built using legendary overclocker Micron D9GKX chips and improved eight-layer PCBs.

By the way, I would like to point out the general tendency: it is hardly common practice for the high-end memory module manufacturers to put their own marking on the memory chips (moreover, some memory makers prefer to specifically mention the chips marking in the module specifications, to attract attention of real hardware connoisseurs. Nevertheless, Team couldn’t help putting their logo on the memory chips. It was done very neatly in the area free from the original Micron chip marking. I dare assume that they did it for the sake of fraud protection or something like that.

The stickers on the memory modules report the full product specification: complete product model name, capacity, supported standard, timings and default voltage.

Memory modules from Team Group Inc. that belong to the Xtreem series have a few advantageous distinguishing features that make them stand out among the competitors. One of them is certainly the unique cooling system that consists of massive heatsinks and heatpipes transferring the heat from the memory chips. The cooling system is designed and manufactured by a well-known Thermalright Company, which is clearly indicated by special marking on the heatsinks.

Installation Tips and More

The memory coolers have to be installed by the user. As we have already mentioned above, the memory kits come with two Thermalright HR-07 coolers included. The installation is actually pretty simple: you stick the included thermal pads to the memory chips on both sides of the module and then insert the module between the heat-spreader plates of the cooler.

The design of Thermalright HR-07 is pretty interesting but suffers from three significant drawbacks. Let me explain. The whole thing works as follows. The heatpipes attached to both sides of the heat-spreaders are bent upwards and end with pretty complex aluminum heatsinks with thin rib arrays. If you wish, you may also attach a 60-92mm fan to the top of the heatsinks using the accompanying extended retention brackets and screws.

The first drawback of the Thermalright HR-07 cooling solution is its size. The thing is that you will not be able to install the memory modules equipped with a massive cooling solution like that in the DIMM slots next to one another. Of course, most users have only two DIMM modules installed in their systems, but it will still be an issue for some potential customers. The second drawback is the fact that there is no way to ensure that the heat-spreader panels are being properly pressed against the chips. The only thing that keeps the memory modules in place once it is inserted in-between the heat-spreader halves is the thermal pad, which reduces the heat conductivity. The third drawback is the material the heat-spreader panels are actually made of. The heatsinks with heatpipes are made of solid aluminum, which is a proper thing to do, while the heat-spreaders are made of … steel! I cannot think of any logical explanation to this as the heat conductivity of these two materials is dramatically different. Of course, Thermalright engineers had to be aware of this, but nevertheless, the fact is undeniable: the heat-spreader plates are magnetic, which cannot be happening to aluminum.

When we installed the Team Xtreem memory modules into a mainboard on Nvidia chipset, we got immediate proof that they support Enhanced Performance Profiles technology: the SLI-Memory menu item became active in the mainboard BIOS Setup. When this option is enabled, the settings automatically change from “safe” ones that are recorded in the main part of memory modules SPD to the ones indicated on the module stickers.

Testbed Configuration and Methods

We performed out performance tests on the following platform:

Our testing methodology is intended to show in the most extensive way the memory modules functionality in different modes.

First, we checked if they correspond to the claimed specifications (frequency, memory timings and voltages) in the Intel P965 (ASUS Commando) and nForce 680i SLI (Gigabyte GA-N680SLI-DQ6) platforms. I would like to say right away that the testing participants passed this check flawlessly.

Secondly, we tested the performance of these solutions in work modes typical for inexpensive memory kits. For this purpose we performed a set of benchmarks on ASUS Commando mainboard with the voltage set at 2.1V. In this case we checked the minimal timings in DDR2-667 and DDR2-800 modes and the maximum frequency with 5-5-5-15 timings settings. For a more illustrative comparison, we have also included the results of the simplest memory kit as a reference – we took a pair of Samsung M378T2953CZ3-CE6 (DDR2-667) modules.

Thirdly, we tested our memory kits with a more appropriate voltage setting for solutions of this category: 2.4V. We used the same mainboard as a test platform and measured the maximum frequencies with different timing settings, namely 3-3-3-8, 4-4-4-12 and 5-5-5-15.

And finally, the fourth part of our test session would be a similar check performed on an abit IN9 32X-MAX mainboard with Command Rate set to 1T and 2T.

Performance

The results of our test session showed that both Team memory kits performed identically: in all test modes the difference between TXDD2048M1066HC4 and TXDD2048M1200HC5DC never exceeded 5MHz. so on the diagrams summing up the benchmark results we would only like to provide the peak results for the top memory kit. During our test session we found out that there is very little difference between the maximum working frequencies of the testing participants at 2.4V voltage setting in work modes with 3-3-3-8 and 4-4-4-12 timings on Intel P965 and NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI based platforms. Almost in all cases the difference lies within the measuring error allowance. However, when tested on Nvidia based platform with less aggressive timings of 5-5-5-15 both kits have easily gone beyond 1250MHz (which they failed to hit on an Intel platform). The tested memory kits have even reached 1300MHz frequency.

During the tests on a more traditional test platform built around Gigabyte GA-N680SLI-DQ6 mainboard on Nvidia nForce 680i SLI showed that Team Xtreem modules boast excellent overclocking potential at almost any timing settings. With Command Rate set to 2T we obtained the following results: 1300MHz with 5-5-5-15 timings (1240MHz on Intel P965), 1150MHz with 4-4-4-12 timings and 885MHz with 3-3-3-8 timings. With Command Rate set to 1T the absolute results are definitely lower, but they still remain pretty high overall compared against the majority of memory kits available in the today’s market. The results are1040MHz, 975MHz and 820MHz with the corresponding timing settings listed above.

The slightly unusual comparison against the inexpensive Samsung kit was intended to demonstrate the difference between the potential of standard DDR2-667 that is used in the majority of today’s computer systems and the high-end memory modules like the Team group solutions reviewed today. As you can see from the table above, in both standard test modes the timings of the Team Xtreem solutions are much lower than those of the “standard” Samsung modules, and the maximum frequency at 5-5-5-15-2T timings settings is 350MHz higher: 1215MHz by Team Xtreem against 880MHz by Samsung. This is exactly what you are paying extra money for when buying high-end memory kits: this frequency difference.

Conclusion

Both Team Xtreem memory kits reviewed today, as you can see from the diagrams, demonstrated almost identical results in our today’s test session. So, our final verdict will also be the same for both of them. In fact, we can only criticize the part performed by the third company- Thermalright. However, despite the issues with the cooling solution design, the memory modules still demonstrated outstanding performance.

Team Xtreem TXDD2048M1200HC5DC and TXDD2048M1066HC4 will be an excellent choice for those users who need high memory working frequency and low latencies. We were especially impressed with the memory performance with Command Rate 1Т.

Highs:

Lows: