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Saturday, 29 August 2009 18:38

OCZ Blade Low Voltage DDR2 Kit

Written by Eliot Kucharik

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Review: low power, high price

For about two years the DDR2 market stayed unchanged without any inventions. While many vendors do concentrate on DDR3 which is catching up to DDR2, OCZ decided not to left out DDR2 users. Intel forced memory-chip makers to reduce voltage for the overclocking parts. Long ago we pointed out DDR3 memory over 2.00V is just insane. So the market turned and you get bunches of high-end DDR3 kits running at "only" 1.65V. In the DDR2 market this not really necessary, but OCZ decided to offer their overclocking DDR2 lines running at stock voltage of 1.80V.

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With speeds up to 1200MHz at 1.80V your board doesn't need to support over-voltaging the memory. Even if it is supported, increasing voltages does strain the components on the mainboard and may cause early failure, besides increased temperatures inside the casing. Now it's time to test what this product can do for you.



Testbed:

Motherboard:
MSI DKA790GX (provided by MSI)
AMD 790GX/SB750
BIOS: 1.9beta4
Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P (provided by Gigabyte)
Intel P45/iCH10R
BIOS: F7

CPU:
AMD Phenom II 965 Black Edition (provided by AMD)
Intel QX9650  (provided by Intel)

CPU-Cooler:
Scythe Kabuto (provided by Scythe-Europe)

Memory:
Kingston HyperX 2GB Kit PC2-9600U KHX1200D2K2/2G (provided by Kingston)
1066MHz CL5-5-5-15 CR2T at 2.20V @ AMD
1150MHz CL5-5-5-18 CR2T at 2.30V @ Intel
OCZ Blade 4GB Kit PC2-9200U OCZ2B1150LV4GK (provided by OCZ)
1066MHz CL5-5-5-15 CR2T at 1.80V @ AMD
1150MHz CL5-5-5-18 CR2T at 1.80V @ Intel

Graphics Card:
MSI R4850-2D1G-OC (provided by MSI)

Power supply:
PC Power & Cooling Silencer 500W (provided by PC Power & Cooling)

Hard disk:
Samsung F1 1000GB (provided by Ditech)

Case fans:
SilenX iXtrema Pro 14dB(A) (provided by PC-Cooling.at)
Scythe DFS122512LS

Case:
Cooler Master Stacker 831 Lite (provided by Cooler Master)







We tested the OCZ against our current reference Kingstons modules which are rated at 2.30V-2.35V at speeds at 1200MHz, the OCZ runs always at 1.80V. They have three models at 1066MHz, 1150MHz and 1200MHz. OCZ sent us the 1150MHz model, which suffice for AMD. Our board did not like to go over 1100MHz, so it does not matter. On the Intel board we could max-out the 1150MHz, but we could not reach 1200MHz even with 1.90V. Do not over-voltage low voltage module, because they may get damaged easily.

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As you can see the heatspreader is a bit bigger compared to the standard golden or silver spreader OCZ normally uses. In contrast to the Reaper spreader it doesn't cause problems for CPU-coolers. Running the modules they get warm but not hot.

Let's look what the modules have written in their SPD.

Kingston:

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OCZ:

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Kingston can run at  some tighter timings, but the difference is negligible.






Of course we tested the modules with the Everest memory benchmark tool. As you can see the modules run always at the same speed with the same settings. There are no big differences to see. Please note such benchmarks are not 100% accurate, so 1% up or down don't matter.

AMD settings:

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Intel settings:

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Kingston with AMD:

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OCZ with AMD:

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Kingston with Intel:

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OCZ with Intel:

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While it's a bit unfair to compare a 2GB kit vs a 4GB kit, we did check what power-consumption is doing and we were quite surprised. While a difference about 0.4V-0.5V should not make much a difference, it did. And compared to the minimal voltage change the difference is huge.

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Conclusion:

While you do not get a speed boost compared to other modules, it makes a difference in power-consumption and heat. Of course we figured the spreader will not be hot, but the difference about 3.7W in idle and up to 6.5W at full load is stunning.

Of course low voltage modules are more expensive, this model is available for €66,- in UK, and not in wide release on the continent. A surplus of €10,- compared to the OCZ Titaniums, is money well spend. On the continent the price stucks about €80,- which is too expensive for our taste. The 1066MHz modules are available for €68,- which is €20,- more than the Titaniums at the same clocking.

When you have a small case or like to keep cool inside your case, this modules are for you. But we hope the prices come down soon.

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Last modified on Saturday, 29 August 2009 17:41
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