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OCZ Blade 3x2GB PC3-16000 CL7 Memory Review

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3oh6

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<center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz_logo-1.png" alt="OCZ logo">


<b>OCZ Blade 3x2GB PC3-16000 CL7 DDR3 Tri Channel Memory Review</b></center>



<b>Price:</b> $433 CND+<a href="http://hardwarecanucks.pricecanada.com/p.php/OCZ-Blade-6GB-3X2GB-DDR3-2000-CL7-8-7-20-OCZ3B2000LV6GK-595005/?matched_search=ocz3b2000lv6gk">HWC PriceCanada.com</a>
<b>TechWiki Info:</b> OCZ DDR3 PC3-16000 Blade Series CL7 Edition - TechWiki
<b>Manufacturer Product Page:</b> <a href="http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/memory/ocz_ddr3_pc3_16000_blade_series_low_voltage_triple_channel">OCZ Technology Group Inc.</a>
<b>Manufacturer's Part Number:</b> OCZ3B2000LV6GK
<b>Warranty:</b> Limited Lifetime Warranty



<p style="text-align: justify;">We all know the tale of David versus Goliath. Sportscasters refer to the myth frequently when describing a matchup won by the underdog. This ancient story describes how the smaller man can overcome the larger oppressor. How physical attributes can be overcome with ingenuity and intelligence. These are all great ways to build confidence in children or instill strength in the common man, unfortunately, that is all a load of fresh fertilizer when it comes to memory. In this tale of David and Goliath, today, Goliath will win. The higher spec'd kit will not be defeated by some skinny little punk with a sling shot.

In the orange corner, fighting out of San Jose California, weighing in at whatever a triple channel kit of memory with OCZ Blade heat spreaders weighs...PC3-sixteenthousand 7-8-7 OCZ Blaaaaaaaaade, Blade. In the opposite corner, every other DDR3 triple channel kit that thinks it can play with the big boys, but in reality, can't. This bout is scheduled for one round as that is all it will take for the PC3-16000 3x2GB OCZ Blade 7-8-7 kit of memory to prove it's prowess on the venerable Intel Core i7 platform powered by the X58 chipset. Up until the recent announcement at Computex, this kit was the fastest horse of the OCZ stable, but a OCZ Blade PC3-17000 kit has taken that position. Still, with a specified operating frequency of 1000MHz or DDR3-2000 and timings of a skinny 7-8-7-20, this 1.65v triple channel kit of memory is already impressive...and the overclocking hasn't even started.

In addition to incredible specifications, the OCZ Blade memory - like all OCZ enthusiast modules - comes with a lifetime warranty backed by one of the best memory companies in the business. Operating their own support forum full of helpful information and individuals, OCZ has been synonymous with top level support by the end-user for years. You don't have to look far to find a satisfied OCZ customer receiving the help they need. Most importantly for us Canadians, OCZ is one of the very few - by which I mean only - manufacturer that offers RMA service within Canadian borders. No shipping across the continent, no crossing your fingers that customs doesn't try to tax you on your memory you already paid tax for, and most of all, no hassles what so ever. For those that have never had to do an RMA, this may not sound like a big deal, but for those of us that have; this is huge.

So tighten the straps on your sandals and get your pre-christ rally cap on as we take a look at Goliath - the OCZ Blade PC3-16000 7-8-7 triple channel memory kit - and see just how much faster it is than David and his Israelite homies.</p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/index-1.jpg" alt=""></center>
 
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3oh6

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Package & Memory Overview

Package & Memory Overview

<p style="text-align: justify;">Before we get to some pre-biblical battle of epic proportions - perhaps a little over stated - let's have a look at the modules that we are going to be working with today and the package they came in.</p><center>
package-1.jpg
package-2.jpg
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">Right out of the gate we are impressed. OCZ has really stepped up their game in the package department. Not only is the memory aesthetically pleasing from the outside, but it is clearly in a better package to be shipping across the country. The majority of computer hardware sales these days are done on the internet and that means hardware having to be shipped, not in bulk. With triple channel memory kits, the molded blister pack was starting to fail for three sticks of memory. Too much weight means the possibility of the package opening should the retailer not take the care to properly secure it for shipping. OCZ eliminates that possibility by wrapping the molded plastic in a simple - yet effective - cardboard package. It is light weight, basic, and provides everything memory needs in order to be safe in a UPS truck. That's right, even UPS couldn't hurt this package. Yeah, I went there. What is the point of writing reviews if you don't get a shot in at UPS?</p><center>
package-3.jpg
package-4.jpg
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">As mentioned, the memory contained inside this package is still secured by molded plastic blister packs, but they are not loose and do not have the ability to open during transport. The cardboard package is thin but still extremely effective at doing its intended task of keeping the memory safe. Some day someone will come up with a better solution than the molded plastic package (cough cough Crucial cough cough), but until then, this is a fine second choice in our opinions and other manufacturers should follow suit if they already haven't. We know G.Skill has been doing this for years, so this isn't really OCZ's brilliant idea, but a well implemented one none the less.</p><center>
modules-1.jpg
modules-2.jpg
modules-3.jpg
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</center><p style="text-align: justify;">There isn't really much to say about heat spreaders on memory so we will just let the photo's do most of the talking. We can see that the Blade heat sink is really a unique design with a few interesting elements to it. First off is the rough granite surface that can be seen in the second photo above. We love this finish and would take this over a smooth polished finish any day. The cuts and grooves along the body and in the top portion help to increase surface area of the heat sink which helps in heat dissipation, but again, aesthetics likely play a more important role in heat sink design than anything these days. Overall, the two piece design really is a well done unit.</p><center>
modules-5.jpg
modules-6.jpg
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">As mentioned, there are two pieces to the Blade heat sink, a front and a back. We can see where they join in the second photo above. We can also see that the top portion is hollow providing even more surface area to potentially remove heat from the modules. Being hollow this makes the Blade modules not as heavy as one would think, but us being us, we would prefer the beefy feel despite the lack of any productive benefits weight would bring to the memory. Of course, the biggest question is going to be how these heat sinks will interact with large processor cooling solutions such as the Thermalright Ultra-120 and its variations. That is something we will find out soon enough after we finish up here and take a look at the specifications a little further.</p><center>
modules-7.jpg
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">Our last photo above is a nice macro shot of the heat sinks showing the thermal material used between the Blade heat sink and the actual memory IC's. OCZ appears to be using a thin thermal pad that looks like it should do a fine job of transferring heat to the outside walls of the heat sinks. We still prefer a cured thermal interface material like Corsair and other manufacturers have started to use but this material is a nice alternative that many manufacturers seem to be sticking with...pardon the pun. Or don't pardon it, your choice.</p>
 
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3oh6

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Specifications

Specifications

<center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/specs-1.png" alt="" style="float: left; margin: 4px 7px 4px 0px"></center><p style="text-align: justify;">We have said it before and we will likely say it again, there isn't much to the specifications of memory that can't be summed up with a little sticker on the module. That is in fact why manufacturers put the little stickers on the modules with the full specifications...because they can. Obviously OCZ - like many other false advertising manufacturers - list this kit as operating at 2000MHz. This is grossly incorrect as the memory only runs at 1000MHz which is effectively DDR3-2000...but certainly not 2000MHz. As usual, marketing comes before actual facts. Wow, we just crossed over from talking about memory specifications to the mainstream media in one short sentence. Back to memory specs.

We are tired of seeing memory falsely advertised as something it isn't. Just because everyone else lists memories operating frequency as the effective speed, and not the real frequency, doesn't make it right. We are calling out all memory manufacturers’ right here, right now. We understand how 200MHz is equal to or became DDR-400. 200MHz with data transfer at the rise and fall of the clock cycle makes 200MHz to be effectively running at a theoretical DDR-400, this makes sense to us. The DDR-xxx nomenclature is a theoretical speed that marketing departments made up so the numbers were higher...we get that. But please explain to us how DDR3-2000 has now somehow magically become 2000MHz. No, I am not kidding, I actually want to hear the painful explanations manufacturers can come up with. Please contact Mike in order to get in touch with me. And no, saying everyone else is doing it isn't an explanation...it is a pathetic excuse used by primary school children, not multi-million dollar corporations. Except in the case of Enron and other fraudulent companies of that era I suppose.

As for the rest of the specifications, there doesn't appear to be any made up numbers for marketing purposes the rest of the way so we'll leave it at that. Now on to more pressing issues, like what exactly are the IC's powering these modules? We have a trick up our sleeves that will tell us that without even popping a heat spreader.</p><center>
specs-2.jpg
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">It is called macro photography. To be honest, there is only one IC available right now that allows for DDR3-2000 operation at 7-8-7 timings with only 1.65v, the photo simply confirms what we already know. There is only one IC that can run those specifications, and coincidentally, only one IC that is shaped as the one above tucked under the Blade heat sinks...Elpida DJ1108BASE. AKA Elpida MNH-E, AKA Elpida Hyper, AKA the best damn DDR3 IC on the planet as of right now. These new copper interconnect IC's are the first of its kind. Based on a 50nm process, the commonly referred to Elpida Hyper IC's were announced back in August of 08 with Elpida finishing the process in late November of 08.

Aside from the die-shrink, the biggest development of these IC's is the copper interconnects doing away with traditional aluminum interconnects allowing for higher frequencies and lower operating voltage. This was perfect timing for the Intel i7 platform and we are reaping the benefits now with these lofty 1000MHz kits specified to run at 7-8-7 timings with only 1.65v. Needless to say, this kit is based on the best of the best right now and the specifications show it. Of course, we won't just be happy with specifications, we will be pushing this memory and these IC's to see what they can really do.</p>
 
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3oh6

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Memory Installation & Test Setup

Memory Installation & Test Setup

<p style="text-align: justify;">Another memory kit across the pages of HardwareCanucks.com, another test fit with the almost industry standard Thermalright Ultra-120. If you have read any of our previous memory or motherboard reviews, you know that we always like to test the fitting of memory with the TRUE in both orientations. If we don't, our private message boxes fill up with the question, does the TRUE fit? So, let's have a look and see if the Blade heat sink is too tall for its own good.</p><center>
install-1.jpg
install-2.jpg
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">Without messing around we stuck the Blades in the first slot of the EVGA X58 SLI motherboard and plopped the TRUE down. In the north/south orientation, we can clearly see in the first photo that the memory tucks nicely underneath the cooling fins. This basically ensures that no matter what slots you use, how close the DIMM slots are to the CPU socket, the OCZ Blade heat sinks will fit with a Thermalright Ultra-120 in any orientation. This is great news as now there is a reference for other coolers to know if they fit or not. In the second photo above we added a fan and we can see that there are no issues at all with the OCZ Blade, even in the first slot.</p><center>
install-3.jpg
install-4.jpg
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">Switching the heat sink around to the east/west orientation, we can see that a standard 25mm thick fan has plenty of room to squeeze in-between the heat sink and the memory in the first slot. It is important to note that the fan in its natural position on the TRUE does sit slightly below the top of the OCZ Blade heat sinks. In the second photo above, the 38mm thick fan illustrates this point as it would have to be resting on the first memory stick should they be close enough, and some boards will have that first slot close enough. In the EVGA X58 3X SLI, the second DIMM slot is far enough away for the 38mm fan to fit with ease. So despite a little bit taller than normal heat sink, the OCZ Blade memory should have no issues with a TRUE. If you happen to have a heat sink as big as the TRUE but cooling fins positioned lower than the TRUE does, you might run into issues with the Blade heat sinks.</p><center><table><tr><td>
memory-1.png
</td><td>
memory-2.png
</td><td>
memory-3.png
</td></tr></table></center><p style="text-align: justify;">The most important aspect of this OCZ Blade PC3-16000 kit of memory is the lack of an XMP profile. Normally we get all over the memory manufacturer for leaving out an XMP profile or show our disdain when a motherboard doesn't support XMP profiles. This case, however, is a little different. Running memory at DDR3-2000 isn't as easy as plugging in specific settings. Every setup is going to require different variables to be adjusted accordingly. Some processors won't be able to run DDR3-2000 with certain memory ratios. Some may need a lot of VTT, some may not need much at all and too much may cause instability. With an XMP profile, it is impossible to cover all of the variables for every setup. Because of this, we are actually pleased to not see an XMP profile on the OCZ Blade PC3-16000 memory. What you do get is a great support forum ready to help you out should you need it in order to get your memory up to spec.</p>


Test Setup

<center><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="735px"><tr><td align="left" colspan="2">
setup-1.jpg
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</td><td align="right" colspan="2">
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</td></tr></table><br /><table border="0" bgcolor="#666666" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" width="735px"><tr><td colspan="4"><b><font color="#ffffff">Test Platform:</font></b></td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Memory:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%"><b>OCZ Blade 3x2GB PC3-16000 7-8-7-20 (OCZ3B2000LV6GK)</b></td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Motherboard:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">EVGA X58 3X SLI</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Processor:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition<br>Intel Core i7 975 Extreme Edition</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Processor Cooling:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme-1366 CU<br>2 x Scythe Ultra Kaze 120MM 2000RPM 87.6CFM (DFS123812L-2000)</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Thermal Paste:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Arctic Cooling MX-2</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>North Bridge Cooling:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Stock</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>South Bridge Cooling:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Stock</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>PWM Cooling:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Stock</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Power Supply:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Corsair HX1000W</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Video Card:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Gigabyte GTX260OC 216SP (NVIDIA GeForce 185.85 WHQL)</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Additional Fans:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Scythe Ultra Kaze 120MM 2000RPM 87.6CFM (DFS123812L-2000)</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Hard Drives:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Seagate 7200.9 80GB SATAII 8MB cache</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>OS:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Windows Vista SP1 (with all updates)</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Ambient Temperature:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">23C ~ 25C</td></tr></table></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Our setup hasn't changed from out last memory review with the Mushkin Redline Ascent memory with one exception, another processor has been added to the fold. We recently completed an overclocking review of the new Intel i7 975 EE processor and will be using it in parts of reviews from here on out. In fact, during the course of this review, our i7 965 EE processor had to go in for repairs so the i7 975 is responsible for the benchmarks as well as portions of the overclocking.</p>
 
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3oh6

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Stability Testing & Overclocking

Stability Testing & Overclocking

<p style="text-align: justify;">With every memory shootout, comes stability testing. Our methodology on stability will be put to the test with the high specifications of this OCZ Blade memory. Here is our stability testing breakdown:</p><b>Stability Testing Methodology</b><p style="text-align: justify;"><i>Memory stability, what constitutes stable? What is not considered stable? These questions get hotly debated in enthusiast forums all over the internet like little brush fires on the fringe of an inferno that play havoc with forest fire crews. Everyone has their own opinion about stability, especially when it comes to memory stability. For some, stable means they can do whatever it is on their computer without it crashing, blue-screening, or restarting; whether that means gaming or just surfing the internet. To this user, stable means simply using the computer as they normally would.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/setup-5.jpg" alt="Corsair Dominator 3x2GB PC3-12800 C8"></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Of course, that is not what we would call stable and we do a lot more thorough testing before labeling a memory frequency/timing stable. One of the toughest types of programs on a system has been found to be distributed computing projects such as Rosetta@Home, Folding@Home, World Community Grid, and more. Running 24/7 crunching for one of these great causes is a sure way to find holes in a system if there is truly some instability, unfortunately it takes a considerable amount of time to use them for stability testing so we use the list of programs below to all but guarantee the system to be 24/7 distributed computing stable:</p><p style="text-align: justify;">We don't take stability lightly and this list of stability testing shows it. There is also the simple fact that our results are going to be from a single kit of memory. You can't expect every kit purchased to have the same results. The Intel i7 platform relies heavily on the memory controller strength of the processor, especially at these memory clocks, and some Core i7 processors just aren't going to be able to handle DDR3-2000. This type of memory is not for the faint of heart, as the price indicates, and really needs to be mated to a strong setup in order to excel. More on this shortly as we go through our overclock testing section. First up is to test whether our setup can even run this memory at the specified frequency and timings.</p>

<b>Specification Stability Testing</b>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Before we even do any "overclocking" we have to see if this memory will run its specifications. The reason overclocking is in quotes is because in order to run memory at DDR3-2000, we are already overclocking. Technically, running memory over DDR3-1333 is overclocking and if you call Intel about a processor that won't run DDR3-1600, even at the default base clock, they will tell you the chip isn't under warrantee for that. Needless to say, there are no memory ratio's to natively run DDR3-2000 without overclocking the base clock, so even without getting technical; we still have to overclock to get DDR3-2000 running. So, with the EVGA X58 3X SLI strapped in and ready to go, let's see how the OCZ Blade PC3-16000 handle their specified frequency and timings.</p>
Click for full size screenshot...
<center>
stable_spec-1.png
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">We decided to stay as close to the default base clock as we could with our stock testing so we opted for the 2:14 ratio and a base clock of 143. As it turns out, the 2:14 ratio isn't that good with this processor but it still handled the highly overclocked memory quite well. For voltages, we had to deal with the known drooping of vDIMM and vTT of the EVGA X58 3X SLI. At first we tried running with 1.65v for vDIMM in the BIOS which results in 1.602v under load but the memory just couldn't do it. Bumping voltage up to 1.70v selected in the BIOS resulting in 1.651v under load has us powering through the stability testing with ease. We also had to run vTT at 1.50v selected from the BIOS which results in 1.423v under load.

So far so good for the OCZ Blade. They run the stock settings no problem on the EVGA X58 3X SLI with our 975 processor. Unfortunately there is some knowledge and skill involved in getting the memory to run at the specified frequency and timings due to the lack of an XMP profile. The nature of the beast just doesn't allow an XMP profile to be very effective with the i7 platform and memory with these specifications so if you want to play with the Formula 1 car on the track, you had better learn how to drive it. We have included the voltage tab of E-LEET in the screenshot above for a reason. If you are using this combination, it allows you to see what voltages we have set in the BIOS for our setup. Obviously your setup may need some adjustments here and there, but it may give you some ideas when getting this combination running.

Now for the bad news, we were not able to repeat the stability testing with this kit and our i7 920 processor. This is the reality of DDR3-2000, some processors won't have a strong enough Internal Memory Controller to run memory at these frequencies completely stable. This is one variable many people don't understand, but obviously a very important one. Next up is our stable overclocking section.</p>


<b>Stability Overclocking:</b><p style="text-align: justify;">Please do not attempt to try this at home. This overclocking has been performed by a trained professional on a closed circuit. Seriously though, remember, these results are from a single kit of memory. Not all kits are going to be able to overclock like this, and many kits will be better. The most important thing to keep in mind is that every setup is different. The memory controller on the CPU plays a massive role in memory overclocking and every single one is going to respond differently.

With that said, this section is going to be a little bit underwhelming for some people. To say we are expecting a solid overclock is a bit misleading, because we didn't expect the ability to overclock the memory past its specified ratings at all. We have had other more than willing memory matched up with our 965 processor and anything north of 1000MHz or DDR3-2000 has been extremely hit or miss, and certainly not stable enough for our full suite of stability testing. With the addition of the i7 975 processor, however, that changed a good bit as you will see with the 7-8-7 overclocking. What we do anticipate is some pretty impressive clocking at tighter timing sets with this memory. Here is what we have managed to squeeze out of this setup for daily use with reasonable voltages.</p><center>
oc-1.png
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The 6-7-6 overclocking of this kit was great. Better than previous kits by a fair margin and is starting to get to a rather lofty frequency for CL6 24/7 stability. We have obviously gone over the recommend 1.65v for vDIMM in all of these results but we have kept the voltage within reason. Under load the 6-7-6 and 7-7-6 voltage is less than 1.73v as the EVGA X58 3X SLI droops vDIMM rather significantly under load.

As we can plainly see, we were able to reach 1000MHz or DDR3-2000 with the timings tightened up to 7-7-6-20 with these OCZ Blade sticks. Essentially, this is the specified frequency with tighter timings. We will be using this overclock in our comparison benchmarks in the next few sections. The performance of this memory at this frequency and these timings is absolutely lethal for memory bandwidth.

Our 7-8-7 overclocking wasn't limited to 1000MHz or DDR3-2000 thanks to the i7 975 processor. Our i7 965 pretty much runs out of gas with every kit of memory we have tested around DDR3-2000~DDR3-2020. With the i7 975 we were able to squeeze in a last minute overclock of 1023MHz or DDR3-2046. By last minute we mean, last minute before the review had to entering the editing process for publication. We are confident this kit has more in it with a little more time or a bit better processor. Here are the screen shots of the three overclocks we achieved here today. Again, the E-LEET voltage is displayed to provide the voltages that we have set in the BIOS for the various overclocks.</p><center><table align="center" bgcolor="#666666" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="1" width="90%"><tr><td align="center" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="33%">6-7-6 Stable Overclock
click for full size...
oc-2.png
<br>OCZ Blade @ 933 6-7-6-20 1T<br>@ 1.727v under load</td><td align="center" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="33%">7-7-6 Stable Overclock
click for full size...
oc-3.png
<br>OCZ Blade @ 1006 7-7-6-20 1T<br>@ 1.727v under load</td><td align="center" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="33%">7-8-7 Stable Overclock
click for full size...
oc-4.png
<br>OCZ Blade @ 1023 7-8-7-20 1T<br>@ 1.751v vDIMM under load</td></tr></table></center>
 
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3oh6

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Benchmark Methodology

Benchmark Methodology

<p style="text-align: justify;">As we just outlined in the stability testing section, these modules do not come with an XMP profile, nor can we simply set a memory ratio to run them at the specified DDR3-2000. This means that we really don't have a stock setup to work with. We have also decided to do things a little differently with this kit of memory for the benchmark comparisons today.<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/method-1.png" alt="Just a sample graph outlining where the results will be coming from in the up-coming benchmarks" style="float: right; margin: 4px 0px 4px 7px"> Instead of comparing similar high clocks, we wanted to see just what kind of difference we get from memory at industry standards from entry level to mid-range to high-end. Here is how our testing setups break down. At the low end we will set the memory to run at DDR3-1333 with 7-7-7 timings. These results will be indicated by the color <b>blue</b> in the graphs. This is a common entry level timing set and frequency for triple channel DDR3 kits.

The next memory set will be run at DDR3-1600 with 8-8-8 timings. Again, this is an industry standard with very reasonably priced memory kits falling into this category. The results will be represented with the color <b>grey</b> in the graphs. Our first set of <b>red</b> results will be from the OCZ Blade at their specified frequency and timings. Now, in order to run these all head to head with the same CPU frequency, we had to raise base clock in order to reach DDR3-2000. So in reality, we will be comparing DDR3-1428 7-7-7-24 to DDR3-1720 8-8-8-24 to DDR3-2000 7-8-7-20, all at the same CPU frequency of 3287MHz or 3.3GHz. This should lead to some interesting results as we cover the entire gamut of standard memory clocks.

We have also thrown in results from the OCZ Blade memory at the impressive 7-7-6 overclock that we were able to achieve in the stable overclocking section. These second set of <b>red</b> results in the graph will depict performance at DDR3-2000 with 7-7-6-20 timings and the CPU frequency bumped up to 4.2GHz. To ensure an accurate comparison, here is how we prepare our OS for the benchmarking.
  1. Windows Vista x64 w/SP1 is installed using a full format
  2. Intel Chipset drivers and accessory hardware drivers (audio, network, GPU) are installed followed by a defragment and a reboot
  3. At time of benchmarks the latest drivers were downloaded from their official web sites as the latest drivers, most notable, NVIDIA GeForce Release 185.85 WHQL
  4. Programs and games are then installed followed by another defragment
  5. Windows updates are then completed installing all available updates followed by a defragment
  6. Benchmarks are each ran three times after a clean reboot for every iteration of the benchmark unless otherwise stated, the results are then averaged
</p>
 
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3oh6

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Memory Benchmarks

Memory Benchmarks



Everest Ultimate v4.60<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>Everest Ultimate is the most useful tool for any and all benchmarkers or overclockers. With the ability to read most voltage, temperature, and fan sensors on almost every motherboard available, Everest provides the ability to customize the outputs in a number of forms for display on your desktop. In addition to this, the memory benchmarking provides a useful tool of measuring the changes to your memory sub-system when tweaking to measure the differences. Unfortunately with the i7 processors, the results aren't always consistent and we can receive variations as much as 1000MB/s at any given time. Because of this we use multiple runs and drop any of the "high" scores from the averages.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/mem_bench-1.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">With the comparison setups we chose today, we should see a rather consistent progressive increase in memory bandwidth from top to bottom and that is the case with Everest Ultimate. The overclocked setup at 4.2GHz and DDR3-2000 with 7-7-6 timings really stands out. It isn't often we crack 25K in copy bandwidth in a review so it is already apparent that this kit is something special. Here are the latency results from Everest Ultimate.</p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/mem_bench-2.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">As with the bandwidth, the latency results show a progressive decrease from top to bottom. This again is what we should be seeing based on the different setups tested. There is definitely a drastic difference between entry-level memory and high-end memory. The bandwidth and latency results are showing that. The real question will be how much of a difference that equates to in real life applications.</p>

SiSoft Sandra 2009.SP2<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>SiSoft Sandra is a popular and well used benchmark in the industry but not really a friend of serious benchmarkers. The results SiSoft Sandra produces have been suspect at times basing the numbers it comes up with on system specs and not actual testing. The latest version of Sandra seems to be one of the few programs that appear to calculate memory bandwidth consistently so we decided to include it in today’s benchmarks. Like we have always said with SiSoft Sandra though, take these results for what they are and nothing more.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/mem_bench-3.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">SiSoft Sandra appears to agree with Everest Ultimate when discussing memory bandwidth. The higher clocked memory always trumps the lower clocked setup and higher CPU clocks enhance memory bandwidth even further. We may not like Sandra as a memory benchmark but in this case, the results are equal to that of the more trusted Everest.</p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/mem_bench-4.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">The pattern continues as it should here in Sandra latency land. We didn't expect any different and are happy that we didn't have any results stand out that needed further investigation.</p>

ScienceMark v2<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>ScienceMark is an almost ancient benchmark utility at this point in time and hasn't seen an update in a long time. It is, however, still a favorite for accurately calculating bandwidth on even the newest chipsets.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/mem_bench-5.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">The final word in memory bandwidth is ScienceMark and again, we reached a new level in bandwidth with this kit of memory and the 1000MHz 7-7-6 setup. This is the first time we cracked 20K in ScienceMark and are still impressed every time we run a benchmark with this memory at DDR3-2000 7-7-6. This will become very apparent a little later on when we <i>really</i> benchmark this memory. Consider these pages the warm up.

With Goliath clearly laying the boots to David in bandwidth testing, let's see how this performance advantage to higher clocks effects some synthetic and real world benchmarks aimed at overall system performance.</p>
 
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3oh6

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System Benchmarks

System Benchmarks



SuperPi Mod v1.5<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>When running the 32M benchmark of SPi, we are calculating Pi to 32 million digits and timing the process. Obviously more CPU power helps in this intense calculation, but the memory sub-system also plays an important role, as does the operating system. SPi 32M has been a favorite amongst benchmarks for these very reasons and is admittedly the favorite benchmark of this reviewer.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/sys_bench-1.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Here is where memory starts to flex its muscle. SuperPi 32M loves memory bandwidth and naturally, performs better with higher clocks and tighter timings. It is no wonder we were able to shave 11 seconds off the DDR3-1600 time and over 22 seconds off the DDR3-1333 result simply by running the OCZ Blade memory at its stock settings. This benchmark does not correlate to every day system use, but SuperPi 32M is an institution in the benchmarking and overclocking community. Memory like the OCZ Blade PC3-16000 is an almost must have to really push SuperPi 32M these days. This will become absolutely apparent in the last section of our review today, the extreme benchmarking and overclocking section.</p>

PCMark Vantage<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>The latest iteration of the popular system benchmark is PCMark Vantage from the Futuremark crew. The PCMark series has always been a great way to either test specific areas of a system or to get a general over view of how your system is performing. For our results, we simply run the memory benchmark suite which involves a wide range of tests on primarily associated with media management and testing.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/sys_bench-2.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">To illustrate our point about memory performance not really relating to real world performance, we will use the PCMark Vantage memory results. The difference in score from our DDR3-1428 results to the DDR3-2000 7-8-7 results is only 4%. This is a very small variation considering the prices of the various types of memory kits involved. Of course, PCMark is just a synthetic benchmark and the validity of its results as a real world representative is easily questioned, but we have some more benchmarks coming up that are as real world as it gets. So we will find out just how close this 4% gain in performance in PCMark Vantage is to the real world.</p>

DivX Converter v7.1<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>Next up is a real life benchmark where we simply time a common task done on the computer. Encoding DVDs for viewing on the computer or other devices is an increasingly important task that the personal computer has taken on. We will take a VOB rip of the movie Office Space, and convert it into DivX using the default 720P setting of the new DivX converter v7.1.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/sys_bench-3.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Okay, first up in the "real world" results is the DivX conversion from DVD VOB files to a 720P DivX movie. And would you look at that, a 5.11% gain going from our slowest memory to the fastest memory of the three setups running at 3.3GHz. This is very close to the 4% gain in performance seen in PCMark Vantage. It looks like the PCMark Vantage memory suite may be a good judge of character after all.</p>

Lame Front End<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>Un-like the DivX conversion we just looked at, Lame Front End is not multi-threaded and only utilizes a single core of a processor. This will obviously limit performance but we should still recognize significant time savings going from the stock settings to the overclocked results. We will be encoding a WAV rip of the Blackalicious album, Blazing Arrow and converting it to MP3 using the VBR 0 quality preset.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/sys_bench-4.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Apparently MP3 encoding doesn't even come close to filling the potential memory bandwidth of Core i7 and the X58 chipset. We have basically identical results right down the board, until of course we increase CPU clocks dramatically.</p>

Photoshop CS4<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>Adobe Photoshop CS4 is fully x64 compliant and ready and able to use every single CPU cycle our processor has available including the implementation of GPU support utilizing the GTX 280 in our test system. It is just a shame it can't fully utilize all 8 threads of the i7 processor yet. We have changed our Photoshop benchmark to more of a standardized test configured by DriverHeaven.net. Their Photoshop benchmark utilizes 15 filters and effects on an uncompressed 109MB .JPG image that will test not only the CPU but also the memory subsystem of our test bench. Each portion of the benchmark is timed and added together for a final time that is compared below.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/sys_bench-5.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Here we got a bit of a surprise as we were sure Photoshop would show the same 4-5% increase in performance for the higher clocked memory. In reality the overall time shows only a 1.3% gain in performance which is all but negligible. We have to mention that this test involves 15 separate tasks and on most of them the gains were marginal, but a few tasks show much higher performance gains with the higher clocked memory. It appears that only on certain tasks in Photoshop does memory performance equate to actual performance. With that said, not a single task showed more than a 7% gain in performance between the three equal CPU clocked systems.</p>

WinRAR 3.80<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>We all know what WinRAR is and does. It is a compression and decompression tool that has a built in benchmark, a way to tell just how fast a system can do this programs given task. We simply run the benchmark up to 500MB processed and time how long it takes.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/sys_bench-6.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Our biggest performance increase from higher clocked memory comes from the last system benchmark that we are looking at today. The overall performance gain in WinRAR comes out to over 11% going from the lowest memory clocks to the highest. Further gains are obviously had by the higher CPU clocked setup but amongst the first three result sets, we can see that WinRAR compression heavily relies on memory performance.

Today's benchmarks were not so much about the OCZ Blade memory we are reviewing today, but more about general memory performance. We learned some things today and also found that memory performance may or may not improve the performance of everyday tasks. There is still a few results to look at so let's get those out of the way, then we can summarize what we have seen.</p>
 
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3oh6

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3D/Gaming Benchmarks

3D/Gaming Benchmarks



Futuremark 3DMark Vantage / 06<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>We have forced ourselves to step up to 3DMark Vantage results for all reviews because the public demands it. 3DMark Vantage is the newest in a long line of 3D benchmarking software from Futuremark and is the most elaborate to date. Featuring multiple presets for various system configurations, Vantage is the culmination of all 3DMarks past relying on system and GPU power for its results. We will stick to the Performance preset as it seems to be the most popular at this point in time. 3DMark 06 is the previous iteration of this successful 3D benchmark suite.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/3d_bench-1.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Before we get into any kind of game benchmarks, let's discuss the 3DMark 06 results. We had no idea that memory was going to play such a big role in 3DMark 06. As we mentioned earlier, we have never ran memory as low as we have today but the results are rather impressive for the higher memory clocks. The CPU frequency in the three comparable results is also rather low so perhaps with higher CPU clocks the gains in score from memory performance will be reduced, but this is still an interesting set of results for us.</p>

Crysis - Sphere benchmark<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>We all know what Crysis is and how much it beats up systems but we wanted to add it to the gaming benchmarks to see how system changes can improve performance on a mid-level system. Detail levels are all set to Very High with the resolution at 1680x1050 with no AA. We ran the benchmarks with a demo of the Sphere level in DX9 and 64-bit. The game looks great with this setup and plays just well enough to keep us happy.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/3d_bench-2.png" alt=""></center>

FarCry 2<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>Another fall release of this past silly season Far Cry 2 has some beautiful scenery but does lack that buttery smooth game play in places. A lot of moaning and groaning has occurred with FarCry 2 but acceptable frame rates are much easier to achieve than Crysis and the game play is plenty smooth enough to enjoy. We were really able to crank up the settings with this benchmark on this setup.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/3d_bench-3.png" alt=""></center>

Left 4 Dead<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>The newest game in our testing sweet, Left 4 Dead was just added after we were asked to include a Source powered game in our memory benchmarks. Being based on the Source engine, there is definitely a chance that system performance will heavily influence the results. We used FRAPs to measure frame per second on a custom time demo of the rooftop level.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/3d_bench-4.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Well...that is pretty much that. Another example of how little effect memory performance has on gaming performance. We have previously never tested this wide a spectrum of memory clocks but today we have, and the results are the same. We simply can't find any performance in gaming from memory. Obviously this isn't an exhaustive look with multiple video card setups or an extensive list of games, but we think the results accurately echo the general reality of memory performance on FPS in games.</p>
 
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3oh6

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Extreme Overclocking & Benching

Extreme Overclocking & Benching


<center><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="735px"><tr><td align="left" colspan="2">
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</td></tr></table><br /><table border="0" bgcolor="#666666" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" width="735px"><tr><td colspan="4"><b><font color="#ffffff">Test Platform:</font></b></td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Memory:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%"><b>OCZ Blade 3x2GB PC3-16000 7-8-7-20 (OCZ3B2000LV6GK)</b></td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Motherboard:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Processor:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Intel i7 920 D0 (3845B026)<br>Intel Core i7 975 Extreme Edition (3843A687 ES)</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Processor Cooling:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Chilly1 single stage phase change<br>MMouse Rev 3 CU Pot<br>w/Liquid Nitrogen</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Thermal Paste:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Arctic Silver Ceramique</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>North Bridge Cooling:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Stock</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>South Bridge Cooling:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Stock</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>PWM Cooling:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Stock</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Power Supply:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Corsair HX1000W<br>Ultra X-Pro 750W</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Video Card:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">ATI PCI Mach64<br>EVGA GTX 295 (NVIDIA GeForce 185.85 WHQL)<br>4 x XFX 4890 1GB (ATI CCC 9.5)</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Video Card Cooling:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Stock<br>Stock<br>3 x Stock, 1 x Thermalright HR03 RevA</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Additional Fans:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Scythe Ultra Kaze 120MM 3000RPM 133.6CFM (DFS123812H-3000)</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Hard Drives:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Seagate 7200.9 80GB SATAII 8MB cache</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>OS:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Windows Vista SP1 / Windows XP Pro SP2</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Ambient Temperature:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">23C ~ 25C</td></tr></table></center><p style="text-align: justify;">I obviously have quite a list of hardware above and that is because this memory has been working non-stop since it landed here in Canada. The Classified setup is reserved for sub-zero work with the CPU under either a single stage phase change cooler or liquid nitrogen. This OCZ Blade memory has quickly become my top benching kit and thus has participated in pretty much every sub-zero session in the last month. There is plenty to cover so enough chit-chat...time to show what this kit is really designed to do, bench at a world class level. We start with some 2D action, primarily SuperPi 32M, but with a 1M tucked in there for good measure. Currently this kit has powered a top 10 globally ranked HWBot.org 32M with the i7 975 processor in addition to absolutely shattering my previous i7 920 32M record. Those screen shots can be seen below:</p><center><table align="center" bgcolor="#666666" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="1" width="90%"><tr><td align="center" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="33%">SuperPi 1M
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<br>OCZ Blade @ 1059 7-8-7-20 1T</td><td align="center" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="33%">SuperPi 32M
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<br>OCZ Blade @ 1035 7-7-6-20 1T<br>Top 10 Globally @ HWBot.org</td><td align="center" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="33%">SuperPi 32M
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<br>OCZ Blade @ 1010 7-7-6-20 1T<br>i7 920 32M World Record</td></tr></table></center><p style="text-align: justify;">A couple of these benchmarks were originally shown here at Hardware Canucks in our i7 975 overclocking article. In fact, you can see plenty more impressive results from this memory in our Summer Road Trip With the Intel Core i7 975 EE. This memory was also put through its paces for SuperPi 32M stability in a forum OC Report. That OC Report can be found in the HardwareCanucks.com Forums. Here is the chart of the final results from that OC Report of this OCZ Blade PC3-16000 kit:</p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/xocss-4.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">As we can see, this kit excels at single 32M SuperPi stability. Cracking 110MHz at 7-8-7 isn't exactly common place and almost reaching 32M stability at DDR3-1000 with 6-7-6 timings is something very few kits can claim. That is the best part about a kit of memory like the PC3-16000 OCZ Blades, our sample is a benchmarkers dream kit of memory in addition to holding their own in the world of 24/7 overclocking as we saw earlier.</p><center><table align="center" bgcolor="#666666" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="1" width="90%"><tr><td align="center" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="33%">Single 32M @ 6-7-6
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</td><td align="center" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="33%">Single 32M @ 7-7-6
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</td><td align="center" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="33%">Single 32M @ 7-8-7
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</td></tr></table></center><p style="text-align: justify;">The screen shots just above are from the OC Report with the best result from the three timing sets tested. The rest of the screen shots can be seen in the OC Report itself.</p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/ocz/ocz3b2000lv6gk/xsetup-9.jpg" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Let's wrap up this impressive Extreme Overclocking & Benching section with the last of our results with this kit. This time with in the 3D world of things showing off what 4x4890's or a single GTX 295 can do at high CPU clocks and a killer kit of memory.</p><center><table align="center" bgcolor="#666666" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="1" width="90%"><tr><td align="center" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="33%">3DMark 05 - Single GTX 295
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<br>OCZ Blade @ 1107 7-8-7-20 1T</td><td align="center" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="33%">3DMark 05 - 4 x 4890
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<br>OCZ Blade @ 1077 7-8-7-20 1T<br>Top 20 Globally @ HWBot.org</td><td align="center" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="33%">3DMark 06 - 4 x 4890
click for full size...
xocss-7.png
<br>OCZ Blade @ 1035 7-8-7-20 1T<br>Top 25 Globally @ HWBot.org</td></tr></table></center><p style="text-align: justify;">This is just the tip of the iceberg with this memory. As mentioned, I will be using these OCZ Blade sticks for all my future benching as they are far and away the best kit I have had the pleasure of laying my hands on. They won't be ran 24/7, that would be like driving a Formula 1 car on city streets...it belongs on the track, as do these PC3-16000 OCZ Blades.</p>
 
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