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Super Talent Project X 2x1GB DDR3 PC3-14400 Review

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3oh6

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Super Talent Project X 2x1GB DDR3 PC3-14400 Review



Price: $432.60 USD eWiz.com
Availability: Available through special order from NCIX
Manufacturer's Part Number: W1800UX2GP
Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty



You are located in central California, just south of San Francisco. The weather is always nice, the location is perfect, and business couldn't be better. Flash memory is taking off like the latest shuttle launch and DRAM memory requirements are always rising. With over 160 patents in memory technology & manufacturing under your belt and over 20 years of success dating back to the days as MA Labs, you have evolved into the single largest memory module production manufacturer located in North America. You are none other than, Super Talent Technology Inc..

Always at the leading edge of DRAM technology, it was no surprise to see the press releases this past summer from Super Talent regarding DDR3 modules. Then in the early fall, the new heat sink design was announced and their top-end DDR3 modules were outfitted sporting the new design. With increased surface area and increased mass, Super Talent aimed to further push the DRAM cooling envelope with the Project X memory heat sink.

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The DDR3 market is growing steadily now that DDR3 motherboards have entered their second generation of compatible Intel chipsets and is predicted to make the turn to mainstream sometime in 2007. Back when DDR2 was first introduced , prices were astronomically high and look where they are now. The same appears to be holding true with DDR3 and the high prices appear to be taking that first step in coming down. Also like DDR2, some of the highest performance memory kits were released early on and continue to hold their own today. Super Talent is again at the front of that effort to push the envelope with the W1800UX2GP Project X DDR3-1800 Cl7 2GB kit that we will be test driving today. So buckle up, hold on to the roll cage, and prepare to be launched into the elite world of high frequency, low latency DDR3 memory!
 
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3oh6

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Specifications

Specifications:
<p style="text-align: justify;"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/specs-1.jpg" alt="Super Talent Project X PC3-14400 7-7-7 specifications" style="float: left; margin: 4px 7px 4px 0px">There isn't a whole lot to cover when it comes to memory specifications as everything can be summed up in a couple easy lines of acronyms and numbers. The one thing worth discussing is the fact that those not familiar with DDR3 memory timings are going to think that 7-7-7 is very loose when compared to DDR or even DDR2 timings. The reality is that DDR3 memory runs at such a high frequency when compared to DDR/DDR2 memory. Being rated for 7-7-7-21 timings at 900MHz or an effective DDR3-1800, these Project X modules are considered to be extremely low latency modules.

The graphic on the left outlines the specifications for these modules and one item that stands out is the fact that these modules are comprised of only 8 ICs which is something we saw on in a previous OCZ Platinum DDR3 review here at Hardware Canucks.com. This again means that only one side of the modules is populated with 128MB ICs leaving us with a 1024MB or 1GB stick of memory. Of course, these modules are only sold in a 2x1Gb configuration making this a 2GB kit of memory.

We have speculated in the past about which ICs are powering DDR3 memory but the timings, frequency, and density of the Project X memory all points to these modules being populated with Micron D9GTR or even D9GTS ICs. <img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/specs-3.jpg" alt="The Project X heat sinks are certainly beefier than standard heat spreaders" style="float: right; width: 448px; height: 298px; margin: 4px 0px 4px 7px";>There are currently no other modules available at this time that allow DDR3 memory to run at 900MHz with 7-7-7 timings aside from the Micron D9 line of ICs. D9GTR ICs are rated for 533MHz operating frequency at CL7 with 1.5v. D9GTS is rated for 667MHz at CL9 with 1.5v. Either IC would obviously be running above specification in order to run on these modules at 900MHz and that is why the specified voltage for these modules is 2.0v. With this added voltage comes added heat and the Project X heat sink is the crowning jewel of these modules to deal with that issue.

Comprised of what looks to be cast aluminum, the Project X heat sink is quite a substantial piece of hardware. Super Talent describes the heat sinks to have "double the surface area and 106% more aluminum mass than standard heat spreaders". This extra mass and surface area is connected to the ICs backside via Super Talents "special thermal adhesive".

Despite being something never seen on Super Talent memory before, these heat sinks are far from unique taking many ques from other manufacturers heat sink design by adding added surface area with a rippled surface and added height through the means of fence-like peaks emerging from the top of the PCB. The added height is a bit of a double edge sword as we will see in the installation section shortly. For now though, let's have a closer look at these modules and the package that they come in.</p><p style="clear: left;"></p>
 

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Package & Memory Overview

Package & Memory Overview:
<p style="text-align: justify;"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/package-1.jpg" alt="Your standard molded plastic package" style="float: left; margin: 4px 7px 4px 0px"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/package-3.jpg" alt="Your standard molded plastic package" style="float: right; margin: 4px 0px 4px 7px">The Super Talent Project X memory showed up in a commonly seen package consisting of a plastic clam shell with a cardboard insert. The modules are held securely in place in the form fitted plastic shell and proudly put on display through the clear plastic.

If you have bought a kit of memory in the last three or four years, then you have likely seen this type of package. It quickly became the industry standard once heat sinks started to be the norm on performance memory and manufacturers started selling dual-channel kits back in the DDR days. There are a number of positives and not a lot of negatives to this type of package so it really isn't a surprise to see it thriving so many years later.

It has come up a couple times in enthusiast computer forums that the modules with large and heavy heatsinks have had trouble staying secure in the plastic clam shell so when this Super Talent memory arrived it was the first thing checked. The Project X modules are very secure in the clips showing no sign of getting free and going for a walk within the clam shell. Perhaps it was because the plastic shell was nice and tight holding the modules well or just the packing that Super Talent did, but either way, there was no risk of either stick coming free and being damaged. The cardboard insert simply contains some Super Talent marketing copy and no real information about the modules as this job is left to the sticker on the actual module. It would be nice to see some sort of installation and handling instructions added to the package to assist those users that may not be familiar with memory installation.</p><p style="clear: left;"></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/modules-1.jpg"> <img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/modules-2.jpg" style="clear: left;"></center><p style="text-align: justify;">As well saw through the clear plastic package, one side of the modules has a Project X sticker while the other displays the memory specifications on a Super Talent sticker proudly displaying the made in U.S.A. declaration. The sticker contains the part number, kit size, rated speed, timings, and a small UPC bar code as well as what is believed to be a serial number. The modules are covered in a flat black finish giving them a very "tough" feel when combined to the ribbed peaks along the top of the module. The project X sticker has a nice touch with the word Project being an iridescent finish to it changing colors at various angles in the light.</p>
modules-3.jpg
modules-4.jpg
<p style="text-align: justify;">Earlier versions of these Project X modules did not come with a heat sink on the back of the module but they obviously do now. It likely doesn't add any cooling performance, rather is simply there for esthetic purposes. The heat sinks on the front half of the modules are hardly just esthetic additions. The photo just above on the right shows us the thermal adhesive gripping the ICs on the one side of the module. Super Talent claims this to be some sort of special thermal material but it looks to be very similar to others seen on various modules for years. We won't be pulling the heatspreaders on these modules as the thought of destroying this expensive DDR3 memory doesn't sit well in our stomachs. We will now move on to seeing what comes up during installation of these lanky modules.</p>
modules-5.jpg
 

3oh6

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Memory Installation & Test Setup

Memory Installation & Test Setup:
<p style="text-align: justify;">Normally installation for memory is an open and shut case but with these Project X heat sinks, it won't be that simple. Let's get to some photos of the modules in two setups; the Asus Maximus Extreme and then the test setup, the Asus P5K3-Dlx.</p>
install-1.jpg
install-2.jpg
<p style="text-align: justify;">As was completely expected, the added height of these modules interferes with the Thermalright Ultra-120 when placed in the orientation facing up and down the motherboard. Moving the modules to the outside slots relieves this issue with the cooler. The other option would be to simply rotate the Thermalright Ultra-120 to be facing front to back as opposed to up and down. So even if you did want to run four Project X modules and a Thermalright Ultra-120, it is do-able on the Maximus Extreme with the cooler in front to back orientation.</p>
install-3.jpg
install-4.jpg
<p style="text-align: justify;">We now move the modules over to the motherboard that we will be testing in, the Asus P5K3-Dlx. Unlike the Maximus Extreme, the modules would actually fit in the first slot with the large Thermalright cooler but if you look down the orange slot we can see the Noctua NC-U6 north bridge cooler interfering. With stock cooling on the motherboard, all four slots would easily be useable with pretty much any CPU cooler. The second photo above simply shows that there is plenty of room with the Rosewill CPU cooler that will be affixed for testing.</p>
spd-1.png
spd-2.png
<p style="text-align: justify;">Now that the memory is installed and running, we can look at the SPD profiles that are offered. When first installing the memory in the P5K3-Dlx at BIOS defaults, there were no problems with the first boot when the motherboard is only supplying JEDEC spec of 1.5v. A problem with many DDR2 performance modules were the inability to POST with reduced voltages, this doesn't appear to be an issue with DDR3 modules. We can see on the left CPU-Z windows that there are two JEDEC profiles and two XMP profiles but they appear to be the same. Since there is an XMP profile in the SPD programming, we decided to put the sticks into an Asus Maximus Xtreme which is XMP compatible and the CPU-Z memory tab on the right shows the results. At BIOS defaults, the memory booted right up into the specified settings. Unfortunately there were some stability problems on the Maximus Extreme that is likely a motherboard issue so the rest of the review will only take place on the Asus P5K3-Dlx.</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/setup-1.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 4px 0px 5px 20px">Test Platform:
  • Motherboard: Asus P5K3-Deluxe Wifi-AP
  • Processor: Intel C2D E6850
  • Processor Cooling: Rosewill RCX-Z775-EX
  • Memory: Super Talent Project X 2x1GB DDR3-1800 7-7-7-21
  • Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower 700W
  • Video Card: Biostar 8600GTS 512MB
  • Additional Fans: 120mm Vantec Stealth SF12025L 1500RPM/50CFM
  • Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 7200.9 80GB SATAII 8MB cache
  • OS: Windows XP SP2 (with recent updates)
<p style="text-align: justify;">A small disclaimer: The motherboard used for testing the abilities of this memory has been modified to provide more voltage to the MCH (Memory Controller Hub), also known as the northbridge. This was required because the P5K3-Dlx used for testing has a limited vMCH setting in the BIOS that restricts voltage to 1.70v. Through extensive testing with this motherboard, it was proven that higher MCH voltages led to much higher memory overclocks. There are many P5K3-Dlx motherboards that clock memory better than this one but keep this information in mind when going over the results. In the screenshots in the following section, the voltages used for each overclock are outlined in a small visible text file.

The key point to remember with this memory is the fact that the system has to be overclocked rather substantially in order to run the specified frequency and timings. In order to reach 900MHz the system must be able to reach 450FSB and supply at least 2.00v for the memory. Super Talent have tested the modules prior to releasing them to retailers but not every setup is the same and any time you are running an overclocked system, some adjustments to voltages and secondary memory timings is a very likely possibility.
setup-2.jpg
</p>
 

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Stability Testing & Overclocking

Stability Testing & Overclocking:
<p style="text-align: justify;">Before we actually get to some stability testing and overclocking, let's discuss exactly what our stability testing consists of and a few thoughts on stability testing for memory in general.</p>Stability Testing Methodology:<p style="text-align: justify;">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 simply surfing the internet. To this user, stable means simply using the computer as they normally would.</p>
testing-1.jpg
<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;">The above testing is quite exhaustive and has been found to provide us with a system that is stable and willing to run a distributed computing program 24/7 or hours of gaming without interruption or failure. This method of stability testing will not only be used for testing the stability of the overclocks but also the rated specifications outlined by the manufacturer. We have added the Specification Stability Testing section in response to finding a few kits of DDR3 memory not being able to stably run the specified frequency/timings at the rated voltage.

One disclaimer for a lot of DDR3 memory is that manufacturers tend to test their modules on one specific motherboard and therefore cannot guarantee that any given module will run the specifications outlined on every system. This practice is obviously not ideal and many feel that if manufacturers cannot guarantee a module for the entire range of a given chipset, then perhaps the specifications should be lowered. With that said, let's see if the PC3-14400 Project X kit we have here today can run their rated frequency/timings at the 2.00v outlined by the Super Talent specifications on the Asus P5K3-Dlx. Super Talent has mentioned in the past that they test these modules on the Asus P5K3-Dlx (P35 based), but recently have stated that they test these modules on the Asus P5E3-Dlx (X38 based).


Specification Stability Testing:

With recent advances in DDR3 frequencies and tightening of timings, it came to our attention that a number of DDR3 memory kits were unable to perform specified frequency and timings at the rated voltage. Most memory manufacturers have outlined the setup that their particular modules are tested on before being released to the retail channels. Super Talent does not provide this information directly on their web site for this particular kit of Project X modules when looking at the specifications. If one digs further into their web site, however, you can find in the press release that "These two Project X Kits are built with the fastest available, carefully screened DRAM chips, and are hand tested as a matched pair on a dual channel Asus P5K3 Deluxe motherboard". It would definitely be nice if Super Talent took the time to validate their modules on more motherboards and posted their testing procedure for the modules in a location on the web site that is easy to find.

Here now is the result of many hours adjusting secondary and hidden memory timings with the Project X memory on our Asus P5K3-Dlx at the specified frequency of 900MHz (DDR3-1800) with 7-7-7-21 and 1.95v set in the BIOS. This particular P5K3-Dlx, as do many others, over-volts memory by 0.06v according to a calibrated UEI DM393 multi-meter when reading directly from the VDD output of an open DIMM slot with the system under load.</p>Click for full size screenshot...
<a href="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/stable_spec-1.png"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/stable_spec-1sm.png"></a>​
<p style="text-align: justify;">As we can see from the screenshot, things didn't quite go as planned. As mentioned, many hours were spent testing a great number of combinations of secondary timings available to us through the BIOS or through Memset 3.4 within Windows and at no point were we able to run dual 32M SPi or Prime v25.4. One instance of SPi would continually fail and one thread of Prime would also fail within a few minutes of running. HCI Win Memtest passed two hours with ease and the 3D Mark benchmarks had no problem looping for 30 minutes each. Increasing the voltage to 2.00v in the BIOS allowed the system to run through our stability testing without issue as we will see below but this means the memory was actually receiving 2.06v.

This really isn't that un-common as every motherboard is different and it is quite possible that Super Talent tests their modules in house without taking into consideration the over-volting nature of the P5K3-Dlx vDIMM circuit and thus, passing at 2.00v set in the BIOS like we did. In the end, this isn't the end of the world for these modules, it simply means that they are binned very tight and obviously some samples are right on the edge of specification. Yes it is disappointing but life will go on and the slightest of slight voltage bumps will make this kit completely stable at the specified frequency and timings.</p>
Stability Overclocking:<p style="text-align: justify;">It is now time to see what these modules do at more than just their specified timing sets. The decision to stay close to the specified voltage is an easy one. These DDR3 modules are still very new and it is hard to say exactly how much voltage is going to damage the Micron ICs and there have been no manufacturers offer a module at higher than 2.0v that we have seen. This would indicate that going over 2.0v isn't going to be highly recommend so we have gone up to 2.06v (A = actual) and tested for maximum overclocking ability at three timing sets, 6-6-5-18, 7-7-7-21, and 8-7-6-18. Here is the graph of how far we got:</p>
ocing-1.png
<p style="text-align: justify;">After finding out that we needed a pinch more voltage to get these modules running at the specified frequency with the tight 7-7-7 timings we weren't sure what was going to happen during the overclocking. Combine that with the fact that the rated voltage is basically all we were willing to put through these modules for 24/7 stability testing, we don't see a whole pile of overclocking headroom. Of course, when the modules are already rated for ridiculously high frequency with tight timings, you can't really expect much.

At 6-6-5 the modules performed quite well running almost up to DDR3-1600 and at 8-7-6, the modules had no problem running into the 950MHz or DDR3-1900 wall that this particular P5K3-Dlx has. This is not the first nor will it be the last kit of memory that runs into the motherboard limitation at 8-7-6 timings. The P35 chipset just isn't up to the task of getting clocks a lot higher than 950MHz but there are some fortunate souls out there with P5K3-Dlx motherboards with 970MHz running and stable. It is a real shame that the Maximus Extreme was not 100% compatible with these modules as the overclocking at 8-7-6 would have been much higher.</p>
ocing-2.jpg
<p style="text-align: justify;">You may also notice that the voltage is listed as "actual" or designated like this (A). As described in the Specification Stability Testing section, this particular Asus P5K3-Dlx over-volts memory from what is selected in the BIOS. For every overclock, we have tested the voltage to be 0.06v above what was set in the BIOS. In the screenshots below, Asus AI Suite presents the voltage that is set in the BIOS and the text file we have added, lists the actual measured voltage by the digital multi-meter.</p>Click for full size screenshot...
<a href="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/ocing-3.png"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/ocing-3sm.png"></a> <a href="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/ocing-4.png"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/ocing-4sm.png"></a> <a href="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/ocing-5.png"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/ocing-5sm.png"></a>​
 

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Benchmark Methodology

Benchmark Methodology:<p style="text-align: justify;">With the overclocking and stability testing at stock timings and frequency completed, let's turn our attention to how the memory performs at the various clocks we just looked at. For comparison sake, we have included the results from a highly overclocked DDR2 setup. Here is the hardware used for those results:</p>
  • Motherboard: Asus P5B-Deluxe Wifi-AP
  • Processor: Intel C2D E6850
  • Processor Cooling: Thermalright Ultra 120 w/AD1212MS-A73GL 2050RPM/80.5CFM
  • Memory: OCZ Reaper HPC 2x1024MB PC2-9200
  • Power Supply: Silverstone Zeus ST56ZF
  • Video Card: Biostar 8600GTS 512MB
  • Additional Fans:
    120mm AD1212MS-A73GL 2050RPM/80.5CFM
    120mm Vantec Stealth SF12025L 1500RPM/50CFM
  • Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 7200.9 80GB SATAII 8MB cache
  • OS: Windows XP SP2 (with recent updates)
This above setup will be shown as the transparent blue bar (2) in all of the benchmark graphs.<p style="text-align: justify;">The grey bar in the graphs (1) indicates the 'stock' or rated timings and frequency of the Super Talent Project X PC3-14400 memory kit. The timings are set manually in the BIOS and the FSB has to be raised to 450MHz in order to run the rated frequency of DDR3-1800. The secondary timings are all left on AUTO for these results. We lowered the multiplier to 7X for this setup as well as the DDR2 setup in order to provide results that should be attainable by most C2D based systems and provide a relatively equal comparison.<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/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"> Obviously not everyone will be running at 3.2GHz or 3.15GHz, but we figured most users would be able to relate to results much better at these CPU frequencies.

The last three red results in the graphs (3 / 4 / 5) are of the overclocked settings that we found to be stable previously. Unfortunately there is no way to change the memory frequency without adjusting FSB and CPU frequency so all the results aren't really comparable to each other, but we can use them to see what type of performance is going to be had at the various combinations of CPU/RAM frequencies and timings. The 6-6-5 frequency was raised just slightly from the 24/7 stable results and the 7-7-7 settings were clocked down to the rated frequency so we can have a direct comparison between DDR3-1600 CL6 and DDR3-1800 CL7 at a CPU frequency of 3600MHz. It should prove for some interesting numbers even though the FSB is going to be higher on the DDR3-1900 benchmarks.

The testing methodology for the results we are about to see is as follows:
a/ Windows is installed using a full format.
b/ Intel Chipset drivers and accessory hardware drivers (audio, network, GPU) are installed followed by a defragment and a reboot.
c/ Programs and games are then installed followed by another defragment.
d/ Windows updates are then completed installing all available updates including .NET Framework followed by a defragment.
e/ Benchmarks are each ran three times after a clean reboot for every iteration of the benchmark, the results are then averaged.

<img src="http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/../imagehosting/345473f770fba6d3.png" alt="Memset 3.4 showing Performance Level or tRD" style="float: left; width: 272px; height: 192px; margin: 4px 7px 4px 0px">For all results, all settings are set in the BIOS and no adjustments are made in Windows. The same theme, and other system options are identical between the two systems as well as between the overclocked results with the Super Talent Project X PC3-14400 kit. The benchmark versions are all listed in the graphs and were the most up to date versions at the time of testing.

The only other settings to note are the Performance Level (tRD) and Chipset Strap. For all benchmarks, Performance Level was manipulated to be a constant 7 and Chipset Strap remained at 266. The Performance Level setting is actually just another chipset timing known as tRD or Read Delay. A lower Performance Level setting equates to greater performance and conversely, a higher Performance Level value provides lower performance. This setting can greatly influence the results of certain benchmarks and a constant PL was determined to be the best way to go.

We have tried to outline the testing method as best we can here but if there are any further questions about settings or the OS setup, please do not hesitate to ask in the discussion thread which is linked to at the bottom of the review. So without further delay, let's see how the benchmark witnesses will influence this case.</p>
 

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Memory Benchmarks

Memory Benchmarks:<p style="text-align: justify;">It is benchmark time and there is plenty to look at so let's get started. We begin with a look at a couple bandwidth measuring programs and move on to latency.</p>
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/bench-2.png"> <img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/bench-1.png" style="margin: 108px 0 0 0;">​
<p style="text-align: justify;">The obvious stand-out is the fact that the Project X modules at their rated frequency and timings absolutely destroy the DDR2 setup clocked to DDR2-1200 in all bandwidth tests. The FSB on the rated Project X results is 450MHz versus the 400MHz for the DDR2 setup which helps in bandwidth but the CPU frequency is lower. Moving down the graph and looking at the various overclocked numbers, we can see that Read bandwidth in Everest cracks 12k and comes awfully close to 10k in SiSoft Sandra. Overall the numbers are quite impressive and appear to scale evenly with increased memory frequency, regardless of timings.</p>
bench-3.png
bench-5.png
<p style="text-align: justify;">The bandwidth trend continues into the Science Mark results with both 7-7-7 timing sets of the Project X outperforming the 6-6-5 numbers, even with CPU frequency the same. Again, in order to run 900MHz, a FSB of 450MHz has to be obtained and this will influence the bandwidth results a little bit but that is the nature of the beast. A new addition to the memory results is the inclusion of just the PC Mark 05 memory bench results. Like the bandwidth results, everything scales appropriately with the exception of the grey stock results not out-performing the 6-6-5 numbers with a higher CPU frequency. This would indicate the fact that CPU frequency influences the PC Mark 05 memory benchmark rather heavily.</p>
bench-4.png
<p style="text-align: justify;">Moving away from bandwidth numbers we land on the SiSoft Sandra and Everest latency results. The latency results of the top three timing sets are almost identical and as the memory frequency and CPU frequency go up, latency goes down according to Everest and Sandra. There are no real surprises here so let's move on to some more benchmark results that rely on the memory sub-system and overall system performance.</p>
 

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System Benchmarks

System Benchmarks:<p style="text-align: justify;">We will first look at PC Mark 05 and the built in WinRAR system benchmark. PC Mark 05 doesn't inherently focus on the memory system for results but it will give us a good feel for the overall system performance of the various setups. WinRAR on the other hand is heavily influenced by memory frequency and timings giving us a good comparison between performance with the results at the same CPU frequency.</p>
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/bench-6.png"> <img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/bench-7.png">​
<p style="text-align: justify;">Nothing really stands out in the PC Mark results which was to be expected. The most telling comparisons are between the first two results (gray and blue bars) and the first and second red results which are both at the same CPU frequency. Both show very little difference and the DDR2 setup actually scores higher, no doubt from its higher 50MHz of CPU frequency. The WinRAR results are very telling and really do outline the performance differences between the various memory setups. The DDR2 setup clearly lags behind despite its advantage in CPU frequency and as the DDR3 frequencies go up, the times come down quite drastically.</p>
bench-8.png
bench-9.png
<p style="text-align: justify;">The last of the benchmarks in this section are the SuperPi results in both the 1M and 32M calculation. Like WinRAR, SuperPi heavily relies on the memory sub-system and the results indicate this. The 1M results are more an indication of the memory latency and the 32M results tend to echo bandwidth results. It is interesting to see the very tight differences between the 3600MHz times in and gap between the first two results in the 32M calculation. SuperPi seems to indicate quite a fight between 800MHz at 6-6-5 and 900MHz at 7-7-7 which wasn't really evident in the bandwidth results despite SuperPi being sensitive to FSB like the bandwidth results. This was a bit un-expected and can't really be explained at this time. The results were tested and re-tested with no difference though so there is nothing amiss in the numbers. Let's now move on to the limited 3D results in the next section.</p>
 

3oh6

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3D/Gaming Benchmarks

3D/Gaming Benchmarks:<p style="text-align: justify;">If history is any kind of indicator, the 3D results won't show a whole lot of change amongst the memory sets, even with the CPU frequency differences.</p>
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/bench-10.png">​
<p style="text-align: justify;">As expected, there aren't a lot of differences between the results but a consistent theme from top to bottom is that the DDR2 setup does come out ahead of the Project X at the stock results. This is likely due to the small CPU frequency difference but none-the-less, they are almost identical results. Now, this may be more of a difference between the two motherboards and chipsets but it does beg the question, where exactly is DDR3 better if it doesn't even show up in 3D Mark?</p>
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/supertalent/projectx14400/bench-11.png">​
<p style="text-align: justify;">Much like the 3D Mark series, the differences in performance amongst results at the same CPU frequency are almost non-existent in Half-Life 2. You may be wondering why there aren't more gaming results and that is a simple answer, because memory plays a very miniscule role in gaming performance as these results show. Keep in mind that the Source engine is one of few games that really use system resources and not strictly graphics processor power. With the differences being so small here at only 1024x768, it is obvious that most other GPU intensive games show even less difference to memory frequency and timings.</p>
 

3oh6

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Conclusion

Conclusion:<p style="text-align: justify;">Today's journey through the Super Talent world of Project X DDR3 certainly was an interesting one. These modules are rated for the highest frequency and tightest timings for DDR3 modules available at this time and the new Project X heat sinks make them stand out from the crowd. There is however a few minor and one fairly major setback that can't be overlooked.</p>
conclusion-1.jpg
<p style="text-align: justify;">Despite the motherboard that testing was performed on being more than capable of handling the specifications of this memory, and being the same motherboard model used for factory testing, it did take higher than rated voltage in order to run the specified frequency and timings. Not being able to run fully stable at the rated DDR3-1900 7-7-7-21 at 2.00v isn't the end of the world as was mentioned earlier but is something that does linger heavily over this memory. When a manufacturer outlines the rated frequency, timings, and voltage of memory, all kits sent out absolutely need to run the specifications with ease, this is what we pay for when buying highly binned memory like the Project X modules. The fact that they were un-able to run the specifications means the extra cost isn't being justified.

With that said, the performance of what this memory is capable of definitely surpasses most if not all DDR2 memory at 24/7 settings and easily out-performs any DDR2 setup for benchmarking. DDR3 memory is proving to be a very nice performance upgrade from DDR2 but only in certain areas. The lack of gains to be had in gaming really doesn’t entice people to make the jump to DDR3 as a large number of enthusiasts are primarily interested in gaming. Right now, their money is still much better spent in higher end graphics processors or even CPU power. For those into encoding, design, and number crunching, memory does play a heavy role in performance and right now, nothing can touch performance DDR3 like the Super Talent Project X modules.


Pros:
  • Excellent heat sinks providing plentiful cooling
  • Esthetically they add another dimension to a setup
  • Amongst the highest rated DDR3 memory on the market right now
  • DDR3 performance in certain applications easily surpasses DDR2

Cons:
  • The same heat sinks that provide the cooling may also interfere with some setups
  • The high ratings mean very little over-head for further overclocking
  • This particular sample didn't actually run spec and required higher voltage indicating very tight binning by Super Talent
  • Price of these modules is higher than some PC3-12800 kits on top of the overall high price of DDR3
  • Absolutely zero Super Talent presence in Canada, a combination of manufacturer and retailers at fault


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We like to hear feedback here at Hardware Canucks so feel free to bring up any questions or comments in the Discussion thread for the Super Talent Project X PC3-14400.


Review by: Jody Bailey
 
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