OCZ 2GB PC6400 Special Ops Edition Urban Elite Review

Memory by thorgal @ 2006-12-11

For those that do not want to break the bank just for a pair of performance memory sticks, we´ve got a promising PC6400 DDR2 kit from OCZ, let´s find out how it stacks up to the competition.

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Test setup - overclocking

Test setup

Let's have a look at our test setup, which we use for all our memory reviews on the Intel side of things:

Test Setup

Madshrimps (c)
CPU Intel E6700 Core 2 Duo
Cooled by Tuniq Tower 120
Mainboard Asus P5B-Deluxe/wifi AP (modded)
Memory 2x 1Gb Generic PC4300 Ram (4-4-4-15)
2x 1Gb OCZ PC6400 Special Ops Edition Urban Elite
2x 1Gb Mushkin PC8000 Redline
2x 1Gb OCZ PC8500Pt SLI/EPP
2x 1Gb Team Group PC6400 "333"
2x 1Gb Corsair Dominator PC8888C4
Sapphire X1950XTX
LG DVD-rom drive
Wester Digital Raptor WD800 SATA
OCZ Powerstream 600 Watt PSU

As we explained in our previous reviews, the "Generic PC4300" module is a 533Mhz part with quite basic timings, at the time of writing. This "Generic" module does not really exist: we constructed this module with the Corsair Dominator modules, but slowed the modules down to 533 Mhz DDR with (relatively) slow timings. The timings we "arranged" are 4-4-4-15 timings. You might wonder why we chose exactly this speed and these timings. We could have picked an even slower part with PC3200 speeds or 5-5-5 timings, but than again, these modules are barely available anymore. The cheapest memory kits you can find nowadays are almost all capable of doing 533Mhz with 4-4-4 timings, so in our opinion, this seemed like a nice performance base to compare our memory kits with.

Test methodology

Every module we test, except for the above mentioned generic module, was put to the test at five different speeds:

  • PC6400 - 800Mhz performance, at the best possible timings
  • PC8500 - 1066Mhz performance, at the best possible timings*
  • Maximum cas 3 performance
  • Maximum cas 4 performance
  • Maximum cas 5 performance

    *1066 Mhz is tested only for the modules for which this is possible, in this case the modules were not capable of reaching this speed, so the 1066Mhz performance is omitted from this review.

    For the 800Mhz and 1066Mhz tests, settings are very simple: in bios only the memory speed was turned up to the appropriate setting, while front side bus (FSB) and cpu speed (and multiplier) remained at the stock settings of 266FSB and 2.66Ghz respectively.

    The maximum cas "x" performance is measured at other than stock cpu and FSB settings, to be able to give the memory sufficient bandwidth, and to play down the influence of the cpu in comparison to the memory. In our tables on page 8 you'll see that the cpu speeds and FSB setting is always mentioned at the bottom, so please bare that in mind when comparing the results. So to be clear: results cannot be directly compared, as the cpu/Fsb factor accounts for a certain % of the performance shown.

    For the cas 3 setting we test with a CPU multiplier of 9, and a memory divider of 4:5 or 667Mhz in bios. For the cas 4 and 5 setting we test with an CPU multiplier of 8, and a memory divider of 2:3 or 800Mhz.

    Overclocking performance

    The goal of this section of the review is to look how far the modules are willing to go. For this we played around with different memory latencies a bit, to end up with the best cas 3, cas 4 and cas 5 performance of these particular modules.

    In our experience so far, Orthos is the most demanding stability test we can run. Orthos is the dual core version of the better known Stress Prime 2004, or SP2004 in short. Even when all tests succeeded, Orthos testing would sometimes fail. On the other hand, when Orthos succeeded in running for about 1/2 hour, other tests would (almost) never become a problem.

    As the specifications on the previous pages pointed out, the Urban Elite kit is rated to work at speeds of 800Mhz at 4-4-3-15 timings. Let's start with these rated timings, and see how far the modules can be overclocked at a cas setting of 4 cycles.

    We're very pleased to announce that the OCZ PC6400 Urban Elite was able to get up to 962Mhz DDR on the standard timings, a more than 20% overclock ! The voltage at which the modules reached this setting was still only 2.15V, nicely within warranty.
    Next up is the cas 5 setting, where the performance was the most impressive in my opinion : the PC6400 reached a speed of 1059Mhz with 5-5-5-15 (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS) timings, falling just a few mhz short of the "magical" 1066Mhz mark. This was still within the warranted voltage of 2.2V, and provides a significant boost in performance, as we'll see later on. Albeit on a little slower timings, the memory speed increased by over 32%. Additionally, we did reach the 1066Mhz mark but it was not completely Orthos stable, however, most benchmark tests were able to complete with 1066Mhz as well.

    Finally, at the cas 3 setting, the PC6400 reached 740Mhz setting at timings of 3-3-3-15, 2.15V. This was a rather difficult latency to play with, just because they proved my stability testing wrong for the first time. The memory kit proved Orthos stable up to 740Mhz, but not 3DMark or PCMark stable at all at these speeds. The highest stable memory speed overall was 692Mhz DDR, what makes this kit in my opinion rather unsuited for cas 3 operation, especially when you look at the excellent cas 4 and 5 results.

    Below are the screenshots of the Orthos runs at the maximum memory speeds we achieved, for the different cas and system settings.

    Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

    Left to right (click to open) : Maximum CAS3, CAS4, CAS5

    On to the benchmark results now ->
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    Comment from jort @ 2006/12/11
    great review thorgal nicely written and edited john