OCZ PC2-8500 Reaper HPC Review - Reaping Through Competition

Memory by thorgal @ 2007-05-31

When OCZ introduces a new enthusiast series, we like to take it out for a spin. Today we test a brand new PC2-8500 Reaper HPC module and compare its performance to 9 other high end contestants. Can the new sibling from OCZ differentiate itself in the crowded DDR2 market? Let´s find out.

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Specs & Another new cooling design


As we mentioned before, these modules are near the absolute top of the entire OCZ memory product catalogue, and these are the complete specifications:

Madshrimps (c)

  • 1066MHz DDR2
  • Latencies : 5-5-5-15 (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS)
  • nVidia EPP certified
  • 240pin DIMM
  • Parity : Unbuffered
  • Reaper HPC heatsink
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Operating voltage : 2.3 Volts
  • EVP (Extended Voltage Protection) : 2.35V ±5%
  • Memory size : 2x 1024Mb

    A new heat spreader design

    Have a look at the design of the Reaper HPC series :

    Madshrimps (c)

    OCZ really surprised me with the Reaper HPC series - and I mean this in a positive way. When I first saw the pictures of the modules in the PR soap around Cebit, my first impression was: "oh well, another heat spreader design". When they arrived on the doorsteps however, I had to revise my first impression: I can assure you the memory looks very classy indeed.

    As you can see, the memory is clothed in all black: the ribbed heatsink is painted in a classy matte black, with a shiny silver OCZ logo in the middle of the heat spreader. The embossed OCZ logo really shines here, but don't forget to remove the plastic cover on the logo when you unpack the logo (like I did at first ;-) ). The heatsink consists out of two (or three if you like) parts: the bottom one covering the normal height memory PCB and chips, the top part floating above the PCB and connected by two shiny copper tubes.

    The technology behind the Reaper HPC series is all in the last three letters of the name HPC. The letter combination stands for Heat Pipe Conduit. The heat that is transferred from the memory chips on the PCB to the heatspreaders on the modules themselves, is in other words transferred by Heat Pipe Technology to the second (top) part of the heatspreader. To increase the surface area of the heatsink, the bottom heatsink is equipped with some ribs; while the above part is equipped with finlike extensions that are meant to improve the conductive heat transfer from the modules to the surrounding air (click the thumbs below for a better view).

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

    The implementation of heat spreaders in memory cooling is surprisingly enough quite new. Thermalright did the same thing with their new HR-07 memory cooler which we reviewed quite recently, but before that the implementation of heatpipes was restricted to "heavy duty" cpu and gpu coolers, and the occasional northbridge or mosfet on some enthusiast motherboards.

    One thing with heatpipe coolers that is often not mentioned is the fact that heatpipes in themselves are only a means to transport heat away from the hot medium, heatpipes don't actually cool anything. For the cooling itself one still has to rely on the surface area of the heatsink to which the heatpipes are connected, to transport the heat to the surrounding air. AIR is indeed the big word in this kind of cooling solution, and to be able to cool efficiently, the air has to move as well. In other words, to complete the efficient cooling story one needs fans as well. In this case, when we want to cool memory, we need case fans to provide the necessary cool air inside the case and to stimulate airflow to carry the heat away from the modules to the outside of your case once again. Without airflow, the high voltage rating of these memory modules could cause them to malfunction sooner rather than later, something you should obviously avoid.

    Now for the back of the modules:

    Madshrimps (c)

    The front is definitely the "chocolate" side of the heat spreaders, the back is a simple copy of the front without the OCZ logo (a pity that is), and with access to the screws which fasten the heatsinks on both sides of the PCB to one another. The warranty sticker with the specifications of the memory modules actually covers one of the screws to remove the heatsink, so you can't "accidentally" remove them to see what lies beneath. No need to mention I guess that removing the heatsinks will void your warranty...

    On with the review, some benchmarking next ->
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