OCZ DDR3 PC3-16000 Flex II Water Cooled Memory Review

Memory by thorgal @ 2008-08-21

Today we take a look at OCZ latest addition to the Flex series : the Flex II DDR3 kit. As a matter of fact, this is our first DDR3 review in the house - better late than never I suppose - so have a look what DDR3 water cooled at 2Ghz can bring to your doorstep.

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The OCZ Flex II 2Ghz kit


The OCZ Flex II series are a departure from the "good old" memory blisters OCZ has used for such a long time, and what you'll find on the shelf is actually a nice, sturdy, white paper box with part of the modules pictured upon it, and the Flex II name printed on the side. Have a look:

Madshrimps (c)

There's more to it than just the white box though, and OCZ has done their best to give you a pleasant buying experience. At the front there's a flap you can fold open, a bit like many recent motherboard box designs. Upon opening the flap you can see the modules in all their glory. Seems that OCZ did not forget about the good old blister after all, they included the box not because of the memory itself, but because of the add-ons... seems that reviewers complaints are listened to once in a while, so OCZ decided to add all the necessary gear for water-cooling the modules in the box. More on that on the next page.

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)
Packaging, and it's contents

The real deal

First of all, a word about the manufacturer who was kind enough to lend the Flex for a spin:

OCZ is one of the premier manufacturers of memory modules, and one of the biggest players on the international market. OCZ technology was founded in 2000 and has established quite a name for producing high end ram products, especially among the enthusiast community. Since early 2004, OCZ also produces high-end power supplies, and at the beginning of 2007, nVidia Graphic Cards were added, starting with their flag ship model, the 8800GTX. In 2007, OCZ also has put a new focus on cooling products, by introducing some eye-catching cpu-coolers. Recently OCZ acquired PC Power & Cooling, a high end PSU manufacturer, and Hypersonic, a (very) high-end system builder. Until now, memory remains the most important branch in OCZ's product catalogue, and as such we're lucky to test some of their ram today.

Madshrimps (c)

Above you can see the module in all its glory. They feature a striking new design, not unlike the first flex modules which we reviewed here (DDR2-PC9200) and here (DDR2-PC6400), but different enough to warrant a new suffix to the name.

As looks go, these modules are in my opinion a step up from the original Flex series. The matte black heatspreaders suite them well, and there's a nice cap over the water-cooling barbs now which gives them a more finished look. On top of the heatspreaders the fins have been made smaller, and there are a lot more of them too, resulting in more surface area to dissipate the heat and (theoretically at least) increase overclockability. The silver "plating" with the OCZ logo at the side makes for a nice finish of a promising product: the modules just breathe performance, let's hope they don't disappoint.

Meanwhile, the cooling principles of the Flex modules have not changed: give the user the option to run the memory on water-cooling, or air cooling, as he/she chooses. Specced performance should be reached on air cooling (provided you have enough airflow in your case), with water-cooling providing you with a little extra.

This is what OCZ has to say about the new cooling system:

The new OCZ Flex II XLC (Xtreme Liquid Convention) heatsink delivers superior heat dissipation via the integrated pure aluminium heatsink and dedicated double liquid cooling channels directly over the module's ICs. The Flex II module was engineered with this unique "flexible" design to give enthusiasts the unparalleled option to run the modules passively or water cooled. The concurrent use of both technologies promotes maximum heat dissipation and pushes thermal management of memory modules one step further to keep up with the ever-increasing frequency demands. Flex II modules seamlessly co-migrate with any system upgrade to liquid cooling.

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)
Modules close ups

Last but not least, let's have a look at the specifications that OCZ provides on its website :

  • 2000MHz DDR3 (PC16000)
  • Latencies : 8-8-8-30-2T (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS-CR)
  • Operating voltage : 1.9 Volts
  • Overvoltage protection (EVP) : 1.95Volts
  • Watercooling barbs for 3/8" or 1/2" ID tubing
  • 240pin DIMM
  • Parity : Unbuffered
  • OCZ Lifetime Warranty
  • Memory size : 2x 1024Mb

    Except for some very rare modules that have a 2100Mhz rating, 2000Mhz is the top frequency that DDR3 provides, for now anyway. The reason for this is actually not primarily DDR3 related, as my guess is frequencies could go up still, but they are motherboard related, as even with a memory divider of 1:2 (double the front side bus), you'd still need 500FSB on your motherboard to reach the base specification of these modules. As you'll see, this is more difficult than you'd expect.

    Installation on the next page...>
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    Comment from jmke @ 2008/08/21