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thorgal 24th January 2009 14:00

Triple Channel DDR3 Memory Roundup Coming Up
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As some of you might know, doing a roundup of any kind of hardware takes a lot of preparation... and most of all : time. As a matter of fact, preparations have started in september 2008 already, before the launch of the i7 platform. We managed to get most manufacturers on board, and are currently awaiting the last kits to arrive. It's taking longer than we expected, but patience will be rewarded, I assure you.

For this roundup, we decided to ask Manufacturers for PC12800 or 1600Mhz memory, as this is kind of a sweet spot for the i7 platform. It allows us to run 200bclk with a 2:8 memory multiplier, something that would bring a Core i7 920 up to and beyond 4Ghz. For memory sizes we decided on 6Gb kits, as 3Gb kits are more of a pure "benchmarking" thing, it will give you better overclocks, but as yesterdays DDR2 sweet spot already was 4Gb, we decided not to reduce the amount of memory we use but take it up to 6Gb instead. Subsequently, Vista 64bit is the OS of choice. Because of this choice, Kingston decided not to enter our roundup, as they did not have 6Gb PC12800 kits available, at the time of writing.

So which manufacturers are in ? We count our blessings, because these are the ones that have promised a kit:
- Geil
- Qimonda-Aeneon
- Patriot
- G.Skill
- Crucial
- Mushkin

Corsair had promised to send over a kit, changed their kit twice, and in the end decided not to participate. This is unfortunate of course, but I guess we'll have plenty to work with still :D As said, not all have delivered so far, patience padawan... (talking to myself now ;) )

First, a word about our test setup. Based arount a Core i7 CPU of course, but which motherboard to use ? After some initial doubt I settled for Gigabyte's current top-of-the-line board by the name of EX59-Extreme. After extensive testing I can't fault this board at all, and with the latest F4 bios it has proven to be extremely stable. Another benefit of the board is that it has extensive memory tweaking capacities, making it possible to get the best out of any memory kit.

As for the CPU, I decided to go for the i965 after all, because of the full range of memory dividers and QPI speeds available. The CPU is from a good batch as well (3835), so I've been able to keep QPI voltages quite low for extremely good results (current maximum of 222bclk is no trouble at all).

The rest of the setup : a Gigabyte 4870X2 (with a lot of thanks to TONES.BE ), an OCZ 1kW proxstream PSU, and a 74Gb Raptor drive.

As I don't want to keep you guys waiting indefinately for the last of the mohicans to arrive, I decided to set up a little blog with some results I have so far. So sit back and enjoy, results will be added as the products are produced, in sequence of arrival of the kits. We'll start off with the first arrival in the next post : Geil !

jmke 24th January 2009 14:25

looking forward to your previews:) post them as new threads!

thorgal 24th January 2009 19:22

Added test setup and 2 pics to the first post. Rest will be in a new thread :)

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