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Test Settings: Overclocking Comparison

DDR3-1333 Speed and Latency Shootout
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DDR3 still hasn't worked its way down to mainstream price levels, and the main reason a buyer would pay relatively-high DDR3 prices is to achieve a similarly-high overclock without "hitting the wall" on memory speed. One could, of course, pay the astronomically high prices of DDR3-1800 or even faster overclock-validated extreme-enthusiast parts, but we wanted to see how far these less-expensive kits would go.

Newer platform components may be available, but the best overclocking motherboards use Intel P35 chipsets while the same company's Core 2 Duo processors withstand much greater bus speeds than its Core 2 Quads. We dug into the parts bin to retrieve the most overclockable parts regardless of age.

Overclocking System Hardware
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-P35T-DQ6, Rev. 1.0
Intel P35, BIOS F5c (10/26/2007)
Socket 775 Processor Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 "Conroe"
(FSB-1333, 65 nm, 2.67 GHz, 4 MB L2 Cache)
Hard Drive Western Digital WD1500ADFD-00NLR1, Firmware: 20.07P20
150 GB, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB cache, SATA/150
Graphics Card Foxconn GeForce 8800GTX, P/N: FV-N88XMAD2-OD
NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTX - 768 MB
Power Supply OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI - 700W
System Software & Drivers
OS Windows XP Professional 5.10.2600, Service Pack 2
DirectX Version 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
Platform Drivers Intel INF 8.3.1.1009
Graphics Driver NVIDIA Forceware 163.75

Our Intel Core 2 Duo sample is held in high esteem for reaching 520 MHz FSB at its default 8x multiplier and at least 540 MHz FSB using a 6x multiplier on top boards. Using the P35 chipset's highest memory ratio, this allows a 6x CPU multiplier to reach for data rates of 2160 MHz!

Of course, we'd need a motherboard that offered top memory stability, and the most appropriate part we've found for this type of testing is Gigabyte's GA-P35T-DQ6.

In order to reach a variety of memory speeds at a fixed 6x multiplier, we needed to alter the CPU speed for each test. The change in CPU speed has an overwhelming effect on a wide range of benchmarks, so we had to limit ourselves to memory bandwidth benchmarks in the overclocking portion of today's comparison.

Overclocking Benchmarks
PCMark05 Pro Version: 1.1.0
Memory Tests
Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646
Windows Media Encoder 9.00.00.2980
SiSoftware Sandra 2005 Version 2005.7.10.60
Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark

We'll throw a more comprehensive set of benchmarks into our latency tests.

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