by Ed Tittel
For those seeking to push DDR3 to the limits of its rated capability, these speedy modules from Super Talent could be just the thing. But for those who crave such fast memory - or those who love those people - not just any motherboard can handle such speedy RAM. Most of the motherboards that support DDR3 nowadays, unless they're newly-minted models built around the rumored Intel X48 chipset, require users to overclock their CPUs to achiece the rated memory speeds for these modules. So before you take the plunge into the deep end of the memory pool, be sure that the rest of your rig (or your loved one's) can deal with the speeds involved, particularly motherboard and CPU. Our best guess is that a current-stepping processor is absolutely mandated, as is a high-end P35 or X38 motherboard from a quality vendor such as Asus, Abit, Gigabyte, DFI or MSI.
These Super Talent modules have a pretty understated look, considering what they can do. Hey, where's Sarah?
The W1600UX2G9 kit includes two carefully-matched 1 GB DDR3-1600 memory modules, designed specifically for overclockers, enthusiasts, and heavy-duty gamers. Our experience in testing this memory and other high speed DDR2 and DDR3 modules suggests that users will obtain best results if they can tighten the standard timings of 9-9-9-21 down to something in the 7-6-6-18 range or better. This can be a hit-or-miss proposition on some P35 motherboards, so we hope that newer motherboards support more aggressive use of such fast memory.
Indeed, the primary problem with hanging out over the bleeding edge of technology is that tuning all the parts necessary to extract maximum performance often ends up as a "two steps forward and one step back" proposition. Just when you get memory timings where you want them, you'll develop stability problems, or find that you can't boost FSB timings or overclock the CPU sufficiently to really push the envelope. Thus, these memory modules are best aimed at inveterate tinkerers and relentless hobbyists who delight in taking their configurations as far as they can make them go.
With retail prices for a 2 GB kit hovering around $500, this memory is guaranteed to make Santa take a deep breath as he (or she) reaches for the checkbook or a credit card. But it will surely bring a big smile to your favorite overclocker's face.
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