The New Arms Race: DDR3-1800 RAM


Both memory modules are impressive products, as they outperform JEDEC-compliant DDR3 at a maximum of DDR3-1066 by tolerating up to 70% faster clock speeds. Corsair and OCZ have designed their processes to select appropriate memory ICs before they go into production, so they can provide highest-speed memory at a time when mainstream products are much slower. The results are DDR3-1800 DIMMs that run at drastically increased voltage (Corsair at 2.0 V, OCZ at 1.95 V) to reach their clock speed targets. Both memories get warm and shouldn’t be operated without proper case ventilation, but we don’t believe that Corsair’s Airflow module is really necessary.

Corsair’s Dominator offers slightly better timings, but it wasn’t really overclockable in our Asus P5K3 Deluxe P35 motherboard Compare Prices on Asus P5K3 Deluxe P35 Motherboard. OCZ’s PC14400 goes for slightly more relaxed timings at the maximum DDR3-1800 speed, but allows the user to squeeze out another 50 MHz (equals 100 MHz in DDR mode) to reach DDR3-1900. Also, the SPD timings at lower DDR3 memory speeds are more favorable with OCZ. As other reviews show, the OCZ memory seems to have the potential to even break the DDR3-2000 barrier. However, you really need a very decent motherboard and a suitable CPU to cross that line, and we weren’t so lucky this time. The question is whether or not it makes sense to go that far, as the performance gains get smaller the farther you go.

DDR3-1333 and faster speeds will officially be supported by next-generation chipsets such as Intel’s upcoming X38, which is expected to come with a plethora of memory multipliers, so you can either overclock only the memory, or reduce memory clock if your goal is going through the FSB ceiling. These new chipsets will move highest-speed DDR3 memory closer to the mainstream, but until then, the two DDR3-1800 memory pairs remain an item that is only really interesting to the hardcore overclocking community. I wonder when we will see first DDR3-2000 RAM. Prices cannot possibly get more nuts than they already are - or can they ?

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