The New Arms Race: DDR3-1800 RAM

DDR3 Extreme: Close To 2 GHz

The memory market probably is one of the fastest moving segments in the IT hardware business. While the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) is responsible for compiling standards for memory speeds and settings, and chipset makers largely stick to its recommendations, building up and maintaining a reputation in the highly competitive memory space is only possible by staying at the memory speed summit. Vendors such as Corsair and OCZ try to release faster and better products as quickly as possible. While we are looking at decent availability of DDR3-1333 products and DDR3-1600 is being introduced by more and more memory companies, the two arch-rivals are already battling at DDR3-1800 speeds.

It is nice to see that DDR3 memory, which has only been available for few months, is speeding up quicker than prior double data rate (DDR) memory technologies, running memory quicker than DDR3-1333. However, this is only possible if you overclock your entire system, because the DDR3 chipsets P35 and G33 by Intel only provide memory settings for DDR3-800, DDR3-1066 and DDR3-1333 speeds. Other multipliers enabling faster memory speeds will be supported by the upcoming PCI Express 2.0 chipset named X38. Until then, overclocking enthusiast memory beyond DDR3-1333 levels by accelerating the Front Side Bus remains a challenge - yet one relished by the true enthusiast.

Next-generation chipsets with support for additional memory multipliers will help to move high-speed DDR3 into the mainstream, because you will be able to simply set your motherboard to run the memory at, for example, DDR3-1600. This is something every user will be able to do. Current high-speed DDR3 memory doesn’t have any benefit when installed into computers running at stock speeds. Instead, it is meant to avoid the main memory becoming a bottleneck in highly overclocked scenarios. It is meant to increase the Front Side Bus and processor clock speed without being forced to slow down the memory in order for the system to remain stable.

Two products by Corsair and OCZ cater specifically to the overclocking community : if you want to purchase a Core 2 Duo processor and a decent P35 motherboard to overclock it as far as it goes, this is clearly the best memory choice you can get today. Compare Prices on P35 Motherboards While the processor used to be the most expensive component in a high-end overclocked system in the past, you’ll achieve the best results with an upper mainstream CPU combined with a highly overclockable motherboard and memory. Amazingly, overclocking memory has become way more expensive than a suitable processor : expect price tags of $500 and up.

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