OCZ AMD Black Edition 4GB Kit (2x2048MB) PC3-12800/DDR3-1600 Memory Review


The introduction ...

OCZ published a new memory kit with a feature to get high memory performance without manual settings.
We are talking about the brand-new OCZ AMD Black Edition PC3-12800 CL8 kit.
When the 4GB AMD Black Edition kit is used in conjunction with an AMD Black Edition CPU on an AOD capable motherboard, the RAM settings can be downloaded by the AMD OverDrive software over the Internet and adjusted automatically.
The new OCZ AMD Black Edition PC3-12800 4GB kit was extensively tested, overclocked and compared with some other memory modules in the current ocinside.de review.




Thanks for the support ...

Many thanks for the support with the AMD Black Edition 4GB PC3 12800 / DDR3 1600 CL8 kit OCZ3BE1600C8LV4GK
by the manufacturer OCZ.

The 4 GB kit contains 2x 2048 MB AMD Black Edition 240-pin DIMM DDR3-1600 memory modules and
has at present a price of approx. 115 Euro (10/2009).
Memory modules are available at our sponsors.



The supply of the two 2048MB PC3-12800 memory modules ...

In this plastic box are the two memory modules:



That is contained in the scope of delivery ...

The inlay of the package also include a short installation guide of the OCZ modules.

Here is a picture of the installation guide:


And here is a picture of the mesh styled OCZ AMD Black Edition modules ...


The following picture shows the other side of both OCZ AMD Black Edition modules:



The technical data ...

Manufacturer OCZ
Article number OCZ3BE1600C8LV4GK
Memory 4GB kit (2048MBx2)
Package 240-pin DIMM
Type DDR3 PC3-12800
Configuration 256Meg x 64
Error correction NON-ECC
Speed DDR3 1600 (200 MHz * 8,00)
Voltage 1.65 Volt
Memory timing 8-8-8-24 2T (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS)



Characteristics and other features ...

The memory modules are provided on a PCB with two bonded passive mesh heatsinks (heatspreader),
which are supposed to enhance the memory cooling also with higher frequencies and/or higher voltages.
Thus one achieves on the one hand better overclocking results and on the other hand a longer life-time,
whereby OCZ by the way grants lifelong warranty (Lifetime Warranty) for the buyer (all informations to manufacturer conditions are of course without guarantee by ocinside.de).

Here is another lovely OCZ detail:


Since the heatspreader is open at the top and bottom, they are additionally excellent suitable for active RAM cooler.

Here is a bottom view of a OCZ AMD Black Edition module:

Instead of the JEDEC standard values of 1.50 Volt for DDR3 modules, these modules are officially designed for a higher voltage of 1.80 Volt to reach the fast CL8 timinings without errors

Officially the modules are already appropriate for a somewhat higher voltage of 1.65 V instead of the JEDEC standard values of 1.50 V for DDR3 of modules, to reach the high frequency with CL8 timing.
However, in the test it was necessary to raise it a bit more to approx. 1.71 to 1.77V to run them absolutely error free on the ASRock test board with all different test programs like Memtest or Prime.

But the characteristic of these modules is possible with an interesting overclocking program for AMD processors.
Because the modules are especially designed for the AMD OverDrive tool - AOD, in order to download detailed overclocking settings by the serial number over the Internet and overclock them plug and play like.
The AMD overclocking program can be found e.g. here on OC software download page.

Here is a Vista Snipping screenshot of the AMD OverDrive OC software:


Starting from the AOD version 3.0 the AMD Black Edition Memory Profile or BEMP feature is integrated.
The timings for the Black Edition / BE memory modules are available in a database at AMD and be downloaded in the AOD tool under settings -> online update -> check -> update.
Finally the BEMP feature is quasi nothing else as an automatic setting like nVidia EPP and/or Intel XMP or for professional users like the manual settings in the BIOS or in the AOD software.

Important: A basic condition for the import of the Black Edition Memory Profile data with the online tool in the AOD software is an AOD certified motherboard like motherboards with e.g. AMD790GX chipset in combination with a Black Edition CPU like for example the AMD Phenom BE or AMD Phenom II BE CPU.
Otherwise the program stop with an error or it is not possible to check and refresh the memory profile settings.

Without AMD Black Edition CPU and AOD motherboard all values are set in grey and cannot be imported as shown here on the Windows 7 Snipping screenshot of the AOD online update page:



Not 4GB during booting, but only 3GB in the BIOS or operating system ...

It can occur that the memory capacity is only indicated as approx. 3GB instead of the 4GB, because the 4GB DDR, DDR2 or DDR3 RAM size or any size with more than 2GB is still a case sui generis.
Here at ocinside.de is a guide which contains among other things a table, how much RAM is supported by operating systems.



Benchmark values and test results ...

Let us continue with the most important part of the test report, because the optics and packing is of course rather secondary and the highest possible stable performance is the most important factor.
The test results are based on an ASRock M3A790GXH/128M motherboard with an AMD Phenom II 710 X3 CPU on different frequencies depending on the reference clock for the different memory benchmarks.
The multiplier adjustment remains on 13x with all frequencies, because an adjustment for the CPU in half multiplier
steps would be too inaccurate to get nearly the same CPU frequency for all tests.
Microsoft Windows 7 RC Ultimate Edition is used as the operating system.
The stability was examined with the software Memtest86 and SiSoft Sandra Lite 2009 SP3 program is used for all
benchmarks, since it offers extensive adjustments and a fast result comparison.
BTW. the latest SiSoft Sandra 2009 version is available on our download server and can be downloaded much faster.
All benchmarks are also included in the free Sandra Lite version.

First the maximum possible frequency of the memory module was determined with default 1.50 Volt (1,53V).
The memory frequency was increased in small steps with a fixed memory timing of 8-8-8-24 2T and default memory voltage, as long as the detailed memory test with Memtest86 runs without any errors.
This quite long testing time ensured that this frequency works really stable with these modules.

The highest possible frequency with 8-8-8-24 2T (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS) timings and 1.53V was 750 / 1499 MHz.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z with 750 / 1499 MHz and 8-8-8-24 2T with 1,53 Volt:


Of course it's possible to run much higher frequencies with increased voltages or lower timings, because the frequency values and timings depends directly from each other.
Officially OCZ specify the voltage of 1.65 Volt without loosing the warranty.
On the test board it was necessary to increase the voltage a little bit higher to run them stable at 800 / 1600 MHz with the 8-8-8-24 2T timings. Only on 1.71 - 1.77 Volt it was possible to run all testing tools without errors.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z with 800 / 1600 MHz (DDR3-1600) and 8-8-8-24 2T with 1.77 Volt:


The benchmark comparison of all DDR3 memory modules are tested with the default 1.53 Volt, where these modules nevertheless reached 1499 MHz.
This highest possible clocking on the default DDR3 voltage was compared now with two other settings.
On the one hand they were tested with 200 MHz reference clock x6,66 = 1333 MHz and SPD values
(SPD values are programmed in the SPD IC by the manufacturer).
On the other hand the highest possible frequency with the permitted manufacturer voltage was determined at 8-8-8-24 2T.

The highest possible frequency with 8-8-8-24 2T (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS) timings and 1.65V was 773 / 1545 MHz.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z with 773 / 1545 MHz and 8-8-8-24 2T with 1.65 Volt (manufacturer voltage):


And to justify an acquisition of the new OCZ XTC Cooler2 active RAM cooler, we have tested the modules again without any influence to the test results outside of the specification with 2.00 V.
The higher voltage was a pleasure for the modules, because even with the 8-8-8-24 2T timings it was possible to overclock them to enormously high 826 MHz and/or 1651 MHz with a RAM Range Int Buff'd iSSE2 of 15.00 GB/s (memory bus range 25.84 GB/s and memory latency 69 ns).

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z with 826 / 1651 MHz and 8-8-8-24 2T with 2.00 Volt (voltage without valuation):


Here are the SiSoftware Sandra 2009 benchmark results:

RAM Range
Int Buff'd iSSE2
Memory Bus Range
225 MHz * 6,66 = 1499 MHz
fix (8-8-8-24 2T)
1.53 Volt
13.51 GB/s
23.44 GB/s
75 ns
232 MHz * 6,66 = 1545 MHz
fix (8-8-8-24 2T)
1.83 Volt
14.00 GB/s
24.16 GB/s
74 ns
200 MHz * 6,66 = 1333 MHz
SPD (8-12-12-30 2T)
1.53 Volt
11.82 GB/s
20.84 GB/s
91 ns

By the way, the "Memory Bus Range" is no benchmark value, but this value is quite simple to calculate by the frequency and
this is useful for a benchmark comparison.


Here's a diagram of the benchmark values:


Here is a direct benchmark result comparison of some DDR3, DDR2 and DDR memory modules:


The OCZ AMD Black Edition PC3-12800 memory modules achieved an identical result with the comparison voltage of 1.53 V, like the Crucial Ballistix Tracer 4GB kit DDR3-1333/PC3-10600 CL6 modules tested before.
Hence, it is not surprising, because the latency and frequency depends from each other and the OCZ PC3-12800 modules have CL8 latency and the Crucial Ballistix PC3-10600 modules have CL6 latency.
With a little voltage increasement to the manufacturer voltage of 1.65 V the modules reached already 1545 MHz (773 MHz) - in the comparison to it the Crucial Ballistix PC3-10600 RAM needed for this frequency a higher voltage of approx. 1.83 V.


Result and general impression ...

The OCZ AMD Black Edition PC3-12800 CL8 4GB RAM kit OCZ3BE1600C8LV4G is a special kit with interesting features and attractive design.
With the AMD OverDrive software, an AMD Black Edition processor and an AOD compatible motherboard data can be downloaded over the Internet and optimize the RAM performance in detail.
Of course, the modules can be used also on other systems, because if the system does not have this basic condition for the transfer of the AMD Black Edition Memory Profile data, this 4GB DDR3 Dual Channel kit can be optimized manually as usual over the BIOS or over a suitable software.
The total result with low JEDEC voltage and manufacturer voltage was positive, however it was necessary on the test system to raise the voltage a little bit in order to get them running without any failures on the high manufacturer frequency.
A little bit more space for a higher voltage within the specification would be desirable, because with higher voltages outside specification the modules could show what they are made of.
All in all these OCZ AMD Black Edition PC3-12800 are thus interesting for users, who like to leave the AMD OverDrive software the RAM clocking and timings adjustment.


Read on in the hardware test area with several hardware reviews ...


All pictures and article copyright 2009 www.ocinside.de