Many of you have already noticed that Intel has turned its face to overclocking fans a while back already. Core micro-architecture has definitely become the main breakthrough in this direction as it implies enforced limitation of processor clock speeds for the sake of their low heat dissipation. So, overclockers take advantage of this particular peculiarity: by neglecting the power consumption optimizations and adding extra cooling they manage to get Core 2 processors to run at frequencies more than 1.5 times higher than their nominal speeds. Moreover, the actual Intel CPUs overclocking procedure became primitively simple. The only obstacle on the way to unprecedented performance as a result of successful overclocking is probably the locked CPU clock frequency multiplier. As a result, overclockers often have to get their systems to run at relatively high system bus frequencies of up to 450-500MHz in order to successfully overclock not the most expensive representative of the Intel processor family.
However, this problem is also hardly a serious one. Although the chipsets used in contemporary mainboards officially support only 333MHz FSB, a lot of them can still overclock the bus to necessary speeds without losing stability.
The memory manufacturers also did their best to eliminate the last remaining obstacles for overclocking fans. There are a lot of solutions for enthusiasts in the market today, which can run at pretty high speeds to ensure that the memory will not become a bottleneck for the overclocker system. By the way, Intel has also made some progress here by launching P35 and X38 chipsets supporting DDR3 SDRAM (for details see our article called DDR3 SDRAM: Revolution or Evolution?). This type of memory uses 8n-prefetch unlike DDR2 SDRAM that uses 4n-prefetch and can (theoretically) work at twice the frequency thus solving all potential issues with synchronous overclocking of all major busses in the system.
The manufacturers of high-frequency memory modules for computer enthusiasts welcomed the new DDR3 SDRAM standard with great excitement. The thing is that the overclocking potential of DDR2 SDRAM has been long exhausted, so Corsair, OCZ and some other leading memory makers could no longer design new products. In fact, the DDR2 SDRAM frequency race has stalled at 1200-1250MHz. Therefore, the growing demand for DDR3 SDRAM modules has immediately revived the overclocker memory market.
Some time ago we have already discussed DDR3 SDRAM memory kits designed to run at 1600MHz (for details see our article called DDR3-1600 SDRAM: Technological Breakthrough or Marketing Trick?). we have also pointed out that the transition of overclocker platforms from the good old DDR2 SDRAM to the new higher-frequency memory type hasn’t yet proven effective, despite the enthusiasm of the leading memory makers. But luckily, progress kept going forward and the memory manufacturers managed to conquer even higher memory speeds. That is why we would like to offer you a new article that will talk about DDR3-1800 SDRAM that will hopefully push the overclocked systems performance to a new level.
From the technical prospective, DDR3 SDRAM modules intended to work at 1800MHz do not represent anything innovative. They managed to hit a new frequency barrier solely thanks to evolutionary improvement of the technological process used for DDR3 SDRAM chips production. As a result, the new high-speed modules use the same chips as the previously discussed DDR3-1600 SDRAM. In other words, all DDR3-1800 memory we are going to talk about today is built using legendary Micron D9 chips manufactured with 78nm technological process.
So, the memory makers had only to slightly adjust the micro-chips selection procedures to be able to build DDR3-1800 solutions. Printed circuit boards and cooling heat-spreaders remained the same as those of DDR3-1600 solutions. Nevertheless, let’s take a real close look at our today’s testing participants, before we move on to the actual performance analysis.