We're already taking a look at the new PC2-9200 water-cooled memory, but today we're going to have a closer look at the more standard heat-sink cooled new performance range from OCZ.
When we say standard, they're anything but. These babies are certified to PC2-8500 running at 1066MHz with timings of 5-5-5-15, and PC2-7200 (900MHz, 4-4-3-15) is also available - these are just the first two of many further SLI-ready parts that will be released in this series.
Both the PC2-8500 and PC2-7200 modules are built with an EPP (Enhanced Performance Profiles) programmed SPD to provide 'plug and play overclocking' that eliminates the need for any manual configuration and makes memory optimization much easier.
Obviously your motherboard needs to support this, and the latest Nvidia 590/680 boards come complete with the necessary BIOS support.
Of course these premium modules come at a slightly higher price than regular parts, Overclockers lists them at around £280 (inc VAT), but the main thing to note about these enthusiast modules of this type from OCZ is the lifetime warranty - including covering any overclockers who wish to push them to 2.4V, with the EVP (Extended Voltage Protection) guarantee.
They also come wrapped up in OcZ's Nvidia-range specific XTC (Xtreme Thermal Convection) heatspreaders - heatsinks are pretty standard on premium modules these days, but they look pretty cool, and seem very effective considering the 8500 rating.
Our 680 based system recognized the DIMMs as promised and clocked them to 1066MHz accordingly. We were able to push them considerably more, but not to the degree that Fuad could with his water-cooled PC2-9200 - but that's hardly surprising. We'll be performing more benchmarks when we get more 680 boards in.
Interestingly, our Intel 975 reference system which seems absolutely awful for any overclocking, couldn't get them above 437.5MHz with a 353MHz FSB - but this is a limitation of the reference system and not the memory - our previous standard DIMMs never seemed to get much over 400MHz before instability hit, so the performance memory still helped push the system a little further.
If you're not interested in the water cooling features of the 9200's (and the fact they're £100 more) then these are the next best thing. Grab them while you can.
Next up in our parcel of OCZ goodness, was a 700W PSU.
The OCZ GameXStream Power Supply range comes in 600W, 700W and 850W configurations, and looking around on Froogle and similar, it seems they're competitively priced for enthusiast product - the 600W comes in at just over £70, the 700W at £90, and the 850W is at a premium £145.
As you can see below it comes with the standard plethora of cables and adapters.
Unfortunately the cables are captive, and this is a shame considering the move towards modular-cable PSUs, which can tidy a system up considerably if you don't have too many devices. But this is a trade-off allowing OCZ to keep costs down.
Again the warranty is something that can't be ignored. Three years 'PowerSwap' warranty is included, which is a substantial investment by OCZ on your behalf - something that should be considered when you're weighing up these PSUs with generic or cheaper models.
The power supply range all feature four 12V rails - the 700W allows for a maximum combined 12V load of 680W, whereas the 600W model allows for 580W (we're holding out for the 850W model) - specifically the rails are specified as: +3.3V(36A), +5V(30A), +12V1(18A), +12V2(18A), +12V3(18A), +12V4(18A) - all maximum ratings.
This PSU has been around for a while now, and we've already used it in previous systems but haven't had chance to give it a good going over until now.
During testing the PSU produced quality results. There was minimal deviation from the quoted specs on the rails. You may think this is standard, and that all product should perform to the quoted specs, but it's certainly not true of PSUs. It's refreshing to see a power supply actually meet its promised performance - even when under considerable load.
It has a single 120mm fan, and performs considerably quieter than some higher-end PSUs. The fan is back lit with blue-leds which make the sleek black finish look pretty cool. Under heavy loads the fan span up a lot faster, but it still remained very quiet.
The active PFC and great 83%+ efficiency are definite plus points.
Overall, it's been a good year of quality product from OCZ , and we're looking forward to testing more in the new year. µ
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