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OCZ Reaper HPC 8500 DDR-2 Memory

 

Today we have the opportunity and pleasure to review a new memory product from OCZ, a name that is most certainly synonymous with quality in the computer products industry. We will be examining a 2GB DDR2 8500 kit from OCZ’s Reaper HPC series of memory. The Reaper HPC series of memory uses the aforementioned heat pipe technology to help dissipate heat this improving performance. Is it effective? Stick around and we’ll soon see.

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INTRODUCTION

As any computer enthusiast who is in pursuit of the ultimate overclock on his/her rig can readily readily attest, heat is the primary element that must be overcome. After years of listening to our banter concerning excess heat production manufactures responded with a series of remedies. Said remedies ranged from additional active cooling solutions to actually producing products that were water cooling ready. These solutions in general were effective but also had their drawbacks. Active cooling often brought with it noise levels that were offensive to the ears of the user. Water cooling although much quieter was an expensive undertaking that many computer enthusiast consumers were unwilling to adopt.

The latest craze to hit the market over the last few months is the use of heat pipe technology to dissipate heat. This solution when properly designed and implemented coupled with good system airflow is a win-win proposition for all concerned as it is both quiet and effective at battling components’ heat production. Recently this solution has transcended from the ranks of larger components such as memory sticks.

Today we have the opportunity and pleasure to review a new memory product from OCZ, a name that is most certainly synonymous with quality in the computer products industry. We will be examining a 2GB DDR2 8500 kit from OCZ’s Reaper HPC series of memory. The Reaper HPC series of memory uses the aforementioned heat pipe technology to help dissipate heat this improving performance. Is it effective? Stick around and we’ll soon see.

OCZ:  The Company

Entering the memory market in August 2000, OCZ Technology was built around the determination to manufacture the best high speed DDR and RDRAM. OCZ was founded by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts, and our commitment to the end-user has not digressed. OCZ Technology has been an innovator in many areas. We were the first manufacturer to make Dual Channel optimized memory available to the public, which originally took advantage of nVidia’s Twinbank or Dual DDR architecture, found in their nForce chipset. We have now taken that technology and tailored it for the Canterwood, and Granite Bay chipset’s. OCZ developed and was the first to implement ULN technology, which has been a critical element in our manufacturing process for some time. We at OCZ diligently work to improve communication with CPU and motherboard chipset manufacturers prior to the release of their products. Only in this manner can we fine-tune our memory’s SPD settings, ensuring a synergistic relationship between the memory module, memory controller, and microprocessor. In today’s rapidly evolving semiconductor industry, such communication is not simply research, but a necessary component of our manufacturing process.

At OCZ we have one primary goal, and it is to make sure that every customer is 110% satisfied. Every employee at OCZ is dedicated to accomplishing this goal. Our engineers are constantly developing the fastest and best performing products. Our finance department works every angle to bring customers our product at the best price. Our marketing department ensures all the information needed to make an informed purchase is available and presented in an easy to understand format. The technical support department constantly studies and tests the latest hardware to be as informed as possible to help you with any issue you may have. Our customer service department is filled with customer satisfaction fanatics who will refuse to let you be unsatisfied.

OCZ offers a Lifetime warranty on every memory module we sell. We back this warranty with friendly, courteous staff that is willing to answer any question. At OCZ, if a staff member cannot answer your question, they will be forthright and put you in touch with a technician or engineer who can properly assist you. OCZ Technology is in tune with the needs of enthusiasts and overclockers alike, because we are just like you. Chances are you may have already spoken with an OCZ employee in a hardware forum, as we do bring our work home. We seek motivated, qualified applicants, whom already have a firm grasp, and a passion for the PC. Our technicians are available to answer your questions anytime, and our “technical” section can be referenced at anytime.

We have come from the grass-roots to bring you to new heights, and our products speak for themselves. There is a reason OCZ is considered the best memory on the market and that reason is that we will not settle for anything less then perfect.

FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS

Specfications

  • Frequency:   1066MHz
  • Latency:   EPP 5-5-5-15 (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS)
  • Parity:   Unbuffered
  • Voltage:   2.2-2.3V
  • Pins:   240
  • Module:   128Mx64
  • Chip:   64Mx8
  • IC:   Micron D9GMH (B6-3)

Special Features

  • Reaper HPC Heatsink*
  • EPP-Ready
  • 2.35V EVP**

* The Reaper HPC series uses heat pipe technology to rapidly remove heat from the main body of the memory modules and conduct the thermal load to the extended radiator fin array. The addition of the extended fin array nearly doubles the total surface area available for heat dissipation while the heat pipes warrant near isothermicity throughout the entire design. The result is a doubling in effective heat dissipation at equal delta t or, in real systems, a significantly lower operating temperature of the memory modules.

**OCZ EVP (Extended Voltage Protection) is a feature that allows performance enthusiasts to use a VDIMM of 2.35V without invalidating their OCZ Lifetime Warranty.

A CLOSER LOOK

Packaging

The esoteric packaging of days gone by for memory products have pretty much gone by the wayside. Most memory manufacturers, including OCZ, have adopted an extruded plastic container which seems to do an excellent job of keeping your valuable commodity safe while in transit. This coupled with with adequate packing materials virtually assure that your treasure will arrive at your door seemingly unscathed no matter what punishment the carriers decide to inflict.


Package Front

 


Package Rear

 

A CLOSER LOOK cont.

The Modules

In doing the preliminary research for this review I have read many descriptive comments on various computer forums from users concerning the design of this product. Paraphrasing, some describe the design of the Reaper HPC series in quite flattering terms as far as its appearance and functionality are concerned. Other users and onlookers are less than flattering about its appearance, primarily because it’s different. My thoughts with memory sticks are rather conventional, I could care less what it looks like as long as it performs as advertised. The images below will allow you to judge for yourself.


Reaper HPC 8500 Kit

 


Reaper HPC 8500 Single Stick

 

Those of you that have read some of my previous memory reviews know that I am not one that believes in embellishing memory modules with a huge array of images. There’s only so many angles of view and poses for a memory module. I feel strongly that the time is much better spent discussing the product’s functionality and test results.

Let’s Talk HPC

At first glance the sticks appear from the pins upward to the top of the heatspreader to look reasonably normal. From that point upward there appears to be an aberrant growth emanating from each side of the heatspreader. The growth in fact is a heat pipe that connects in an oval formation above the heat spreader. Atop the heat pipe is a ribbed black anodized aluminum attachment that helps to further dissipate heat.


Reaper HPC Technology (OCZ Press Release)

 

Here’s how OCZ describes the Reaper HPC Technology:  The Reaper HPC is an innovative cooling solution developed by OCZ to effectively minimize heat produced by high-speed memory. As heat rises into the thermo-conductive copper heat pipe conduit, it is dissipated through a compact aluminum fin array. By strategically guiding performance-robbing heat away from key memory components, the unique Reaper HPC design maximizes passive cooling to improve longevity and stability of the modules.


Closeup Black Anodized Aluminum Fin Array

 

Never fear we’ll discuss the real life cooling efficiency of the OCZ 8500 Reaper HPC in more detail in the testing portion of this review.

TESTING

 

 

Test Platform

Processor

Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo

Motherboard

ASUS P5W64 WS Professional

Memory

2GB OCZ REAPER HPC 8500 DDR-2

Drive(s)

2 – Seagate 750GB Barracuda ES SATA Drives

Graphics

XFXt®8800 GTX XXX running ForceWare 158.22

Cooling

Enzotech UltraX CPU Cooler with Delta 90CFM 120mm Fan

Power Supply

PC Power & Cooling 1KWSR PSU

Case

Lian Li G70 Custom Enclosure

Operating System

Windows XP Pro SP2

Testing Methodology

Prior to performing any benchmarking I always run MemTest 386 for a minimum of 10 complete cycles to ascertain that the memory product is completely error free prior to proceeding. Next, I install the memory and allow it to run in the system for a few days in activities ranging from surfing the WEB to intensive gaming sessions, in other words my general day to day activities. I view this as a break-in period for the memory product. While many of my peers feel this break-in time is no longer necessary with modern day RAM; I feel it allows me to get a feel for what the memory being tested is capable of, and old, deeply engrained habits die hard.

As I stated earlier in the introduction and as you see in the table poised above, our test rig for the OCZ REAPER HPC 8500 DDR-2 2GB kit will be an Intel Core 2 Duo based system which is quite capable of driving this RAM to its peak performance level. The beauty of most Intel 975X based systems is that depending on the memory you are using there’s generally a CPU:memory ratio available to allow the RAM to perform at its desired level without ever touching the clock speed of the CPU. This level at stock speeds will never exceed the system’s stock FSB, in this case 1067; which is coincidentally the rating of the DDR2 that we’re testing today. Unfortunately neither the 975X or 965 Intel chipsets allow for completely asynchronous operation as does the newer NVIDIA built 680i motherboards.

Stock Settings

The table immediately below shows the system settings that we were able to attain testing today. We used the five most popular ratios at stock speed and then overclocked the processor using the 1:2 (1067MHz) ratio to just how much headroom the memory has at its rated settings and just how far it could be pushed. 

 

OCZ REAPER DDR-2 8500
Memory Test Settings

DDR2
Speed
(MHz)

400

533

667

800

1067

1160

1200

Memory
Timings

3-2-2-6

3-3-3-9

3-3-3-9

5-4-4-8

5-4-4-10

5-5-5-15

5-5-5-18

VDimm
(V)

1.85

1.9

2.0

2.2

2.3

2.35

2.35

CPU
(GHz)

2.4

2.4

2.4

2.4

2.4

2.614

2.703

CPU
Ratio

4:3

1:1

4:5

2:3

1:2

1:2

1:2

Over Clocked Settings

We alluded to the fact that the first five settings in the table above were stock settings. What about the last two? Most of the DDR2-8500 I’ve reviewed and/or owned have generally petered out around 1150MHz or just slightly above it. With the additional cooling solution provided with the Reaper HPC we’re moving into uncharted waters so we truly don’t know what to expect as far as its limitations are concerned. For that reason we initially set the mark of 1160 which we hoped to attain. The OCZ hit the 1160 mark rather effortlessly so we spent the next few hours tweaking to see just how far we could push these babies and was able to achieve an amazing speed of 1200 MHz, which was Prime stable.


CPU-Z Overclocked Results

 

The table below reflects the synthetic benchmarks and games we used in testing. All stock tests run were were done so to display as much as possible the memory performance alone without additional factors that might influence speed being introduced.

Synthetic Benchmarks & Games

SANDRA XI SP2 Professional

Everest Ultimate Edition v. 4.00.976

SuperPI Mod 1.5XS

Quake 4: ID Net Demo

Half Life 2: The Lost Coast

 

TEST RESULTS

SANDRA XI SP2 Professional

SiSoftware describes their Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) product as an information & diagnostic utility that should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software. We’ve found this to be the case and use it religiously in our testing.

 

SuperPi

Super Pi is used by most computer enthusiasts to test the performance and stability of their computers. In the overclocking community, it provides a benchmark for enthusiasts to compare “world record” pi calculation times and demonstrate their overclocking abilities. The program can also be used to test the stability of a certain overclock speed. If a computer is able to calculate PI to the 32 millionth place after the decimal without mistake, it is considered to be moderately stable in terms of RAM and CPU. However, longer tests with other CPU/RAM intensive calculation programs will run for hours instead of minutes and may better stress system stability.

 

Everest Ultimate Edition

Everest Ultimate Edition is another cutting-edge benchmarking and diagnostics tool to maximize security, performance, and trouble-shooting capabilities for home, professional office, and computer enthusiast. Where possible we use this valuable tool for information gathering and benchmarking.

 

 

 

TEST RESULTS

Quake 4

Quake4 was released to gaming world in 2005 the year after Doom 3 by Raven Software. It uses the highly touted Doom 3 engine in its operation which means it also functions with the OpenGL API during rendering. Quake 4 and Doom 3 are two highly valued benchmarks that have lost little popularity since their inception.

 

Half-Life 2: Lost Coast

Half-Life 2: Lost Coast was developed as a playable technology demo, intended to showcase the newly-added HDR lighting features of the Source engine that were first implemented into Day of Defeat: Source. Lost Coast also demonstrates in general what the Source engine can achieve when system requirements and detail levels are significantly increased over games designed to run on a broad base of computers, with high-resolution textures and models.

 

COOLING PERFORMANCE

Currently we don’t have the optimal setup for measuring memory cooling performance but if nothing else we feel our results are “real world” accurate. At present we only had one other available 2GB kit of DDR-2 8500, Mushkin’s XP-2 8500, to compare to the the OCZ Reaper HPC. To assimilate load we pushed each of the two sets of memory to their maximum memory speed using the tightest timings and lowest voltage possible. We then ran a 32MB calculation using SuperPi Mod 1.5XS. The ambient room temperature was kept at 22 degrees Celsius +1 degree. The sensor placement was in the same location on each stick and moved between the two sticks on repetitive runs and the highest results averaged. Measurements were taken with an old Digi Doc retrieved out of my archived equipment for this test. The results are depicted in the image below:

 

FINAL WORDS & CONCLUSION

The superlative results reflected in the bennchmarking and gaming tests above from the OCZ Reaper HPC 8500 DDR-2 memory are amongst the best I’ve ever experienced using DDR-2 8500. Some of the individual results in the stock speed tests may have been bettered slightly by other brands of memory but only because they were running at lower latencies. The achieved memory speed of 1200MHz using a 1:2 memory ratio is by far the best we’ve ever seen from any memory product in the DDR-2 8500 class.

While overclocking the memory even after reaching the 1200MHz pinnacle I still felt there was more horsepower left in this memory. I felt the main limitation was probably the 975X motherboard we were using which will be updated in the not to distant future. Cooling results were slightly improved over that of the single sample we had to test alongside the Reaper HPC 8500 as only a single degree Celsius separated them. OCZ has always made an excellent, high quality array of memory products. Fortunately for the consumer DDR-2 memory pricing is at the lowest point that I can remember since it became the standard just over a year ago making purchasing much more palatable for the buyer. The OCZ Reaper HPC 8500 DDR-2 memory currently is selling in the $225.00 USD range and some sites currently are offering a $30.00 rebate.

The only negative other than the temperature differential for the OCZ Reaper HPC 8500 DDR-2 memory is that it will not operate at SPD (1066 MHz) at that timings consistent with some of its competition. While this is not a major point of contention considering the selling price of the memory it may be of some concern to the extreme computer enthusiast. Bjorn3D can highly recommend this memory to anyone wanting an excellent memory solution at an extremely attractive price.

 

Pros:

+  Excellent overclocker, the best we’ve currently seen in its class
+  Excellent design for improved temperatures
+  World class quality
+  Exemplary customer support
+  Lifetime warranty
+  Kits are hand tested before being packaged

 

Cons:

-  Not the temperature improvement we’d hoped for
-  Tight timings don’t work at SPD

 

Final Score: 9 out of 10 and the Bjorn3D Seal of Approval.

I’d like to extend my sincerest appreciation to Andy Talamantez along with the rest of the staff at OCZ Technologies for allowing Bjorn3D the opportunity to review this quality product. Through support of companies like these we at Bjorn3D.com are able to provide the community with quality reviews.

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