DDR3 not only brings with it new levels of performance but also energy savings. With only 1.5v of juice needed to power this RAM at speed up to 1500 MHz it may just be the RAM to power your next rig. Does it have what it takes to earn a spot in your machine? Let’s break it all down.
Today we are looking at the newest offering in DDR3 from the company AENEON. Now if you’re like me, chances are you prefer to stick with a well established company that has a long history of quality and commitment to their customers. Well you’re in luck because AENEON is just that company. Before you call the guys in white coats to come a drag me away to the padded room let me explain. AENEON is a new brand of memory being offered by Qimonda. You can find Qimonda memory chips just about everywhere, even in some of the hottest video cards like the 8800GT. Today we are going to look at their enthusiast line of memory kits dubbed ‘Xtune’. Like it or not DDR3 is here to stay so you might as well find what kits excel and which ones crash and burn. With speeds guaranteed up to 1500 MHz at 1.5 volts and a warranty backed by Qimonda, this memory looks to establish itself as the RAM to beat. Let’s cut to the chase and get down to the nitty gritty
Qimonda: The Company
From the Qimonda site:
Qimonda is a leading global memory supplier with a broad diversified DRAM product portfolio. The company generated net sales of 3.81 billion in its 2006 financial year and has approximately 12,000 employees worldwide. Qimonda has access to five 300mm manufacturing sites on three continents and operates six major R&D facilities. The company provides DRAM products for a wide variety of applications, including in the computing, infrastructure, graphics, mobile and consumer areas, using its power saving technologies and designs.
- Module Size: 2GB kit (1GBx2)
- Package: 240-pin DIMM
- Feature: DDR3 PC3-10600
- Specs: 8-8-8-15 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR3-1333 • 1.5V • 128Meg x 64
Looking at the CPUz screen shot of the SPD timings we see some loose timings listed. That’s not what surprises me. What really grabs my attention is both the listing for an overclocked setting and the ultra low voltage value of 1.5. Qimonda tells you straight away what this memory can do and how little voltage it takes to do it. Let’s hope this is the start of a new trend.
Shown here in its retail, harder than steel to open, packaging, the Xtune modules are stored safely and securely.
Click a picture to see a larger view
Built with a unique looking black heat spreader, the Xtune comes on a blue PCB. I have never seen a blue PCB used before for RAM and it was almost a shame that it had to be tucked underneath the heat spreaders. But for the sake of speed and reliability I can accept this point. Similar to the Ballistix DDR3 modules from Crucial we see no information listed on the RAM itself. Only a serial number and bar code. Lastly we see the stop of the heat spreaders are sealed. I tend to prefer these be open to allow for the most airflow possible. While it may be small every lit bit is sure to help. Especially when we talk about RAM as expensive as DDR3 is.
All tests were conducted on the following platforms. A format of the hard drives followed by a fresh install of the OS was done. The latest drivers were then installed and all non-essential applications were halted.
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 @ 2.1 GHz|
|Motherboard|| Board 1 – ASUS Maximus Extreme (DDR3)
Board 2 – XFX 650i Ultra (DDR2)
|Memory|| 2 GB (2 x 1 GB) Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1333 – Asus Maximus
2 GB (2 x 1 GB) Crucial DDR3-1600 – Asus Maximus
2 GB (2 x 1 GB) G.Skill DDR2-800 – 650i
|Drive(s)||1 – Seagate 80GB Barracuda SATA
1 – Samsung HD501LJ SATA
|Graphics||Asus EN8800GT TOP|
|Cooling||Thermaltake Big Typhoon|
|Power Supply||OCZ GameXStream 850 watts|
|Display||Westinghouse 37″ LVM-37W3|
|OS||Windows XP Pro SP2|
|SiSoft XI||Mem Bandwidth|
|Everest Ultimate 4.0||Mem Read, Write, Copy, Latency|
|SuperPi Mod 1.5xs||2 Million|
|F.E.A.R. v1.08||1280×1024 4xAA / 16xAF
Highest in game settings, Soft Shadows off
To test the performance of the Xtune DDR3 modules I will use a variety of different synthetic tests which should show if there is any difference to be gained by the new memory technology. All of these tests are well and good but I also want to see if there will be any real world impact on gaming performance as many of you reading this review are gamers at heart. Rather than test at a very low resolution of 640×480 (Do you really play at this resolution?), I will use a more realistic setting of 1280×1024 with full IQ settings. The game of choice is F.E.A.R. which is a great game since it is very CPU bound with newer video cards.
We will also be testing these modules against some G.skill DDR2 memory. The DDR2 platform utilizes the 650i Ultra motherboard but uses the same CPU and same video card. While not an exact scientific comparison, this will show us any gains to be had by moving to the new memory technology.
All tests will be performed at the following settings to ensure the best apples-to-apples comparison. The FSB will be set to 333 MHz and the CPU will run at 2.66 GHz.
Using dividers we will test the DDR3 memory at the following settings:
For this setting I would first find the tightest timings of the memory and see if the tests reacted well to very tight timings given the low operating speed. Next I would keep the speed of the RAM at stock and find the tightest timings and compare them to the default settings in another attempt to see if it is tight timings that give the best performance boost.
|1000 MHz with 1.5v|
These are the default settings we will test all others against.
Here I found the highest speed I could run the memory at without increasing the CPU speed. Any increase in CPU clock rate would skew the results. Here we are testing to see if it is higher speeds that give us the best scores. For this setting I lowered the CPU multiplier to 7x and reached a final FSB of 380 MHz which keeps the CPU steady at 2.66 GHz.
|7x Multiplier keeps CPU at 2.66 GHz||1520 MHz with 1.5v|
Anyone who has read my previous articles knows I like to get right to the overclocking portion. It is exciting to see how far we can push a piece of equipment and increase its performance.
1600 MHz with 1.9v
It took a bunch of extra voltage to do it but this RAM was able to stabilize at an impressive 1600 MHz or PC3-12800. Increasing the voltage by 27% is not something to be taken lightly and while stable I would not recommend running the RAM with this much voltage all day as it will shorten the lifespan of the memory chips.
Overclocking results shown here should not be assumed as achievable by every set of RAM. Each kit has its own limit at which it will run. Remember to overclock at your own risk and that neither myself nor Bjorn3D.com are responsible if you damage your RAM or any other component.
SANDRA XII Lite
Everest Ultimate Edition v. 4.20.1170
SuperPI Mod 1.5 Xs
F.E.A.R. is run at 1280×1024 with AA set to 4x and AF set to 16x. Soft shadows have been disabled and VSync has been turned off.
Just to touch upon the warranty of the product for a moment I included this screen shot from the Qimonda PDF about warranty length. It seems if you live across the pond in Europe you are guaranteed ten years of coverage. So while the rest of the world is using DDR9 you can take comfort that if your RAM fails Qimonda will have your back. It seems for the rest of us things are not so clear. We are promised at least two years of coverage with a maximum being however long the “product is sold or marketed by Qimonda”. While I fully expect DDR3 to have a lifespan of a few years how long the Xtune DDR3 kit will be made is anyone’s guess. Not the bullet proof warranty I would like to see when buying such an expensive component, that is of course unless you speak with an accent.
Let’s break it all down. To make it all a bit clearer I have selected two distinct groups of people this RAM may appeal to.
Enthusiasts with deep pockets and a need to have the very latest technologies. Also known as the early adopters who are willing to put up with technical issues for the right to brag to friends.
Performance: This RAM offers some extreme bandwidth should you have the need to use it. It overclocks well and with enough voltage you can push this RAM to 1600 MHz. Just don’t expect to see any increase in frame rates of your favorite games as you’ll need more GPU power for that task.
Value: It may not matter how much something costs you but you have to admit when some DDR3-1600 kits are for sale at the same price this one goes for, you get the faster kit.
You have your favorite games that you play and you play them often. You have an up to date machine but it doesn’t need to have the QX9770 for you to fill the void inside. You friend brags how great it is to have DDR3 but you just chuckle inside and continue using your DDR2-1066.
Performance: If you game and only game than this RAM offers nothing for you unless you play at insanely low resolutions. Even then you are better served getting a new GPU.
Value: This RAM is not cheap and there are other kits for the same price that are faster but the good news is that prices are dropping if you feel the need to upgrade.
+ Highly overclockable
+ Runs at 1.5v up to 1500 MHz
+ Memory won’t need upgrading for a long time
+ Great warranty if you live in Europe
– More expensive than other DDR3 kits
– Timings won’t budge
– 2 GB “only”
Final score: 7.0 out of 10 (Good).