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Appeared on: Wednesday, October 13, 2004
OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2

1. Introduction - Description & Specs
OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2

is a well known company producing quality memory for almost all lines of PC users, from amateurs to enthusiast overclockers. As a leading company in the memory field, it recently introduced a product called "OCZ EL PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2" that promised low latency times (CL2@400MHz). While the memory is rated only PC-3200, as we will see in the course of this review it has amazing potential. OCZ's memory is of interest to users who wish to reach maximum overclocking speeds while at the same time achieving the best memory performance. Through our tests, we will find out just how the memory performs and what the maximum possible overclocking limit is.

- Memory Description & Specs

The OCZ EL PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 comes as a dual channel kit (2 x 512MB) and according to OCZ is hand tested as a matched pair to ensure flawless performance on most motherboards. Each memory module has a high quality copper heat spreader with a platinum mirrored finish. It can handle up to 2.9V without voiding the OCZ Lifetime Warranty! This is important, as it allows users to tweak their systems without worrying about destroying their memory while enjoying maximum performance!

The OCZ EL PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 comes with the "EL" suffix. But what does "EL" mean? EL is the acronym from 'Enhanced Latency', and is a special design procedure applied to each memory module allowing it to run at tighter CAS latency timings than those specified under the current JEDEC standards.

The memory specifications according to the OCZ website are:

- 400MHz DDR
- CL 2-2-2-5
- Available in 512MB and a 1GB (2x512MB) Dual Channel Optimized Kit
- Unbuffered
- Mirrored Platinum Copper Heatspreader
- Lifetime Warranty
- nominal voltage 2.75 Volts
- 184 Pin DIMM

The retail kits are available in a 512MB Module (PN - OCZ400512ELPER2) and a 1GB Dual Channel Kit (PN - OCZ4001024ELDCPER2-K). For this review we used the 1GB retail Kit.

The retail kit also includes a case and a stick-on badge for those who want to use it to show-off their OCZ advanced memory powered system.

2. Test Setup - Methodology
OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2

Test Setup

Processor Retail Intel Pentium 4 2.4C
CPU Cooler Zalman 7000Cu
Case Antec 1080AMG
Tested MotherBoard ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe (firmware v1017)
Videocard ATI Radeon 9600Pro
Memory 2x512MB OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2
Hard Disk Drive WD800JD 80GB 7200RPM
CD-RW LiteOn LTR-52246S
PowerSupply Levicom 500Watt
Software Setup WinXP SP1
875P Intel Inf update v5.00.1012
Catalyst v4.3
Workstation Benchmarks Sisoft Sandra Standard 2004.10.9.89
  AIDA32 v3.93
  PC Mark 04 Build v1.1.0.0
  Prime95 v2.38
  Memtest86+ v1.26
  CPUZ v1.24

Test Methodology

In order to make sure our memory was stable, we used the Memtest86+ software. At least 2 passes at extended mode should be error free before accepting the corresponding FSB speed as stable. After running the benchmarking software (AIDA32, Sisoft Sandra 2004 & PCMark04) under Windows XP SP1, we ran two instances of Prime95 (Blend/Small FFTs) for at least six hours, to confirm the stability of the system.

Each measurement given in the test results, is taken after running each test three times, and then taking the average values. Note that the Sisoft Sandra results (Integer value and a Float value) were averaged and given as a single number for each test.

Our test motherboard is an ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe, a motherboard with the Intel 865 chipset and very well known for its overclocking capabilities. As for the CPU, we used an Intel Northwood P4 at 2.4GHz. Some may wonder why we use an "old" processor for the tests. As has been proven, the 2.4GHz P4 is a great overclocker, which makes it ideal for these tests.

The DDR memory modules were installed in the 1st and 3rd banks respectively. For optimum results, we didn't overclock the SVGA card, leaving it running at stock speeds with official Catalyst v4.30 installed.

3. The Tests
OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2

The tests

The following BIOS settings were used during our tests.

DRAM Frequency: 400Mhz (1:1 divider)
AGP/PCI Frequency: 66.66/33.33
CPU CVore Voltage 1.5250-1.6000
DDR Reference Voltage: 2.85V
AGP VDDQ Voltage: 1.60V
Performance Mode: Turbo
DRAM Idle Timer: Infinite
DRAM Refresh Rate 15.6usec
Spread Spectrum: Disabled
ICH Delayed Transaction: Disabled

As you can see from the screenshot above, CPUZ reports the SPD values of the OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 memory, which for 200MHz is a very impressive 2-2-2-5.

After the initial test at the default frequency of 200MHz, we started increasing the frequency, using each time the tightest possible timings so that the test PC would POST, and then running the tests mentioned previously.

While tempted to use frequency dividers other than 1:1, like 5:4, we refrained from doing so. Our goal was not to see how far our CPU would go. The purpose is to see how the OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 would perform and how high its overclocking potential is.

In that department, we had very encouraging info from OCZ Technologies themselves, and word going around the various harware forums on the Internet. This model from OZC, while rated PC-3200 can be overclocked to a great extent.

Summarizing, we tested the following FSB/Timings/DDR Voltage:

FSB Divider
Memory Timings
DDR Voltage
CPU Speed
215 2-2-2-5 2.58 Highest FSB with these timings
220 2-3-3-5 2.64  
235 2-3-3-5 2.82 Highest FSB with these timings
250 2.5-3-3-5 3.00  
250 2.5-3-3-7 3.00  
265 2.5-3-3-7 3.18 Highest FSB with these timings
270 2.5-4-4-7 3.24 Highest FSB with these timings
275 3-4-4-8 3.30 Highest usable FSB
280 3-4-4-8 3.36 PC would POST ok, Memtest would complete ok, but Windows crash at startup
285 3-4-4-8 3.42 PC would POST ok, Memtest would complete ok, but Windows crash at startup

As you can see, with FSB 285 MHz (1:1) the CPU reaches the incredible 3.42 GHz. Bearing in mind this was a 2.4GHz processor, it is a 1 Ghz increase! Of course, the system was not usable because it would not boot Windows, however by using other methods of cooling, it could produce a stable system.

Nevertheless, the system at 275 MHz was very stable during our tests. Bear in mind that we have probably reached the CPU's limits as well, using air cooling.

4. Benchmarks
OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2


Please note that in all diagrams shown on this page, there are entries for 200 MHz and timings 2-3-3-6. These measurements were taken by using OEM DDR-3200 memory modules in order to show the difference the enhanced latency feature of the OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 offers at 200 MHz.

As we can see, the best read performance comes with FSB 275 MHz, while the best write comes with FSB 265 MHz. The FSB 270 MHz is very close and should be used for a stable system, while the timings are (2.5-4-4-7). A significant performance gain is apparent at the default frequency of 200 MHz, where the OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 really shines. It's read performance is at good levels (outmatched only over 235MHz and 2-3-3-5 timings), and its write performance is exceptional, coming only second next to the performance measured at 265 MHz with timings at 2.5-3-3-7.

No need to say also, that without any overclocking at all, the OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 shows exceptional performance over other types of memory that do not offer such low latencies.

From both Sisoft Sandra and PCmark04 results, we can conclude that the higher the FSB goes, the higher the performance of the memory. Timings of course make some difference, sometimes it might be better to stay a few MHz lower just to get tighter timings for the memory.

Also bear in mind that while OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 is rated as DDR400, we managed to overclock it up to DDR550 specs, and without any extra cooling. To be exact, we got up to DDR570, but while the system was POSTing ok, Memtest86+ was running ok, the system would crash at the Windows loadup screen. Maybe with extra cooling, we could have had even better results. Also, if we could increase the voltage supplied to the memory, we could squeeze even more performance. Our test motherboard's maximum setting is 2.85Volts, which might not have been enough. Nevertheless, the overclocking potential of this memory is fantastic.

5. Conclusion
OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2


The OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 offers what it promises and much more. It can operate at speeds up to DDR550+Mhz (depending on the M/B and memory voltage) and lower memory timings than any other PC4200/4300/4400 memory kits currently sold. According to OCZ, the memory will work perfectly not only at P4 Northwood/Prescott motherboards but also to AMD A64, NForce m/b too, who wish to overclock (1:1) their CPU to the maximum.

We hope in the near future to test the latest OCZ "EL" series products and other high speed memory from other vendors so we can have a clearer view regarding such fast memory devices and what can be offered to both low/high end users. Overall, the OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 is a product we would highly recommended for all overclocker enthusiasts!

The street price of the OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 (for the 1GB Kit) is around €330 in Europe, and around $300 in the US. Not quite cheap, but you get exactly what you paid for: excellent quality memory with great overclocking potential.

The OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Rev2 memory kit, gets our Editors Choice Award for excellent performance either at 400 or 550Mhz!

The Good:
- Supports CL2 (2-2-2-5) at DDR400
- Can go up to DDR500+ offering very good overclocking capabilities (1:1)
- DDR Voltage can raised up to ~3.0V without breaking manufacturer's warranty
- Very good performance at all speeds

The Bad:
- Works best with specific motherboards, so be careful before buying, and check OCZ's website for the list of compatible motherboards!

Like to be fixed:
- Maybe a lower price?

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