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by Tarinder Sandhu on 20 January 2003, 00:00 4.5


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On a quick note we would like to say thank you to Chillblast here in the UK for supplying us a retail module. Since people have made claims about OCZ in the past we thought this would be the best way to show what YOU the consumer is getting. Anyway on with the review....

Faster and faster memory is all the rage at the moment. With AMD-based motherboards now hitting FSB speeds of 200MHz with relative ease, and a number of Pentium 4 solutions offering a bewildering array of asynchronous memory speeds, the need for super-fast DDR memory has never been greater.

Whilst the typical PC World shopper will be content with a functional PC, there are many who want to squeeze the utmost out of their machines. You can spend more on a higher speed of CPU, but without addressing the problem of the increasing delta between CPU and system speed, the potential advantages of faster CPUs are somewhat limited. What we need is some super-fast RAM to throw information quickly and efficiently to the multi-GHz CPUs. After all, your 2GHz+ P4 or 1.5GHz+ XP are just screaming for bandwidth. AMD have moved in the right direction with their latest 166FSB processors. Intel, on the other hand, may well skip the 166FSB generation in favour of a 200MHz FSB (800MHz QDR) on their upcoming motherboards and CPUs. The idea is to bring the system's speed closer to that of the rampaging CPU clock. Put somewhat simply, high multipliers = bad.

Perhaps to outdo one another or just to push the boundaries back, memory manufacturers, seemingly, have been falling over themselves in launcher faster and faster modules. There is a definite demand for premium, speedy parts, so a number of companies have tried to fill this lucrative end of the market. All the major players have at least some form of DDR-400 in their range. Some have gone further and qualified their best modules at higher speeds. I remember writing about some excellent Corsair XMS3500 C2 RAM. One point I made applauded the fact that they could ratify a module to operate at 217MHz (PC-3500) with a CAS Latency of 2 clocks (lower is better).

Shortly afterwards I remember receiving an e-mail from OCZ Technology stating that Corsair weren't the only ones with PC-3500 C2 memory. In fact, looking through OCZ's website, it transpired that PC-3500 C2 (or EL DDR PC-3500) wasn't even their top-of-the-line module; EL PC-3700 was. OCZ Technology, like Corsair and Mushkin, specialise in providing high-performance memory modules. They're also known for producing, amongst other things, a number of high-quality heatsinks.

Can our test module of OCZ EL (Enhanced Latency) PC-3500 dethrone the Corsair XMS3500 as Hexus' memory of choice ?. It sure looks good on paper. Only one way to find out.