|Aeneon DDR3-1600 4GB XMP RAM AXH860UD20-16H|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Memory|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 14 May 2008|
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Closer Look: Aeneon PC3-12800
System memory (RAM) manufacturers are in a tough position these days. Everybody wants the latest technology, which runs faster and operates more efficiently, but nobody wants the price tag that comes with it. Because DDR2 fabrication assembly plants are nearing obsolescence, the equipment depreciation has caused DDR2 prices to drop below the actual cost of production. This is bad news for the manufacturer, while conversely it means great savings to the consumer. So while manufacturers try to squeeze the last drops of revenue out of DDR2, along comes DDR3.
Many of the readers will probably not consider DDR3 an important part of the hardware market just yet, and in a very few ways I can agree with them. It's expensive, and it's not going to change their system from a 2 to a 10. Nevertheless, I think that this argument only exists if you have missed the point: DDR3 is a more efficient replacement over DDR2 in many different ways, and high-speed DDR3 (presently anything over 1333MHz) is intended for overclockers and enthusiasts almost exclusively. In a year from now, expect to have DDR3 pressed into your new motherboard. However for today, the demand behind DDR3 and its high-speed variants is best met by the growing number of hardware enthusiasts which push their equipment well past the stock settings.
All of this is great news for the overclocker, the hardcore gamer, and the hardware enthusiast; which has been the case every time high-end system memory parts arrive to the market. It wasn't all that long ago we all had SDRAM with 1 and 1.5CL timings, and then DDR arrived with CL3. Nobody complained then, so I'm not sure why they are starting now. It was the exact same story when DDR2 arrived to replace DDR; which nearly doubled the timings. So from a technical standpoint we should appreciate that the timings have only gradually increased with the clock speed, because history has proven this to be difficult.
The Patriot PC3-15000 kit we reviewed not long ago presently holds the record for fastest DDR3 module produced. But to no surprise the price for this product alone is nearly enough to build a nice computer system. It is for this very reason that system builders have been slow to build off of the DDR3 platform: everything looks expensive. Well, with the Aeneon PC3-12800 DDR3 1333MHz RAM kit that doesn't have to be the case.
The new Aeneon PC3-12800 XTune Edition was developed to offer enthusiasts a memory solution that takes full advantage of the capabilities of the Intel 3- and 4-series chipsets. At 1600 MHz, this XTune DDR3 kit is presently considered the fastest step in the official JEDEC standard. Since the AXH860UD20-16H kit is rated to run CL9-9-9-28 timings, it's poised to provide enthusiasts with high-performance potential regardless of the bus speed.
Since this in not high-speed DDR3 that operates beyond the 1.5V JEDEC specification, Aeneon has no reason to use anything more than the standard aluminum heat spreader for their AXH760UD00-13GA98X module. Some manufacturers such as OCZ set the bar for appearance rather high with their Reaper HPC design, and then lift that bar even higher with their recently announced PC3-10666 ReaperX HPC Enhanced Bandwidth DDR3. I must confide a "secret" to you though, the extra cooling is a waste. I have touched overclocked Super Talent PC3-14400 while it was running, and it hardly felt warm.
The small profile can be helpful to system builders, too. In our recent reviews, the larger heatspreaders found on the Winchip PC2-9600 64A0TMTHE8G17C and Super Talent PC3-14400 W1800UX2GP kits have found themselves too tall to fit in a full range spectrum of system applications. This translates into higher compatibility for the XTune in compact computer builds, such as shallow HTPC systems.
During normal operation, I discovered that the 4 GB Aeneon 1600 MHz SDRAM kit generated a temperature which was just barely lukewarm to the touch. Even in the very best DDR2 kits running at a low 800MHz, it is nearly impossible to touch the module during operation. This drastic reduction in operating temperature is likely the result of the efficient DDR3 process or possibly the 1.5V used with this PC3-12800 kit.
Aeneon has been quick to introduce several different RAM module designs over the past few years (counting some of the Qimonda DDR2 SKU's), and it seems that the Aeneon DDR3-1600 4GB XMP RAM Kit AXH860UD20-16H is not really all that different when compared to the appearance of past generations. Personally, I think that the introduction of XTune to coincide with the new DDR3 standard was a good idea, and lets consumers know they are getting new technology. It just doesn't make sense to sell a new product in an old package.
In the next section, Benchmark Reviews covers the finer points of DDR3 and the changes it brings. The overall progress of this DDR3 series is also updated, along with overclocking results.