The demand for faster DDR1 ram has continuously gained momentum with the constant arrival of new processors that are highly overclockable and FSB friendly. Yeah, DDR is playing catch up from such CPUs. With Intel and AMD camps producing processors that will fully benefit extremely fast frequencies and bandwidths, enthusiast and overclockers are taking full advantage of this situation.
Having DDR ram with a lot of headroom is the key in pushing your system to the limits. The ability to run at extreme low latencies at lower frequencies is an added bonus of course. Not so long ago, you can only have either. Now you can enjoy the best of both worlds. This is made possible by the arrival of Samsung’s excellent TCCD ICs in the DDR world. Now you won’t have any second doubts in your upgrade paths when it comes to choosing the right DDR for your system.
Memory manufacturer’s are quick to utilize such potential. We have already seen some impressive results from both Corsair and Mushkin who used these chips in their PC3200 modules running at CAS 2-2-2-5. Both brands overclocked to very impressive levels. Recently, Corsair upped the ante by producing a Dual Channel DDR kit capable of running extreme latencies at DDR400 and aggressive timings at DDR550 using the said Samsung chips.
Today we are taking a look at another manufacturer, G.SKILL, utilizing the amazing performance of the Samsung TCCDs. Included in their EXTREME DDR series, these modules promise to deliver the same excellent performance the chips are known for both at DDR400 and DDR550. Introducing, the G. SKILL Extreme Samsung TCCD PC4400 1Gb Kit.
The G. SKILL Extreme Samsung TCCD 1Gb Kit is a matched pair of 512mb Samsung TCCD PC3200 modules capable of running CAS 2-2-2-5 at PC3200 (DDR400) and an impressive CAS 2.5-3-3-7 at PC4400 (DDR550)!
These Dual Channel Series modules are specifically designed for high frequency operation on Intel 865/875 or AMD K8 chipset based motherboards through the use of G.SKILL Samsung TCCD PC3200 2-2-2-5 SERIES HyperSpeed and ULN technology. These modules are handpicked and tested before they are shipped so you are assured that they will run at its rated speed. It is capable of achieving outrageous speeds of up to 550MHz or above at CL 2.5-3-3-7. Their tests show that they can even run up to PC4800 (DDR600)!
Packed in a rigid hard plastic see through container, the G. SKILL Extreme Samsung TCCD 1Gb Kit is not the flashiest when it comes to packaging. It is what I can call a minimalist approach. You would barely know that its from G. Skill except for the small logo printed on the right side of the kit’s label insert. At the back of the insert is the obligatory instructions and warranty information. It’s even got a bar code for RMA purposes I guess. This bar code sticker can also be seen on each module as well with a serial number printed. Opening up the included insert you will see the company profile and separate sheet with the evidential testing results.
The G. SKILL Extreme Samsung TCCD PC4400 1Gb Kit is made up of 2 x 512mb latest Revision F 4ns Samsung K4H560838F-431 TCCD ICs. Yeah these handpicked and tested modules has been pushed to run at a magical PC4400 speeds at CAS 2.5-3-3-7. The most aggressive rated latencies at DDR550 we have seen to date. Our previous review of the Corsair DDR550 counterpart is only rated at CAS 2.5-4-4-8 at DDR550.
Using the Samsung TCCD chips means that these dual channel kit from G. SKILL can run at both DDR400 using extreme low latencies of CAS 2-2-2-5 and DDR550 using aggressive timings of CAS 2.5-3-3-7. Making the upgrade decision for most users easier as ever. The ability to run at these frequencies and timings is indeed unheard of since very recently.
The only possible drawback that will be obvious to most enthusiast is the absence of heatspreaders on the modules. Saying that though, it is obvious that it’s overclocking potential has not been affected in any way by not having them. Besides, this could be a cost saving move on the part of G. SKILL. But then again being a geek, you want a bit of bling bling. I guess as an enthusiast, aesthetics is sometimes more important than cost even if it means paying a bit more.
However, we never doubted that the G. SKILL Extreme Samsung TCCD 1Gb Kit will not work as promised due to the knowledge that they have been handpicked and fully tested before being packaged. Note that this is true to all retail samples and not just for this particular kit we are reviewing. Using ultra low latency timings of CAS 2-2-2-5, the modules maxed out at 213MHz (DDR426). This is excellent if you want extreme performance within this memory speeds. The highest ROCK SOLID overclock we achieved using these modules on our dual channel setup was 281Mhz FSB. That’s DDR562 on the memory at CAS 2.5-3-3-7. That is indeed very impressive. We tried to increase the voltage up to 2.8v and fully relax the timings to CAS 3-4-4-8 to see if we can go any further but the results were the same.
Never had we had modules in dual channel mode running at this speed at such aggressive timings. We are definite that it could overclock more had it not for our system reaching its limits at 281MHz FSB. G. SKILL’s tests complete with evidential snapshots show that they even managed to run it solidly at 300MHz FSB (DDR600) but of course we cannot prove that on our end. And at what voltage they achieved the feat, we don’t know . We do know, however, that our overclock was achieved with the memory’s voltage at only 2.6v, its default. Now that’s amazing. I’m sure the voltage modders are smiling
G. SKILL is a new name to most of us. And in the world of high performance DDR, entry is always earned. If the Extreme Samsung TCCD 1Gb Kit is a sample of what’s to come from G. SKILL, then it could only be good for all of us. More competition in the “niche” high performance DDR market means cheaper and high quality DDR modules for us. And with what we have seen from G. SKILL’s initial DDR550 offering, you’ll be assured of solid and extremely fast memory.
When they decided to use the Samsung TCCD modules, it was obvious that they would target the overclocking crowd cause we all know what these modules can do. With the G. SKILL Extreme Samsung TCCD 1Gb PC4400 Kit, overlocking has once again been given more headroom. The good thing about this particular offering is that CAS latencies wasn’t compromised to achieve the feat. Here you’ve got a Dual Channel DDR kit that can run a extremely fast frequencies at agressive timings and low voltages. These are all the ingredients necessary for any extreme overclocking recipe.
Aesthetics wise, well, this particular G. SKILL Dual Channel kit is not a crowd pleaser. It looks like any other DDR modules you have seen. This is of course due to the absence of shiny heatspreaders. Let’s just say that for those thinking of showing off their hardware through a case window, you might wanna think twice before purchasing these RAM. But for those not so worried about looks and is more concern about performance and speed, then this is an excellent choice.
Pricing wise, the G. SKILL Extreme Samsung TCCD 1Gb DDR550 Kit can be had for US$290 according to Newegg. That’s one of the cheapest DDR550 kit out in the market. Of course, you lose the heatspreaders but not the performance as our tests showed. If you want the most aggressive 1Gb Dual Channel DDR550 kit for your system today, then the G. SKILL Extreme Samsung TCCD 1Gb Kit should be on top of your list.