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You'll be used to the rhythm and flow of the memory reviews that we run on TrustedReviews. Every month or so we get our hands on some incredibly fast memory that helps us to extract the last scrap of performance from whichever motherboard and processor we've got strapped to the test bench.
We've worked our way through a stack of DDR2 and DDR3 while the clock speeds head to 1,600MHz and beyond. Every so often we mix things up and throw in a 4GB kit instead of the usual 2GB or we take a look at FB-DIMM, but the common theme has been increased clock speed and higher performance.
This week we're doing something that might look a bit odd. Last November we reviewed a 2GB kit of Kingston KHX9600, which has a maximum effective clock speed of 1,200MHz. That's a true clock speed of 600MHz, which outstrips any front side bus setting we can imagine seeing on a Core 2 system. If we ignore the exotic Core 2 Extreme QX9770 with its 400MHz/1,600MHz front side bus, you'd have to take a 333MHz/1,333MHz processor to a very uncomfortable place to approach that sort of clock speed.
When a package of Kingston KHX9200D2K2/2G memory arrived recently in a UPS truck it seemed like a backwards step. The KHX9200 looks exactly the same as the KHX9600 except that it runs at 1,150MHz rather than 1,200MHz and it requires the same 2.3-2.35V to keep it happy.
One significant difference between the two speeds of memory is the price. The KHX9600 has dropped slightly in price since our review but it still sells for an uncomfortable £106 at Overclockers. Heck that's more expensive than 2GB of DDR3-1333, but the 2GB kit of KHX9200 is much cheaper at £59. That's a fair chunk of change so we have to address the question; is the extra 25MHz offered by the KHX9600 worth having? Or, to put it another way, can you get your fast DDR2 memory to run at 1,150MHz let alone 1,200MHz?
These are good questions so we broke out an Asus P5Q Deluxe motherboard with P45 chipset along with a Core 2 Extreme QX9650 processor, which runs at 3.0GHz on a 333MHz/1,333MHz front side bus. In anticipation of the overclocking that was to come we stuck 2.30V into the memory and 1.30V into the CPU rather than using the Auto settings.