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OCZ PC3 16000 Gold 6GB Triple Channel
When we reviewed the OCZ Reaper PC3-14400 6GB Triple Channel memory kit for Core i7 earlier this year it had a price of £197 and since then we have seen prices fall by an astonishing amount.
Indeed prices have fallen so far that your reviewer was trawling the net for fast DDR3 for a feature and came up with a 6GB kit of OCZ PC3 16000 Gold memory at £108.68. A moment later the deed was done, the button was clicked and the memory was bought. That's right the memory you see on these pages has been bought for cold, hard cash. In the intervening weeks since this impulsive purchase the price has fallen even further to £91.99 which seems awfully cheap for a 6GB kit of DDR3 with a rated speed of 2,000MHz.
It takes a certain amount of digging through OCZ's extensive range of memory to find out where the 2,000MHz Gold memory fits in the great scheme of things. OCZ lists seven distinct families of triple channel memory kits for Core i7 (Blade, Flex EX, Reaper, Intel Extreme, Platinum, Gold and Value) or you can see the range divided by application (Enthusiasts, Gaming, Special Editions and Value). We deduce that enthusiast gamers who like value for money don't fit neatly into OCZ's view of the world.
The Reaper memory we reviewed last time is high end, partly because of its clock speed but mainly thanks to the HPC (Heat Pipe Conduit) system that increases the cooling area with an extra cooling package located on heatpipes above the main body of the module. This increases the height of the module to 70mm which can be a deal breaker if your CPU cooler hangs over the memory slots on your motherboard.
By contrast the Gold series of OCZ memory is classed as a budget product even though it looks very similar to the more expensive Platinum and Titanium products. The heat spreader on Gold modules is, um, gold in colour while Platinum and Titanium are, well, you get the idea. Bar their colour, cosmetically there is nothing to choose between these three families of memory and you have to look quite closely to spot the differences in specification. For instance you can buy PC3-15000/DDR3-1866MHz Platinum that supports timings of 9-9-9-28 while the corresponding Gold memory has latencies of 10-10-10-28. Now ask yourself, do you fancy the job of speed binning all those memory chips and deciding which should be Gold and which Platinum? Us neither.
The specification of the OCZ Gold we bought can be seen here. It's regular 240-pin DDR3 that operates on 1.65V which makes it compatible with the memory controller in Core i7. You get 3 x 2GB in the pack so a 64-bit Operating System is a natural choice. If you install 6GB of RAM on a 32-bit OS you will only see 2.5GB-3GB once the graphics have eaten their share of the addressable 4GB. By contrast 6GB on 64-bit gives you the full 6GB. In terms of speed, it runs at 2,000MHz while latencies are CL 10-10-10-30 (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS).