Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 (PC3-15000) 4GB DDR3 Kit Page: 1
Introduction & SpecsAeneon Xtune
 
Back at the beginning of the year, Overclock3D was fortunate enough to take a look at a DDR3-1333 4GB kit from a fairly new player in the performance memory scene named Aeneon. At the time, we were highly impressed by the kit's ability to reach speeds of  DDR3-1700 using only 1.85v, but couldn't help but feel that this excellent kit was a one-off, designed to generate some media excitement around the new brand name.
 
However, Aeneon, keen to prove us wrong, have returned once again - this time brandishing something exceptionally more powerful: a 4GB DDR3-1866 kit affectionately labeled AXH860UD20-18J. Let's check out the specs:
 
 
Description
XTUNE™ DDR3 series is the AENEON™ solution for the latest DDR3 platforms addressing highest performance needs as well as fast, stable and reliable system operation.

The Dual Channel Kit comes with two identical modules tested together in DUAL CHANNEL MODE at 1866MHz at a latency timing of 10-10-10-30 on several platforms.
Supports XMP - Extreme Memory Profile on Intel X38/X48 platforms and EPP2.0 – Enhanced Performance Profile on the latest NVIDIA SLI platforms.
 
Features
* Dual channel kits are pair-tested on latest platforms
* DDR3-1866 CL10 @1.5V
* Enhanced performance modes included in EPP2.0 and XMP profiles
* 240-Pin Dual Inline Memory Module (DIMM) with gold contacts
* High quality aluminium heat spreader to ensure cooler operating temperature
* Supports Intel XMP – Extreme Memory Profile on Intel X38/X48 platforms
* Supports NVIDIA EPP2.0 - Enhance Performace Profile on NVIDIA SLI platforms
 
With 10-10-10-30 stock timings, the Xtune kit certainly isn't going to win any awards for latency out of the box. However, we know better than to judge anything by its factory settings here at Overclock3D, and the JEDEC standard voltage of 1.5v certainly brings hope that this kit is just erring on the side of caution.
 
Unfortunately, the specifications make no mention of just how high (if at all) the voltage can be taken before voiding the 10-year warranty that Aeneon provide with the kit (yes you read that right). This is something that companies such as OCZ and Mushkin take pride in displaying, as it provides reassurance to the casual overclocker that they can push the modules a little bit further without throwing money down the drain.
 
Finally, one last thing worthy of a mention is that the Xtune DDR3-1866 kit supports both Intel's XMP and NVIDIA's EPP2.0 performance profiles, ensuring that the kit works at its intended speeds on some of the more recent chipsets by both of these manufacturers.
 
Now let's get up close and personal with the kit...


Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 (PC3-15000) 4GB DDR3 Kit Page: 2
Packaging & Appearance
 
Packaging of the memory modules seems to come quite low on the list of priorities for most manufacturers, and as a result the kits are hardly ever treated to anything more than a clear plastic blister-style packet. This was certainly true for the previously reviewed Aeneon DDR3-1333 kit, and as we can see from below, nothing has changed this time round either.
 
Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 Packaging Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 Packaging
 
Inserted inside the blister packet is a black and grey card insert with minimalistic styling. Unlike the generic card inserts used by some manufacturers, Aeneon has gone to the trouble of designing a custom insert card for this specific kit, allowing for the module size and default speed to be instantly visible at a glance.

As mentioned on the previous page, the Xtune kit has a default voltage setting of 1.5v, and Aeneon have made sure that this is well known by printing a "No overvoltage required - 1.5v" badge over on the right of the insert.

Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 Memory Front Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 Memory Back
 
Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 Xtune Logo Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 Specs Sticker
 
The kit itself is a fairly simplistic affair, with black aluminium heatspreaders enclosing each of the memory modules. While the heatspreaders certainly aren't as flashy as some of the offerings from OCZ, Patriot or Cellshock, the embossed/painted Xtune logo on the front of the kit goes a fair way to sprucing them up.
 
Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 Memory Naked! Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 Memory IC's
 
As you would expect from a 4GB kit, the Aeneon Xtune modules feature IC's on both sides of the PCB. The heatspreaders are fixed directly to the IC's using a strong adhesive thermal tape that required extreme heating (blowtorch anyone?) before we could get a glimpse at the bare naked module beneath.
 
Normally at this point we'd also discuss the choice of memory IC's used on the modules, but with little experience of anything outside the realms of Micron's D9 chips, the best we can do is provide you with the model number printed on the IC's for conducting your own investigation: FSS17582.


Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 (PC3-15000) 4GB DDR3 Kit Page: 3
Test Setup

NVIDIA's 790i chipset-based motherboards are widely recognised by enthusiasts as being among the best when it comes to high frequency DDR3 overclocking. Providing both the ability to run memory modules in sync, on a divider or 'unlinked' from the main CPU bus speed, they are the ideal platform for testing out the EPP2.0 enabled Xtune kit on review today. This, combined with the rest of the hardware listed below, will ensure that no other part of the system acts as a bottleneck:

Processor
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 "G0" 2.4GHZ 2x4MB

Motherboard
ASUS Striker II Extreme 790i

Memory
Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 4GB

Graphics Card
ASUS Radeon HD 4870x2

Graphics Drivers
ATI Catalyst 8.6.64789

Operating System
Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 + Updates

To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities will be used:

Synthetic Benchmarks
• Lavalys Everest 4.0
• SuperPI Mod 1.4

3D Benchmarks
• 3DMark03
• Enemy Territory: Quake Wars


Overclocking

While our natural-born instinct as overclockers was to jump right in and start pumping extra voltage through the Aeneon kit, there is one important issue that needs to be explored first: stability. Too often here at Overclock3D, we've received memory kits that simply don't work at their advertised speeds or voltages, leading to system crashes, corrupt OS installs and a lot of wasted time. Therefore, our first test was to see if the Xtune modules would work flawlessly straight out of the box...

DDR3-1866 / 10-10-10-30 / 1.5v
CPU-Z - Stock CPU-Z Stock
 
With a stock voltage of 1.5v and claims from Aeneon that "No Overvoltage Is Required", this immediately set alarm bells ringing. After all, most other high performance DDR3 kits we've tested recently have required at least 1.8v in order to function correctly. However, after inserting the modules, enabling EPP2.0 in the BIOS and setting the memory voltage to 1.5v, the  system booted first time at DDR3-1866 and effortlessly passed a full 30 minutes of OCCT stability testing along with a series of benchmarks. Amazing work Aeneon!

DDR3-1974 / 10-10-10-30 / 1.5v

CPU-Z - Overclocked / Stock Voltage CPU-Z - Overclocked / Stock Voltage

The next test was to see just how far we could overclock the modules without making any adjustments to the voltage. Already impressed by the kit's ability to run at DDR3-1866 with only 1.5v, we certainly weren't expecting to see much in the way of overclocking at such a low voltage level. Boy were we wrong...

After disabling EPP2.0, which had us locked at DDR3-1866, and dropping the CPU multiplier to 8x so that we could push the FSB higher without putting too much strain on our CPU, the maximum memory speed we managed to reach with 100% stability was DDR3-1974. Interestingly, the modules also booted and were 'desktop stable' all the way up to DDR3-2000, but no amount of voltage could stabilise this enough for a 3DMark run. However, a little extra voltage did help to get this result...
 
DDR3-1994 / 10-10-10-30 / 1.56v
CPU-Z
CPU-Z

So close! Only 6mhz shy of DDR3-2000 at 1.56v. Unfortunately, the Xtune kit didn't scale any better with the voltage set beyond this, which is a shame because it could have easily had Micron's famous D9-based modules on their hands and knees begging for mercy. But with all said and done, going from 1866MHz to 1994MHz with only 0.6v is a damn good result.


Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 (PC3-15000) 4GB DDR3 Kit Page: 4
Everest
 
Everest is an information & diagnostic utility complete with a benchmark utility suitable for testing the read, write and latency performance of the memory subsystem. Each of these benchmarks were performed a total of 5 times, with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average calculated from the remaining 3.
 
 
 
 
SuperPI
 
SuperPI is the benchmark of choice for many overclockers. It's lightweight to download and can give a quick indication on how good a system is at number crunching. Once again, testing was performed a total of 5 times, with an average being calculated from the middle three results.
 
 
 
 
Result Observations
 
As expected, both of the overclocked settings offer significant bandwidth, latency and SuperPI time improvements over the stock DDR3-1866 setting. Comparing these results to the recently reviewed Corsair XMS3 kit, we can see that the Aeneon Xtune kit even gives the Corsair kit a run for its money while running at DDR3-2000 / 9-9-9-28.


Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 (PC3-15000) 4GB DDR3 Kit Page: 5
3DMark03
 
3DMark is a popular synthetic gaming benchmark used by many gamers and overclockers to gauge the performance of their PC's. All 3DMark runs were performed a total of 5 times, with the highest and lowest results being removed and an average calculated from the remaining 3 results.
 
 
 
ET:Quake Wars
 
ET:Quake Wars is a follow-up game to Wolfenstein:Enemy Territory developed by Splash Technology. Using the built-in recordNetDemo and timeNetDemo commands, we recorded a 5 minute online gaming session and played it back a total of 5 times, calculating the average FPS from the median three results.
 
 
 
 
Result Observations
 
Both 3DMark03 and ET:Quake Wars follow the same pattern as the results seen over the previous page. Both the increase in memory frequency combined with the unavoidable increase in CPU speed give the games the extra performance they need to make the most out of the GPU.


Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 (PC3-15000) 4GB DDR3 Kit Page: 6
Conclusion
 
Aeneon XtuneWhether it be intentional or not, Aeneon have positioned themselves as a possible favourite memory manufacturer for the new Nehalem/Core i7 based systems when they become available in the next few weeks. As I'm sure most of us will have heard, these systems are rumoured to require DDR3 memory modules that can operate at voltages of 1.65v or lower as the CPU vCore is supposedly directly linked to vDIMM.
 
This, of course, makes the Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1866 kit an extremely favourable choice thanks to its stock 1.5v operation, along with its ability to overclock to DDR3-1974 without any further voltage adjustments. Additionally, with a small amount of extra voltage the kit is capable of coming within a whisker of DDR3-2000, which is pretty damn impressive indeed at such a low voltage.
 
On the down side, the Xtune modules hated low latency settings with a passion and blatantly refused to run at CAS9 on our 790i motherboard no matter what voltage setting was used. Even slightly lower settings such as 10-9-9-28 caused system instability and occasionally failure to boot, which isn't good news for those of us who enjoy a combination of latency and speed.
 
 
The Good
• Very low voltage requirements for a DDR3-1866 kit.
• Overclocks to DDR3-1974 with only 1.5v, and DDR3-1994 with 1.56v.
• Support for XMP & EPP2.0 profiles, ensuring stability on newer chipsets.
• Possibly a good choice for an i7 setup.
 
The Mediocre
•10-10-10-30 timings are a bit slack
• Refused to run at CAS9 no matter what voltage.

The Bad
• Poor availability in the UK.
 
 
Overclock3D Recommended Award
 
Thanks to Aeneon for providing the Xtune PC3-1866 kit for review. Discuss this review in our forums.