OCZ FlexXLC Edition PC2-9200 (1150mhz) 2GB DDR2 Kit Page: 1
Introduction

Just over 2 months ago OCZ gave us the opportunity to take a look at their high-end Reaper HPC modules. Using Heatpipe technology to cool the memory, the modules managed to remain extremely cool when overclocked and obtained our 'Recommended' and 'Value for Money' awards. However, OCZ have never been a company to rest on their laurels, and for this reason it's no surprise to see them pushing the boundaries of memory cooling with their latest PC2-9200 and PC2-9600 "FlexXLC" kits.

Here's what OCZ had to say about the FlexXLC PC2-9200 kit we're going to be looking at today...

As the World’s fastest DDR2, the PC2-9200, in combination with the innovative FlexXLC technology, is considerably the most ground-breaking and unique memory product existing today.

These new modules feature the new OCZ FlexXLC (Xtreme Liquid Convention) heatsink that delivers superior heat dissipation via a hybrid copper and aluminum design alterable between passive air or water cooling.

Among these thermal management advantages, the PC2-9200 FlexXLC also implements a new 8-layer PCB. This facilitates less “crosstalk,” consequently enhancing the module’s total signal integrity.

The PC2-9200 FlexXLC modules are optimized for the latest cutting edge platforms and will be available in 2GB (2x1024MB) dual channel kits. As part of OCZ’s line-up of premium memory, the PC2-9200 series is backed by a Lifetime Warranty and industry-leading technical support. Harnessing the achievement of leading-edge speed, high performance heat dissipation, and enhanced signal integrity, the unparalleled design of the OCZ PC2-9200 FlexXLC is a complete, all-encompassing solution certain to set a new benchmark in enthusiast memory.

FlexXLC Diagram

Based around a hybrid Air/Water cooled design, the FlexXLC modules feature 1/4" barbs for integration with an existing water cooling system along with an array of fins at the top of the modules to effectively remove heat when water cooling is not used. We all know heat is an overclockers worst enemy, so with these elaborate cooling methods employed on the FlexXLC modules it will certainly be interesting to see if they perform any better than memory kits that feature a 'normal' heatspreader.


Technical Specifications

The following specs have been taken directly from OCZ's website:

General
• 1150MHz DDR2
• CL 5-5-5-18
• Available in 2GB (2x1024) Dual Channel Kits
• Unbuffered
• OCZ Lifetime Warranty
• 2.3 Volts
• 240 Pin DIMM
• 2 x 1/4" ID (inner diameter) barbs

Special Features
• FlexXLC Heatsink
• 8-Layer PCB
• 2.35V EVP
• EPP-Ready

OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 Specs

With the FlexXLC PC2-9200 modules sporting a rather impressive stock speed of 1150mhz, OCZ have needed to relax the latencies slightly (5-5-5-18) in order to ensure good yield rates. However, with OCZ's track record it's fairly safe to say that some tweaking and a little bit of extra voltage should see tighter timings and indeed higher speeds out of this enthusiast orientated kit.

While we're on the subject of voltage, the FlexXLC modules require a motherboard with 2.3v VDIMM selectable in the BIOS to ensure that they run at the advertised settings. This certainly rules some of the more 'budget' boards on the market, but shouldn't be any problems for boards aimed at the overclocker. In addition to this, OCZ have provided the FlexXLC kit with a lifetime warranty that allows the modules to be run up to 2.35v.

OCZ FlexXLC Edition PC2-9200 (1150mhz) 2GB DDR2 Kit Page: 2
Packaging

With the FlexXLC kit being rather unique, I had high hopes that OCZ would make a fuss of it and possibly package the modules in some kind of limited edition box. Unfortunately, much to my disappointment, the boring clear plastic blister pack that we've become accustomed to from many previous memory reviews remained, leaving me with little to talk about.

OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 Packaging OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 Packaging

As always, the clear plastic blister packaging allows for the modules to be fully on show, with only a small sticker at the bottom of the packet giving the model number and brief specifications of the modules. One thing worth noting about the packaging is that OCZ have bonded the blister pack together in four places. This ensures that the modules do not move around inside the packaging and knock into each other - a problem that occurred when the FlexXLC kits were first released.


Appearance

The FlexXLC modules look nothing short of menacing with a large 46 pin fin array at the top of the modules and devils horn-like 1/4" barbs at either side. In addition to this, the combination of aluminium and copper used to construct the heatspreaders makes the modules much heavier than your average DDR2 kit giving the impression that you've got much more for your money.

OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 Front OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 Front

OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 Back OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 Back

Holding the hefty heatspreaders in place is a total of 3 screws (one of which is hidden underneath the specs label). Unfortunately even after removing these screws the heatspreaders remained firmly attached to the modules making it totally impossible for us to get a glimpse of the memory IC's used on the PCB.

Photographing the modules also proved equally as impossible due to their highly reflective chromed surface. Every shot either contained some greasy fingerprints or a mirror image of the surrounding environment!


OCZ FlexXLC Edition PC2-9200 (1150mhz) 2GB DDR2 Kit Page: 3
Test Setup

To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configuration and software used in this review can be seen below:

 OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200
Kingston HyperX PC2-9600*
Processor
Intel Core2Duo E4300
Motherboard
Asus P5K Deluxe
Graphics Card
XpertVision ATI X1950Pro PCI-E 512mb (Stock)
Hard Disk
Hitachi Deskstar 80GB 7K80 SATA2 7200RPM 8mb
CPU Cooling
Stock Intel Aluminium Cooler
Operating System
Microsoft Windows XP (SP2) 32bit - Latest Patches
 
Memory Frequency*
575mhz (DDR2-1150)
Memory Latency*
5-5-5-18

* The timings and frequency (mhz) of the Kingston HyperX PC2-9600 kit have been adjusted to match that of the OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 kit in order to produce more comparable results.

• Sisoft Sandra XI SP2 (CPU, Memory & HDD tests)
• Everest Memory Benchmarks
• SuperPI Mod v1.4 (1m and 16m)
• Quake 4
• Counter-Strike:Source
• F.E.A.R
• 3DMark05
• 3DMark06


Overclocking

With both kits set to 5-5-5-18 timings and a voltage of 2.35v, I set out to find the maximum stable overclock. After a little tweaking and several hours of ORTHOS and 32m SuperPI stability testing, the following results were acheived from the OCZ and Kingston DDR2 kits:

OCZ FlexXLC Maximum Overclock

Despite the OCZ FlexXLC being the lower rated of the 2 memory kits tested (PC2-9200 vs PC2-9600), it managed by far the most impressive overclock. With a 15% increase over it's stock speed, the FlexXLC topped out at DDR2-1320 giving it the bragging rights of being the highest overclocking kit we've ever tested here at Overclock3D.

OCZ FlexXLC Lowest Timings

Reducing the speed of the OCZ FlexXLC down to DDR2-800 allowed the memory timings to be tightened all the way down to an extremely impressive 3-3-3-6. This puts the FlexXLC in direct competition with the Kingston HyperX PC2-9600 kit that previously held the record for obtaining the lowest latencies of any DDR2 kit on Overclock3D.


OCZ FlexXLC Edition PC2-9200 (1150mhz) 2GB DDR2 Kit Page: 4
Application Test Results

Sisoft Sandra

Sisoft Sandra is a synthetic benchmark utility capable of reporting and benchmarking a wide range of system components. For the OCZ FlexXLC memory we run both the Memory Bandwidth and Memory Latency benchmarks 3 times to ensure accuracy of results.

OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 Sisoft Sandra OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 Sisoft Sandra


Everest

Everest is in many ways similar to Sisoft Sandra. Focusing mainly on Software and Hardware information reporting, Everest also comes with a benchmark utility suitable for testing the read, write and latency performance of the memory subsystem.

OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 Everest OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 Everest


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.

OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 SuperPI OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 SuperPI


Result Observations


Through the application benchmark testing, the OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 kit performed marginally better than its Kingston rival. In most cases the margin was fairly insignificant, but in tests such as Sisoft Sandra and Everest we observed between 50-100mb/s advantages in read performance.


OCZ FlexXLC Edition PC2-9200 (1150mhz) 2GB DDR2 Kit Page: 5
Gaming Test Results

3DMark053DMark06

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 3 times with averages being calculated from each of the results.

OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 3DMark OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 3Dmark


FEAR

F.E.A.R. is a game based on the Lithtech Jupiter EX engine. It has volumetric lighting, soft shadows, parallax mapping and particle effects.Included in the game is a benchmark facility that taxes the entire PC system. This benchmark was run 3 times to ensure uniformity of results.

OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 FEAR


Quake 4

Quake 4 is a game built on the Doom 3 engine. Benchmarking was performed using Quake4Bench and a custom timedemo recording along with 4xAA, 8xAF settings at a resolution of 1280x1024.

OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 QUAKE4


Coutner-Strike Source

Counter-Strike:Source is a popular multi-player FPS based on the extremely scaleable Source engine. The game takes advantage of many DirectX 9.0c features, but is fairly undemanding on the GPU and tends to thrive on systems with fast CPU's and Memory.

OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 CSS


Result Observations

Very little can be said for the gaming benchmark results obtained from the FlexXLC and HyperX kits. Every benchmark produced almost identical results, showing that the FlexXLC is certainly no slouch and can keep up with the other high-end memory kits on the market.


OCZ FlexXLC Edition PC2-9200 (1150mhz) 2GB DDR2 Kit Page: 6
Conclusion

First and foremost the OCZ FlexXLC PC2-9200 kit overclocks like stink! That's stink in a good way too, with the modules hitting a rather dizzy 660mhz (DDR2-1320) - the highest speed out of any DDR2 kit we've ever tested. Unfortunately we were unable to test the modules under water cooling to see if this further improved performance, but let's face it - if you're not happy with DDR2-1320 then there's something seriously wrong with you!

This awesome performance is also teamed with amazing looks. Gone are the cheap and tacky aluminium heatspreaders in favor of extremely effective hybrid passive and/or water cooled heatspreaders. Constructed from a mixture of copper and aluminium and finished off with a chrome plated reflective surface, OCZ have certainly spared no expense.

To top things off, the FlexXLC modules have recently taken quite a price hit, and can be found on many sites for an almost "five fingered discount" price of £160. This is only a few quid more than many of the other PC2-9000+ kits available from other manufacturers - and as the results and pictures have shown, the FlexXLC modules are worth every penny.

Komplett


Pro's
• Overclocks to DDR2-1320! The highest of any kit tested at OC3D.
• Memory timings can be tightened down to 3-3-3-6 at DDR2-800
• Hybrid heatspreaders can be used with or without water cooling.
• Unique and sexy looks.

Con's
• Packaging doesn't adequately protect the modules (or make them feel special).


Best In Class Award


Thanks to OCZ for making this review possible. Discuss this review in our forums.