OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops DDR2 2gb Kit Page: 1
Introduction

When it comes to high performance memory, many will agree that OCZ have always been one of the innovators. Constantly pushing the limits of DDR and DDR2 memory speeds along with their unmistakeable range of good looking and effective heatspreaders, OCZ have found their way on to many enthusiasts shopping lists.

Without realising it, you may have already spoken to some of the guys over at OCZ. They can often be found browsing overclocking forums, helping users and listening out for what the overclocking and gaming communities want from their next PC hardware purchase.

As a result of listening to these communities, OCZ have come up with some rather unique memory modules aimed squarely at gamers (or people that like dressing up in army gear)...


Packaging

The clear plastic blister pack style packaging seems to be a favourite with memory manufacturers, and for this reason I certainly wasn't surprised to see OCZ using the same packaging on their Special Ops range seen below.

OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops Packaging OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops Packaging

Contained within the blister pack is a printed card insert containing excerpts from previous OCZ memory reviews and information on OCZ's lifetime memory warranty.

It was a bit of a disappointment to see that OCZ had used the same card insert for the Special Ops as was used on the recently reviewed OCZ Gold PC2-8800 modules. Being 'Limited Edition' memory, it would have been a nice touch to have some kind of custom card insert or even an entirely different style of packaging.



OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops DDR2 2gb Kit Page: 2
Specifications

The following information has been taken directly from OCZ's website:

"Serious gamers put heavy bandwidth requirements on their memory, and put a premium on both superior performance and dependability. The new OCZ Special Ops Edition (SOE) memory modules and dual channel kits feature the ultimate balance of speed, reliability, and high capacity, making them an ideal solution for gamers. This new line of OCZ memory features a distinctive camouflage motif heatspreader and a price tag that has an edge over competitors.

SOE 2GB (2x1024MB) dual channel kits are the ultimate memory upgrade for the latest graphic-intensive PC games, such as Battlefield 2, Half Life 2, Doom 3, and Quake 4, which deliver the best end-user experience with 2GB+ of memory.

All Special Ops Edition modules are 100% hand-tested for quality assurance and compatibility and feature high quality XTC (Xtreme Thermal Convection) heatspreaders for the most effective heat dissipation. Furthermore, each OCZ SOE module is backed by the industry leading OCZ Lifetime Warranty and technical support for unparalleled peace of mind during intense fragging sessions."


OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops Specifications

• 800MHz DDR2
• CL 5-5-5-12(CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS)
• Unbuffered
• Camo Motif XTC Heatspreader
• Lifetime Warranty
• 2.0 Volts
• 240 Pin DIMM

"2.2V EVP - OCZ's unique Extended Voltage Protection feature allows PC2-6400 modules to handle voltages up to 2.2V ±5% and still be covered by our Lifetime Warranty."

To summarise the specifications above, the OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops is able to run at speeds of DDR2-800 whilst maintaining timings of 5-5-5-12. OCZ have also provided warranty on this memory up to 2.2v which should allow for some extra overclocking potential on our Intel Conroe based testbed.



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Appearance

When it comes to the appearance of the Special Ops modules it's fair to say that they are certainly in a class of their own. Designed to appeal to the gaming community, these modules feature OCZ's XTC heatspreaders and are printed with Army style camouflage.

OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops Under Cover

Obviously the first test for this ram was to see if its camouflage was effective :) My back garden was a perfect candidate for the testing, and during a fly-over in a F-20 TigerShark I was unable to spot the OCZ Special Ops at all!!

OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops Front OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops Front

OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops Z OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops Side

As previously mentioned, the Special Ops memory make use of OCZ patented XTC heatspreaders. The meshed design provides the memory IC's with increased ventilation thus cooling the memory modules more efficiently than traditional heatspreader designs.

OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops

As you can see from above the SOE modules are double sided. Unfortunately I was unable to find any information on the chips used, but would hazard a guess that they make use of IC's by Elpida.



OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops DDR2 2gb Kit Page: 4
Test Setup

Processor: Intel Core2Duo X6800 "Conroe"
Motherboard: Asus P5B Deluxe (unmodded)
Graphics Card: Sapphire ATI X1900XT 512mb
Hard Disks: 2x Hitachi Deskstar 80gb SATA-II 8mb Cache (RAID0)
Power Supply: PCP&C Silencer 850w
Operating System: Windows XP SP2


Settings

When benchmarking the OCZ Special Ops I wanted to be sure to cover all angles. Some people like to run their memory at low latencies, some like to run their memory at high frequencies, whilst others prefer a mixture of both settings. Below is some information regarding the testing procedures and their results:


Stock Settings: 5-5-5-12 / 400mhz / 2.0v

CPUZ CPUZ

The OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops passed the first test with flying colours. Managing to run at stock timings, speed and voltage may seem like something you'd expect of all DDR2 memory on the market, however some modules we've tested in the past have had compatibility issues with our test systems and failed to work at all.


Lowest Timings @ Stock Frequency: 4-4-4-10 / 400mhz / 2.2v

CPUZ CPUZ

It is well known that gamers prefer to run their memory at low latencies (rather than high frequencies) as this is an easily tweakable setting and provides decent benefits in most games. With this in mind, I increased the voltage to 2.2v and set about finding the lowest stable timings that these modules were capable of at stock frequencies.

After a little tweaking (and 9hrs of Prime95 stability testing) the modules managed impressive timings of 4-4-4-10. This is very good for modules designed to run at more relaxed timings of 5-5-5-12 and certainly took me by surprise.


Highest Frequency @ Stock Timings: 5-5-5-12 / 465mhz / 2.2v

CPUZ CPUZ

The OCZ Special Ops doesn't disappoint when it comes to overclocking either. Managing a respectable 16% increase from DDR2-800 to DDR2-930, these modules should give reasonable overclocking headroom on most systems.


Combination Frequency & Timings: 4-5-5-10 / 427mhz / 2.2v

CPUZ CPUZ

Going for a balance between tight timings and high frequencies the Special Ops was able to achieve latency settings of 4-5-5-10 at DDR2-855. With a bit more voltage I'm fairly confident that these could have gone higher, but this would have taken the modules above 2.2v and thus voided their warranty.



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Everest & SuperPI Results

The results below show that just by simply tweaking the latency settings down to 4-4-4-10, the Everest Write benchmark gained a health improvement of over 200mb/s. However, the best results came when the Special Ops was overclocked up to DDR2-930 showing massive improvements in both the Everest read and write scores along with a 2 second drop in SuperPI time compared to the stock settings.

Everest Read Results Everest Write Results

Everest Latency Results SuperPI 1m Results



OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops DDR2 2gb Kit Page: 6
Sandra, 3DMark06 & CS:Source Results

In both the 3dMark06 and Counter-Strike:Source benchmarks the results were very similar throughout. This is most likely down to the ATI X1900XT being the bottleneck in the system. With a dual graphics card system, or even a higher-end single card such as a X1950XT or 7950GX2 I would have expected the difference in the results to be more clear cut.

Sisoft Sandra produced similar results to Everest, showing that the most benefits in memory bandwidth were to be had when the memory was clocked up to DDR2-930, but also that simply decreasing the timings of the memory at stock speeds had significant advantages.

Sisoft Sandra Results Sisoft Sandra Results

3DMark06 Results Counter-Strike:Source Results



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Conclusion

Designed for gamers and aimed at the more budget end of the market, the OCZ Special Ops PC2-6400 modules offer a great price / performance ratio.

After seeing a few other reviews of these modules on the net, I must admit being slightly worried about their overclocking potential. However, after testing them first-hand I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed with the speeds and latencies that these modules were capable of.

The camouflage heatspreaders may not suit everyone, but after testing them in my machine, I can honestly say that that their army-style appearance was completely shielded by surrounding components.

Priced at around £205 over at SpecialTech, these modules are amongst cheapest 2gb kits available on the market and do not skimp on the quality and overclockability synonmous with the OCZ brand.


Pro's
+ Can run tight timings of 4-4-4-10 at DDR2-800.
+ Respectable 16% overclock from DDR2-800 to DDR2-930.
+ Modules backed by OCZ lifetime warranty up to 2.2v
+ Great pricing for a 2gb kit.

Con's
- Looks may not appeal to everyone.

Recommended Value For Money

Thanks to OCZ for providing these modules for review.

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