How to make OCZ memory run better, joke
First of all, this post should more completely have been entitled “How to make OCZ top performance memory run better by setting it at lower performance than the specs”.
Yesterday night I had a “revelation”. The new hard drive I have added to my computer several days ago supports AHCI and NCQ, but my chipset (Intel 82801, ICH9 family) doesn’t. Fortunately ASUS added an extra AHCI SATAII controller to the main board which provides one ATA interface and two SATA ports, one being the eSATA. It is the JMicron 20360 controller. I powered off and unplugged my PC, switched the hard-drive to the AHCI port, put everything back and booted up. Upon booting up, I was left scared like a chicken. I started wondering what I have done wrong. The monitor wasn’t powering up, there were no beeps coming out of the PC Speaker, hard drives weren’t busy…
I tried clearing the BIOS. It didn’t work. Very disappointed and heart-broken I started taking everything out and putting it back in one by one to test each component. Then I got to install just one of the DDR2 DIMMs and it finally booted up. Since yesterday I have been reading the OCZ forums for help regarding this issue. I learned a great deal of information about how they advertise their memory products but I am not sure I like what I found out. Pretty much you have to find out yourself the right configuration for your memory if you want it to work and last. This thread explains it.
My luck was that the system would boot up with just one module and that way I got inside the BIOS, upped the voltage on the DRAM to the maximum that they advertise (2.35v, for my 2 x Titanium Alpha VX2, P/N: OCZ2TA1000VX21G), set the timings to CAS 4-4-4-15 also as advertised and then test the RAM. If memtest worked then I would drop the voltage a notch and test again until I could find the best setting.
Bad news is that nothing worked at the max DDR2-1000. In the end I set it up as DDR2-800 with CAS 4-4-4-15 and DRAM voltage at 1.90v. Bandwidth as reported by memtest: 4234 MB/s. I tried other settings that worked but that didn’t provide any performance improvements (more bandwidth), for example: DDR2-1000, CAS 5-5-5-15, 2.10v.
I could have tried going for CAS 3-3-3-15 at the current DDR2-800 and slightly more voltage but I noticed the DIMMs heating up somewhat when they were run at 2.20v – 2.35v and I rather they last longer than give slightly better performance.
UPDATE – December 11, 2008 at 15:14 pm: I’m very annoyed. Two nights in a row since I posted this, my memory stopped working again. I did the same thing, remove the module that was causing the problem, booted, increased the voltage even more, shutdown, insert back the module, boot again and it worked for the day but not the next day. Very weird so I took it to the vendor I bought it from and they tested it and their PC didn’t boot. I will be expecting a replacement in 2 weeks tops. :-/
UPDATE – February 6, 2009 at 22:31 pm: I had the memory in warranty service for a month and it came back as non-faulty. It seems there are other factors that interfere, like good, stable and powerful power source unit, supporting (@native) motherboard…
I’m running both sticks at DDR2-1002 at the moment. Been running like that since end of January. Except, not at 4-4-4-15 as they are advertised but as 5-5-5-15. It’s stable as tested with memtest86+, one pass. Voltage for me is 2.2v to be stable. Other motherboards may need different settings (as power regulators differ in quality/stability, also depends on your PSU; good mobo and bad PSU can be a nuisance).