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Review: Team Zeus 8GB DDR3 1600MHz CL9 & Team Xtreem 8GB DDR3 2800MHz CL12

Team Zeus 8GB DDR3 1600MHz CL9

Last year in September Team Group launched the Zeus memory kits, a series targeted at consumers willing to experiment with memory overclocking but who don’t want (or lack the means) to invest
in high-end memory, certified to run at high frequencies by default. Initially, only the 1600MHz CL9 kit was made available, but in the meantime the 2133MHz CL11 kit and 2600Mhz CL11 kits became available as well. All models can be ordered in a range of 3 colours: red, blue and yellow.

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The package is a transparent blister embedded in cardboard that’s printed with the kit’s specifications. The modules are covered with a simple aluminium heat spreader sporting a red colour theme, perfect for use with motherboards that employ a similar colour scheme (ASUS ROG, ASRock Fatal1ty, GIGABYTE Gaming G1, MSI Gaming).

Because all the models of this series are based on the same chips, and because we like entry-level products that offer spectacular boosts in performance, we chose to test our luck with the 2 x 4GB kit rated for 1600MHz with 9-9-9-24 timings.

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Team Xtreem 8GB DDR3 2800MHz CL12

If the first kit we looked at was aimed at overclockers on a budget, this kit is targeted at those of us that are truly dedicated to overclocking. With a default frequency rating of 2800MHz and 12-14-14-35, our Team Xtreem kit is for those that plan on exceeding the 3000MHz barrier, making the investment in such a binned kit not that attractive.

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The package is identical to that of the lower end kit we presented earlier, but for a high-end kit one would expected something different, something that hints toward, or compliments, the special parts inside. The modules are covered with a massive aluminium heat spreader, boasting a white colour theme that contrasts with the black PCB of the modules.

In order to run at this frequency, the modules employ an 8 layer PCB which is equipped with 8GB worth of carefully picked Hynix MFR ICs, only 8GB because they can be mounted on just one side (single-sided).

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Testing platform

 

Test platform

CPU

Core i7 4770K

MB

ASUS Maximus VI Impact

Cooling

Enermax Liqtech 120X

SSD

Intel SSD 730 240GB

PSU

Enermax Platimax 1350W

Case

Dimastech Benchtable Easy v2.5

Ambient temp

25 oC

OS

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

The testing platform was chosen with the primary purpose of not bottlenecking the memory and artificially limiting the results. The processor used was a Core i7 4770k, which sports an IMC that can easily push the memory to over 3000MHz. The motherboard is an ASUS Maximus VI Impact, which at that time was the best platform for memory overclocking one could find, despite its mITX form factor.

Testing methodology

For each scenario we ran SuperPI 32M to observe both stability and performance parameters. Considering that most ICs used on more recent DDR3 memories do not respond to overvolting, we settled on the following two testing scenarios. The first scenario required finding the best frequencies and timing accessible to a wider range of users, while the second scenario required finding the absolute maximum frequency using the highest voltage that still offers scaling, and by relaxing the timings.

Results: Team Zeus 8GB DDR3 1600MHz CL9

We considered the default frequency of 1600MHz to be much too low for the first scenario, therefore we kept the default voltage of 1.5v and decided to find a balanced set of frequencies and timings. In the end we easily reached a frequency of 2133MHz with 11-11-11-26 1T, which is not bad at all for a kit certified for 1600MHz by default.

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As for the second scenario, the maximum stable frequency we managed to get out of this kit was 2800MHz, 13-14-14-26 1T, done by raising the voltage to 1.65v. There are many memory kits on the market that promise big in terms of overclocking potential but can not reach this kind of results, especially in dual-channel mode and at a voltage of just 1.65v. A remarkable performance for our small Team Zeus kit…

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Results: Team Xtreem 8GB DDR3 2800MHz CL12

At the default frequency of 2800MHz we managed to tighten the timings to 11-13-12-22 1T by raising the voltage to 1.75v. Until now, excluding the weaker performance that can be attributed to reduced interleaving, the kit is not behaving bad at all, but let’s see how it clocks.

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We managed to stabilize the kit at an excellent frequency of 3400MHz with 13-16-15-24 1T at 1.85v, the maximum voltage at which we could observe scaling. Team Xtreem 2800MHz demonstrates careful binning for its ICs, the results being very good indeed.

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Final thoughts

In the end I can easily say that both Team kits tested today shined, each in its own way. Team Zeus 8GB DDR3 1600MHz CL9 easily surpassed its status of a kit aimed towards the mainstream market, and amazed us with a frequency of 2800MHz obtained without relaxing the timings too much, or feeding it a dangerously high voltage. The price of this kit in Europe is 73 euro, a similar price to that of other 1600MHz certified kits.

Team Xtreem 8GB DDR3 2800MHz CL12 has a totally different purpose, and also a matching price for it: 180 euro. Even though it seems like a considerable amount of money, the kit from Team Group is the cheapest kit certified for a frequency of 2800MHz and the results are truly impressive: 3400MHz perfectly stable says it all!

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