We're sure that we weren't the only people waiting with bated breath for a chance to put a Xtreem memory kit through its paces, having heard many good things about their capabilities.
The company behind the Xtreem branding are called, in probably the most generic tautologous company name in history, Team Group. With an array of memory based products in their range from USB sticks to Memory cards and, of course, the DIMMs we have on test today.
Although they are only the eleventh largest memory manufacturer, quantity isn't always equatable to quality, and Team Group have aimed their memory modules squarely at the enthusiast sector. One of the things we've all learnt from low voltage kits, such as the model we have here, is that they overclock quite well thanks to the huge amount of voltage overhead. So, without further preamble, let's crack on.
Coming out of the packet with some decent CAS9 timings at a low 1.35v, the Xtreem should provide decent performance at standard timings, whilst being energy efficient.
|Module Type||240Pin Unbuffered DIMM Non ECC|
|DRAM Density||256x8 / 512x8|
|Data transfer bandwidth||1600MHz (PC3 12800)|
|Heat Sink||Aluminium heatsink|
|Note||Intel XMP1.3, compatible with series Intel 7 chipsets and higher.|
RAM normally comes in blister packs or similarly finger-slicing disasters (the trick is to use a tin-opener). The Xtreem comes in a cardboard sleeve that can attract the eye and hold all the details, yet removes with either a snip or just a fold and tear.
Once freed from its cardboard prison the modules look fantastic. We really love the deep red colour. The heatspreader is barely higher than the PCBs and will easily fit under even the most gigantic of coolers.
The logos for both the Team Group and the Xtreem part are very classy indeed. It's the little touches that make the difference, especially with memory which is normally so bland and uninspiring. We love the looks.
Team Xtreem DDR3L 1600MHz CAS9 1.35v
Intel Core-i7 3770K @ 4GHz
Thermalright Silver Arrow
Corsair F80 SSD
Windows 7 64 Bit
The timings are exactly where it says on the tin using the XMP. Slackening them off and adding some extra voltage enabled a pretty hefty overclock. We finally ended up at 2200MHz @ 11-13-13-27 @ 1.65v. No matter how much further we loosened the timings we couldn't get it stable at 2400MHz, but we think you'll agree that 2200MHz from a 1600MHz kit isn't bad going. This also enables us to do something we always enjoy, which is to compare speed with low timings and see which provides the best performance.
At the default timings the Xtreem performs very well indeed, being a way ahead of the other LV kits we've tested, the Corsair and the Samsung Green. When overclocked the kit is even more impressive, running some of the fastest kits we've benchmarked very close. This is even better when you consider that we're 'only' at 2200MHz here.
Understandably in pure bandwidth terms the Team Group kit isn't blowing the doors off, but it performs well enough, and there is a definitely benefit to the overclocking, despite the slacker timings.
The excellent results we saw in AIDA64 are continued in the Sandra combined bandwidth test, with the Xtreem performing well in its 1.35v guise, and nearly inseparable from our other kits.
Rendering is hugely demanding upon any system, and the benefits of the extra bandwidth available when overclocked is clear. It's worth noting that keeping your energy use down by running at the default timings doesn't impede performance significantly, which is important if you're running the system for a long time.
Despite the enormous amount of calculations going on with wPrime95 it is quite a surprise to see how close the Xtreem is in both setups. We'd have assumed the extra bandwidth would, as it has so far, out-perform the lower timings, but it balances perfectly in this scenario.
PC Mark Vantage
Finishing up with the real-world tests of PC Mark, again the two setups are almost inseparable from each other, and most other RAM kits on the graph. CPU image manipulation has a slightly bigger improvement with the overclock when compared to the video transcoding test, which is the opposite to what we'd expect. Video encoding is hugely demanding as we know only too well from waiting for our Youtube videos to render.
Low voltage kits are one of the cool technological drips down from the ever improving high end. Like so many things in life, as the premium improves so the performance of the average item increases. To a certain degree it's the side-effect of Moore's Law. It doesn't seem that long ago that a 1600MHz CAS9 kit was the stuff of dreams, and now we're able to have them running at a low 1.35v.
This low voltage is important to us for a few reasons, but the main ones are the obvious cost reductions in lower-power items and the headroom available for overclocking. As computer power improves and you can edit high-definition video, render work that would make the early Pixar shorts seem antiquated, or even just help whatever @Home distributed computing project you choose, so our systems are on for increasing amounts of time, and often without user input. Being able to lessen the power draw has huge advantages to your own electricity bill and, more importantly, the planet as a whole.
Such are the capabilities of the Xtreem Vulcan DDR3L kit that you're not giving up a lot of blazing performance to achieve that low power goal. Of course in absolute bandwidth it will always come second to a premium arrangement, but as our benchmarks showed in the majority of cases the differences are negligible and outweighed by the advantages.
We wouldn't be Overclock3D without using the available headroom for overclocking though, and with a decent 2200MHz@CAS11 the performance was excellent. There was a noticeable improvement in most of our tests from the higher speed, although some of the more calculation intensive benchmarks neatly demonstrated that low latency can be the equal of pure bandwidth.
Finally there is no denying that the Xtreem kit with its Vulcan heat-spreader looks the business. The dark red, that would pass for Bordeaux in some circles, really looks good, and the choice of laser-cut logo rather than just a screen-printed affair really sets it off nicely. Pricing is unknown at time of press, but we've seen the 16GB version of our test kit going for a measly £66, so it's fair to assume that this wont bust the budget.
As the highest performing low-voltage kit we've yet tested, and with some good overclocking potential, we have to award the Team Group Xtreem Vulcan DDR3L kit our OC3D Gold Award. We can't wait to try out some of their more enthusiast speed stuff.
Thanks to Team Group for supplying the Vulcan for today's review. Discuss our findings in the OC3D forums.