It's not hard to see that Micron ICs overclock slightly different to
the Elpida, Hynix and Samsung we got used to. The optimum timing formula turned out
to be CAS = tRCD = tRP. Raising them individually or in pairs doesn't provide any
additional frequency boost unless you're going past 1.7V in which case you'd need
to bump tRCD and tRP up one notch.
In the typical Micron fashion, the sticks had no problems operating at voltages up
to 1.85V. We can't predict what affect will such voltages have on the long-term
functionality, but from the first sight things look optimistic. Not only were the
sticks barely breaking a sweat with load temperatures peaking in the low 40s
centigrade, but in our further research using SuperPi 32M as a stability
benchmark we found them able to scale up to 2.0V and beyond.
That said, overclocking capabilities of these 4GB sticks seem to
be limited. Even though we could pass HCI memtest up at 1080MHz and mark it
on the chart, any sort of fully stable operation in the four-digit range was
really questionable as the memory sometimes would just randomly hang up during
the bootup or give a BSOD during the normal OS operation on both AMD and Intel
platforms. We tried manually adjusting most of the subtimings, but that didn't get
us rid of the problem – it's either something big that we're missing or Micron ICs
have compability issues above 1000MHz.
For Ivy Bridge users, this might seem a major disappointment as performance on that
platform is mostly about raw frequency numbers which these Crucial sticks simply can't
provide. But any situation has its upsides and so does ours. First, we set out to find
by how much will 1000MHz CL8 of Micron be worse than 1200MHz CL10 where best samples of
Hynix CFR usually stop. Even in very memory-frequency-dependant SuperPi 32M using default
subtimings, the difference was around a second, which will hardly be noticeable in a day-to-day use.
Plus, there are still lots of Socket 775 and AM3 users who are limited in the
900-1000MHz range by the platform. In case any of those would want to move into 2x4Gb of memory,
these Ballistix Elite will be a great choice as they're able to keep the timings low and don't
mind running high voltages.
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