Most enthusiasts should be well acquainted with the performance memory offered by California-based OCZ Technology. Since 2002, the memory manufacturer has catered for the needs and wants of the enthusiast and high-end segments. Usually with plenty of headroom for overclocking and fitted with efficient heat sinks, its Reaper, Flex, Gold, and NVIDIA SLI memory kits have managed to conquer the memory slots of many end-users.
However, the often overlooked limited edition OCZ "Animal" kits are packing a mean punch and compared to more expensive memory kits out there, seem to be a great bargain for anyone looking to upgrade or replenish their DDR3 memory. In this quick review, we decided to give you a look into this hidden gem. Due to lack of packaging, we omitted the initial parts of our regular reviews.
Launched back in February, you might not even have heard about its gem for overclockers, the low voltage OCZ Animal series. Although the heat sink appearance makes them easily mistaken for ordinary Platinum DDR3 kits, you will be getting a kit that can go well beyond base specifications if needed.
Widely recognized as the ‘Animal series’, this OCZ Platinum DDR3-1333 kit is more commonly known as having the OCZ3P1333LVA6GK part number ? not to be mistaken for its "non-Animal" counterpart, the OCZ3P1333LV6GK Platinum series kit. Only differentiated by that small "A" in the part number, nothing else sets this kit apart from an otherwise normal OCZ Platinum series kit. Well, apart from performance, that is.
The OCZ PC3-10666 Animal triple-channel memory kit is a part of the Platinum series, available as a 6GB kit which operates at 1333 MHz with tight 7-7-7-24 timings. Surprisingly, these memory modules are actually respectively equipped with Micron, Samsung, PSC, or Elpida 1866-2000 MHz CL9 binned chips.
In short, an OCZ Animal kit provides you with nothing less than impressive overclocking results – while also being able to run 24/7 stable at much more than their native operating frequency using only standard voltage.
Will the obvious underdog loose this one? Read on and find out exactly what these sticks are capable of – despite their discount-ish price tag…
For testing our Animal kit, we used an Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition running 3.2 GHz with Turbo mode enabled, 3×2 GB OCZ Animal DDR3-1333 7-7-7, an EVGA Classified E760 motherboard, a 300 GB Western Digital Velociraptor, an XFX Radeon HD 4890 Vanilla, a Silverstone Zeus 1200 Watt power supply, and Microsoft Windows 7 RC1 x64. For comparative testing we also installed a 3×2 GB Kingston HyperX T1 and a 3x 2 GB Corsair Dominator GT kit using the exact same configuration.
Not only looking into retail performance of the memory kit, we also bumped up the X58 memory divider and ran our tests at higher speeds than 1333 MHz. Sadly, the OCZ Animal is not fitted with XMP profiles, so for our top speed run the base clock was raised to 143, the multiplier lowered to 23 and Turbo mode was disabled ? keeping CPU speed as close to the stock level as possible, thus making memory performance more evident.
Benchmarking the Animal kit using SiSoft Sandra 2009 Pro Business SP4, we used the following settings, which we believe are pretty much guaranteed to run on any Animal kit out there:
- 1333 MHz, 7-7-7-24, 1T, 1.52 DRAM voltage, 1.35 CPU VTT
- 1600 MHz, 8-8-8-24, 1T, 1.60 DRAM voltage, 1.35 CPU VTT
- 1866 MHz, 9-9-9-24, 2T, 1.65 DRAM voltage, 1.35 CPU VTT
- 2000 MHz, 9-9-9-24, 2T, 1.66 DRAM voltage, 1.40 CPU VTT (*denotes BCLK overclocking)
Without further ado, let’s have a look at our benchmark results.
Using the higher memory divider and running the kit at 1866 MHz, we observe some ass-whooping numbers from the OCZ Animal almost being on par with the performance of a Kingston HyperX T1 kit. Corsair Dominator GT is notably faster still, but this is nevertheless impressive bandwidth for an overclocked 1333 MHz DDR3 kit.
Should the need for overclocking arrive, you will be able to run 2 GHz on the OCZ Animal – leaving even the Corsair Dominator GT’s behind. Not bad for a memory kit at more than half that price range.
Similarly, the overall system cache and memory bandwidth as indicated above also gets a boost. While sitting in at identical speed and timings, the relative difference of the Kingston versus the OCZ triple-channel kit is most likely explained by tighter sub-timings for Kingston?s HyperX.
Confirming the performance abilities, Everest Ultimate interestingly shows an almost equal index between running 1600 MHz and 1866 MHz. Just like in SiSoft Sandra, although now more apparent, OCZ Animal has moved up a notch and is extremely close to Kingston’s numbers.
Using the integrated benchmarking tool of WinRAR again we see that running 1600 MHz CAS8 seems to yield similar numbers to going 1866 MHz CAS9. The Animal is still trailing Kingston, although not by much, and once overclocked it leaves the remaining competitors behind.
The ability of our kit to operate within safe voltage ranges at 1866 MHz ? a solid 533 MHz DDR faster than standard ? could indicate that this particular sample was manufactured with 1.86 GHz binned ICs [Integrated Circuits], whereas other kits will be able to reach 2000 MHz everyday stable operation with standard 1.65 voltage.
Having come to expect great performance from OCZ?s DDR3 memory kits, the Animal fits beautifully in their existing DDR3 line up and rightfully so deserves its name. In all, we were delighted and especially loved the concept of a "sleeper kit" being able to go above and beyond the manufacturer?s speed when needed.
In terms of performance it is fair to say we were taken by surprise. While offering good specifications and tight timings for its normal operating speed, the 6GB OCZ PC3-10666 Platinum "Animal" Low Voltage triple-channel kit also offers excellent overclocking headroom.
Thus, on the i4memory community, you can see a similar OCZ Animal kit being put through various tests and benchmarked at up to speeds of DDR3-2232 MHz 9-9-9 – albeit using DRAM voltage well in excess of 1.65v.
For a good three weeks now the kit has been running in one of the BSO* test rigs, and has done so completely stable whilst operating at 1866 MHz CAS9 and at 1.65 volts. For everyday usage we would recommend this setting to you as well, seeing that an increase to 2 GHz really isn’t all that noticeable.
Taking the price level into consideration, we think that OCZ with the Animal kit has a real and above all affordable winner on its hands – as proven by our benchmark results. We highly recommend the OCZ Animal to anyone looking to upgrade or replenish their DDR3-based system, and enthusiasts who would prefer not having to rob a bank when in need of buying a 2000 MHz+ capable memory kit.
The OCZ3P1333LVA6GK is available online at around 100 USD, and has been seen as low as 75 USD.
- Price/performance index
- Great overclocking value
- Tight timings with standard voltages
- Lifetime Warranty
- Limited availability
- No XMP profiles