OCZ PC2-9200 Flex XLC Memory Review - Passive and Liquid Cooled
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Flex XLC Module Technology
In recent months we have seen an influx of high end memory modules from various manufacturers after a period of memory market lulls. During the end of the DDR craze that hit us in the early 2000s, vendors like Corsair, OCZ and Mushkin pushed and pushed on memory technologies, striving for faster and faster parts trying to get the hard-core enthusiast hooked on overclocking potential and super high voltages.
When DDR2 first came on to the scene there was a period of quiet where memory was simply "boring" as every one tried to figure out how the DDR2 overclocking market was going to develop, how quickly the enthusiasts migrated to new DDR2 platforms and so on. Then, as the Conroe processor got closer and closer, DDR2 memory and overclocking were going hand in hand and companies like OCZ Technology set to work to develop innovative and inspiring memory. While that may seem like an oxy-moron, "inspiring memory" is just what we are seeing.
Just a few weeks ago I showed you the latest innovation from Corsair, the Dominator modules and accompanying Dominator Airflow fan. Now we have the latest from OCZ, the Flex XLC memory modules.
The New OCZ Flex XLC Memory Cooler
OCZ Technology's newest memory innovation is the Flex XLC cooling design that allows for a flexible cooling solution for the end user. They support both air and liquid cooling in a single package.
Here is the OCZ Flex XLC module in the flesh; as you can see the design is definitely unique and will surely get anyone that sees them talking and asking questions. The cooler design allows for either a completely passive air cooling setup or enthusiasts with a water cooling setup can put the modules in the loop and cool them that way.
From this side view diagram, you can see that the Flex XLC modules have memory chips on both sides of the PCB that make contact with the hybrid aluminum / copper heatsink. The heat is then transferred from the chips across the heatsink and up to the fins along the top of the module. If you have water cooling installed on the module, this cooling process is improved pretty dramatically by allowing the liquid to run close down to the memory chips getting heat out faster.
This front diagram puts it all in perspective; the fins help with cooling and produce some impressive results even without water cooling involved. By simply attaching some tubes and including the DIMMs in your water cooling loop you can get the memory chips running significantly cooler and potentially increase your performance and overclocking.
Update (2/26/07): After a great question in our forums about the issue, I have some new information on the make up of the metals on the Flex XLC cooler. From OCZ Technology:
The barbs are indeed aluminum, and have been treated. Inside the chamber there is a circular tube that is completely made of copper. On the backside of the heatspreader the flat plate is also copper which is plated to match the platinum finish. The entire heatspreader has been treated so the two metals do not interact negatively, and so that the entire unit is more corrosion resistant.
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