AMD 1090T X6 Phenom II BE
Swiftech H20-320 Edge
120Gb OCZ Vertex 2
1Tb WD Caviar Black
LG 8x BD-RE 16x DVD-RW
ASUS EAH5870 V2 1G
OCZ Fatal1ty 750w
Cooler Master HAF 932 AMD Edition
Windows 7 64bit Home Premium
Although AMD specifies only DDR3-1066 or DDR3-1333 memory for their Phenom-II processors, depending on the performance of the IMC or Integrated Memory Controller, and the overclocking potential of the motherboard and chipset, higher speeds may be realized. This is nothing new as even Intel's latest second generation Core series are technically only rated for 1066/1333 speeds as well. MSI advertises their AMD 890FX based 890FXA-GD70 model for up to 2133MHz memory overclock.
Unlike some boards such as Asus and others, MSI places the memory channel slots side by side rather than staggered. The color of the slot indicates which channels go together. Even with the thicker heatspreader design of the XTE series, the Platinum modules had no problem squeezing in beside each other. Although pictured above in DIMM slots 3 & 4 I would also later try using 1 & 2. The BIOS identifies the modules by SPD or Serial Presence Detect at DDR3-1066 at 7-7-7-16 timings. It is normal for memory manufacturers to incorporate a lower JEDEC spec in their SPD configuration so that there are no problems getting the system to POST. After that the user can manually set the speed and timings to match the manufacturers rating.
According to CPU-Z however there are many more programmed SPD settings in addition to the 533MHz 7-7-7 recognized by the BIOS. Since CPU-Z only displays the first four however, we can't even view the higher profiles that OCZ has configured. Additionally because MSI and most other AMD board manufacturers only offer up to a 1:4 memory ratio (DDR3-1600) our only option to go higher than that is to overclock the reference or bus speed. As this affects every other frequency on the board, I reduced the CPU, NB and SB multipliers to try and maintain those speeds close to stock for comparison.
Unfortunately I was only able to get these modules up to 912MHz or roughly DDR3-1824, a good bit short of their 1000MHz rating. And I had to relax some of the timing values to get even that far. Any higher than that and the memory would start throwing errors in Memtest86+ loops. I tried increasing NB speed and voltage as well as memory timings and voltage, even the other set of DIMM slots, all to no avail. I also contacted MSI tech support, who informed me that the IMC in the processor most likely could not handle the high memory speed. As OCZ qualifies their Platinum PC3-16000 specifically for AMD 8-series chipset and X6 Phenom II processor, needless to say I was disappointed. To test out the other end of the spectrum, I also tried the memory at DDR3-1600 speed, and was able to run the timings at the lower 8-7-7 values.
Next let's try each of these settings in some memory tests and benchmarks.