Memory PCB Selection Matters



Height Difference

Trace Route Differences

Nathan Kirsch’s Thoughts:

I never thought that that the PCB could be such a limiting factor for memory performance. Our results were so shocking that we contacted the memory companies’ engineers to verify our test results. Corsair Memory’s Application Specialists went through the same characteristic testing that we did and came up with the same conclusions. This verifies our test data and our hypothesis that the modules using Brain Power PCB’s offer better high-end performance without sacrificing low-end performance levels.

We found that at tight timings (2-2-2-5) the difference in PCB’s is minimal and insignificant. So, if you are not an enthusiast/overclocker then this article will not impact your buying decisions. If you are an overclocker looking to get the highest possible FSB/Memory performance at loose timings, then we just showed you a secret that can help you gain up to 42MHz on your memory overclock. The performance gain is great, but let’s go ahead and look at pricing and see how much the OCZ and PQI memory kits cost.

Low Latency PC-3200 Pricing


PCB Type

Consumer Price

Price Per MHz

Live Pricing

Corsair XMS XL


49 Cents (516MHz)

Corsair XMS XL Pro


56 Cents (522MHz)

Kingston HyperX


52 Cents (514MHz)

Mushkin Level 2


55 Cents (520MHz)

OCZ Platinum Rev2


49 Cents (556MHz)

PQI Turbo


45 Cents (564MHz)

Not only do the PQI Turbo PC-3200 memory modules overclock the best they also cost the least! Now here is the kicker that I just have to throw out there. The Brain Power PCB’s are one third the cost of the reference design PCB’s. The Brain Power PCB is shorter than the reference design, thereby reducing height issues on custom/special applications. They also require fewer components, thus lowering cost and making it faster to build since it needs less time on the assembly line. Using the Brain Power PCB’s not only improve overclocking it should reduce costs and increase productivity on the assembly line! Companies like Corsair have noticed the advantages of the PCB and last week stated for the record that the Corsair XMS XL line would be moving over to a new PCB. Corsair isn’t going to issue a new version number for the “new” PCB XMS XL modules, so getting one would be blind luck and several weeks down the road. Don’t forget they have to clear out their stock of the reference design and then move them off the store shelves. This could take weeks to months depending on market sales.

Who knows if OCZ and PMI used the Brain Power PCB’s to cut costs and raise profit margins or if they saw the performance gains from internal testing. That does not matter now; all that does matter is that OCZ and PQI are currently producing the best overclocking PC-3200 low latency modules on the market hands down. All thanks to their choice of PCB’s used to build their modules on!

Legit Bottom Line:

When enthusiasts pick out their high performance memory they need to look at timings, IC’s, and now the PCB’s being used.

OCZ Technology Memory

PQI Turbo Memory

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