Intel i7 920
Gigabyte EX58-UD4P Intel X58 motherboard
Sparkle Calibre P980X geForce 9800GTX+ video card
OCZ EliteXStream 800 Watt PSU
Zalman CNPS 9900LED CPU cooler
NZXT Tempest extended midtower
Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
The only particular about installation of triple-channel memory kits on an X58 motherboard is the location of the primary memory slots. Rather than beginning at the memory slot closest to the CPU, when using three modules you start at the second slot. Not that this is a big deal, but I found it a little confusing the first time I built with an X58 board. Pop the OCZ Blade modules in the three designated slots, which happen to be white on my Gigabyte motherboard.
As with all current high-performance memory, the Blade DDR3-2000 defaults at much less than the advertised speed to ensure POST and boot if the system happens not to be able to support that speed. The Blade defaults at DDR3-1066, merely set the speed and timings in the BIOS.
Be aware that not all motherboards, even those that support DDR3-2000, will run the memory at that speed with all i7 processors. Some motherboards don’t give enough flexibility with CPU multipliers and memory dividers, including the original BIOS version of this motherboard. As X58 motherboard BIOS’ mature, this problem should disappear.
Intel recommends a maximum of 1.65v memory voltage to prevent damage to the CPU’s memory controller. This motherboard allows for either a 1.64v or 1.66v. The OCZ Blade DDR3-2000 7-8-7 didn’t care for a 1.64v VDIMM, giving a bluescreen during some benchmarking, but worked fine at 1.66v.
Intel and partners really stress the fact that you should resist the temptation to up the VDIMM of triple-channel memory. This Gigabyte BIOS gives a huge red and yellow warning sign if you do so.
I first tried raising the memory speed with the latency at CAS 7, but without success, the memory is already optimized at the advertised speed, timings and VDIMM. I loosened the timings and spent a considerable amount of time experimenting with various clocks and latency settings. Keep in mind that though increasing memory speed can increase performance, loosening the latency will decrease performance. In other words, if you have to significantly loosen the timings to achieve a higher overclock, you may get an overall lower memory performance than you had at the advertised settings.
Though I got clocks in the high 2100s/low 2200s that would POST, boot, and allow the rig to function with many applications, I would get BSODs during benchmarking. The best overclock I could get with reasonable timings was DDR3-2044 9-9-9-24.