Futurelooks DDR3 Memory Round Up from 1600 - 2666Mhz Featuring ADATA, Corsair, Kingston, Mushkin, and Patriot Eric Garay December 30, 2012 Reviews 5 Comments 5 Flares 5 Flares × Prev2 of 4NextUse your ← → (arrow) keys to browse ADATA XPG Gaming Series v2.0 2400MHz Moving up the frequency list, ADATA's new Gaming Series v2.0 refreshes the original with new sinks and ICs underneath to appeal to gaming enthusiasts who like showing off their system and overclocking. At 2400MHz, the 2nd Gen Intel processors are finally overclocking those memory controllers. The v2.0 Gaming Series do look better and a bit more serious than previous efforts. They come in dual channel kits utilizing 1.5 volts at 1600 up to 1.65 volts at 2400MHz as tested. This kit achieves these frequencies with 10-12-12-31 timings which is quite aggressive versus 11-13-13-35 on most kits on the market. Keep in mind these kits can be use lower frequencies with lower, better timings for faster system performance because they use premium ICs. This dual channel 8GB 2400MHz version 2.0 Gaming Series kit starts at $74.99. However, ADATA also offers a larger dual channel 16GB kit for $144.99 which is as big and fast as it gets. If you need quad channel, you'll have to drop down in frequency and pick up a second dual channel kit. Corsair Dominator Platinum 2666MHz DDR3 Our final Corsair Dominator kit clocks in at 2666MHz which is now the hairy edge of our Core i7-3770K's capability. The Dominator Platinum sports a new LED lit chrome arm intended to satisfy enthusiast who like to show off attractive high performance memory. Memory speeds start at 1600MHz and top out at an insane 2800MHz. Capacities range from (2x4) 8GB up to an impressive (4x4GB) 16GB in similar high speeds. Given processor and board limitations, it's extremely unlikely you'll achieve these frequencies. But at least the memory won't be holding you back. While the 1600MHz kits utilize 1.5 operating volts, the faster kits require 1.65 volts to ensure stability. This particular 8GB 2666MHz kit needs 11-13-13-35 timings which is pretty standard. Again, you can always lower the frequencies and timings for greater system performance. Surprisingly, the Dominator Platinum 2666MHz 2x4GB kit can be found for $160 US/CA from retailers. If you're anxious to sport a 4x4GB kit, it'll cost you a healthy $340 to secure a kit. Keep in mind that even if your system can't support these frequencies or capacities, you can down clock frequencies and lower memory timings for better performance. Test System Configuration and Installation I tested compatibility on several different Z77 motherboards from ASRock, ASUS, GIGABYTE, ECS and MSI. On the average, ASUS motherboards have been a bit more aggressive at ensuring these finicky Ivy Bridge chips max out. It's the IMC (integrated memory controllers) that are the largest limiting factor when overclocking. Sandy Bridge processors don't have much problem in this area and completely luck of the draw whether or not your Ivy CPU can support faster than 2400MHz DDR3 memory. Here's our system setup for testing... Processor: Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth Z77 Memory 1: Mushkin Enhanced Redline 1600MHz 8GB Memory 2: Kingston Predator X 1866MHz 16GB Memory 3: Patriot Memory Viper III Venom 2133MHz 16GB Memory 4: ADATA Gaming Series 2400MHz 8GB Memory 5: Corsair Dominator Platinum 2666MHz 8GB Graphics: ZOTAC GTX 660 Ti AMP! Edition Storage: Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD OS: Windows 7 Pro CPU Cooling: NZXT HAVIK 140 Worth noting is that I'm using the previous BIOS from the original Viper III review which ensures that the previous scores are valid. Next, let's touch on the benchmark testing notes before moving on. Benchmark Notes Each kit's stock XMP (extreme memory profile) profile was tested. Keep in mind that not all motherboards will read each XMP memory kit perfectly. Some manual tuning might be necessary. Kits were also overclocked to see which kits had something extra to give. I also tested each to see if any of the kits were capable of lower frequencies and better timings which can help with extra system performance. Keep in mind, your motherboard and CPU are the two main variables that control memory frequencies. Some CPUs may not be able to achieve faster than 2400MHz. The benchmark regimen includes Sisoft SANDRA memory bandwidth which tests the maximum amount of data that can be accessed by the processor, Graysky x.264 4.0 which transcodes a 720p video with two passes, and PCMark7 to see what overall affect the faster/lower latency memory has in terms of overall system performance in day to day tasks. Let's get on with those benchmarks! Prev2 of 4NextUse your ← → (arrow) keys to browse Dean "That said, each one of the kits tested are my recommended choices for optimal performance at each frequency level and here’s why." So, why? Are you leaving this is a cliff hanger or did you miss a bit when you C&P'd? Eric Garay Hi Dean, thanks for reading the review. My apologies as I didn't mean to leave the why and each kit's Final Thoughts so disconnected. While each manufacturer offers two or more DDR3 memory kits, these are each manufacturer's optimal performance memory product that are still currently offered. -- Mushkin (Redline) offers the only high quality low latency memory, Kingston is often the most used for system integrators simply for price and stability, Patriot Memory Viper 3 is the best mid-range overclocking performer, ADATA Gamer Series V2.0 typically the most affordable in the 2400MHz range which also happens to be the average maximum for current Ivy Bridge processors to support, and Corsair Dominator Platinum not only arguably the best looking enthusiast's memory, it's also the overclocker's choice. Again apologies, and definitely appreciate you bringing that up. If you don't mind me asking, what kind of memory are you currently using? Dean Hello, Eric. A good follow up to the review, I enjoyed the read. As to your question, I currently use 12gb (6x2) of OCZ Platinum Low Voltage @ 1600mhz with 7-7-7-24 timings using 1.6v. When I ran 6gb, I had it dead stable at 1900mhz with 9-7-7-24 timings at 1.68v. This was with an i7 920 at 4.2ghz on an Asus Rampage Gene 3. I could overclock the ram but with the little time I currently spend in front of the PC for gaming, I see no need. Especially since the system is still quite fast, even with the 920 sitting at a lazy 3.8 nowadays Eric Garay Oh, you got some of that elite OCZ Platinum DDR3! I swapped their Platinum and camouflaged memory heat sinks for a while just to show off. Kingston has some low voltage (Genesis green) that was very similar but no way I could get it stable at 7-7-7-24 or 8-8-8-24. In fact, OCZ was the only other memory manufacturer that offered really low latency DDR3 until last year when they shut that division down. As far as enthusiast level m-ATX go, that ASUS Rampage GENE III was easily Editor's Choice. I very much enjoyed the GENE IV as well. Hardware implementation is as good as it gets really. About the only thing you may need in the future is a video card upgrade, if you decide to play a serious game. Again, appreciate the comment and question good Sir!