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Six Low-Voltage Dual-Channel 8 GB Memory Kits, Overclocked

Tags:
  • Overclocking
  • DDR3
  • low-voltage
  • Memory
Last response: in Reviews comments
a b K Overclocking
a b } Memory
May 12, 2013 9:00:06 PM

We've abided by Intel's 1.55 V recommendation for two architectures and two die shrinks, yet most performance memory manufacturers ignore it. Recent problems with one of our builds raised the question, how far can we push RAM without killing CPUs?

Six Low-Voltage Dual-Channel 8 GB Memory Kits, Overclocked : Read more

More about : low voltage dual channel memory kits overclocked

May 12, 2013 9:34:33 PM

Nice article.
A bit surprised that Corsair Vengeance didn't make an appearance though.

Been using G.Skill RAMs since I can remember, and they've never failed me!
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a b K Overclocking
a b } Memory
May 12, 2013 9:54:41 PM

Very interesting read, thanks Tom's! Guess we've been bothering you enough about, erm, "half-height" overclocker's ram enough for you to want to do an article on it. Shame that the mystery modules chose not to participate... perhaps I'll send you my 8 gigs. Want to swap? Ship me some ram to use in the mean-time and I'll ship you my sticks.
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Related resources
May 12, 2013 10:02:53 PM

In other words, RAM speed is irrelevant if you are not using an APU.
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a b K Overclocking
May 12, 2013 10:03:54 PM

No power consumption numbers? :/ 
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May 12, 2013 10:43:25 PM

Good testing but at the start of the article, much emphasis was placed on the degradation of the cpu due to high memory voltage and then it just turns into a memory speed test. What about the cpu degradation?
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a b K Overclocking
a b } Memory
May 12, 2013 11:12:38 PM

Good article. Still left wondering why anyone would choose low voltage RAM when costs do not outweigh the benefits.
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a b K Overclocking
May 12, 2013 11:20:55 PM

It is only worthwhile to pickup low voltage ram if you can obtain it at the same price as 1.5v ram. Then again, the Ballistix is around the same price point as other similar timing ram.
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May 13, 2013 12:49:46 AM

Pointless analysis for too little performance AND price difference...
Would be a bit less irrelevant if more brands were tested.
To be honest I was more interested on that "dirty little secret" details than the test itself.
Also, an article named "who is who in the RAM marked" would be awesome, just like that one about Power Supplies...
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a b K Overclocking
a b } Memory
May 13, 2013 2:08:47 AM

excella1221Nice article.A bit surprised that Corsair Vengeance didn't make an appearance though.Been using G.Skill RAMs since I can remember, and they've never failed me!
Here's from the article:
Quote:
We invited every major manufacturer (including a crowd-favorite ODM) to this round-up, and a few (including that ODM) chose not to participate.
Corsair said they had some new modules coming out and didn't want to focus on older models.
cobra5000Good testing but at the start of the article, much emphasis was placed on the degradation of the cpu due to high memory voltage and then it just turns into a memory speed test. What about the cpu degradation?
What about it? It's never been seen at 1.50V.
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a b K Overclocking
a b } Memory
May 13, 2013 2:10:53 AM

allan_hmPointless analysis for too little performance AND price difference...Would be a bit less irrelevant if more brands were tested.To be honest I was more interested on that "dirty little secret" details than the test itself.Also, an article named "who is who in the RAM marked" would be awesome, just like that one about Power Supplies...
Article intent was to find modules within Intel's 1.55V limit that pulled top numbers in frequency and/or latency. Some were found, article is a success.
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a b K Overclocking
a b } Memory
May 13, 2013 5:40:25 AM

Comparing data within each chart was not as interesting to me as comparing data between charts, which once again showed that although differences exist, they are tiny.
Put a lot more thought into your platform, CPU and graphics card; for RAM, get the cheapest DDR3-1600 CAS9 and call it a day.
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a c 289 K Overclocking
a c 111 } Memory
May 13, 2013 6:24:38 AM

Anybody read Intel's web pages in this regard ?

1.5 volts is for the JDEC profiles .... but most RAM speeds are advertised and labeled based upon their XMP profiles......most XMP profiles for i5 and i7 RAM is 1.65. In fact, over 2/3 of the RAM on Intel's XMP compatible list are over 1.50 volts.

I have seen many posts saying "Well that's a MoBo manufacturer thing". No....Intel sets the XMP profile. I agree, Intel's JDEC specifications stipulate 1.5 volts .... for JDEC profiles ..... but XMP "allows compatible DDR3 memory to perform beyond standard specifications" and is "predefined and tested" by Intel

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/gaming/gaming-co...

Quote:
Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (Intel® XMP) allows you to overclock compatible DDR3 memory to perform beyond standard specifications. It’s designed to enhance the gaming features built into Intel® technology–based PCs. If you like to overclock and squeeze as much performance from your PC as possible, then memory based on Intel XMP gives you that extra edge you need to dominate—without breaking a sweat.

Predefined and tested Intel XMP profiles can be loaded via BIOS or a specific tuning application through a computer’s operating system. Often the easiest way to load Intel XMP profiles is using a tuning utility, which may be available depending on the particular board manufacturer. To learn whether a tuning utility is available on your system, you should contact the board manufacturer.


Again, most listed compatible i5 / i7 RAM is 1.65 .... at least according to Intel's compatibility lists

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/gaming/gaming-co...
http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/gaming/gaming-co...

Intel's approved i7 Compatibilty List (April 2012) includes:

34 1.65 volt modules
07 1.60 volt modules
19 1.50 volt modules
01 1.25 volt modules
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May 13, 2013 6:26:46 AM

Maybe I'm being anal but, Westmere (Nehalem) was the die shrink to 32 nm (tick). Sandy Bridge was the following change in microarchitecture (tock).
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May 13, 2013 9:41:08 AM

... i got me the crucial balistix 3~4 months ago... a 16Gb of them... and they OC good too... i have them running @ 1926Mhz 8-8-8-26
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May 13, 2013 9:47:23 AM

HaserathNo power consumption numbers?


Perhaps because memory doesn't use that much power to begin with? Be a cold day in hell when you have to buy a 1kW PSU just because you add another stick of ram.
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May 13, 2013 10:40:48 AM

Where are the cost for each kit? Did I miss it? Flipped through pages and could not find anything on the cost.
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May 13, 2013 2:34:14 PM

JackNaylorPEAnybody read Intel's web pages in this regard ?1.5 volts is for the JDEC profiles ...


It's "JEDEC", the first 'e' is not silent/missing.

http://www.jedec.org
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May 13, 2013 3:16:32 PM

HaserathNo power consumption numbers?



3-6 watts isn't going to kill anyone.
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May 13, 2013 6:05:46 PM

Exactly the article i wanted to read, i was asking myself what clocks could the low voltage modules achieve at high voltage.

God, i wanted to buy the ballistix tactical in february, i bought the ballistix sport instead because i found 32GB for 158$ but they are taller and 1.5v rated, glad to know it doesn't make much of a difference in games past 1600Mhz.

Great work!
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a b K Overclocking
a b } Memory
May 13, 2013 10:32:39 PM

happyballzWhere are the cost for each kit? Did I miss it? Flipped through pages and could not find anything on the cost.

On the day they were tested, Adata was $72, Crucial $70, Geil $75, G.Skill $68, Kingston $70. That changes pretty quickly though.
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May 14, 2013 1:59:58 AM

I could be wrong but it's been my understanding that the only time you see any practical difference between kits above 1600mhz (with intel 2nd and 3rd gen i5s) is if your cpu is running at particularly high oc. The 4GHz in this article is a bit disappointing since I thought the idea was to remove all possible bottlenecks.
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May 14, 2013 3:09:57 AM

Wow is it 2004/the DDR era again?
.
No.

Just buy on price and what looks coolest in your motherboard. Stop wasting your life doing RAM reviews.
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May 14, 2013 2:13:36 PM

I really like how you take the time to do a gazillion tests that I'd never do. I also like that you don't assume much from the vendors' self-reported numbers. Again you do the tests.

Where I'm not aligned is with your conclusions. For example, averaging stock number with overclocked number to pick a winner? That's neither fish nor fowl. Your answer is guaranteed to not totally satisfy both types of consumers. Average can be a weird beast. The average American has 1.98 legs and 2.1 kids.

It's hard to read comments like "A performance spread of 3% difference isn't huge, but it is noteworthy." and "We understand that most users won't care about price differences this small, but that's not an excuse to suppress this information." 3% and $2 are not worth mentioning. NO ONE cares about it to that level. Don't get off in the micro weeds.

OK, sorry, we know some people do care. That's fine. But why wouldn't you write for "most users"? A good rule of thumb is most users only care about noticeable differences. And to be absolutely clear about "noticeable", it means to notice the performance or quality without a number attached. A person without a stopwatch can't tell you when their machine is 3% faster. And who brags about buying a $70 part for $2 cheaper? It seems like too much energy was put into splitting hairs to come up with winner(s) when there clearly wasn't.

Since most users do like the numbers, and subjective performance would be more controversial (the cure would be worse than the disease), I suggest the rule of thumb be 10% as the minimum for declaring a difference notable.

If toms take my suggestions, its hardware reviews will be 2.19% more enjoyable than other hardware sites.
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May 14, 2013 2:34:20 PM

daglesjWow is it 2004/the DDR era again?.No.Just buy on price and what looks coolest in your motherboard. Stop wasting your life doing RAM reviews.


Yes, I agree that the memory tests didn't show a clear winner. I'm still glad Thomas did the tests even if they confirmed what I already thought. I admit I was curious if low voltage RAM was somehow different.

However, just because I wasn't impressed with a clear winner in this batch of hopefuls doesn't mean that there aren't some losers I could buy. I don't think ALL RAM is the same.
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May 14, 2013 2:41:28 PM

These were allso the best kits that each manufacturer has in this segment. Not surprised that we did not see bad performance anywhere. The best thing is that these run fine timings in 1.35 volt, so there is no need to punish your CPU and still get desent memory bandwide.
Ivy and Haswel and CPU from this on are going to be not so tolerant to high voltages, because the node size is getting smaller and smaller.
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May 15, 2013 5:25:39 AM

Aegean BMYes, I agree that the memory tests didn't show a clear winner. I'm still glad Thomas did the tests even if they confirmed what I already thought. I admit I was curious if low voltage RAM was somehow different.However, just because I wasn't impressed with a clear winner in this batch of hopefuls doesn't mean that there aren't some losers I could buy. I don't think ALL RAM is the same.



Yeah my point was I've seen so many RAM reviews over the past 4-5 years and they all draw the same conclusion. In not so many words...it doesn't really matter what you buy you won't get any significant performance increases from buying good stock ram to the fancy picked LED be-decked ram costing $30 extra.

Now back in the day buying 2GB of DDR500 could make a nice difference (when we were pushing 30FPS with our 6800GT's) by giving us an extra frame or two but now its not so important.

Better off spending the time, effort and money elsewhere IMO. Leave the ram at stock and tinker elsewhere.
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May 15, 2013 12:03:46 PM

would it be safe to assume that the 16GB kit would perform just as well as the 8GB kit?
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May 15, 2013 2:53:42 PM

Is it safe to assume the 16GB kits would behave the same way?
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May 15, 2013 2:54:21 PM

is it safe to assume the 16GB kits would behave the same way?
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May 16, 2013 1:35:38 AM

Man, this posting system still needs some serious fixing.

It's 2013 people! Most sites have managed to install decent comments systems for years.
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a b K Overclocking
a b } Memory
May 16, 2013 10:15:02 AM

modex20Is it safe to assume the 16GB kits would behave the same way?
You'll see one in action in the next SBM, coming soon!
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May 17, 2013 10:48:36 PM

Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but the 3D game charts is labeled GB/s instead of FPS.
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May 20, 2013 9:49:16 AM

Crashman said:
allan_hmPointless analysis for too little performance AND price difference...
Article intent was to find modules within Intel's 1.55V limit that pulled top numbers in frequency and/or latency. Some were found, article is a success.

I understand how frustrating it must get when the author writes My goal is X, and then the commenters say X was pointless. You should have done Y. Frustrating or not, that's still no excuse for declaring an article a success if the author thinks he hit his goal. The article is a success only to the extent that tom's readers say it is.

Interestingly, the article never said "top numbers in frequency and/or latency". Instead it said "Can any of today’s lower-voltage RAM deliver world-class performance without breaking past that limit?" In the end, the article failed to identify what I would call world-class performance. Loved that you did the tests, but I have to totally agree with allan_hm's Pointless analysis for too little performance AND price difference. Not a success for this reader.
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a b K Overclocking
a b } Memory
June 5, 2013 10:07:20 PM

Aegean BM said:

Interestingly, the article never said "top numbers in frequency and/or latency". Instead it said "Can any of today’s lower-voltage RAM deliver world-class performance without breaking past that limit?" In the end, the article failed to identify what I would call world-class performance. Loved that you did the tests, but I have to totally agree with allan_hm's Pointless analysis for too little performance AND price difference. Not a success for this reader.
You just contradicted yourself. If you wanted to see larger performance scaling and didn't, the article successfully pointed out that the big performance scaling wasn't there to be had. If you were looking for proof that DDR3-2133 could be had at within Intel's recommended voltage levels, you've found it. If you were looking for proof that DDR3-2400 couldn't be reached at 1.50V, you've found that. If you've failed to find any point to the information presented, the question becomes this: Who failed?
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June 9, 2013 7:12:42 PM

Crashman said:
You just contradicted yourself.

You're probably right. It's easy to talk past each other. I suspect we're using the same words for different things, and I'm quite sure our goals are different. I don't know if the following will help. FWIW I like your rebuttal.

Performance to me isn't if DDR3 frequency is 2133 or 2400. Even in FPS, I'm not going to notice 3 FPS difference or 5 seconds on a 2 minute batch job.

I love tom's tests, regardless of the results, but I hate it when tom's declares winners when the results are marginal. How can the article successfully point out that the big performance scaling wasn't there to be had and then crown some winner as if it were?

I read tom's as a buying guide. If the professional tester sat down at a machine with stock memory to work and play for a day, and then that night elves silently swapped the memory with the low voltage overclocked memory winner, would the tester notice a difference without stopwatches, spreadsheets, and the usual Seismic Hertz Inference Tool? The subjective experience answer has to be the same as the objective numbers answer to be a good buying guide.

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a b K Overclocking
a b } Memory
June 9, 2013 7:51:52 PM

Aegean BM said:
Crashman said:
You just contradicted yourself.

You're probably right. It's easy to talk past each other. I suspect we're using the same words for different things, and I'm quite sure our goals are different. I don't know if the following will help. FWIW I like your rebuttal.

Performance to me isn't if DDR3 frequency is 2133 or 2400. Even in FPS, I'm not going to notice 3 FPS difference or 5 seconds on a 2 minute batch job.

I love tom's tests, regardless of the results, but I hate it when tom's declares winners when the results are marginal. How can the article successfully point out that the big performance scaling wasn't there to be had and then crown some winner as if it were?

I read tom's as a buying guide. If the professional tester sat down at a machine with stock memory to work and play for a day, and then that night elves silently swapped the memory with the low voltage overclocked memory winner, would the tester notice a difference without stopwatches, spreadsheets, and the usual Seismic Hertz Inference Tool? The subjective experience answer has to be the same as the objective numbers answer to be a good buying guide.
People often pay 10% more for a 3% performance gain, which probably makes sense when the 10% more you're paying for the product is less than 3% of the total system cost. Anyway, there needs to be some way to differentiate, otherwise nobody would bother responding to the articles.

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July 23, 2013 11:14:06 AM

In Brazil, computer hardware is incredibly junky. Our "highest end mainstream" parts are Kingston Value Ram chips... I know, it's sad. We feel pretty good equipped with any 1600mhz DDR3 amassing 8gig. Be it Markvision, Kingston Value or Patriot entry-level modules.

Only the wealthy ones can afford to buy anything better. To even consider having any module featured in this article is unrealistic and dream-like. Not to mention that Kingston Value 2Gig 1333mhz modules are 45US$ A PIECE!
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November 18, 2013 1:37:06 AM

All the graphics of page 12 are implying that graphics is a comparison of FPS (Frames per second) but on the bottom right of each graphics it is stated that GB/s (gigabytes per second) i believe this is a mistake cuz the text implies that it is in fact FPS, but you guys should fix this, it is very confusing especially if it is a noob who is reading.
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