High-Density DDR3: Five Dual-Module 8GB Kits Compared

Benchmark Results: Overclocking, Latency, And Bandwidth

Some of today’s modules are actually rated at 1.65V, but others still tolerate this mild 10% increase very well. That increase also coincides with Intel’s rated memory voltage limit for Core i7 processors, which is why so many “performance” brands use this as their recommended voltage. We used it for both overclock and latency-reduction testing and began by finding the highest achievable data rate for each module set at CAS 9.

We’ve noticed in several past reviews that heat spreaders appear to hinder heat transfer slightly at 1.65V, likely because the low heat produced at this voltage doesn’t efficiently penetrate the thermal interface material, which typically consists of double-sided foil tape. Lacking heat spreaders, Crucial's DDR3-1333 CAS 9 modules once again outpace the competition. This is something that power users must consider when seeking the highest possible memory capacity and frequency in the same part.

Now to find the lowest stable timings of each module set at standard speeds using a 1T command rate.

Best Timings at 1.65V
 DDR3-1600DDR3-1333DDR3-1066
G.Skill DDR3-1600 CAS 9
F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL
7-8-7-156-7-6-125-6-5-10
Mushkin DDR3-1600 CAS9
Blackline 996776
7-8-8-146-7-7-125-6-6-11
Crucial DDR3-1333 CAS9
CT2KIT51264BA1339 
8-8-7-177-6-6-145-5-5-11
Patriot DDR3-1333 CAS 9
PGV38G1333ELK
8-9-7-216-7-6-135-6-5-11
Super Talent DDR3-1600
CAS 9 WP160UX8G9
8-9-8-146-8-6-135-6-5-11


Even though we received G.Skill’s high-speed (rather than low-latency) RAM, the brand still achieved the best timings at both DDR3-1600 and DDR3-1333. Power users seeking the shortest response times should be proud of this combination of capacity and latency.

G.Skill’s DDR3-1600 leads in Sandra Memory Bandwidth at its rated speed and minimum stable timings.

G.Skill’s latency win at DDR3-1333 keeps it in the lead at the processor’s standard memory speed.

Crucial managed to pull a surprising latency lead at DDR3-1066 and thus takes the Sandra Memory Bandwidth lead at the same speed.

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86 comments
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    Top Comments
  • micky_lund
    ouch 400+ for 8gb ram?
    18
  • liquidsnake718
    At an average of $200 dollars a stick I can safely say I am not an "Enthusiast" even though I love computers, hardware, consoles, games, and talking about computers.

    However my next build has almost been conceptualized (waiting for certain parts and prices), so DDR3 here I come.
    13
  • Other Comments
  • jasonz001
    nice :O
    0
  • liquidsnake718
    At an average of $200 dollars a stick I can safely say I am not an "Enthusiast" even though I love computers, hardware, consoles, games, and talking about computers.

    However my next build has almost been conceptualized (waiting for certain parts and prices), so DDR3 here I come.
    13
  • micky_lund
    ouch 400+ for 8gb ram?
    18
  • falchard
    Its about twice as much as getting 8GB off 2GB Modules. So the price increase isn't too bad considering 4GB ram sticks are the largest you can currently buy. I am still waiting for that to dip in price and for the more massive ram sticks to come along. We have been max 4GB for quite some time now.
    0
  • arkadi
    4 now i can live with 12gb limit on my x58 mb. But it is good to know that ppl that really need more then that can do it for affordable price
    1
  • Anonymous
    Only problem I have with the review is where is the same tests on a AMD platform for all us AMD users that will be or are already looking at AMD AM3/DDR3 builds.
    4
  • Crashman
    micky_lundouch 400+ for 8gb ram?


    Yeh, ouch, but can you imagine paying $800 for it last summer? Newegg still has one of those super-expensive kits.
    1
  • verrul
    dont expect more than 4gb anytime soon there really is no need in a system to run more than 4 to begin with you really dont see any speed improvements past 4 and no program is built to handle that size of memory block currently. Sure there are the occasional special systems that use more than 4gb but not for a single program. Besides that there is the TDP and FCC inforced efficiency ratings they have to come in under ram is an energy hog for an overclocker
    -1
  • Crashman
    terrybearOnly problem I have with the review is where is the same tests on a AMD platform for all us AMD users that will be or are already looking at AMD AM3/DDR3 builds.


    Tom's Hardware has recently been getting very similar overclocking and timing results between AMD and Intel systems when using the same modules and DIMM voltage. That's why the high-end system for the last two System Builder Marathons used the same RAM both times.
    -1
  • anamaniac
    What about 16GBm 1066MHz DDR3 DIMM's? Only $1,700 a piece. =D
    Granted, however, it is server ECC memory, and was never designed to be in a desktop. (Would love a 2P rig running dual 4GHz sexacore Gulftowns with HT, with 9 DIMM's per socket, running (18 DIMMs x 16GB/DIMM) 288GB of RAM.)

    http://www.amazon.com/HP-Memory-240-pin-PC3-8500-registered/dp/B002I8SHK2
    1
  • Crashman
    anamaniacWhat about 16GBm 1066MHz DDR3 DIMM's? Only $1,700 a piece. =DGranted, however, it is server ECC memory, and was never designed to be in a desktop. (Would love a 2P rig running dual 4GHz sexacore Gulftowns with HT, with 9 DIMM's per socket, running (18 DIMMs x 16GB/DIMM) 288GB of RAM.)http://www.amazon.com/HP-Memory-24 [...] B002I8SHK2

    Nobody will use more than 12GB of memory, 16GB should be enough for anyone.
    0
  • sir_malaki
    I've been using 8GB of G.skill Ripjaws 1600 (4x2GB) for about a month on a AM3 based system and love it. Very easy to overclock, although not all the time - just playing to see how fast I can push the Phenom IIx4 965 Black Box. Stock is 3.4GHz, made it to 4.4GHz before showing signs of memory/cpu issues (getting warm, need to get better cooling).

    The only complaint I have is how tall the heat sinks are, in a mATX case space is a premium. The memory is cool looking though. I bought it from Newegg for $219.99 USD
    1
  • pocketdrummer
    What ever happened to the Socket 1366 component reviews? All I see here anymore is the 1156 components. I realize that it's more "mainstream", but those of us who made the plunge into the "enthusiast" platform want to know more! How about the "Five Triple-Module 12GB Kits Compared"? ugh...
    0
  • coldmast
    thank you again Tom's for debunking myths
    0
  • megamanx00
    I'll tell you what's limited demand for higher RAM Density..... The darn persistent 32-bit OS. I still say Vista should have been 64-bit only. Wish the university would have provided the 64-bit Vista when I was still going there, but hey they gave 32-bit to me free so I can't complain :D
    -1
  • JohnnyLucky
    Another interesting article. Big thank you for mentioning the "heatspreader myth".
    1
  • volks1470
    Well this is good, but why are RAM prices still high in general?? I remember back in April I bought two A-Data 2GB 1333MHz DDR3 sticks for $50. Now i'm seeing prices around $85-$100 for basic RAM. Ridiculous!!
    1
  • Craxbax
    Ram prices aren't going up. The dollar is going down in purchasing power!
    2
  • cangelini
    pocketdrummerWhat ever happened to the Socket 1366 component reviews? All I see here anymore is the 1156 components. I realize that it's more "mainstream", but those of us who made the plunge into the "enthusiast" platform want to know more! How about the "Five Triple-Module 12GB Kits Compared"? ugh...


    We'll have more of these within the next month!
    1
  • rpmrush
    I still haven't seen any need to run more than 2GB of ram even when gaming and benching in Vista. For those with 12GB, your just filling up your X58 board cuz you can. There is zero need for anything beyond 4GB in the current 32bit environment. Even with a 64bit OS (I have Vista 64bit and Win 7 64 bit) the majority of all programs are 32bit. For those who actually utilize 64bit programs, well 8-12GB might be useful. Anyone with 64 bit Win7..load up 64bit Internet Explorer and open 10 different tabs and watch your ram get filled up..lol
    3