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Super-Value Conclusion

Value DDR3 For Intel's P55: Six 4GB Kits Rounded Up
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Prices have changed since we ordered these sub-$80 4GB dual-channel DDR3 kits, but the two modules that now “break the bank” are still within 10% of the original budget.

As the top overclocker and second-place holder in average latency, Crucial finds itself in a tie with competitor OCZ for lowest price. We can predict an overclocking value win without running the numbers, yet those numbers will be critical for comparing other brands.

We used a base data rate of 1,600 MT/s to rank each product’s overclock percentage, then ranked each kit’s price as a percentage of our $80 target price. Dividing the first results by the second gives us an overclocking value chart based on that $80 DDR3-1600 standard.

Overclockers will find exceptional value in Crucial’s DDR3-1333, while those interested only in the lowest DDR3-1066 latency should ignore the above chart and move directly towards OCZ. Or should they?

OCZ’s maximum data rate of only 1,240 MT/s came from our second attempt to test the memory. Both modules in our first kit threw errors even at a modest 1,066 MHz data rate. A single “bad” module might have happened by accident, but having two in a retail set usually indicates a quality-control issue. At the other end of the spectrum is Newegg’s RMA team, which made sure we got a replacement set only a few days after sending the first kit back.

A $73 price got us a data rate of 1,810 MT/s with PNY’s DDR3-1333, giving it a second place finish in overclocking value that might be viewed as “top value” by anyone who simply must have heat spreaders. These cost only $3 more than the slightly-better, non-adorned Crucial parts.

We loved Patriot’s product, but we wouldn’t want to pay an extra $16 for a set of heat spreaders that top-overclocker Crucial doesn’t need.

Our overclocking value chart above makes it easy for us to pick a clear value leader worthy of our honorable Recommended Buy award. But we have a surprise for Crucial:

The coveted Best of Tom’s Hardware award is an honor so rare that this long-time author has never had the privilege to bestow it. For earning our highest performance-value awards in both triple-channel (P/N CT3KIT25664BA1339, see our previous memory round-up) and dual-channel (P/N CT2KIT25664BA1339) packaging, Crucial’s DDR3-1333 CAS 9 modules receive this special recognition. NOTE: Crucial has began filling its CT2KIT25664BA1339 packages with single-sided memory at twice the density. Because older LGA-775 DDR3 motherboards cannot accept the higher density, they will continue selling these award winning modules under a revised part number, CT2KIT25664BA1339A. While both versions of the memory will work with your modern motherboard, only the new part number is guaranteed to deliver the modules used in this test.

Ed.: once again, we're giving the award-winning Crucial modules (and either other sets of memory) away. Enter here. Full list of rules below. As always, apologies to our audience members internationally, but this one is only open to the US and Canada due to legal and logistic limitations.

This contest begins on November 12, 2009 at 12:01 am Pacific Standard Time, GMT-8 and ends on November 19, 2009 12:00 midnight, Pacific Standard Time GMT-8. No entries will be accepted after this date and time..

Bestofmedia LLC USA (Bestofmedia) is the sole Sponsor of this contest. There will be nine (9) prizes consisting of 4GB of DDR3 memory. Six (6) of the prizes are included in this article on Tom's Hardware.

The winners of the contest will be determined by random drawings.

The contest is limited to citizens of the USA and Canada 18 years and older. Only one entry per person is permitted. Multiple entries from the same person will all be discarded. The prize does not include operating system or other software. Prize winners are responsible for all applicable taxes on any prize they win. Bestofmedia is not responsible for damage incurred during shipping of the prize or any winner's use of the prize.

Bestofmedia is also not responsible for any failure on your part to receive or respond to email or phone calls indicating you have won the contest. If you do not respond by within 3 days of our notifying you, we will choose another winner. Bestofmedia is not responsible for any injuries you or others may sustain using any contest prize. By entering the contest you agree to abide by all rules of the contest whether stated above or not.

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  • 2 Hide
    Onyx2291 , November 12, 2009 5:13 AM
    Very nice how Crucial edges out so slightly and is cheap.
  • 0 Hide
    El_Capitan , November 12, 2009 5:22 AM
    I've been advocating that Crucial memory kit since time began.
  • 0 Hide
    presidenteody , November 12, 2009 6:30 AM
    should i wait for the price to be cut in half in 6 months? I want it now for L4d2!
  • 4 Hide
    dirtmountain , November 12, 2009 6:33 AM
    Would running these same kits work any differently in an AM3 system with it's ability to handle higher voltages?
  • 1 Hide
    NeatOman , November 12, 2009 6:36 AM
    Why would you guys use memtest86+ v1.7? if "v4" or is out?
  • 1 Hide
    MAD4AMD , November 12, 2009 6:57 AM
    Could you please provide information what memory chips are used in all RAMs. Thank you!
  • 0 Hide
    micky_lund , November 12, 2009 7:08 AM
    looks good, especially for CAS9. spose it makes it better for OCing.
    pity it ain't available in Australia :S
  • 0 Hide
    jrharbort , November 12, 2009 7:40 AM
    I've always insisted that Crucial DDR3 kits are an excellent value, and recommended them to friends for their amazing stability, overclockability, and price.

    These kits totally deserved the Tom's award for best hardware of '09.
  • 0 Hide
    mlcloud , November 12, 2009 9:31 AM
    I've been buying OCZ for all my DDR2 needs (they were very cheap after rebates), but I think I know who to go to for DDR3 (and awesome power supplies)
  • 0 Hide
    coolkev99 , November 12, 2009 12:41 PM
    This is good info, but I wish they would develop some 3gb x 2 kits out there.
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , November 12, 2009 1:01 PM
    coolkev99This is good info, but I wish they would develop some 3gb x 2 kits out there.


    3GB modules don't make a lot of sense due to the way memory chips are organized. In order to do it "right" (same physical organization), you'd have to use different chips on each side of the module, such as 1gb chips on one side and 2gb chips on the other, and I'm not even sure such a module would be compatible with current memory controllers.
  • 0 Hide
    enzo matrix , November 12, 2009 1:11 PM
    What about Mushkin ram? I'd like to see them included in future articles.
  • 0 Hide
    jodpel , November 12, 2009 1:19 PM
    I had an idea in my mind that they look at the test results from every shipment of memory they get from the fab... the stuff that tests poorly gets sold as value and the stuff that exceeds specs gets heat sinks and sold as performance RAM.

    I was always leery of buying value RAM because I figured it failed a spec somewhere along the line and got thrown in the "sell it to Mikey because he'll buy anything" bin at the virtual store.
  • 0 Hide
    Ryun , November 12, 2009 1:27 PM
    "OCZ’s maximum data rate of only 1,240 MT/s came from our second attempt to test the memory. Both modules in our first kit threw errors even at a modest 1,066 MHz data rate."

    Glad you found this as well. I, and others on newegg who ordered that set of sticks, got DOA memory. Gave me errors and couldn't OC at all. It's crap RAM.
  • 2 Hide
    Crashman , November 12, 2009 1:45 PM
    jodpelI had an idea in my mind that they look at the test results from every shipment of memory they get from the fab... the stuff that tests poorly gets sold as value and the stuff that exceeds specs gets heat sinks and sold as performance RAM.I was always leery of buying value RAM because I figured it failed a spec somewhere along the line and got thrown in the "sell it to Mikey because he'll buy anything" bin at the virtual store.


    From the samples Tom's purchased it appears that there are two grades of memory: "Everything Else" and OCZ Gold.
  • 1 Hide
    void_pointer , November 12, 2009 2:25 PM
    Providing results for Memtest86+ and SiSoftware Sandra is important (IMHO), but these results really don't tell us much about real-world performance of apps/games/etc. The Crucial kit gets a win based on max data rate (and price), but there is no guarantee that you'll see a performance increase when you crank up the data rate and run your favourite app/game/etc., because the way it accesses memory with the cranked-up latencies actually cause a reduction in performance.

    If we could get a small sample of benchmarks with real apps (e.g., one or two games, an encoder or two, a file compressor or two) I think readers would have a far better understanding of what "Super-Value" means for them (and their apps/games/etc.)
  • 0 Hide
    notty22 , November 12, 2009 2:29 PM
    I think its the end user, the home builder that is being cheated out of quality and value in the current ram market. With all these supposed ram modules available at different speeds/timings then multiply that by meaningless things such as color and non functional heat spreaders the end result is story after story of ram NOT WORKING at default bios settings for a given processor/memory configuration. All I know is it seems like its russian roulette building a system and expecting your ram to work with default bios settings.
  • 0 Hide
    tpb , November 12, 2009 2:57 PM
    I have found that memtest86+ simply isn't good at finding problems from overclocking.
    I have an AM3 motherboard with 8 gig of ram and I could run memtest86+ for hours and not have any problems, boot into windows and have unpredictable crashes from minutes to hours later.
    If I boot into windows and run the memory tester in the link below, the problem shows up within seconds or minutes.
    I have no idea why this memory tester appears to be better than memtest86+.
    After you get the system working reliably, run one of the CPU stress programs at the same time as the memory test to heat up the CPU and ram and see if the system is still reliable.

    http://hcidesign.com/memtest/download.html

  • 0 Hide
    rockyjohn , November 12, 2009 3:07 PM
    I used Crucial in my last build and am very happy with it.

    I agree with those who stated it would have been informative to see some applications used in the test. Also, it would have been more informative if they had included one or two of the performance RAM for comparison.
  • 0 Hide
    philosofool , November 12, 2009 3:19 PM
    That crucial memory kit isn't compatible with many Gigabyte boards. I went through RMA hell over it. It's not crucial's fault, but if you're a system builder, you should know this.
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