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.