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High-end RAM prices have fallen far faster than they have in the mainstream market, enticing mid-budget builders. As 4GB mainstream kits hover around $100, Tom’s Hardware asks the question “How much more can we get for a few dollars more?”
It might be a stretch to file high-speed DDR3 under the “mainstream” label, but recent pricing drops certainly make these parts attractive to mid-budget enthusiasts. That’s because, while true mainstream parts have remained relatively expensive since last summer, the difference in price between “ordinary” and “enthusiast” products has narrowed. Buyers one year ago could expect to pay twice as much to get a 50% higher data rate. Today, the price difference has now fallen to around 50%.
While our own tests have shown that super-high data rates really aren’t helpful for adding program performance to modern desktop platforms, higher speeds are useful for retaining whatever an overclocker believes is an optimal DRAM multiplier, while pushing the CPU frequency skyward. Many of today’s competitors can even be viewed as “overclocking-only” parts, since settings beyond DDR3-1600 are achievable only by overclocking other parts of your system.
|Sub-$150 Performance Memory Statistics|
|G.Skill Trident series|
|Kingston HyperX T1 Series|
|Patriot Viper II Sector 5|
|PNY XLR8 Gaming series|
|PQI Immortality Edition|
|Super Talent Chrome|
|Team Group Xtreme Dark|
We invited fifteen of the world’s premier memory brands to take part in today’s comparison, requesting the absolute best 4GB dual-channel kit each firm could offer for a Web price under $150. Kingston surprised us with DDR3-1600, when its cheapest DDR3-2000 costs only $6 more.