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

Which Low-Voltage Memory Kit Is Best?

Though some of the low-voltage modules in today’s test topped DDR3-2200 at 1.50 V, the biggest performance gains came from optimizing timings at DDR3-1600. Of course, we know that some folks won't go that far, instead choosing to buy the fastest parts they can afford without manually tuning them. We’re splitting the difference once again, averaging default configuration performance with optimized DDR3-1600 results to develop a performance profile.

Beginning with a group average of 100%, I zeroed out the chart to show how far each kit deviated from that average. Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP, for example, performed 1.62% better than average, while Super Talent’s custom-ordered kit fared 1.30% worse. A performance spread of 3% isn’t huge, but it is noteworthy.

Switching back to a 100% baseline, we see that G.Skill’s $2 price advantage over Crucial is large enough to hand it the value lead. We understand that most users won’t care about price differences this small, but that’s not an excuse to suppress this information.

We finish with two top picks, Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP offering the best performance and G.Skill Sniper SR2 providing the best value. G.Skill also has the advantage of its stunningly-low 1.25 V baseline voltage, while Crucial has a much larger advantage in overclocking.

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  • excella1221
    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!
    1
  • DarkSable
    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.
    1
  • rmpumper
    In other words, RAM speed is irrelevant if you are not using an APU.
    8
  • Haserath
    No power consumption numbers? :/
    -2
  • cobra5000
    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?
    8
  • envy14tpe
    Good article. Still left wondering why anyone would choose low voltage RAM when costs do not outweigh the benefits.
    -2
  • slomo4sho
    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.
    2
  • allan_hm
    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...
    -1
  • Crashman
    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.
    0
  • Crashman
    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.
    0
  • Onus
    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.
    1
  • JackNaylorPE
    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-computers/intel-extreme-memory-profile-xmp.html

    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-computers/core-i5-processor-memory-datasheet.html
    http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/gaming/gaming-computers/core-i7-memory-suppliers-datasheet.html

    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
    0
  • jee_are
    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).
    1
  • DjEaZy
    ... 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
    -1
  • Evan Richardson
    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.
    0
  • happyballz
    Where are the cost for each kit? Did I miss it? Flipped through pages and could not find anything on the cost.
    0
  • gondor
    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
    -1
  • m32
    HaserathNo power consumption numbers?



    3-6 watts isn't going to kill anyone.
    2
  • pazygozo
    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!
    0
  • Crashman
    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.
    0