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Whose Quad-Channel Memory Kit Is The Best?

Four High-End Quad-Channel DDR3 Memory Kits For X79, Reviewed

Corsair wins our overclocking competition, and that should be enough to convince competitive overclockers to take the plunge. Of course, in the real-world, you have to remember that it takes stepping down to an 8 GB kit to achieve those marginally-higher data rates. The rest of the field sports 16 GB, and we have to imagine that most buyers will be inclined to buy larger kits for expensive Sandy Bridge-E-based platforms.

Going the 8 GB route is an option, of course, if you're building on a budget. If that's the case, though, Corsair's premium is going to put it out of reach. Again, this one's probably best suited to the competitive overclocking circuit.

So, how do we define superiority in a market were people are willing to pay 100% more to get 10% better performance? Certainly we can’t make a decision based on price alone.

After all, the second-fastest G.Skill kit has twice the capacity, and anyone who wants to argue price can point out that the 100% increase in capacity comes at a mere 26% increase in cost.

But consider also that Mushkin came up only 9 MHz—not nine percent—lower in maximum data rate. In other words, we got 99.6% of the most-expensive kits clock speed for only 33% the price. And for those who prefer not to split hairs, 99.6% rounds up.

Today’s competition was presented as a complement to our recent high-end X79 Express motherboard round-up for the folks willing to spend top-dollar on Intel's Core i7-3000-series processors. The goal was to root out the best memory kit to go with Sandy Bridge-E's quad-channel memory controller, and it turns out that we have two bests. Corsair’s Dominator GT CMGTX8 8 GB quad-channel kit reached the highest frequency, while G.Skill’s RipjawsZ was the best overclocker among 16 GB kits. But mimicking (if not duplicating) the top 16 GB kits achievement at one-third of its price makes Mushkin’s Redline 993997 the kit we'd recommend to our friends.

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