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Five Overclockable 32 GB DDR3 Kits, Reviewed

Test System Configuration

Much of the discussion involving these modules relates directly to the test platform we're using, so it's important to detail our configuration ahead of any questions that arise.

Overclockers have found wide variability between different samples of Intel’s Core i7-4770K, yet the CPU's dual-channel memory controller is usually more forgiving of high frequencies compared to the quad-channel controller found in its Core i7-4960X. My particular sample is better than average, reaching 4.6 GHz at 1.25 V core and DRAM data rates exceeding 3000 MT/s in several of my motherboard round-ups. Higher data rates are important in an overclocking test!

Asus’ Z87-Pro is among the elite memory overclocking motherboards in my stash, and it repeatedly proves itself capable across a wider variety of modules compared to my other top choices.

When I talk about Haswell’s thermal transfer problems, and large coolers barely outperforming smaller ones, Thermalright’s MUX-120 is the impressive smaller one I’m alluding to. This heat sink keeps my Core i7-4770K below 70 °C at 4.5 GHz and 1.25 V.

The reason I’m running the CPU at 4.50 GHz is the same as the reason I’m using PowerColor’s overclocked PCS+ AXR9 290X. I’m trying to build a system powerful enough to expose memory bandwidth bottlenecks in ordinary applications. I could try to do that with an ordinary Radeon R9 290X, but why would I want more noise?

Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-4770K (Haswell): 3.50 GHz, 4C/8T Overclocked to 4.50 GHz (45 x 100 MHz) at 1.25 V Core
CPU CoolerThermalright MUX-120
MotherboardAsus Z87-Pro: LGA 1150, Intel Z87 Express, Firmware 1707 (12/13/2013)
GraphicsPowerColor PCS+ AXR9 290X 4GBD5-PPDHE: 1050 MHz GPU, 4 GB GDDR5-5400
Hard DrivesSamsung 840 Pro MZ-7PD256, 256 GB SSD
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerCorsair AX860i: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Platinum
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 8 Pro x64
GraphicsAMD Catalyst 14.3 Beta 1.0
ChipsetIntel INF 9.4.0.1026
Benchmark Configuration
Autodesk 3ds Max 2013Version 15.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
WinRARVersion 5.0: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
F1 2012Steam Version, In-Game Test Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Metro: Last LightSteam version, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" SceneTest Set 1: DX11, Med Quality, 4x AF, Low Blur, No SSAA, No Tesselation, No PhysXTest Set 2: DX11, High Quality, 16x AF, Normal Blur, SSAA, Tesselation Normal, No PhysX
SiSoftware SandraVersion 2014.02.20.10, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Multimedia / Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth Benchmarks
  • jasonelmore
    I've had the Gskill Kit for over a year now and i love it. All these other kits are late to the party.

    I use mine for RAM DISK, which is a Asus Program that lets me install games to my RAM and have nearly instant loading times. 10,000 Mbps, where as the fastest m.2 PCIe ssd's will only do 1/10th that.

    I cant wait for Broadwell because i need 64GB so i can put a full Battlefield 4 install (42GB and going up with each expansion) on it.

    Whats great is the asus RAM DISK program can move the installation freely without you having to mess with the registry or installation directory settings.
    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    also the Gskill kit is Quad Channel Compatible. i know it's up to the chipset to set channels, but some kits wont work quad channel.
    Reply
  • s3anister
    @jasonelmore RAM disks have been around for ages and is not an exclusively ASUS thing. Also if you actually NEED that much space on a RAM disk then you'd be better served by using an LGA2011 platform since you could easily drop 64GB in it.
    Reply
  • Amdlova
    i have used g-skill on my last 3 builds and work hard. never get an blue scren. but with corsairs i lost my count. i prefer use kingston value ram to buy corsair memory again
    Reply
  • Crashman
    13325424 said:
    also the Gskill kit is Quad Channel Compatible. i know it's up to the chipset to set channels, but some kits wont work quad channel.
    All of these kits are designed for Quad-Channel mode, but the Quad-Channel CPUs we have won't push the high data rates needed for a memory overclocking evaluation.

    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    @jasonelmore RAM disks have been around for ages and is not an exclusively ASUS thing. Also if you actually NEED that much space on a RAM disk then you'd be better served by using an LGA2011 platform since you could easily drop 64GB in it.

    The connectivity on LGA 2011 is behind quite a bit. I'd rather have faster IPC, and more than 2 native sata 6g. I wish intel would not keep it's enthusiast line a year behind in tech.
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    I've used a lot of GSkill kits, they're very good, but one thing surprises me about
    the choice, namely the absence of the GSkill TridentX kit. I find it's more stable
    than the Ripjaws series, especially in max-RAM configurations with 32GB on Z68,
    or 64GB on X79, etc. I wonder why GSkill chose to supply the RipjawsX... I was
    going to say maybe it was just price, but TridentX is cheaper now, at least in the
    UK anyway, but even if it cost more I'd still always recommend the TridentX if a
    buyer can afford it. Note the TridentX is CL10 vs. the RipjawsX's CL11. Here's my
    config with two TridentX 2400 kits, set for the moment at 2133 as that was my
    target speed (at the time it was cheaper than buying native 2133 kits, and I've
    not had a chance yet to optimise at 2400):

    http://valid.canardpc.com/r9ibvb

    Ian.

    Reply
  • Vlad Rose
    I have been using G.Skill RAM since the early days of the Athlon when no one had heard of the company. It has always been rock solid for me and have had great luck overclocking it over the years.
    Reply
  • kyle382
    good gravy those are some hideous looking sticks.
    Reply
  • damric
    I can run my G.Skill 2133CL10s at 2500CL10 rock solid on an Athlon 760K so suck it, intel!
    Reply