Eight 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) Memory Kits For P67 Express, Rounded Up

Intel’s newest platform lineup has the same memory requirements as P55 Express, yet some of the modules available for it are rated differently. We discuss those differences on our quest to find the best performance/price in an 8 GB dual-channel kit.

We started getting email announcements of a new generation of LGA 1155-compatible RAM right around the same time as details of Intel's second-gen Core processors surfaced. The funny thing was that Intel’s memory requirements didn't change from Nehalem/Westmere to Sandy Bridge.

The former platform’s documented maximum 1.575 V limit remains, with the same wink-and-a-nod from engineers that up to 1.65 V is safe. Indeed, the memory controller built into Intel's new processors remained substantially similar to that of its predecessor. But as it turns out, the introduction of new kits wasn't entirely marketing hype!

All of Intel’s DDR3 memory ratios correspond to data rate multiples of 266.6 MHz, including officially-supported data rates (DDR3-800, DDR3-1066, and DDR3-1333) as well as unofficial overclocked ratios (DDR3-1600, DDR3-1866, and DDR3-2133). Yet, many of the memory kits designed for LGA 1156-based platforms included oddball ratings like DDR3-2000 and DDR3-2200. In order to achieve DDR3-2000 without overclocking the CPU core, the builder had to set the appropriate ratio for DDR3-1866, raise the base clock by 7.2%, and then reduce the CPU multiplier by 7.2%. With 7.2% multipliers and non-integer base clocks unavailable, an approximation had to be made. Some memory manufacturers even abused Intel’s XMP technology in an effort to tell motherboards how to set these approximations automatically, though the builder still had to choose the appropriate XMP profile in the BIOS.

Intel’s new platform does allow fractional base clock increases, but, as we all know by now, does not support the aggressive base clock adjustments enabled by previous platforms. An increase of 7.2%, for example, is easy to set, but it's usually unstable. By significantly limiting the range of accessible base clock adjustments, Intel invalidated memory ratings that didn’t correspond to appropriate ratios. We interviewed several memory manufacturers at CES and confirmed that transforming LGA 1156-specific memory kits into LGA 1155-oriented models required nothing more than a proper name, and proper SPD and XMP values.

For instance, yesterday's DDR3-2000 becomes DDR3-1866, occasionally at lower latency ratings to help offset the sacrificed data rate. Later, as many builders reported no performance gains or even compromises in stability from increasing the controller's voltage from 1.60 to 1.65 Vs, at least one manufacturer responded by dropping its maximum rating to 1.60 V.

The hardware itself didn’t change; just the labels (both internal and external). That’s fine with us though, since a lot of the memory out there is already high-quality stuff. Even still, we'll still put it through the wringer in order to determine how far it can be pushed using Intel's new platform. Before we move on to specifics, let’s take a quick look at what these manufacturers have to say about their products.

8 GB Dual-Channel DDR3 Rated Timings and Voltage
   Data Rate
  Timings 
  Voltage 
Corsair Vengeance CMZ8GX3M2A1600C916009-9-9-241.50 V
Crucial Ballistix BL2KIT51264FN200120009-10-9-241.65 V
G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-12800CL7D-8GBXH16007-8-7-241.60 V
Geil Evo Two GET38GB2200C9ADC22009-11-9-281.65 V
Kingston HyperX T1 KHX1600C9D3T1K2/8GX16009-9-9-271.65 V
Patriot Viper Xtreme PXD38G1866ELK18669-11-9-271.65 V
PNY Optima MD8192KD3-133313339-9-9-241.50 V
PQI Immortality Turbo MFAFR602SA700120009-11-9-271.65 V


Note that several manufacturers have not yet updated their product portfolios, sending LGA 1156-rated parts for our LGA 1155 platform. Crucial specifically mentioned that it will most likely give these modules a new DDR3-1866 rating (and corresponding model number) in response to LGA 1155’s tighter BCLK limits, while several Geil press partners have mentioned “DDR3-2133” in regards to its DDR3-2200-rated parts. Launched last June for Intel’s previous platform, PQI is confident that its Immortality Edition Turbo D3-2000 will excel under the new platform’s limitations.

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48 comments
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  • James296
    now watch as that kingston ram price suddenly jumps up :/
  • tacoslave
    i miss the days when you could get 4gb of ram for 30 bucks *sigh*
  • hmp_goose
    What happened to "get DDR3-1333 with tight timing: You'll never be able to appreciate `faster' stuff"?

    [Brand X] stuff rated 7-7-7-18 ment something, I thought …
  • werr20
    what cpu cooler did you use? because some cpu coolers don't alow big memory ram instal
  • enforcer22
    MMk sorry goose more ram is almost always and i mean 99.99999% better then faster ram :) i never saw any differences in ram speed turning off t1 and t2 timings slowing it down to a crawl turning off dual channel.. NEVER gave me an effective visual result. But adding more ram always gave me an instant result. I had this same argument with someone last week.. Nice to now have proof he was wrong about faster ram meaning something :) My ram is rated at 1600 but i have it only set on 1333 :/
  • dalauder
    My DDR3 2000 CL9 runs @ 1915MHz CL6 just fine. And I had some DDR2 800 @ 1010MHz & DDR2 533 @ 727MHz. I think most RAM just OC's nicely. I've also had a few weaker sticks (DDR2 667 that can't go over 727MHz), but it all exceeds posted specs.
  • CyberAngel
    I'm expecting to get my 2*4GB + 2*4GB DDR2 800MHz this week
    BUT
    If I could do it over again I'd get that overly expensive DDR3 motherboard and just 1GB of RAM then later add more RAM sticks

    Whenever DDR4 comes I'll jump in with small sticks and upgrade to more RAM when it gets cheaper (due to 20nm->15nm shrink)
    Well, that's when Windows 9 arrives and 16 cores is the mainstream (2017?) I hope I have enough money for 3D projector at QuadHD, 4feet by 8feet white wall...
  • Onus
    I would like to have seen something like the G.Skill Value series tested, but it really looks like RAM just doesn't make all that much difference for games.
  • ubercake
    I know this wasn't the primary focus of the article, though it is a good example of how sending more juice to your RAM and upping the speed on it has no noticeable effect on gaming performance.
  • gaborbarla
    ubercakeI know this wasn't the primary focus of the article, though it is a good example of how sending more juice to your RAM and upping the speed on it has no noticeable effect on gaming performance.

    Agreed,

    I would like to see a cheaper stick thrown in there like my Kinston Standard 512M X 64 Non-ECC 1333MHz 240-pin Unbuffered DIMM (DDR3, 1.5V, CL9, FBGA, Gold)

    These RAMs with 19" Alloy wheels dont really seem to be worth their pricetags.

    I think it is safe to say it is better to spend money on a better graphics card or CPU, perhaps a PSU.
  • Olle P
    In the performance tests I notice that the PNY at 1600 performs just as well as the G.Skill at 2133. So from a gaming price/performance point of view cheaper most definitely means better!
  • hixbot
    Overclockers no longer NEED fast RAM. High speed RAM has simply become a bragger's product, since there is little performance increase. K brand 1155 CPUs can easily be overclocked with cheapo value RAM. Stability is the new name of the RAM game.
  • torque79
    Ive never seen any article show that faster ram = any significant change in gaming FPS. Every article completely ignores this, and I've complained multiple times before. The range of prices between RAM in this article is nearly double. Will this net you anywhere near double FPS? not even 25%, I suspect not even 5% difference. I can only imagine buying high end RAM if I just didnt know what to do with all my money, or I were buying a $2000 system.
  • I don't feel too bad about getting 16GB of the PNY now for $100 :)
  • Onus
    Just bought 8GB of Corsair Vengeance on a Newegg Shellshocker for $75.
  • JOSHSKORN
    Nice, now what about triple channel RAM?
  • mushkin ?
  • festerovic
    Yeah I was just thinking Mushkin too. I got a 2x4gb silverline ddr1333 set a few months ago for $81 from newegg. I am glad I got that speed and capacity, highly doubtful I will need more RAM before a new CPU, and also, this article suggests that the speed is irrelevant to games and most other tasks.
  • cadder
    Quote:
    but it really looks like RAM just doesn't make all that much difference for games


    I don't think ram speed makes all that much difference to overall system speed. In the case of overclocking some CPU's you had to have pretty fast ram just to run the system bus up to the speed that you needed, such as with multipliers of 9 or less. Newer CPU's have changed things.
  • huron
    This came at the perfect time...I've been piece-mealilng my new Sandy Bridge system together and this really helps.

    Thanks again Toms for another well-tested article. Thinking seriously about those Corsair modules on Shell Shocker now.
  • dalethepcman
    This is a great article, but only valid for people using an unlocked multiplier CPU. For anyone using a standard locked multiplier, CPU (non k/Extreme for Intel, non BE for AMD) Then higher ram speeds are extremly important for overclocking. Increasing the FSB to overclock puts more strain on your ram, so higher binned ram is still needed until AMD/Intel unlock the multipliers of all their CPUs.

    Keep in mind readers if you are using a 2600k, then you will get similar results, but don't discount purchasing faster ram if your using a different CPU.
  • JackNaylorPE
    It would appear that we have a situation where people are trying to create absolutes from an article that addresses a specific market segment .... that being those users whose systems are GPU bottlenecked. Granted that probably covers most gamers but not all gamers. Two quotes here negate the "fast memory doesn't matter" for everyone claim.

    "Pushing our game settings to realistic limits, we find that the memory bottleneck no longer exists."

    "Anyone looking for bigger differences must first create a memory bottleneck by lowering game details and/or resolution, in effect removing the GPU bottleneck that affects a greater number of gamers using real-world settings."

    What one must conclude from this is the the fps limit is defined, in this test at least, by the GPU bottleneck. In other words, with the GPU bottleneck below the memory bottleneck, faster RAM won't matter. Upgrade ya GFX situation and the memory bottleneck again may becomes relevant. Based upon this analysis alone, we have no way of knowing other than the author's acknowledgement that memory bottlenecks do exist at other settings.

    I don't understand why this would be a big mystery .... if we can accept that some games are CPU bottlenecked and some are GFX bottlenecked, it should be as easy to digest when memory is substituted for CPU. This is supported by the anandtech article where minimum frame rates in Far Cry 2 jumped 23% in SLI but were relatively unchanged with a single card. The GFX card was the bottleneck w/ one card ... upgrade the GFX to two cards and the memory becomes the bottleneck in SLI. I'd expect that's why, in the anandtech test, when memory dropped 2 CAS numbers, there was a 22.3% increase in minimum frame rates.

    Simply put, your game experience may be bottlenecked by CPU limitations, GFX limitations or, in some instances, memory limitations .... it will be the weakest link which determines the bottleneck. We can all agree I think that if your GFX card is the "weakest link", getting faster memory is not going to change that.

    In most builds, the bottleneck is likely to be the GFX card. But in hi-powered 2 or 3 way SLI / CF situations, your investment in RAM should correspond with your investment in GFX.

    In a system w/ say a P8P67 Pro, 2500k and 560 Ti, would I upgrade the RAM from CAS 9 to 7 ? No. In a system w/ a Maximus IV Extreme, 2600k, tri SLI'd 580's would I upgrade the RAM to CAS 7 ? .... certainly.

    I should note that I was surprised average frame rates were used instead of minimum frame rates. The anandtech article showed significant impacts on minimum frame rates by lowering CAS .... there was only a small impact on average frame rates there.
  • Crashman
    JackNaylorPEIt would appear that we have a situation where people are trying to create absolutes from an article that addresses a specific market segment .... that being those users whose systems are GPU bottlenecked. Granted that probably covers most gamers but not all gamers. Two quotes here negate the "fast memory doesn't matter" for everyone claim."Pushing our game settings to realistic limits, we find that the memory bottleneck no longer exists.""Anyone looking for bigger differences must first create a memory bottleneck by lowering game details and/or resolution, in effect removing the GPU bottleneck that affects a greater number of gamers using real-world settings."What one must conclude from this is the the fps limit is defined, in this test at least, by the GPU bottleneck. In other words, with the GPU bottleneck below the memory bottleneck, faster RAM won't matter. Upgrade ya GFX situation and the memory bottleneck again may becomes relevant. Based upon this analysis alone, we have no way of knowing other than the author's acknowledgement that memory bottlenecks do exist at other settings. I don't understand why this would be a big mystery .... if we can accept that some games are CPU bottlenecked and some are GFX bottlenecked, it should be as easy to digest when memory is substituted for CPU. This is supported by the anandtech article where minimum frame rates in Far Cry 2 jumped 23% in SLI but were relatively unchanged with a single card. The GFX card was the bottleneck w/ one card ... upgrade the GFX to two cards and the memory becomes the bottleneck in SLI. I'd expect that's why, in the anandtech test, when memory dropped 2 CAS numbers, there was a 22.3% increase in minimum frame rates.Simply put, your game experience may be bottlenecked by CPU limitations, GFX limitations or, in some instances, memory limitations .... it will be the weakest link which determines the bottleneck. We can all agree I think that if your GFX card is the "weakest link", getting faster memory is not going to change that.In most builds, the bottleneck is likely to be the GFX card. But in hi-powered 2 or 3 way SLI / CF situations, your investment in RAM should correspond with your investment in GFX.In a system w/ say a P8P67 Pro, 2500k and 560 Ti, would I upgrade the RAM from CAS 9 to 7 ? No. In a system w/ a Maximus IV Extreme, 2600k, tri SLI'd 580's would I upgrade the RAM to CAS 7 ? .... certainly.I should note that I was surprised average frame rates were used instead of minimum frame rates. The anandtech article showed significant impacts on minimum frame rates by lowering CAS .... there was only a small impact on average frame rates there.
    You're right! I've written about the effect of memory bottlenecking in the System Builder Marathon during games, but the systems that showed this effect were all super-high-end CrossFire builds. Far Cry 2 was particularly influenced by memory, but at frame rates so high we dropped the benchmark from the SBM.

    Probably would have been good to O/C the CPU higher and use a pair of 6950's. Unfortunately, I don't have a pair of 6950's because...I think the site has a total of four or five of those to spread across four editors in four different locations.
  • dogofwars
    tacoslavei miss the days when you could get 4gb of ram for 30 bucks *sigh*


    I am not missing the days when you had to pay 250$ for 4MB!!!