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Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL DDR4-3600 C18 2x8GB Review: Short On Height, High On AMD Performance

Back and shorter than ever

Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL DDR4-3600 C18
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Our Verdict

The Vengeance RGB Pro SL DDR4-3600 C18 is a great memory kit for AMD owners that don't have the luxury of a lot of clearance space under their CPU air coolers.

For

  • + Great performance on AMD platforms
  • + Competitive pricing
  • + Only 44.8mm tall

Against

  • - Disappointing overclocking headroom
  • - Poor performance on Intel platforms

Products don't always go through modifications because there's a defect; sometimes manufacturers revamp successful products because they see an opportunity for improvement. That was probably the idea behind Corsair's reworking of its thriving Vengeance RGB Pro memory, which already holds a spot on our Best RAM list. For those that aren't fans of the brand, the Vengeance RGB Pro SL will look like a brand piece of memory, but Corsair aficionados, on the other hand, will likely spot the differences right off the bat.

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Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL DDR4-3600 C18

Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL DDR4-3600 C18 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL DDR4-3600 C18

Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL DDR4-3600 C18 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL DDR4-3600 C18

Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL DDR4-3600 C18 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The Vengeance RGB Pro SL retains a similar design as the normal Vengeance RGB Pro. The memory modules still feature a black PCB with a matching black, anodized aluminum heat spreader. The small aesthetic changes include the small triangle cutouts and a different selection of logos.

The biggest difference between the SL and non-SL versions is the height. The original Vengeance RGB Pro memory modules are 51mm (2 inches) tall, while the SL variant checks in at 44.8mm (1.76 inches) tall. Corsair basically reduced the height by 12.2%, which should be sufficient to make the Vengeance RGB Pro SL fit under the most CPU air coolers and compact cases.

Despite the height reduction, the RGB diffuser remains intact on the Vengeance RGB Pro SL. There are 10 individually addressable onboard RGB LEDs inside the diffuser to provide bright and vibrant lighting. You'll have to use Corsair's iCUE software to take full advantage of the Vengeance RGB Pro SL's illumination, which means installing another piece of software on your system.

Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL DDR4-3600 C18 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The Vengeance RGB Pro SL consists of an eight-layer custom PCB with Samsung K4A8G085WB-BCPB (B-die) integrated circuits (ICs). The memory kit is comprised of a pair of 8GB memory modules with a single-rank design.

Out of the box, the memory operates at DDR4-2666 with dull primary timings fixed at 18-18-18-43. The Vengeance RGB Pro SL has a single XMP profile for DDR4-3600, so you can't really go wrong. It configures the timings to 18-22-22-42 and the DRAM voltage up to 1.35V. For more on timings and frequency considerations, see our PC Memory 101 feature, as well as our How to Shop for RAM story.

Comparison Hardware

Memory KitPart NumberCapacityData RatePrimary TimingsVoltageWarranty
G.Skill Trident Z NeoF4-3600C14D-16GTZNB2 x 8GBDDR4-3600 (XMP)14-15-15-35 (2T)1.45 VoltsLifetime
Adata XPG Spectrix D60GAX4U360038G14C-DT602 x 8GBDDR4-3600 (XMP)14-15-15-35 (2T)1.45 VoltsLifetime
TeamGroup T-Force Xtreem ARGBTF10D416G3600HC14CDC012 x 8GBDDR4-3600 (XMP)14-15-15-35 (2T)1.45 VoltsLifetime
Gigabyte Aorus RGB MemoryGP-AR36C18S8K2HU416R2 x 8GBDDR4-3600 (XMP)18-19-19-39 (2T)1.35 VoltsLifetime
HP V87EH92AA#ABM x 22 x 8GBDDR4-3600 (XMP)18-20-20-40 (2T)1.35 Volts5 Years
Adata XPG Spectrix D50AX4U360038G18A-DT502 x 8GBDDR4-3600 (XMP)18-20-20-42 (2T)1.35 VoltsLifetime
Predator TalosBL.9BWWR.2152 x 8GBDDR4-3600 (XMP)18-20-20-42 (2T)1.35 VoltsLifetime
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SLCMH16GX4M2Z3600C182 x 8GBDDR4-3600 (XMP)18-22-22-42 (2T)1.35 VoltsLifetime
GeIL Orion AMD EditionGAOR416GB3600C18BDC2 x 8GBDDR4-3600 (XMP)18-22-22-42 (2T)1.35 VoltsLifetime

Our Intel test system consists of an Intel Core i9-10900K and Asus ROG Maximus XII Apex on the 0901 firmware. On the opposite end, the AMD testbed for RAM benchmarks leverages an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master with the F13e firmware. The MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Trio handles the gaming workloads on both platforms.

Intel Performance

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The Vengeance RGB Pro SL placed at the bottom of the charts on our Intel platform. The memory's strongest showing came in the 7-Zip compression workload, where it ranked second and outperformed the slowest memory kit by up to 7.3%. As for gaming performance, the Vengeance RGB Pro SL's standing didn't change.

AMD Performance

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The competition was tight on the AMD platform. Nevertheless, the Vengeance RGB Pro SL outperformed some of the faster rivals and came in at the second position on the performance charts. Once again, the memory performed the best in 7-Zip compression, beating the slowest memory kit by up to 6.8%.

Overclocking and Latency Tuning

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Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL DDR4-3600 C18

Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL DDR4-3600 C18 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL DDR4-3600 C18

Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL DDR4-3600 C18 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Despite employing Samsung B-die ICs, the Vengeance RGB Pro SL doesn't have any fuel left in the tank. Increasing the DRAM voltage to 1.45V only got us to DDR4-3866, and we also had to sacrifice timings to get there. The memory wasn't stable with any value below 19-22-22-40.

Lowest Stable Timings

Memory KitDDR4-3600 (1.45V)DDR4-3733 (1.45V)DDR4-3866 (1.45v)DDR4-3900 (1.45V)DDR4-4000 (1.45V)DDR4-4133 (1.45V)DDR4-4200 (1.45V)
G.Skill Trident Z Neo13-16-16-36 (2T)N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A19-19-19-39 (2T)
Adata XPG Spectrix D60G13-15-15-35 (2T)N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A20-19-19-39 (2T)
Team Group T-Force Xtreem ARGB13-14-14-35 (2T)N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A19-19-19-39 (2T)
HP V814-19-19-39 (2T)N/AN/AN/AN/A18-22-22-42 (2T)N/A
Adata XPG Spectrix D5014-19-19-39 (2T)N/AN/AN/A18-22-22-42 (2T)N/AN/A
Gigabyte Aorus RGB Memory16-19-19-39 (2T)N/AN/A20-20-20-40 (2T)N/AN/AN/A
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL16-20-20-40 (2t)N/A19-22-22-40N/AN/AN/AN/A
GeIL Orion AMD Edition16-20-20-40 (2T)19-22-22-42 (2T)N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

The Vengeance RGB Pro SL's default XMP timings are 18-22-22-42 at 1.35V. A small voltage bump up to 1.45V allowed the memory to run at 16-20-20-40, making it a lot more attractive.

Bottom Line

Corsair markets the RAM as having a compact form factor. It's shorter than the previous revision, but it's not exactly considered low-profile, either. Even at 44.8mm, the memory shouldn't cause any conflicts with CPU air coolers, but it wouldn't hurt to measure the clearance space before picking up the Vengeance RGB Pro SL if you have an overly large cooler. 

You shouldn't have any qualms with the Vengeance RGB Pro SL's design as the memory looks good, just like its predecessors. Performance, however, is another case. Evidently, the Vengeance RGB Pro SL performs better on AMD systems than Intel systems, so that's one point to take into account. The Vengeance RGB Pro SL DDR4-3600 C18 retails for $109.99, and it's not a bad price considering there are equal or slower competitors out there that cost more than Corsair's kit. 

  • saf227
    If I were to get this in the 2x16 configuration instead of 2x8, would I expect the same performance - or are the two not really comparable?
    Reply
  • zhiyeliu
    saf227 said:
    If I were to get this in the 2x16 configuration instead of 2x8, would I expect the same performance - or are the two not really comparable?
    Assuming that the 2x16GB memory kit is comprised of dual-rank memory modules, it should offer better performance than the 2x8GB (single-rank) memory kit.
    Reply
  • nitrium
    Did you try 1T ? Weirdly(?) that is the default timing in the XMP Profile for my Corsair RAM.
    Reply
  • greatmaharg
    A note: The silicon in these is almost certainly Samsung C-Die, a far inferior overclocking die, identifying falsely in Thaiphoon as B-Die. You can confirm this by checking the version number on the label - v4.31 is true B-die, while v4.32 is C-die.
    Reply
  • escksu
    Well, this review proves yet again that it doesnt make sense to spend $$$ on expensive memory (unless you have spare cash). The performance gain is absolutely minimal. You are better off using that budget for better CPU or GPU. You will see much bigger gains.

    I am not saying that they are useless. But if you have to choose between faster CPU or faster RAM, then CPU is clearly the better choice.
    Reply
  • egda23
    Why not include mainstream brands as Crucial, Kington, HyperX , but include some pretty confidential RAM brands as HP, Gigabyte ??
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    iCue software is a performance hog. It's far from optimized and can steal an easy 1->3% off the CPU.

    The fact these RAM sticks require iCue to address the RGB is a NO. You pay extra for the performance, and the RGB. And then Corsair iCue then robs you of that performance benefit due to poorly optimized software designed to control the RGB?

    Anything that requires this software to control basic settings should be automatically flunked by reviewers.
    Reply