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DDR3 Memory: What Makes Performance Better?

Top Performers

All eight of these DRAM sets are nearly equal, and with the testing that was done across two platforms — and considering this was intended to be more of an informative article than a typical hardware review — here are some things to take into consideration.

Top AMD Platform Performers

The top performer of all the sets on the AMD platform was Team Xtreem. In the overall testing, Team Xtreem edged out the other two CL10 sets, G.Skill Trident X and Corsair Vengeance Pro (in order), but not by much. The G.Skill Snipers were the best of the CL11 sets.  The Team Group DRAM set was an eye-opener; I’m looking forward to working with more of their sets of DRAM.

Top Intel Platform Performers

On the Intel platform, the best performing set was the G.Skill Tridents X, again only by a small margin, topping the Corsair Vengeance Pro and Team Xtreem sets (in order). In the CL11 sets, the Snipers were at the top, barely edging out the Kingston Savage and Mushkin Blackline set.

AData And AMD

Both manufacturers guarantee their DRAM by the packaged set, which means both ADATA and AMD have a lot of faith in their products to provide us with two sets of 2x8GB (since they don’t have 4x8GB sets). I hope they will come out with actual 32GB sets in the higher frequencies since their sets performed very well and would no doubt would have been even better if they were matched 4 stick sets.

A Note On Packaging

Team Xtreem and Mushkin Blackline had the best packaging; the clamshells in a box ensure the sticks don’t get damaged, and look great, too. The packaging of the Kingston Savage sticks is rather unique; it has a great tray concept and it’s not a package you’d likely throw away.

Unique Features

The AMD Radeon Gamer Series has implemented a new approach to overclocking profiles with the implementation of AMP.  Time will tell if it catches on with other manufacturers. The Trident X has a unique approach to high profile DRAM with its removable upper fin to fit under tight heat sinks.

Aesthetics

This was a tough one, since it’s all subjective. I loved the look of the Trident X sticks, but as I worked with these others on a daily basis, I was drawn to the looks of the Vengeance Pro sticks, especially on the ROG motherboards. The initial look in a case, and seeing the name written along the top edge of the sticks, is also appealing – which you’ll also see on AMD’s Gamer Series.  The ADATA XPG, Savage, and Muchkin Blackline sticks are nice, clean-looking sticks, each with their own twist to the heat-sink design. The Team Xtreem sticks with the reflective label that appears to change colors might well be most original-looking, though I’d like to see the labeling on both facing sides.  And then there’s the Sniper series, with the embossed rifle, looking to shoot the others is (in the computer world) a long time classic.

I spent many hours testing these sets and wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of them, given the right circumstances.  I’ll continue to test them with other mobo/CPU combinations to find the best combo scenarios where we can suggest various DRAM sets to Tom’s Hardware readers and forum members.

  • blackmagnum
    Since the dawn of computer memory: Faster data rates=More access latency.
    Reply
  • Damn_Rookie
    It's great to see you getting the chance to do some articles on here, Tradesman1 Jim :)
    Reply
  • PaulBags
    Interesting. I'll be coming back here several times over the next several months, as I save up for & consider options for a new computer. Good to know 2x 2 stick kits arn't nessicarily equal to a 4 stick kit, and annoying since I don't see many 4 stick kits in local online stores.

    Also good to know frequency has such a measurable impact on compression, I probably don't need fancy high freq ram but now I'm going to be more annoyed my budget won't allow it.

    Thanks for the ponderous read! :)
    Reply
  • Cryio
    This was such an eye opening read. Until now I though different ram frequencies really didn't amount to much. By those times in multitasking ? Wow.
    Reply
  • damric
    Thanks Tman. Looks like you really worked your butt off in this testing.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    15517997 said:
    Since the dawn of computer memory: Faster data rates=More access latency.
    Nope. Latency stays roughly the same while clock cycles speed up. DDR3-1333 CAS 6 and DDR3-2666 CAS 12 have the same latency in nanoseconds, the number of cycles doubles while each cycle occurs in half the time.

    Reply
  • synphul
    Pretty good review, made for a fun read. I'm still amazed at the ram incompatibility when mixing different sets. I know it exists, it's not the first time people have experienced this. I've mixed various ram just on a roll of the dice and I guess I've been lucky. The brand mixing was random. When upgrading one system from ddr2 to ddr3 I threw 2x2gb of patriot in with 2x2gb of geil evo one without issue. When upgrading one of these systems and adding ram, I added 2x4gb of team zeus at 1600mhz with 2x4gb of geil evo corsa at 1333mhz and just let the motherboard configure it and match to the lower speeds/settings. No issues with either.
    Reply
  • xFolterknechtx
    1.65V sticks on Z87/97 boards? I think the upper limit Intel mentioned in their white paper for Ivy and Haswell was something around 1.55 - 1.575V for DRAM voltage.

    Do what you want with your hardware guys, but I ll stay clear of these voltages.
    Reply
  • Pierre Olivier Vidal
    I have 2 questions for future articles.
    1 - Why do memory control sugest no higher voltage then 1.65V yet my DRAM says it can handle up to 2.4V and why would they make a DRAM capable of handling 2.4V if no memory control can push safely over 1.65V? ( I'm runing on Kingston Beast 32GB 2400MHz )
    2 - Why is there some DRAMs that are not compatible with some motherboards, what makes it compatible or not?
    Reply
  • Onus
    I would hate to risk shortening the life of an expensive Intel CPU by running more than 1.6V through its IMC. You raised it to 1.7??
    Reply