Dual-Channel DDR3: Who Makes The Best 4GB Kit Under $150?


PNY MD4096KD3-1600-X8 DDR3-1600 CAS 8

Celebrating 25 years as a memory company, PNY sells some of the world’s fastest gaming parts under its XLR8 Gaming brand, including GeForce GTX 480 graphics cards. Ironically, that “world’s fastest” portfolio does not extend to its signature product line, as its memory business focuses primarily on stability, reliability, and compatibility.

PNY’s fastest memory product is labeled DDR3-1600, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be pushed. Extreme-stability parts do tend to be extraordinary overclockers, after all.

Users with XMP-enabled motherboards will be able to set PNY’s modules to the rated DDR3-1600 CAS 8 values in fewer steps, though their systems will default to a slower DDR3-1333 CAS 9 prior to BIOS intervention.

PQI MFAFR521PA7001 DDR3-2000 CAS 8

PQI’s presence in the U.S. market might be small, but at least one major vendor carries its parts. Unfortunately, that vendor does no have any of the firm’s DDR3 memory in stock. In fact, part number MFAFR521PA7001 doesn’t even show up on the Web, so we’re left trusting PQI that these are real-world components, that the lack of availability is simply a delay, and that the actual price will be under $150.

Of course we can’t put the modules in our final analysis until those small details are clarified, but we’ll at least see how far these can overclock. After all, it would be a true shame to allow any product named “Immortality edition” to die on the vine.

Unlike the DDR3-2000 listed on PQI’s Web site, these modules are designed for use within the confines of Intel’s stated 1.65V memory controller limit. Two XMP values are provided, the first aligning with the rated speed, and the second mimicking those of PQI’s more expensive DDR3-2200. Prior to user selection (in BIOS), the modules will default to DDR3-1333 CAS 9.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • neiroatopelcc
    And yet I would never recommend anyone to buy memory running faster than 1600mhz.
    Add another $50 and buy two cheaper ddr3-1600c9 sets instead. More beats faster.
  • ksa-_-jed
    the bottom line is there no big different worth the extra money.
    I think is better to stick with the 1600mhz
  • jrharbort
    I'm still glad with my choice to stick with the crucial modules in all my builds for nearly a year now. Nice article, was very informative, but I don't think it will effect my overall choice on future builds.
  • wow those trident's are very impressive.
  • mr_tuel
    I bought my OCZ 6GB 1600MHz triple-channel kit for $85 last May. It will now cost my ~$160 to buy another :-(
  • SchizoFrog
    What happened to Corsair and OCZ? This is just another article for you to advertise certain brands, shame on you Tom's...
  • neiroatopelcc
    I'm sure they're not present in the article, because they simply didn't want to send any modules in time.
    Besides, corsair is usually middle of pack, and ocz has compatibility issues on every second motherboard or something. Not the biggest of losses.
  • madass
    "We recommend G.Skill’s Trident DDR3-2000 specifically for mid-budget overclockers who believe in the importance of memory speeds beyond those we’ve found to be beneficial to program performance."
  • idisarmu
    4gb is no longer the optimal capacity. RAM prices are going up component-wise. 4gb of DDR3 1600 was down to about 95-100 dollars at one point, but now the price has gone up $10-15. Meanwhile, the price of 2x4gb kits have gone down from about $420 to $260-300 (This is for ddr3 1333)

    I think that if someone is building a new PC, it is now better to invest in 8gb in a 2x4gb kit than it is to invest in 2x2gb. You will eventually upgrade to 8gb anyway (next year or in 2 years), so why don't you just buy the 8gb in 2 sticks for only a slight % increase of Cost/GB
  • dalta centauri
    Here I am running 4gb of ADATA DDR2 ram at 800MHz and others have 250$ worth of ram in their computers. I think it's time to upgrade :D
    (Darn, 300$ down the tube)