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

The New Mainstream?

It might be a stretch to file high-speed DDR3 under the “mainstream” label, but recent pricing drops certainly make these parts attractive to mid-budget enthusiasts. That’s because, while true mainstream parts have remained relatively expensive since last summer, the difference in price between “ordinary” and “enthusiast” products has narrowed. Buyers one year ago could expect to pay twice as much to get a 50% higher data rate. Today, the price difference has now fallen to around 50%.

While our own tests have shown that super-high data rates really aren’t helpful for adding program performance to modern desktop platforms, higher speeds are useful for retaining whatever an overclocker believes is an optimal DRAM multiplier, while pushing the CPU frequency skyward. Many of today’s competitors can even be viewed as “overclocking-only” parts, since settings beyond DDR3-1600 are achievable only by overclocking other parts of your system.

Sub-$150 Performance Memory Statistics
SpeedTimingsVoltagePrice
Crucial CT2KIT25664BA1339DDR3-13339-9-9-241.50V$111
G.Skill Trident series F3-16000CL9D-4GBTDDDR3-20009-9-9-271.60V$150
Kingston HyperX T1 Series KHX1600C8D3T1K2/4GXDDR3-16008-8-8-241.65V$143
Patriot Viper II Sector 5 PVV34G1600LLKBDDR3-16008-8-8-241.65V$130
PNY XLR8 Gaming series MD4096KD3-1600-X8DDR3-16008-8-8-241.65V$120
PQI Immortality Edition MFAFR521PA7001DDR3-20009-9-9-241.65V
Super Talent Chrome Series WP200UX4G8DDR3-20009-9-9-241.65V$149
Team Group Xtreme Dark TXD34096M1600HC8DC-DDDR3-16008-8-8-241.65V

We invited fifteen of the world’s premier memory brands to take part in today’s comparison, requesting the absolute best 4GB dual-channel kit each firm could offer for a Web price under $150. Kingston surprised us with DDR3-1600, when its cheapest DDR3-2000 costs only $6 more.