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.

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Sub-$150 Performance Memory Statistics
Row 0 - Cell 0 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 MFAFR521PA7001DDR3-20009-9-9-241.65VRow 6 - Cell 4
Super Talent Chrome Series WP200UX4G8DDR3-20009-9-9-241.65V$149
Team Group Xtreme Dark TXD34096M1600HC8DC-DDDR3-16008-8-8-241.65VRow 8 - Cell 4

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.

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)