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Tom's Hardware's 2011 Gift Guide: Part 1, For System Builders

Memory: PNY XLR8 MD8192KD3-1600-X9

$44.99
www.pny.com

What if you don’t quite need the biting power of G.Skill’s Ripjaws Z-series (or, more relevantly, you only need a dual-channel memory kit for your Socket AM3-based build)? Alternatively, you could go the dual-channel route with a Core i5 or just about any of AMD’s latest APUs. After all, Llano-based APUs benefit considerably from improving memory performance, both in higher speed and lower latency. A dual-channel, 8 GB kit like this one from PNY should put a little more cheer in anyone’s holiday.

PNY definitely isn’t out to make any fashion statements here. The plain black, clipped-on heat spreader is merely adorned with a white PNY logo on one side and a stylized, handwritten-style “XLR8” on the other. These 1600 MT/s DDR3 modules feature a CAS 9 latency and a default voltage of 1.65 V. As is often the case with faster memory modules, some motherboards may only recognize the modules at 1333 MT/s, but this is quickly remedied with a manual override in the BIOS. Default timings are 9-9-9-24, but we’ve seen this accelerated into the range of 9-7-7-19.

As of this writing, PNY is still running a promotional deal with Sony: buy this XLR8 kit, and you’ll receive one free movie download. There are 35 titles to choose from, and you can install the movie with unlimited viewing on up to two PCs. Also, be aware that the $85 price still listed on PNY’s site is outdated. Newegg now has the kit at $45, and that still includes the movie offer.

Back in September, we awarded this XLR8 package our Tom’s Hardware Approved label and found it to be easily the best gaming value of any DDR3 kit tested in our round-up. Other kits may have been a bit faster, but with the lowest average Web price in the story, PNY emerged with the highest overall value.