Mushkin Redline DDR4 3000MHz 16GB (4x4GB) Quad Channel Memory Kit Review

Introduction


The Mushkin Redline series is engineered to provide magnificent reliability and low latency while utilizing impressive memory speeds well beyond the DDR4 standard. Each Mushkin kit undergoes a rigorous testing procedure to reduce the possibility of hardware failure and backed by a generous lifetime warranty. This gives the purchaser peace-of-mind and ensures their investment is protected. On another note, Mushkin use high-quality ICs to maximize performance by finding the perfect balance between frequency and latency.

Today we’re taking a detailed look at a 3000MHz 16GB quad channel kit which adopts Mushkin’s FrostByte heatsink design and features timings of 15-15-15-35. The memory’s impressive memory speed to latency ratio should result in exceptional numbers, and I expect to see it compare favourably against rival offerings.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The modules come in a stylish cardboard box which enhances the level of protection compared to traditional blister packs. Additionally, the small cut out allows you to see the memory in all its glory and increases your excitement during the unboxing process. It’s always great to see something a little unusual with memory packaging because the majority of kits take a fairly mundane approach to box design.

On the rear section, there’s a brief synopsis about the product’s reliability, and Mushkin’s commitment to providing excellent customer service.

A Closer Look

The memory’s primary colour is difficult to pinpoint as the red finish tends to lighten at certain angles. It’s really a cross between a dark red and pink, but once the modules are exposed to low-medium light conditions, they look like a typical red design. This unusual shading effect works superbly and makes the modules have a sense of character. I also really like the silver accent and subtle Mushkin branding which adds a sophisticated feel.

On another note, the distinctive shape on the heatspreaders stands out without detracting from the understated construction. Sadly, the green PCB doesn’t help matters and I’d much prefer to see a black PCB instead. Granted, this isn’t a major problem when the modules are installed, but it might irk some users wanting the perfect colour scheme, or using hefty LED illumination. Overall, the aesthetic design is excellent and should cater towards the mainstream gaming market rather nicely.

Mushkin Blackline Ridgeback DDR4 2400MHz 16GB Memory Kit Review

Introduction


The latest memory kit to arrive for review purposes is part of Muskin’s Blackline Ridgeback range. The sample we received opts for a 16GB capacity, 2400MHz speed and timings of 15-15-15-35. This is achieved with a very respectable voltage rating of 1.2V and showcases the modules’ efficiency. Mushkin is a pioneering memory manufacturer formed in 1994 and continues to release new DIMMs sporting unique designs at a very competitive price point. Unlike their competitors, Mushkin assembles and hand tests each memory kit in the USA while strictly monitoring their production line.

This results in exceptional reliability and minimizes the potential for customer returns. The company also selects low latency modules to find a suitable balance between raw frequency and operating latency. On another note, every Mushkin memory kit is backed with a lifetime warranty and approachable customer service team. Given their reputation in the industry, I expect the memory kit to perform admirably at stock values and have some good overclocking headroom. Let’s see how it compares to other dual channel alternatives!

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The product comes in a traditional blister pack, and adopts the slogan, “Gamers take notice, rivals take notes.” I quite like the background design which looks rather striking and adds a dash of colour.

On the rear, there’s a very detailed installation guide containing extremely clear diagrams. Inserting the modules into position is a very simple process, but it’s always good to include instructions for newcomers without any previous system building experience.

A Closer Look

The DIMMs convey a professional look via the neutral colour scheme and should suit a wide range of system builds. Additionally, the angled heat spreaders provide a distinctive appearance without straying too far from the sophisticated, understated design. I’m also really keen on the silver accents, which adds some visual flair. Sadly, the green PCB spoils the black theme somewhat and ruins the overall level of synergy. Although once the modules are installed, you shouldn’t notice the green PCB from a distance. Thankfully, there are some SKUs which already have the same heat spreader design and black PCB to complement it perfectly. Overall, Mushkin has done a commendable job in the product’s aesthetics and ensured it appeals to the core gaming demographic.

Patriot Viper 4 DDR4 3200MHz 16GB (2x8GB) Dual Channel Memory Kit Review

Introduction


DDR4 memory kits are steadily superseding DDR3 DIMMs due to competitive pricing and the advent of Intel’s LGA1151 chipset which supports speeds in excess of 3200MHz. Furthermore, DDR4 modules require less voltage to remain stable despite the typical increase in memory bandwidth. Recently, professional overclocker Shamino set an astounding world record and overclocked the G.Skill Ripjaws 4 to 4255MHz using a mere 1.3 volts. Clearly, this is an extreme case and the majority of DDR4 kits available to consumers range between 2400MHz and 4000MHz. Plus, the performance difference in gaming tasks primarily revolves around your system’s graphics card, and CPU. Nevertheless, it’s still important to select high-quality DIMMs to keep your PC perfectly stable and compliment the other components.

The Patriot Viper series is synonymous for offering excellent memory speeds at an affordable price point. Here’s a brief description of the product directly from the manufacturer:

“Patriot Memory’s Viper 4 Series memory modules are designed with true performance in mind. Built for the latest Intel® Skylake processor utilizing the 100 series platform, the Viper 4 series provides the best performance and stability for the most demanding computer environments.

The Viper 4 series utilizes a custom designed high performance heat shield for superior heat dissipation to ensure rock solid performance even when using the most taxing applications. Built from the highest quality Build of Materials, Patriot Memory’s Viper 4 Series memory modules are hand tested and validated for system compatibility.

Available in dual kits, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB kits, Patriot Memory’s Viper 4 Series will be offered at speeds from 2400MHz up to 3600MHz and XMP 2.0 ready. Hand tested for quality assurance the Viper 4 series is backed by a lifetime warranty.”

As you can see, the latest version of the Viper range comes in a variety of capacities and memory speeds to suit a wide range of user requirements. Given the impressive 3200MHz speed, 16-16-16 timings and respectable voltage, I expect to see some superb numbers which legitimately rival the best dual channel kits we’ve tested!

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

Patriot have adopted a clean, bold design to the memory’s packaging which makes it easy to read the key specifications while admiring the DIMM’s colour scheme. Here we can see a visual run down of the memory’s speed, capacity, XMP version and other essential statistics. Many kits on the market utilize pretty plain blister packs which don’t enthuse a luxury feel. In this case, the packaging draws you in and leaves a very positive initial impression.

On the rear section, there’s information about Patriot’s lifetime warranty, a brief synopsis of the product, and links to the company’s presence across various social media platforms.

A Closer Look

From an aesthetics standpoint, the DIMMs have a rather understated look and targets the mainstream gaming audience. Any red and black heatspreader combination is going to become a popular choice, and the different shades combine quite nicely. Another striking touch is the contrast between the textured black finish and matte section towards the PCB. I’m also quite fond of the sophisticated Viper logo and small gap between the main heatspreader which creates an impressive visual effect. Sadly, the green PCB is difficult to overlook and detracts from the attractive design. If a black PCB was used instead, the memory would be the perfect choice for a high-end build. Despite these qualms, once the RAM is installed, you’re not going to notice the PCB colour in an enclosed chassis.

Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 2400MHz 16GB (2x8GB) Dual Channel Memory Kit Review

Introduction


The overwhelming majority of gaming builds revolve around a red and black colour scheme which makes it relatively difficult for hardware manufacturers to produce other colours in large numbers. Any niche section of the market isn’t prioritized as companies attempt to maximize sales and cater to the mainstream customer. On the other hand, white components have become more popular in recent years and look absolutely stunning. For example, the ASUS Sabertooth Mark S compliments the Avexir Sabranco memory in a beautiful way. Sadly, it’s pretty rare to see memory kits with a white PCB especially on the DDR4 platform.

One of the more affordable DDR4 memory kits comes from Crucial and even implements a gorgeous white PCB! Crucial’s LT branding is slightly confusing as the DIMMs utilize an identical specification to the standard Sport range. The only difference is the revised heatspreader design. This particular memory kit operates at 2400MHz, and requires 1.2V. Additionally, the timings are fairly tight for DDR4 at 16-16-16-39 but this is to be expected compared to higher frequency alternatives.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The memory kit comes in a traditional blister pack and outlines the key specification. I also found it quite easy to remove the modules without applying too much force.

A Closer Look

Here we can see the aesthetically pleasing heatspreaders which adopt a low profile design to enhance compatibility with large air coolers. More specifically, the modules measure 40mm in height and you shouldn’t experience any clearance issues. From a visual standpoint, the white PCB, central Ballistix logo and retro-inspired decal looks phenomenal. Additionally, the edges feature a textured finish which enhances the memory’s unique appearance. I’m also quite fond of the stylish cutouts which are easily visible once the DIMMs have been installed.

G.Skill TridentZ 3200MHz DDR4 16GB Memory Kit Review

Introduction


G.Skill is one of the most respected memory vendors in the technology industry and synonymous for selecting premium ICs to set world records. For example, back in August, Chi-Kui Lam overclocked G.Skill’s Ripjaws 4 memory made from Samsung ICs to attain an astonishing world record of 4795.8MHz. Additionally, the data from HWBOT in August shows 7 Skylake world records were set on Ripjaws 4 memory kits. This exemplifies the overclocking potential of G.Skill modules and strict binning process. In most scenarios, consumers simply enable Intel’s Extreme Memory Profile and avoid manual overclocks to maximize compatibility. Additionally, in gaming tasks, the difference between 2400MHz and higher frequencies is minimal. Nevertheless, if the price difference between 2400MHz and 3000MHz+ is small, there’s no reason not to pay the extra for higher bandwidth modules out of the box.

The G.Skill TridentZ series is available in a number of configurations from 2800MHz all the way up to 4000MHz. As you can see, this is an extraordinarily high specification and designed for consumers wanting the ultimate in memory speeds. Today, we’re taking a look at the 3200MHz kit which utilizes 1.35v, and 16-18-18 timings. It’s quite important to note that G.Skill have conducted thorough testing on Intel’s Z170 platform to check compatibility and stability with XMP. Unfortunately, our testing procedure revolves around X99, and every other DDR4 memory review has been conducted via the professional platform. Theoretically, we could have reviewed this particular memory kit on a Z170 motherboard but there wouldn’t be any fair comparison to previous reviews and too many variables. This is why the X99 test bench is still being used for DDR4 reviews.

Despite this lengthy clarification, I expect the TridentZ kit to perform superbly given G.Skill’s heritage and commitment to providing the fastest memory on the planet!

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The memory kit comes in a visually appealing box which creates a sense of luxury and outlines the product’s magnificent aesthetic design.

On the opposite side, there is a brief synopsis about the TridentZ series and G.Skill’s lifetime support service.

A Closer Look

Here we can see the gorgeous memory in all its glory and I honestly believe this is some of the best-looking RAM I’ve ever seen. The metallic silver finish, and dynamic edges contrast in a beautiful manner. Furthermore, the G.Skill and TridentZ logos are positioned perfectly and it enhances the aesthetic design without being too overbearing. Additionally, the red strip on the top looks fantastic and really stands out compared to the silver heat spreader and white lettering. On another note, the black PCB accentuates the memory’s sharp, sophisticated tone.

Even more astounding, G.Skill utilized a dark brushed metallic finish on the reverse side to proficiently suit red and black gaming motherboards. From this angle, it’s evidently clear how much time has been taken designing the memory which makes each module look very expensive.

PNY AnarchyX 2800MHz DDR4 16GB Memory Kit Review

Introduction


Prior to the release of Intel’s Z170 platform, DDR4 memory prices remained extremely high compared to DDR3 equivalents and required the use of other expensive components designed primarily for professionals. Thankfully, DDR4 prices have plummeted and usually cost the same as DDR3 capacities or slightly less in some cases. So why consider DDR4? Firstly, the latest standard in computer memory operates using lower voltages and capable of reaching frequencies in excess of 3200MHz. Granted, this doesn’t make a difference in most gaming tasks, but it’s useful for rendering, video editing and other workloads. Additionally, the price variation between 2400MHz and 3000MHz is still relatively small and well worth your consideration.

For the mainstream market, most consumers buy memory kits on the basis of aesthetics. One particular example which looks absolutely fantastic is the PNY AnarchyX series and comes in a variety of speeds from 2400MHz up to 2800MHz. Today, we’ve decided to take a look at their highest frequency model and compare it to other premium kits. From a technical standpoint, the sample we received operates at 1.2V, and CAS16 which makes it an excellent choice. Given the memory’s impressive visual design, and specification, I expect it to perform rather well during our rigorous benchmarking procedure.

Specifications


Packaging and Accessories

Unlike many RAM kits, the PNY AnarchyX doesn’t come in a relatively plain blister pack. The box contains an attractive render of the memory modules and outlines the key specifications. On another note, each module is sealed in an anti-static bag to eliminate any chance of electrical surges from occurring. This is a great addition which adds a premium feel.

The rear section is fairly plain and provides a more detailed look at the kit’s specifications. There’s also a number of images to inform the user of PNY’s entire product range.

A Closer Look

PNY have done a splendid job designing the heat spreaders which look unique without being too ostentatious. More specifically, the subtle PNY logo contrasts superbly with the domineering AnarchyX branding and makes for a wonderful finish. On another note, the vibrant edges and understated crossed pattern enhances the overall aesthetic design. I’m also really fond of the central red accent which adds a hint of colour to the modules. Once combined with the black PCB, this results in one of the best DDR4 visual designs I’ve seen to date!

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB (4x8GB) Quad Channel DDR4 Memory Kit Review

Introduction


In today’s market, memory, RAM, Random Access Memory, whichever you like to call it, plays a major factor in the way we determine our computers cost effectiveness. A general PC store will tout just the good numbers which is normally just the quantity of RAM rather than the specification or even branding; while a reputable enthusiast store or self-builder will focus on areas such as timings and speed rather than the quantity or capacity.

In the latest iteration of the highly popular DDR format is DDR4. It’s by no means new, but with the recent release of Intel Skylake and the Z170 chipset, DDR4 memory has been pushed into the limelight of mainstream computer builders. This brings with it two benefits, more demand means more production and thus lower purchase costs and higher speeds for the end users compared to DDR3(L).

The kit we have in today is the Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB DDR4 2666MHz. This is currently the highest clocked memory modules that Crucial produce, which is lower than what the likes of Kingston offer, but let’s see if this Elite 2666MHz kit has what it takes to compete with the big hitters.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

We won’t dwell on the packaging too much as it is very plain and simple: four modules neatly packed into a small rectangular clamshell box. This kit is a quad-channel variety so each module is 8GB in size.

A Closer Look

The Crucial Elite range is all very similar, but the transition from DDR3 to DDR4 has seen the fins removed from the top of the heatsink; A lower profile makes room for a bigger CPU heatsink and better airflow around the case.

Crucial Ballistix Sport 2400MHz 32GB (4x8GB) Quad Channel Memory Kit Review

Introduction


When purchasing a computer, RAM generally is the last component that you tend to think about and when you do come to think of it; quantity is the only real factor you tend to consider. That is if you don’t have a colour scheme or a limited amount of DIMM slots to accommodate RAM. Since the early days of computing, RAM has come a long way, the most recent format DDR has seen four iterations. The latest being DDR4, which has surpassed DDR3 as the new mainstream RAM type and has introduced memory speeds up to and surpassing 3333+MHz.

Crucial are one of the big players in the RAM game, providing us with a solid performance at a more affordable price. Today’s kit is the Ballistix Sport 2400MHz, one of Crucial’s cheaper options on the market, providing us with minimal heat spreader size and design and the base unit to adopt the use of black PCB. Let’s see how this set compares in today’s review.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The packaging is almost exactly the same design as the rest of the current Crucial RAM range. A basic clamshell style case with small amounts of information on the single sticker on the front; allowing for maximum exposure for the DIMM’s within.

A Closer Look

Something that the Ballistix Sport range is understated. The black PCB and gold fingers are a nice contrast with a rather small silver heat sink on either side of the DIMM; Personally, I think a splash of gold could have been added to the corners and the logos.

RAM is an often overlooked part of the system, but it’s always nice to see how it looks when installed into a motherboard. Here is the set installed into our base motherboard, the ASUS RAMPAGE V X99. The Ballistix Sport kit fits in well with the colour scheme of our base motherboard.

KLEVV Neo 1600MHz 16GB DDR3 Memory Kit Review

Introduction


Memory, the most vital part of any computer that gets overlooked the most. There’s not a lot to say about RAM apart from its expensive and very confusing. DDR3 is an aging technology now, but it is still the most used memory standard in circulation. DDR3 is a solid memory standard, offering good performance with relatively low costs when compared to the older DDR2 and newer DDR4 memory kits. With the next introduction of Intel processors and motherboards, they will offer compatibility of DDR4; which means we could start seeing the demise of DDR3 in the consumer market. That will be a long way off yet as all apart from Z170 will still feature DDR3.

Today we will be looking at the newly introduced KLEVV Neo memory kit. KLEVV has already been released in other parts of the world and has made big waves. The Neo range could be considered as the ‘mainstream’ range for what KLEVV has to offer, although do not let this put you off; it still comes equipped with one of the nicest heatsinks I have ever seen and some very good specifications.

Essencore is the parent company of KLEVV and has strong ties with memory chip company SK Hynix. This allows KLEVV to utilise some of the highest quality memory components available in the world.

“Being reduced to its necessary elements, KLEVV Neo DDR3 Memory distinctly proves the motto “less is better” by its extreme performance with minimalistic design. By adopting select Memory ICs and severe test procedures, the pliable performance brings you the essentials to conquer the world.”

That’s enough talking, let’s jump into testing!

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The packaging on these is top class, solid outer casing with individual pockets for each module ensures the product gets to you in working order; well in most normal cases anyway.

A Closer Look

Much like the KLEVV CRAS memory kits, these are set to impress. Featuring a more conventional two-part heat sink design with an embossed pattern and extraordinary build quality.

KLEVV CRAS 3000MHz 16GB DDR4 Memory Kit Review

Introduction


Memory, the most vital part of any computer that gets overlooked the most. There’s not a lot to say about RAM apart from its expensive and very confusing. DDR4, the newest iteration of RAM is currently the fastest version of the consumer RAM, with speeds exceeding 3333MHz. RAM kits now come in a variety of shapes with the basic bare modules, right up to the simply stunning Ripjaws series.

Today we will be looking at the newly introduced KLEVV CRAS memory kit. This has already been released in other parts of the world and consumers are adoring the high-end finish and amazing performance on offer.

KLEVV was established in just 2014 by the parent company Essencore Limited (or just Essencore), but having close ties within the memory community has allowed the company to quickly gain traction and is quickly rising to contend for the top spot. The CRAS memory modules are an extremely high-end, they are fitted with huge solid metal heat sinks that not only keep these extremely cool, but also provide excellent aesthetics and strengthening properties. This particular memory kit comes out of the box with a speed rating of 2133MHz, however, a simple BIOS tweak to enable the XMP profile brings the modules up to the rated 3000 MHz advertised speed; which is something that you have to remember when buying high speed memory kits.

“Employing the most current and high-level IT developments, KLEVV, the vanguard of technological advance, brings PC enthusiasts the highly advanced KLEVV Cras DDR4 Memory. Ready to Beat’em Up? Your adventure is just beginning.”

That’s enough talking, let’s jump into testing.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The packaging on these is top class, solid outer casing with individual pockets for each module ensures the product gets to you in working order; well in most normal cases anyway.

A Closer Look

These are some seriously stunning modules, a black PCB wrapped in solid metal heatsinks with a brushed metal band sealing everything together.

G.Skill Ripjaws 4 2666MHz 16GB DDR4 Memory Kit Review

Introduction


Memory, the most vital part of any computer that gets overlooked the most. There’s not a lot to say about RAM apart from its expensive and very confusing. DDR4, the newest iteration of RAM is currently the fastest version of the consumer RAM, with speeds exceeding 3333MHz. RAM kits now come in a variety of shapes with the basic bare modules, right up to the simply stunning Ripjaws series.

Today we will be looking at the G.Skill Ripjaws 4 2666MHz 16GB memory kit. This is one of the more conservative memory kits that G.Skill produce with a rather tame 2666MHz clock speed, but this does let the manufacturing team set an impressive 15-15-15-35 timing. G.Skill are renowned the world over with how well their memory kits perform and most of the world’s memory overclocking records are set with G.Skill memory.

“G.SKILL Ripjaws 4 series performance DDR4 memory is designed for the ultimate experience on the latest Intel X99 platform! Whether you are processing large amounts of data or intense gaming, experience smooth system performance with the newest next-generation PC memory technology! All Ripjaws 4 memory kits are tested with G.SKILL’s extensive suite of testing software to ensure maximum performance and stability. Make Ripjaws 4 the ideal choice for your DDR4 system!”

That’s enough talking, let’s jump into testing.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

We won’t dwell on the packaging too much as it is very plain and simple. Four modules neatly packed into a small rectangular box. This kit is a quad-channel variety so each module is 4GB in size.

A Closer Look

The design of the Ripjaws series is very unique and very recognisable to most enthusiasts. I think the design could be taken to the next level if the ‘Ripjaws 4’ logo was laser etched on or cut out instead of a sticker.

Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2666MHz 32GB Memory Kit Review

Introduction


When you’re building a tower, memory normally gets the last thought; you budget for all of the other key parts and then you find yourself having to readjust when you remember that you didn’t add any memory to your basket. With consumer memory kits roughly starting off where DDR3 left off, the speeds are blisteringly fast; some exceeding 3333MHz.

Kingston is one of the most well-known memory manufacturers, with many years in the business; it knows its way around a memory module. Kingston produced some of the finest RAM I’ve ever owned in my personal computers; reliable speeds with great overclocking headroom. Today we look at the HyperX Fury DDR4 memory kit.

“HyperX® FURY DDR4 can handle even the toughest battle. It automatically recognises its host platform and overclocks to the highest frequency published (up to 2666MHz1) — so you can wreak havoc. FURY DDR4 runs at 1.2V, even at 2666MHz, so it stays cooler while you play. You don’t need to alter the voltage to reach higher speeds, which means there’s more power for other hardware in the system. FURY’s sleek, asymmetrical black heat spreader provides enhanced thermal dissipation to help keep your cool and help you stand out from the crowd.”

Let’s jump straight into it and see what the kit can really do.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

Packing is very similar to the rest of what Kingston offers its memory kits in. Two halves, one black with ridges for the modules and one clear to see the modules. Well, you could see them if there wasn’t so many information stickers in the way.

A Closer Look

A very premium looking memory kit. Pressed metal casing with raised and diamond etched ‘HyperX’ logo. This is just two of the four modules.

Crucial Ballistix Sport 2400MHz Quad Channel DDR4 16GB Memory Kit Review

Introduction


Memory, the most vital part of any computer that gets overlooked the most. There’s not a lot to say about RAM apart from its expensive and very confusing. DDR4, the newest iteration of RAM is currently the fastest version of the consumer RAM, with speeds exceeding 3333MHz.

Crucial are one of the big players in the RAM game, providing us with solid performance at a more affordable price. Today’s kit is the Ballistix Sport 2400MHz, one of Crucial’s cheaper sets, providing us with minimal heatsinks and the base unit to use a black PCB. Let’s see how this set compares to the likes of Corsair, G-Skill and our base 32GB Crucial DDR4 set.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

We won’t dwell on the packaging too much as it is very plain and simple. Ffour modules neatly packed into a small rectangular box. This kit is a quad-channel variety so each module is 4GB in size.

A Closer Look

The Ballistix Sport kit looks very understated. A very slimline heatsink panel on each side. Such a minimalistic design which I think might put some off due to looking a little “cheap”. Hopefully that is not the case with the performance.

Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 16GB 2400MHz Quad Channel DDR4 Memory Kit Review

Introduction


With every new DDR memory release comes a decline in operating voltage and a decrease in heat output. In the transition from DDR2 to DDR3 and now DDR4, we’ve seen voltages drop and the need for large memory heatsinks are no longer necessary. This allows memory brands to release high-performance memory kits in compact low profile form factors that require minimal cooling. Crucial Ballistix Sport LT is a great example of this – it boasts high frequency yet it still has a low profile design making it ideal for use in compact system builds and with large tower heatsinks that are definitely going to be necessary to cool some of Intel’s swanky new Haswell-E Core i7 5XXX processors.

2400MHz sits on the higher end of the consumer DDR3 kits, as a result we should expect to see some excellent performance from this new Crucial 2400MHz DDR4 kit but the real question is: how well can most applications take advantage of the improved memory architecture? Let’s find out in today’s review.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

Packaging is very boring here, a simple clip case displaying two modules with a very small amount, but useful information.

A Closer Look

Crucial seem to have taken the original SPORT memory kit design and added a lip to the upper edge, which hugs the top of the PCB and meet the other side at the top.

Crucial Ballistix Elite 2666MHz Quad Channel DDR4 Memory Kit Review

Introduction


Memory, no matter how you look at it, you need it. Starting life as super slow DDR modules, it has come a long way from the simple 600MHz speeds, now exceeding 3000MHz in most higher end consumer kits. Module sizes have also come a very long way, back in the day with 128MB, yes Megabyte, to now 4GB modules as the standard with 8GB becoming the norm very soon.

The kit we have in today is the Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4 2666MHz. This is currently the highest clocked memory modules that Crucial produce, which is lower than what the likes of Corsair and G-Skill offer, but let’s see if this Elite 2666MHz kit has what it takes to compete with the big boys.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

We won’t dwell on the packaging too much as it is very plain and simple: four modules neatly packed into a small rectangular box. This kit is a quad-channel variety so each module is 4GB in size.

A Closer Look

The Crucial Elite range is all very similar, but the transition from DDR3 to DDR4 has seen the fins removed from the top of the heatsink; A lower profile makes room for a bigger CPU heatsink.

Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 32GB 1866MHz Quad Channel DDR3 Memory Kit Review

Introduction


With the arrival of DDR4 it might be easy to forget that DDR3 is still the most popular memory choice for desktop PC platforms of mainstream and high-end varieties. Today we are taking a look at a quad channel memory kit from Crucial, a brand of Micron. We are looking at their Ballistix Sport XT kit but not the dual channel one we’ve reviewed before, today we are testing out the quad channel variety. The best platform to support quad channel is Intel’s X79 Ivy Bridge-E so that’s exactly what we will be using for these tests. Of course being a 4-pack, or quad channel kit, this could also be used with any Intel LGA 115X or AMD AM2/3(+)/FM2(+) system that has 4 DIMM Slots. However, we want to see what Crucial’s 32GB kit can offer for a high-end user, particularly as we have similar DDR4 results for the X99 platform to compare to.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

We received this kit directly from Crucial so the packaging is fairly simple, it arrived in a plain white box sealed by a Ballistix sticker with the product info on.

A Closer Look

Crucial’s Ballistix Sport XT modules aren’t the prettiest looking modules in the world but Crucial have made a decent effort. I think black PCBs would complete the overall package but once installed in a motherboard you barely notice….and on that note let’s see how they look installed in a variety of boards next!

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 2800MHz Quad Channel DDR4 Memory Kit Review

Introduction


With every new DDR memory release comes a decline in operating voltage and a decrease in heat output. In the transition from DDR2 to DDR3 and now DDR4 we’ve seen voltages plummet and having memory heatsinks is no longer necessary. This allows memory brands to release high performance memory kits in compact low profile form factors that require minimal cooling. Corsair’s Vegeance LPX 2800MHz 16GB DDR4 kit is a great example of this – it boasts a super-high frequency yet it still has a low profile design making it ideal for use in compact system builds and with large tower heatsinks that are definitely going to be necessary to cool some of Intel’s swanky new Haswell-E Core i7 5XXX processors.

What’s even more interesting about this particular kit is the XMP 2.0 feature. As you may or may not know when you use memory higher than 2666MHz with Haswell-E CPUs the base clock has to be changed from the default 100MHz. Corsair’s Vengeance LPX memory actually has an XMP profile which not only sets the memory frequency, timings and voltage but it also sets the CPU strap and base clock to the correct level. This is ideal because if you’re only a modest PC user having to set all those things yourself is quite daunting, the task even daunted me slightly when overclocking.

2800MHz goes well beyond the sweet spot of high performance DDR3 which was around 2000-2400MHz, we should expect to see some excellent performance from this new Corsair kit but the real question is: how well can most applications take advantage of this extra memory frequency? Let’s find out in today’s review.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

We won’t dwell on the packaging too much as it is very plain and simple: four modules neatly packed into a small rectangular box. This kit is a quad-channel variety so each module is 4GB in size.

A Closer Look

Corsair’s new Vegeance LPX range looks very similar to the DDR4 Vengeance LP range. In this case they actually have metal heat-spreaders not plastic ones but that aside the aesthetic similarities are striking. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing either: the design is clean and the fact Corsair offer a variety of colours (black/blue/red) is also a big advantage.

Kingston HyperX Predator 16GB 3000MHz Quad Channel DDR4 Kit Review

Introduction


With every type of product there’s always a particular brand or SKU that rules the roost, that pushes the boundaries in terms of quality and performance. In the world of desktop computer memory there are a few of these: Corsair’s Dominator Platinum and G.Skill’s RipJaws are a couple of examples but today we have one of the most established and prestigious: Kingston’s HyperX Predator series.

The Predator name doesn’t just get put onto any old memory module: Kingston reserve it for the craziest frequencies, the highest quality cherry picked and speed binned SKUs and to top it all off there’s a whopping great big heatsink to keep things running cool. The specific kit we have today operates at a crazy 3000MHz, or 3GHz, and remember this is just the memory. That means the memory operates at the same frequency as the Core i7 5960X’s base frequency – crazy! Due to the super high frequency this kit also comes with a large heat spreader to tame the high 1.5 volts needed and it also comes with a high price tag which we’ll get onto later.  First let’s go over the specifications of this product:

Specifications

Edit: Kingston have informed us that due to feedback that are lowering the voltage of their HyperX Predator DDR4 2400-3000MHz range from 1.5 to 1.35 volts.

A Closer Look

Kingston’s HyperX Predator didn’t arrive with us in any retail packaging, just inside a brown card box with some plastic cases for the modules. The modules are something special though – look how big they are! There’s an extra inch  of heatsink over the top of the PCB for a total height of about 55mm – you’re going to need closed loop liquid cooling or a slim heatsink to use this RAM.

G.Skill 16GB 2400MHz RipJaws 4 Quad Channel DDR4 Memory Kit Review

Introduction


G.Skill always seem to be ahead of the competition when it comes to releasing high frequency memory products and with DDR4 nothing has changed. Just a few days before writing this review G.Skill announced their 3300MHz DDR4 memory kits were available to buy but we have something a lot more modest in the office for today’s review. We have G.Skill’s RipJaws 4 series memory, the 4 obviously denotes DDR4, and more specifically we have a DDR4-2400MHz kit that is 16GB in size with modest CL15 latencies. G.Skill have opted for a very neat and tidy heat-spreader design that comes in a variety of colours (blue/red/black) on a matte black PCB. G.Skill are also using the latest Hynix ICs that are famed for their overclocking potential: lets hope that holds true today.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The packaging is simple and to the point: which is what you’d expect with memory. The front points out the targeting of the X99 platform: if you’re a consumer you couldn’t use these modules with anything else other than X99. In the near future we should see mainstream DDR4 support with Intel’s Skylake.

A Closer Look

The heatspreader has a very nice design that looks rugged and industrial. It is only marginally taller than a standard RAM module, by about 1cm so it shouldn’t cause any clearance issues unless you have a really low-resting CPU cooler.

Crucial 32GB 2133MHz Quad Channel DDR4 Memory Kit Review

Introduction


With the launch of Intel’s X99 platform last week came the first consumer availability of DDR4 memory, the successor to the current mainstream DDR3 product stack. Today we can reveal our first DDR4 memory kit review kicking things off with Crucial’s DDR4-2133 32GB kit. It may not be fancy in its styling but it comes with Crucial’s usual competitive pricing and makes an interesting analysis given that it is the entry level DDR4 speed of 2133MHz, remember the baseline for DDR3 when it was released was 1066MHz. To test Crucial’s kit we’ve opted for the ASUS Rampage V Extreme motherboard which is the current world record motherboard for memory overclocking, furthermore the “ASUS OC Socket” feature this board has allows for higher memory overclocks with less volts than rival boards.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The packaging is simple and straight to the point – inside the easy to open box we find four plain-Jane Crucial DDR4 modules.

A Closer Look

The modules aren’t going to win any beauty contests, but it isn’t all about looks you know!

Here’s a closer look at the memory ICs, Micron are the producer as Crucial is a Micron brand. The IC number is Micron D9RGQ which is on the ASUS Rampage V Extreme QVL (Qualified Vendor List) for guaranteed compatibility and stability.

G.Skill Ares 8GB 2400MHz Dual Channel Memory Kit Review

Introduction


 

Choosing the right memory kit for your system is a fairly mundane task, for most people it is just about getting the right amount of memory and at a good price. While price and capacity are important increasing attention has been paid to the frequency and aesthetics of memory kit designs in recent years. The frequency jump for DDR3 has reached its conclusion now that DDR4 is upon us and you could almost say that 1866MHz is the new mainstream speed while 2400MHz is no longer as “premium” as it used to be. Simply put high frequency DDR3 kits (2133 and upwards) have become very affordable to most consumers. We’ve also seen picky aesthetic characteristics like black PCBs and nicely designed heatspreaders become mainstreamed, great for system builders who like to keeps things tidy and colour-matched. Today we are looking at a memory kit which epitomizes the convergence of those two trends: the G.Skill Ares 8GB 2400MHz kit.

Offering 2400MHz at 1.65 volts with CL11 latencies this G.Skill kit is well suited for many current platforms like Intel’s LGA 1150 Haswell or AMD’s FM2+ Kaveri, particularly AMD’s FM2+ APU platform where faster memory means better integrated graphics performance. G.Skill are marketing this memory kit for Z97 users though and with the blue and black colour scheme this certainly makes sense: MSI and ASRock offer a number of blue and black motherboards such as the MSI Z97S SLI PLUS and the ASRock Z97 Extreme6. In true G.Skill fashion these memory kits also have the benefit of a lifetime warranty and competitive pricing so let’s take a closer look at the G.Skill Ares 8GB 2400MHz dual channel memory kit in this review.

 

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

Packaging for memory kits is never very exciting but at least G.Skill have been smart and made their packaging super easy to open. The front points out the orientation of this product: towards Intel Z97 platforms.

A Closer Look

The G.Skill ARES kit looks clean and the black PCB helps keep things tidy. I also like that the modules are “normal” height, e.g. they are the height of the PCB. I could call these “low profile” like some other vendors do but that would be misleading when you can get lower profile RAM modules such as Crucial’s Ballistix Sport. It’s a little sad that the warranty sticker covers up the design and cannot be removed without voiding the warranty but I guess it is what it is.

GeIL DRAGON RAM 8GB 1600MHz Memory Kit Review

Introduction


Today we are examining our second memory kit from GeIL after looking at their lovely EVO POTENZA kit. The DRAGON RAM series is where the kit we’re looking at today comes from and from the above picture it is quite easy to see how the DRAGON theme is working. This is the first time I’ve seen RAM without a heatspreader come with a patterned design, as you can see the pattern is sprayed onto the PCB and the memory chips are secured on top. The DRAGON RAM series offers more moderate speeds compared to the EVO POTENZA and is a bit more budget orientated but still comes with some good looks. The other standout feature is the addition of red LEDs on the module which we will show you on the next page. Looks aside this is a fairly basic CL11 1600MHz kit formed of two 4GB DIMMs, the product is backed by a lifetime warranty so you know you’re getting good quality too.

Packaging and Accessories

The packaging flaunts the DRAGON theme which isn’t surprising as I know the DRAGON theme has been popular on a lot of hardware, one of the main reasons MSI have stuck to it so adamantly on their motherboards.

As you might expect the packaging is fairly simple, the RAM comes in a clear plastic container with a caution notice that warns you to correctly configure the SPD and voltage settings of your RAM before you use it. As it supports XMP it is recommended you just enabled your XMP profile from within the motherboard BIOS if your motherboard supports this.

A Closer Look

The modules themselves are a tad strange. We have a full matte-black PCB but all the memory chips and the main pattern is only present on one side of the module. Let’s see how they look in some motherboards next.

Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB 1866MHz Memory Kit Review

Introduction


Back in February we attended a Kingston press event in London where Kingston showed off their newest range of memory kits dubbed the “HyperX Fury” series. The HyperX Fury is the latest incarnation of the HyperX range and it offers new levels of style customisations for system builders, integrators and consumers. The kits are meant to be for mid-range systems with speeds ranging from 1333-1866MHz in 8GB or 16GB varieties. The main selling point is that they come with a stylish design, full black PCB and a variety of different colours. There’s also something unique about the technology behind them too, instead of using AMP or XMP they ditch both in favour of a Plug And Play (PnP) solution that uses an SPD profile to allow the motherboard to auto-detect the correct voltage, frequency and timings by default. Today we are checking out the black 8GB 1866MHz kit from the HyperX Fury series.

Packaging and Accessories

As with all Kingston memory products the packaging is a very simple plastic case secured with a sticker that has all the specifications on it.

Included with the memory is a small folded up installation guide and a HyperX sticker for your case if you wish to use it.

 

A Closer Look

The modules have a great look about them – a lovely matte black PCB with black heatspreaders and nice contrasting white & silver branding on the modules.

The HyperX logo has a textured finish to it which catches the light nicely.

The tops of the modules are asymmetric and have more HyperX branding on them so you can see them from looking in a side-panel window on a case.

GeIL EVO POTENZA 16GB 2400MHz Memory Kit Review

Introduction


GeIL, or Golden Emperor International Limited, are certainly not a new player in the technology industry even if many people in the “West” have not heard of them. GeIL Memory are veterans of the DRAM industry having made memory products since 1993. GeIL as a broader company also make power supplies under the Thortech Power brand and they make peripherals under the EpicGear brand. Today we are looking at GeIL’s EVO POTENZA memory kit described as a product for “hardcore gamers”. More specifically we have the 16GB 2400MHz kit from GeIL which boasts a lifetime warranty, a beautiful white and black design and full native Intel Z77/Z87/Z97 support with XMP profiles. You can of course use the RAM with other platforms but with such a high frequency those platforms are recommended most.

Packaging and Accessories

The packaging is fairly simple and it can afford to be since this is just memory. The rugged design of the product is the main method of targeting this at gamers.

Included is merely the memory kit with a read me notice on how to configure the SPD and Voltage options. Most people should just enable XMP once you enter the BIOS.

A Closer Look

The modules themselves are fantastic looking pieces. They come with matte black PCBs and slightly raised up white heat spreaders. The black and white contrast is a fantastic look. The heat spreader is made from a textured metal finish, the overall height of the product is 48mm/4.8cm.

Kingston Launch Web Assistant For Storage & Memory Upgrades

When it comes to working out the specification of your new gaming system or when you’re looking to boost the performance of your existing setup, memory and storage are two of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of getting the most out of what you’ve got. Since the launch of the solid state drive only a few years back, we’ve seen desktop performance rocket up to a whole new level and as the processors and graphics cards progress to new heights, the memory kit is for most of the time forgotten about or underestimated. Whereas selecting the right graphics card for example is pretty easy, selecting the right memory kit for your needs is not as clear cut. When we take every memory kit that is on offer on the market (as well as the SSDs )and throw it all into one basket, the number of hardware combinations and possibilities, as well as price points that there are to choose from is monumental. With such a huge number of products on offer, how are you sure that the kit you’re choosing is the right one for you?

One way of filtering out the select products that would be suitable for your system would be to look around the review sites such as ourselves, where we show you some of the latest performance, mid-range and budget options that there are on the market, giving you an idea of what product you want to be ordering next. Whilst this is all fair and well, we have to be fair and honest and say that not everyone is going to want to go through piles and piles of reviews to see what is best for their needs, either because of the time it takes to read reviews, or because they’re not that technically minded. We therefore see numerous users taking to our forums to ask what would be the best drive or memory kit for them to get for their system for XYZ price bracket, but what if there was an even easier option out there which could guide you through the selection process, showing you only the products which are best suited for your needs; a user with a gaming motherboard would ideally like a gaming memory kit to compliment the performance, whilst a typical home office user may want a budget kit which does what it needs to without burning a hole in the wallet.

Fortunately though Kingston have been busy working away over the last few months to develop a massive database of every motherboard, server, notebook and more; after which they individually select which of their memory kits and SSDs is best suited for that particular users needs with the option on offer to then purchase the hardware directly from Kingston and have it delivered to your door. These selection pages don’t just cover the Windows platform, as Apple systems more commonly than not use very similar desktop components to those used in the rest of the market, we find Kingston offering up a good range of suitable kits for Mac users.

 

With the next generation of motherboards and processors only a short time away now, the time to upgrade is also very close and if you’re not too sure on how to actually do the upgrade, fear not as Kingston have also got you covered. In addition to the massive web database and product selection tools, they also have a library of setup guides and videos on offer which take you through the upgrade process step-by-step, clearing any doubts or worries that you may be doing something wrong. With technology so far advanced compared to where it was a number of years ago, it is actually far easier to upgrade your system than it used to be.

Kingston don’t just supply the retail market with components, they also cover the OEM market, providing a number of manufacturers products for direct use in their systems and to reflect this, Kingston also list the relevant upgrade kits for each of their OEM partners. Here are just a few of Kingston’s partners:

So if you’re a budding enthusiast who wants to know that they are giving their system the very best, or a non-technically minded home user who wants some guidance, head over to Kingston’s Memory and Storage Search Page where you can find the right product and how to get the best out of your system – oh and did I mention that this information and help is TOTALLY FREE? Surely that deserves us giving Kingston a huge thank you to making your tech experience as good as possible.

Avexir Blitz Series 1.1 4GB 1600MHz Memory Review

Introduction


Avexir may not be the biggest name in the world of performance desktop memory but they have certainly been gaining in popularity and reputation over the past year, and rightly so. Today we are taking a look at a variety of DDR3 modules from Avexir that form part of their new Blitz Series 1.1. Instead of just sending us a traditional kit Avexir have sent us one module from each of the different designs they offer in the Blitz Series 1.1. Avexir offer the following styles:

  • Original
  • MPower (Styled for MSI MPower motherboards)
  • Gaming Dragon (Styled for MSI Gaming Series motherboards)
  • OC Formula (Styled for ASRock OC Formula motherboards)
  • L337 Gold (Styled for ECS L337 Gaming Gold motherboards)
  • L337 Red (Styled for ECS L337 Gaming Red motherboards)
  • Ultra Durable Orange (Styled for Gigabyte Ultra Durable Orange motherboards)
  • Ultra Durable Green (Styled for Gigabyte G1 Killer Series motherboards)

We received all of the styles except the Gaming Dragon one, as presumably this wasn’t ready at the time we received these kits. Avexir also offer a wide variety of SKUs in the Blitz Series 1.1, they are as follows:

We received the 4GB DDR3 1600MHz memory modules with 9-9-9-24 (CL9) timings and a 1.5 voltage. The Avexir Blitz Series 1.1 RAM came nicely packaged inside this luxury black presentation box.

The packaging lists the key features of the Avexir Blitz Series 1.1. As we can see Avexir is targeting both overclockers and gamers with the Blitz Series 1.1. Key features include:

  • Intel XMP certification
  • Attractive heat spreader design
  • LED lighting effects
  • Detachable heat spreaders
  • 20z 8 layer copper PCB
  • High quality components

Memory Scaling On The AMD Kaveri A10-7850K APU

Introduction – Memory Scaling on Kaveri


AMD’s Kaveri APUs are dependent on system memory. The easiest way to explain this dependency is by thinking of the GPU on the Kaveri APU as a graphics card, but with one significant difference – on its own it has no video memory. The video memory the Kaveri GPU uses is your system memory, or RAM. In the case of Kaveri APUs the CPU and GPU parts both share the system memory resources equally as part of the hUMA process, though the GPU is more performance-dependent on this memory bandwidth than the CPU is. In effect what this means is that as you increase your system memory frequency Kaveri APUs have more bandwidth available to them and thus perform better.Taking your system RAM from 1866MHz to 2400MHz has the same effect on the Kaveri GPU as would overclocking a DDR3 graphics card by the same amount.AMD has really pushed the benefits of memory scaling for Kaveri and as I’ve already alluded to above these benefits are primarily realised by applications and processes than use the GPU. So this memory scaling article will be focusing largely on the gains in GPU related performance, though we will consider CPU performance and power consumption as well.

AMD’s own internal figures show promising results. We should expect to see the most performance gains from 2133MHz memory but 2400MHz also offers additional performance, this is because with much computer hardware there is a diminishing return on increasing clock speeds and this is particularly the case with memory. Our testing will be examining the differences in performance in transitioning from 1866 to 2133 to 2400MHz memory on the Kaveri flagship part – the A10-7850K. From the perspective of Kaveri there is a requirement to consider memory more carefully than we would do on most systems where a discrete GPU and high-end CPU are both relatively unaffected by memory speed. I think it is worth considering the optimal memory speed pairings in terms of cost but also the type of user buying each APU. In my opinion I’d expect to see the cheapest A8-7600 APU paired off with 1600 or 1866MHz DDR3, the A10-7700K with 1866 or 2133 DDR3 and the A10-7850K with 2133 or 2400MHz. This is purely on the basis that if you’re buying a more affordable APU you’re unlikely to spend a lot on RAM, and if you’re buying the premium A10-7850K APU you’re unlikely to “cheap out” on low frequency DDR3 when spending a little more on faster RAM can make such a large difference.