Crucial PC3 10600 3x2GB Tri Channel Kit Review
Reviewed by: ccokeman
Reviewed on: February 10, 2009
With the release of the Intel Core i7 Procesors and the associated X58 chipset motherboards, there is a new specification for the DDR3 memory that is used in this platform. This has more to do with the maximum voltage that can be used on the memory/memory controller to prevent damage to the processor. The specification lists the maximum voltage as 1.65 volts. This is a far cry from the 2.0 to 2.2 volts used on some of the previous high performance DDR3 memory kits used to deliver the timings and clock speeds enthusiasts wanted. So it seems we are in a new era of memory voltages coupled with the migration to tri channel memory kits that take advantage of the Core i7's onboard memory controller offering up increased performance and extreme memory bandwidth numbers.
Having already looked at a few memory offerings and having seen how the increase from 3GB to 6GB of memory offers an increase in performance, I will be taking a look at a Tri channel kit from Crucial that, based on looks alone, does not belong in the performance arena. This kit part number CT3KIT25664BA1339 is rated for use at 1333MHz with latencies of 9-9-9-28 at a low 1.5 volts. Let's see just what this kit has to offer in the way of performance for the modest price it is offered for.
This 6GB set of memory is sent in its standard retail packaging that includes the modules in three sealed blister packs with the labeled wrap used to hold the three packages together. The front of the wrap list the Crucial brand name and identifies this as a Tri-Channel kit. The rear talks about the benefits of using identical modules in a kit.
The part umber for these modules is Crucial part number CT3KIT25664BA1339. This part number is for a Tri-Channel kit of memory rated at CAS latency of 9 at 1333MHz using 1.5 volts. Three modules are included and each features Micron D9JNM chips modules that are known clockers when the voltage is applied. For this set though, voltage is specified much lower than the 1.9 to 2.1 it takes on the Core 2 setups.
Let's see how these modules from Crucial stack up against some of the made-for-enthusiasts products on the market.
240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM
6GB (3 x 2GB)
DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600 )
Limited Lifetime Warranty
All information courtesy of Crucail@http://www.crucial.com/store/partspecs.aspx?IMODULE=CT3KIT25664BA1339
When it comes time to purchase your new memory modules, most people look to review sites to get a good idea on the performance capabilities of the memory they want to buy. Why, you ask? So that they don't have to go through the endless buy it and return or sell it routine to find the set of their dreams. Hey, we do it for you! How? By testing the memory with a series of benchmarks that show some of the capabilities of the system memory. Synthetic benchmarks as well as real gameplay are used to show the capabilities. Also, there are comparisons to other performance modules, just so that this is not a one-sided affair. That just would not do, and offers up only the knowledge of what the featured product can do.
- CPU:Intel Core I7 Extreme 965 133x24
- Motherboard:Asus P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition
- Memory: Crucial PC3 10600 3x2GB 1333MHz 7-7-7-20
- Video Card(s): Nvidia GTX 260-216
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800watt Modular Power supply
- Hard Drive: Seagate 1 TB 7200.11 SATA
- Opticals:Asus DVD-R
- O/S: Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit SP1
- Comparison Module #1: Mushkin HP3 12800 7-7-7-20 3x2GB
- Comparison Module #2: Patriot Viper Series DDR3-10666 3x2 GB 9-9-9-24
CPU-Z: This application shows us the settings that we have chosen in the BIOS. Items shown in this application include CPU speed and bus settings, motherboard manufacturer, BIOS revisions, memory timings, and SPD chip information.
Task Manager: We use this utility to show physical memory, kernel memory, page file, and processor usage.
- Processor: Intel Core i7 Extreme 965 178x21
- Memory: Crucial PC3 10600 10-10-10-28 894 MHz 1.68 volts
As delivered from Crucial, the latencies on this set of modules are 9-9-9 at 1333MHz. This, of course, they will do at 1.5 volts. Surprisingly, they do 7-7-7-20 at 1333MHz at 1.58 volts as well. Running at 7-7-7 was nice at the bottom end but the modules didn't get too much further without big volts until the CAS latency was increased to 8. I bumped the voltage up to 1.65 and started the march to a higher speed and was able to pull off 8-8-8 at 800MHz, this with still less than 1.7 volts. Getting to the 1600MHz (800MHz) level was not something I was expecting from a $115 set of memory. Figuring they had some more in them, I kept pushing up the CAS latency without any more voltage and finally reached 894MHz at 10-10-10-28. Pretty decent for a non performance based set of memory. No fancy heatspreader, LEDs or naming. These just rocked.
The benchmarks used in this review include the following:
- CPU-Z Version 1.49
- Windows Task Manager
- PCMark Vantage
- SiSoft Sandra 2009
- Left For Dead
PCMark Vantage: With this benchmark I will be running the system suite, as well as the memory test suite. The measurement for the system suite will be the total score. The measurement for memory performance is the total memory score. A comparison will be made of the performance at DDR3 1333 for a comparison point, and the highest achievable speed for the Crucial Tri channel kit.
SiSoftware Sandra XII: In this program I will be running the following benchmarks: Cache and Memory, Memory Bandwidth and Memory Latency. All benchmarks will be at default timings. Higher is better in all tests, except for Memory Latency, where lower is better.
In the PCMark Vantage testing, the 6GB set of modules from Crucial finished with the lowest total score but the second best memory score. The Sandra 2009 testing put the Crucial modules performance-wise between the Patriot Viper series and the Mushkin modules in all four tests. When the modules were maxed out with 10-10-10-28 timings the performance did not drop off as was expected.
Left For Dead is a new release from Valve that leaves you as part of a group of survivors in a world where an infection has rapidly turned the populace into a zombie horde. You goal is to make it to a rescue point, all the while fighting what seems like overwhelming odds. Along the way there are safe houses where you can replenish your weapons and health. The movie 'I Am Legend' comes to mind to set the stage for this game. But unlike the movie, there are four characters and not just a lone gun and his faithful companion. The horde is not at all like the typical slow walking, foot shuffling zombie. These zombies are quick and work with the pack mentality. Your job: survival!
- 0x AA
- 2x AF
- All other settings High
- Vsync disabled
Higher is Better
The Crucial modules provided an increase in performance at the 1024x768 and 1680x1050. The performance differential between the sets of modules is not something that would bee seen or "felt" in game. There are slight differences that are measurable and that is a point of difference.
I remember running out to try and find a set of value RAM years back that had a certain set of Hynix chips in them just because of the performance and overclocking potential that they delivered. I found them and was overjoyed with the performance of what was supposedly "Value Ram." After seeing what this set of modules could do without the fancy heatspreaders, name or LEDs to bring attention to the modules, I kind of got that same feeling when looking at these modules that I had that few years back. They don't need the flash to do what they are supposed to do. The modules perform well at both the stock 9-9-9 latencies as well as delivering increased performance when run at 7-7-7. Performance-wise they fell in the middle of the three sets of modules I tested, the other two sets being enthusiast or high performance kits. In the game testing the Crucial modules pulled out wins in two out of the four resolutions tested. Normally you dont see non-performance kits overclock well at all. With the "Value Ram" look I was not expecting much at all. Well, with this set that expectation took an abrupt turn right out the window with a huge increase in clock speed from 667MHz to 894MHz, a 227MHz increase to be exact. That is an over 30% increase in clock speed from this set of modules.
That kind of increase opens performance potential doors for a rock bottom price that just can't be beat at this point. This set of modules offers great performance at the stock latencies and offers a tremendous upside with the ability to run tighter than stock latencies all the way up past 1600MHz for a nice performance increase, all at a price that won't break the budget. Six gigabytes of memory that runs with the performance big dogs for $115 at Crucial's online store. How can you go wrong? I can't see how.
- Lifetime limited warranty