Memonex Top Series PC3 10666 2x2GB Review
Reviewed by: ccokeman
Reviewed on: May 16, 2010
Many of us got into overclocking to get a little more performance for our rig of choice. Getting the right memory for your system and needs has always been a fine balancing act between cost and performance. You can get the really high end stuff for a guaranteed level of performance or you can take your chances a few steps down the ladder and shoot for the heavens by overclocking. The latter option is the way the majority of enthusiasts work - buy low and shoot high! Along that vein, we have the latest modules from Memonex, a company out of Taiwan, that is offering its TOP series modules to the masses. This set of modules is rated for operation at 1333MHz with a CAS latency of 8, at a low 1.5 volts, though not as low as some modules lately that run at 1.35v. I'm curious to see how this set of modules will fare against its contemporaries.
The packaging that hold the Memonex TOP modules is your standard clear plastic clamshell that holds the modules out front for a clear display of what you are purchasing. The graphic on the documentation is brightly colored to draw your attention to it when sitting on the shelf. Information on the front of the package includes the brand name and shows these modules to be part of Memonex's DDR3 TOP line. The rear view talks about the lifetime warranty, technical support, quality, and performance. One overriding theme seen on both the front and rear is that the TOP series is the "Fastest and Most Reliable Memory in the Market". I think I will have to put that to the test.
When you get the modules out of the blister pack, they do look pretty stunning with the black aluminum heatspreader adorned with a raised X on each side that serves two purposes - to help identify what series these modules are part of and to promote better cooling through increased surface area for heat dissipation. This set of TOP Series modules are rated to run at 1333MHz (667MHz) with timings of 8-9-9-15 and a JEDEC standard voltage of 1.5 volts for these DDR3 modules.
Let's see if the Memonex DDR3 TOP Series modules will live up to the hype as the fastest modules in the market.
Information courtesy of Memonex @http://www.memonex.com/RAM.asp
To get the most out of these new Memonex TOP Series modules, they will be put through a series of benchmarks designed to see how well they perform under load. With the set having lower power requirements, I am curious as to how well they will stand up among other sets designed for raw speed. They will be compared to other sets of memory designed for the Intel Socket LGA 1156 platform. The CPU is run at a clock speed of 200 x 16 on the Patriot modules, while the balance of the modules are run with the CPU at 160 x 20 for the 1600MHz rated kits and 133x20 for the 1333MHz rated modules using a memory multiplier of 10 to keep the modules at their rated 1333MHz, 1600MHz and 2000MHz speeds. For the overclocking test, I will use a combination of voltages and timing increases, while increasing the base clock on the CPU, to increase the clock speed of the modules to see if they are capable of reaching higher speeds to deliver additional performance.
- CPU: Intel Core i5 750
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus III Formula
- Memory: Memonex TOP Series PC3 12800 2x2GB
- Video Card: ASUS ENGTX260 MATRIX
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800 watt Modular Power Supply
- Hard Drive: Seagate 1 TB 7200.11 SATA
- Optical Drive: Asus DVD-R
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit SP1
- Comparison Module #1: Mushkin Blackline 996782 PC3-12800
- Comparison Module #2: Kingston HyperX
- Comparison Module #3: Corsair Dominator
- Comparison Module #4: Patriot Viper II Sector 5
- Comparison Module #5: OCZ Intel XMP
- Comparison Module #6: Geil Black Dragon 2x2GB DDR3 1600MHz
- Comparison Module #7: G.Skill ECO series
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 i5 750 166x20
- Memory: Memonex TOP Series 1660MHz 9-10-9-27 1.66V
The Memonex TOP modules are a set of 1333MHz modules rated to run at latencies of 8-9-9-18 using 1.5 volts. The lower voltage specification gave me some hope of reaching the higher clock speeds than the G.Skill Eco modules did, but the Memonex modules did not want to play with the big dogs on the top end and topped out at 1660MHz. Increasing the vdimm and ancillary voltages higher or lower coupled with additional loosening of the secondary timings failed to yield any more clock speed. I could boot into Windows at up to 1700MHz, but in no way was it stable for anything but a super Pi run. While just over 1600MHz seems like a poor increase, if you put the amount of the increase into perspective, you get a 327MHz (163MHz) bump in clock speed for your efforts, which is really nothing to sneeze at - I have had modules give up less headroom and cost more. On a percentage basis, this increase in clock speed is a 25% increase that shows up as a 20+% increase in the memory bandwidth scores in Sandra, as you'll see later on.
The benchmarks used in this review include the following:
- CPU-Z Version 1.54
- Windows Task Manager
- PCMark Vantage
- SiSoft Sandra 2009
- Left 4 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.
SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP2: In this program, I will be running the following benchmarks: Cache and Memory, Memory Bandwidth, and Memory Latency. Higher is better in all tests, except for Memory Latency, where lower is better.
As the lowest speed rated memory of the bunch, the Memonex TOP modules show the lowest performance scores. At the maximum overclock of 1660MHz (830MHz actual), the modules perform on par with the rest of the 1600MHz rated modules. The closest comparison would be the Black Dragon Modules from Geil because of the rated timings.
Left 4 Dead is a first-person shooter 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. Your goal is to make it to a rescue point, all 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 zombies. These zombies are quick and work with pack mentality. You have but one job; survival!
- Anti-Aliasing: x0
- Anisotropic Filtering: x2
- Game Settings: High
- VSync: Off
The slower TOP Series modules delivered slightly less performance across the board in this gaming test. This is not surprising since the clock speed of the modules is a mere 1333MHz CAS 8.
Overall, the Memonex modules gave the lowest scores of the group at the default 1333MHz clock speeds it is rated for. This, you have to expect. When the clock speeds are moved up to those of the comparison modules, the TOP series modules respond with performance that is similar across the board. The gaming test showed that it still falls slightly behind the the other modules, but at 150+FPS, will that small difference matter? I think not. These modules are rated for operation at 1333MHz using 1.5 volts. The low voltage had me hoping for some massive clocks or at least running tighter timings than the stock 8-8-8-15 timings, but CAS 8 was it. Increased voltage or loosening the sub timings did not get me any tighter than CAS 8 at 1333MHz. While that was a disappointment, the modules did have some decent headroom for overclocking and reached 1660MHz with 1.65 volts. This 327MHz increase amounts to an almost 25% bump in clock speed that shows up as about a 20% hike in synthetic benchmark scores. That is a solid increase from any set of modules.
The modules have a unique look that separates them from the crowd. The raised letter X offers increased surface area for cooling to keep the TOP modules cool even when running at 1.5 volts. At the time of this article, I could not find these modules for sale in the US, so availability of this set of modules stateside is a problem. That being said, the pricing on these modules should be comparable to other modules in its class. The Memonex TOP modules offer solid performance and good looks with a low voltage requirement. As long as pricing is low, this set of modules should offer some value and allow you to get to a 200 bclock on a core series Intel processor.
- Low voltage operation
- Look good
- Solid at rated speeds and voltages
- Overclocking headroom
- Cannot tighten timings at rated speeds