P67 Memory Kit Roundup Review

ccokeman - 2010-12-06 18:15:49 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: March 29, 2011
Price: Corsair $129, G.Skill $199, Kingston $99, Patriot $159

Introduction:

Intel's new Sandy Bridge lineup is out after a slight hiccup. With the latest processor, overclocking has changed drastically from what we have done in the past because of the BCLK limitations imposed on the Sandy Bridge processor and subsystems. This means defined speeds with a little bit of overclocking at each memory multiplier for additional speed. The other option to increase memory performance is to tighten up the latencies to get as much advantage as you can at each stop on the multiplier ladder. It's different and that's what makes the trial and error testing fun. What I have today are a group of memory kits designed for use with the Intel P67 platform. These kits range from a rating of 1600MHz up to 2133MHz and include densities from 4GB to 8GB. I will be looking at Corsair's Vengeance series, Kingston's new HyperX Grey Genesis modules, G.Skill's RipJaw X and last but not least, Patriot's Division 2 series modules. Each set of modules has a unique look and heat spreader design. It will be interesting to see how 4GB and 8GB sets perform on this latest platform when the modules are pushed. Let's see what they have to offer.

Closer Look:

To start off this show I will look at the Corsair Vengeance 8GB kit. Why Corsair first you ask ? Well they come first alphabetically! The Vengeance series come in a retail box that shows the modules installed in a system on the front panel with the system compatibility listing on the bottom right showing these modules are at home in both Intel and AMD systems. The capacity of the kit is shown on the bottom and top right hand corners of the box. The back panel shows the modules in the packaging with the SKU and model number of the kit on the bar code tag on the rear panel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pulling the modules out of the box shows of the unique look of the Corsair Vengeance heat spreader that give these modules their name. This design is a departure from the look of the Dominator lineup that is refreshing with its aggressive looks. This set of modules carry part number CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9. This part number shows that I have an 8GB set of modules in a 4 x 2GB configuration that are rated to run at 1600MHz with latencies of 9-9-9-24 using a low 1.5v. As a part designed to work with Intel's P67 platform, these modules come with an X.M.P. profile for easily setting these modules up in the BIOS. Of course these modules come with Corsair's Limited Lifetime warranty.

 

 

The first thing you notice when you pick up this set of modules (besides the looks) is the lack of weight when compared to the Dominator lineup. The Vengeance modules use a much different heat sink design with a two piece stamped aluminum setup. These two sides are held on with thermal tape and keep the heat sinks securely attached. This design is slightly shorter than the standard Dominator equipped modules at 2.07 vs. 2.25 inches tall. The tall design puts the fins in the airstream flowing into the CPU allowing the modules to remain cool when in operation.

 

 

With their good looks, these modules should look right at home in any build. The key is how will they perform with the large memory multiplier spread on the P67 platform.

Closer Look:

The G.Skill Ripjaw X modules are delivered in a plain wrapper with the company logo in the top left corner and a sticker in the top right corner that states this set of modules are specifically designed for use on Intel's LGA 1155 socket Sandy Bridge platform. The side panel contains the information on the contents of the package along with contact and warranty information for the company. Opening the package shows that G.Skill has included one of their Turbulence II series memory coolers in this 2133MHz rated kit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This set of Ripjaws X modules are specifically tailored to the operating characteristics of Intel's P67 Sandy Bridge platform. This set of modules use part number F3-17000CL9D-8GBXLD. This breaks down to a set of DDR3 modules that are designed to run at 2133MHz using latencies of 9-11-9-28 at 1.65v in a 4 x 2GB set of modules running in a dual channel configuration. The modules carry an XMP profile for easy initial setup.

 

 

The modules use a brilliant red aluminum heat sink on the memory that stands out from the crowd. This heat sink is shorter than that offered on the Corsair Vengeance series but still can create some clearance issues with large air cooled CPU heat sinks. This height does help cool the modules down when pushing the clock speeds.

 

 

The Turbulence II fan assembly uses two fans to actively cool the memory modules down during operation. In a chassis with minimal airflow or when the voltage is leaned on, this can pay big dividends for the stability of the modules at such high clock speeds. The fans used are LED fans from Young Lin tech and are 50mm x 10mm in size running from a 12v source.

 

The Ripjaws X modules are easily the flashiest in the group with the bright red heat sinks. Will that flash translate into performance though?

Closer Look:

Kingston's offering in this roundup is their latest set of modules designed for the P67 platform - the HyperX Genesis Special Edition Grey series. These modules come in the standard Kingston blister pack with the tamper proof wrapper. From the front view the modules are visible through the clear shell showing the unique look of the Genesis heat spreader. On the wrapper is the part number, kit contents, bar code and the symbol imploring you not to just throw the modules away when and if you are done with them. The retail packaging has nothing of value on the back side of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once free of the confines of the sales vehicle, the modules can be seen more clearly. The Grey series HyperX modules are designed to work with the latest Intel P67 platform. These modules are part number KHX2133C0AD3X2K2/4GX. Using Kingston's DDR3 decoder shows that these modules are a 4GB kit using 2 x 2GB modules rated to run at 2133MHz with a CAS latency of 9. This operating level is achieved using 1.65v and latencies of 9-11-9-27. This set of modules includes and X.M.P profile for easy BIOS setup.

 

 

The Grey series modules use a new heat sink design called Genesis from Kingston that is similar to the standard HyperX heat sink in many ways. The low profile design makes populating all of the dimm sockets possible using these modules in a system with a large air cooled heat sink for the CPU. That alone is a standout plus for these modules. The heat shield differs from the regular BLU design with the series of holes across the to edge of the heat sink for air to flow through adding a way for the heat under the heat sink to escape, effectively improving the past design.

 

 

The new Genesis design heat sink looks like it should offer more cooling allowing for either higher clock or tighter timings.

Closer Look:

Last but certainly not least, we have come to Patriot's offering. Patriot has been a top player in the memory market for some time now celebrating their 25th year in 2010. The launch of Intel's second generation core processors and P67 chipset equipped boards gave Patriot the opportunity to produce a set of modules tailored to the new CPU's operating characteristics. This series is known as the Division 2 series. The packaging of the Division 2 modules shows the modules on the front with the slogan "Unrivaled Performance" along the bottom edge with the notification that this set of modules are specifically for the Intel 6 series platform. On the back side there is a synopsis of what the Division 2 modules are all about. The modules are housed internally in a blister pack with a product brochure that mirrors the front of the box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Division 2 modules from Patriot are part of the Extreme Performance lineup and are tested and validated on the Intel 6 series platform. The part number for this set of modules is PXD38G1866ELK and equates to an 8GB set of Division 2 modules are rated for operation at PC3 15000 speeds or 1866MHz using latencies of 9-11-9-27 with 1.65v. The modules have an X.M.P. profile that sets these timings and voltage in the BIOS when the X.M.P. option is enabled. Each of these modules is hand tested before it leaves the factory and come with Patriot's lifetime warranty.

 

 

The heat sinks used on this set of modules are the Viper Extreme design and are a refresh of the original Viper AOC (Aluminum on Copper) design. This time taking the best of the Viper 2 series extruded aluminum design and adding a copper core with sleek new look. Under the extruded shell, the copper core is visible to the eye. The modules feel more robust and have some additional heft to them due to the copper/ aluminum design of the heat sink.

 

 

Patriot's modules have not yet failed to impress. The added cooling on the modules should help with longevity and cooler running temperatures.

Specifications:

Corsair Specifications:

Warranty
Lifetime
Size                          
8GB Kit (2 x 4GB)
Performance  Profile         
XMP
Fan Included    
No
Heat Spreader
Vengeance
Memory Configuration
Dual Channel
Memory Type
DDR3
Package - Memory Pin  
240
Package - Memory Format
DIMM
Tested Voltage  
1.5
SPD Voltage
1.5
Speed Rating 
PC3-12800 (1600MHz)
SPD Speed 
1333Mhz
Tested Speed 
1600Mhz
Tested Latency
 9-9-9-24
SPD Latency
 9-9-9-24

 

G.Skill Specifications:

 

Warranty
Lifetime
Size                          
8GB Kit (2 x 4GB)
Performance  Profile         
XMP
Fan Included    
No
Heat Spreader
Ripjaws X
Memory Configuration
Dual Channel
Memory Type
DDR3
Package - Memory Pin  
240
Package - Memory Format
DIMM
Tested Voltage  
1.65
Speed Rating 
PC3-17000 (2133MHz)
Tested Speed 
2133Mhz
Tested Latency
 9-11-9-28  2N

 

Kingston Specifications:

Warranty
Lifetime limited
Size                          
4GB Kit (2 x 2GB)
Performance  Profile         
XMP
Fan Included    
No
Heat Spreader
Genisis
Memory Configuration
Dual Channel
Memory Type
DDR3
Package - Memory Pin  
240
Package - Memory Format
DIMM
Tested Voltage  
1.65
Speed Rating 
PC3-17000 (2133MHz)
Tested Speed 
2133Mhz
Tested Latency
 9-11-9-27

 

Patriot Specifications:

Warranty
Lifetime
Size                          
8GB Kit (2 x 4GB)
Performance  Profile         
XMP
Fan Included    
No
Heat Spreader
Viper Extreme
Memory Configuration
Dual Channel
Memory Type
DDR3
Package - Memory Pin  
240
Package - Memory Format
DIMM
Tested Voltage  
1.65
Speed Rating 
PC3-15000 (1866MHz)
Tested Speed 
1866Mhz
Tested Latency
 9-11-9-27

Features:

Corsair Vengeance:

Kingston HyperX Special Edition Grey:

 

Patriot Division 2:

 

A specific Feature set was not available for the  G.Skill  memory kits.

Testing:

To find out just what kind of performance these kits of memory will deliver, I will be running them through a series of benchmarks to see how they compare. Both 4GB and 8GB kits that range in speed from 1600MHz to 2133MHz will be tested at their native speeds as well as overclocked as far as the test platform and CPU will allow. Overclocking on the Intel P67 series platform is very BCLK limited so most of your speed gains will come from adjusting the memory multiplier and working the timings down to a more respectable level if possible in an effort to improve performance. The test setup used for this evaluation is listed below. Turbo Boost has been disabled to eliminate an uncontrolled clock speed increase to skew the results. The operating system is Windows 7 Pro 64bit with all current patches installed at the time of testing. The Video drivers are the AMD Catalyst 11.2.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Modules:

 

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.

CPU-Z

 

Task Manager: We use this utility to show physical memory, kernel memory, page file, and processor usage.

Task Manager

 

Overclocking:

Corsair Overclocked settings:

Corsair's Vengeance series modules are rated for operation at 1600Mhz with latencies of 9-9-9-24 using a low 1.5v. At 1.5v I was unable to get them to scale up to the next memory multiplier which was 1866MHz. However, at the rated speed, the latencies could be tightened up to 7-8-7-27. To reach the next multiplier step I had to increase the voltage to 1.65 with a bump in the TECD from 9 to 10. Once at this step I increased the BCLK of the 2600K to go further with this set, topping out at 1962MHz DDR. That's a 362MHz or almost 23% bump from the base 1600MHz rated speed. A pretty stout bump in clock speed if you ask me.

 

 

 

G.Skill Overclocked settings:

The G.Skill RipjawsX modules are rated at 2133MHz right out of the box. The first thing I tried was booting into the 2400MHz multiplier. This was met with a black screen and memory error showing on the diagnostic display on the motherboard. A voltage bump to the QPI and DIMMs did not get me there nor did decreasing the latencies. Tightening up the latencies at the 2133MHz level was not a fruitful experience either it seems. Voltages up to 1.7 on the memory and 1.25 on the QPI/VTT were tried in an effort to get there. In the end, I resorted the BCLK overclocking, bumping the BCLK up to 103.5MHz to reach 2204MHz or a 71MHz bump over the rated frequency at the rated latencies.

 

Kingston Overclocked settings:

The Kingston Grey series modules are rated at 2133MHz just like the G.Skill modules but are a 4GB capacity set of modules. The first order of business was to see how tight the timings would go at the rated frequency. With this set of modules I was surprised to see that they were able to run CAS 7 at 2133MHz even though the TRCD would only go as low as 10. This ability gave me hope of reaching 2400MHz but that thought was short lived when I met the same black screen at 2400MHz with a memory error on the diagnostic display on the Max IV. As it ends up, the BCLK was used again at the default multiplier to reach the top clock speed I was able to get from these modules. The BCLK was steadily increased until I reached the BCLK limits of my chip at 105.9 giving me a final memory speed of 2260MHz at the rated 9-11-9-27 latencies. The increase on a percentage basis comes in at 6%. Not too much headroom but everything that could be gained was.

 

 

Patriot Overclocked settings:

The Division 2 modules initially looked like they held the promise of tighter timings and an increase in speed just on looks alone but when I tried to tighten the latencies I just did not get any love from this set of modules. Higher voltages did not help even with the excellent heat spreader design. Flipping modules into different sockets did not help either. This was kind of a surprise since in the past I have had good results on their top tier kits like the Sector 5. Bumping up to the 2133MHz multiplier did not go well either with the familiar by now memory error showing on the display. Bumping the BCLK up was the way to go and netted at total of 86MHz of headroom before the modules would not post. The BCLK increase went to 104.6 from 100 so there was still some room that could not be achieved with 1.3 BCLKs still available.

 

The maximum memory speed for each set of modules when overclocked is a measure of how well the modules ran on this test system. As such, your results may differ in either a positive or negative way based on the capabilities of your hardware. That said, your mileage may vary!

 

The benchmarks used in this review include the following:

Benchmarks:

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

 

Geekbench 2.1 provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks engineered to quickly and accurately measure processor and memory performance. Designed to make benchmarks easy to run and easy to understand, Geekbench takes the guesswork out of producing robust and reliable benchmark results.

   

   

   

 

Super PI Mod 1.5: is a program designed to calculate Pi up to the 32nd millionth digit after the decimal and is used as both a benchmarking utility and simple stress test to check your overclock before moving forward with more rigorous testing. The world records for this benchmark utility are hotly contested.

   

 

In the stock testing the 2133MHz G.Skill and Kingston modules are usually the top performers due to speed alone. When overclocked it comes to speed and the best latencies as to how well the modules perform.

Testing:

SiSoftware Sandra 2011: 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

   

 

In the Sandra testing the Kingston modules have the highest performance in every one of the Sandra Tests run. THe G.Skill modules are second tot he Kingston set in 7 out of 8 tests showing that better latencies have higher performance at stock and overclocked speeds.

Testing:

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a game that brings together two bitter foes, The Joker and Batman. The Joker Has taken over Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. Your task is to rein the Joker back in and restore order. This game makes use of PhysX technology to create a rich environment for you to ply your trade.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

 

In the stock speed testing, the Kingston Modules are at the top of the field except in the 1280 x 1024 testing where the differential is only 1 FPS. The results scale down by memory speeds and timings it seems. In the overclocked testing, the Kingston retains the top performance spot followed in all three resolutions by the Mushkin Redline and Corsair Vengeance.

Conclusion: Corsair Vengeance

Having looked at a set of Corsair's Vengeance series modules earlier this year I had an expectation as to how these modules would perform and how they would overclock. My expectations were in line with how these modules performed so in that sense, this 8GB kit was right where I expected it to be in terms of performance and scaling. In the grand scheme of things, the Corsair Vengeance modules had the highest overhead of any of the four sets of modules tested at close to a 23% increase over the base frequency of 1600MHz. That equates to a 352MHz improvement with just a bump in the voltage and moving the TRCD setting to 10 from 9. This alone offers performance opportunities because of how memory overclocking has to be done on the P67 platform. If overclocking is not part of your vocabulary, the timings on the Vengeance modules can be tightened up to increase the level of performance by reducing latency to an easy to reach 7-8-7. If all of that does not interest you, the fact that these are low voltage modules means that the energy consumption in your system can be reduced by just plugging them in and and setting the memory speed in the motherboard BIOS. Or if that's too much, the XMP setting does it all for you.

The heat spreader design is what visually sets these modules apart from the ever popular Dominator lineup. The Vengeance heat spreader is completely different in that it is made from two pieces of thin aluminum the reach over to form a large fin array over the modules that come in a little shorter than the Dominator design. Based on the default voltage, the Vengeance design is more than capable of dissipating the heat load from the modules. The large fins are right in the airstream feeding the CPU cooler and are effective at keeping the modules cool under load. If you use a large heat sink, then you may run into interference issues when installing the modules. This however is not a problem unique to the Vengeance modules. Priced at $129, this set of memory from Corsair will give you added memory capacity for not a huge outlay of your hard earned cash. The Vengeance series delivers low voltage performance, good looks and Corsair's lifetime warranty.

 

Pros:

Cons:

 

Conclusion G.Skill:

The G.Skill modules are the only ones that come with an added bonus in the Turbulence II cooling system. Not only does it prove functional at keeping your modules cool but it looks good when in operation. The G.Skill RipJawsX were easily the ones with the most flash when you compare the four sets of memory. The brilliant red coloring looked right at home in the Maximus IV Extreme motherboard. Running 8GB of memory at 2133MHz was just as easy it seems as running 4GB. If manually setting the modules up in the BIOS is not your cup of tea, the RipJaws X have XMP support so all you do is enable the XMP profile and you are good to go. When it came to overclocking these modules, I had expected to have some overhead to play with but in reality, this set of modules had the second lowest total overhead at 75MHz. Sure this gave me a speed over 2200MHz which is nothing to sneeze at but I am greedy and was hoping for more based on my past experiences with G.Skill. 2400MHz was not going to happen with this set when I tried boosting them up to the next multiplier. The other part that confounded me was that the timings could not be reduced to increase performance unless I dropped the overclock speed of the modules. This kind of defeats the purpose of having 2133MHz DIMMs though. Even though the modules had a lower overhead they did deliver performance consistently in the top three sets of modules. Pricing wise, this set from G.Skill is the highest priced kit in this comparison at $199 but also is the only one that includes a cooling system. The pricing of modules goes up exponentially it seems based on speed and capacity. While tall, the heat shields are shorter than the ones you get on the Vengeance and Division 2 modules but they are tall enough to create a clearance issue with large air cooled CPU coolers. Again this is not an exclusive problem to the RipJaws X modules as just about anything taller than a standard shield will not fit under the most common air cooled solutions. Performance wise, the G.Skill modules delivered performance numbers that were usually in the top two at stock speeds except in the latency based testing and two gaming resolutions. In reality, these differences won't be felt but will show up as reduced completion times in tasks that are memory sensitive when compared to slower modules. So what's this all add up to? The G.Skill modules deliver performance and look good doing it.

 

Pros:

 

Cons:

 

Conclusion Kingston Grey Series:

The Kingston Genesis Grey series modules are the only 4GB P67 specific kit tested today with the Mushkin Redline being a P55 based kit. Even so, this set of memory from Kingston was easily the fastest and for the most part, the highest performing kit in this roundup! It did not finish at the top in every test but on average, it hands down won the most tests. Memory speeds are seemingly getting faster by the month so 2133MHz is no longer the top of the food chain in many cases but 2133 is still darn fast for the everyday consumer. Let's look at the overclocking on this set of Kingston modules. This set easily ran tighter timings at stock speeds. In fact they ran CAS 7 but unfortunately the TRCD had to stay at 10 but 7-10-7-27 was a walk in the park with the stock voltage. Moving the clock speeds up, I needed to go back to the delivered latencies to reach the 2260MHz maximum speed I reached on these modules. I think at this point, my 2600K is tapped out on BCLK headroom so trying to go further meant a multiplier bump to 2400MHz. Well just like the last two sets, this was not happening so the 2260MHz clock speed maximum is what this set would deliver. Not all sets will have this type of headroom and some may give you more but it really depends on how good the CPU's IMC and BCLK abilities are. If setting up memory in the BIOS is a challenge, the Kingston Grey series Hyper X modules support Intel XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) to allow the end user to set it and forget it. These modules from Kingston use a low profile Genesis heat shield that allows the modules to fit under large CPU cooling solutions, an ability the rest of the comparison modules do not have. Populating all of the DIMM sockets with these Kingston modules is not a problem. The pricing on this 4GB set of modules is currently a tasty 99 bucks making it the lowest cost, highest rated set of modules in this comparison. Buying two of these kits will get you 8GB of memory but coming in as a value at that point makes the G.Skill modules a better value. If 4GB of memory is what you are looking to use in that latest P67 build, the Kingston Genesis Special Edition Grey series modules offer great performance and excellent overclocking in a petite package.

 

Pros:

 

Cons:

 

Conclusion Patriot Division 2:

As part of the Viper Extreme lineup, the Division 2 modules are reminiscent of the Sector 5 modules released last year by Patriot. When it comes to looks, the Division 2 modules have an industrial look with a copper shield under the extruded aluminum shield. Kind of like the original AOC design but enhanced. The copper layer lays across the memory modules and then transfers heat to the aluminum to dissipate into the airstream over the modules. That being said, the tall design is both a help and a hindrance, a help in cooling these modules under extreme conditions and a hindrance when trying to populate all of the DIMM slots on the motherboard. But then again, it's that same issue with al modules that use a tall heat shield. During operation and up to 1.72 volts, the modules were able to shed the thermal load effectively as long as there was sufficient airflow over them. Something that should be easy to achieve. Overclocking this set of modules was not as fruitful as I had hoped. Increasing the memory multiplier showed that 2133MHz was too far of a jump for this set of modules, again this is the case with almost all of these modules in the comparison. The next option was increasing the BCLK to up the memory speed. I was able to reach 1952MHz with a bclock increase to 104.6. This increase being the second lowest in this comparison with a total bump of 86MHz. Tightening the timings up proved just as unfruitful as the modules just did not want to run looser latencies with changes to voltage or sub timings. It looks like in the binning process, the hand tested modules were set to run a very specific set of parameters. With this in mind, setting the XMP profile may be the best way to run these unless you drop the speed to tighten latencies but there are trade offs with any change. Pricing for this Division 2 set of memory is currently $159. The second lowest price out of the 8GB kits tested and pricing seems to follow the speed profile. This set of Patriot memory comes with their Lifetime Warranty in case you have anything go wrong. This Division 2 kit from Patriot does what is supposed to do. It runs the numbers but not much more, comes with a great looking cooling solution and delivers performance indicative of the results that should be expected from 1866MHz memory.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: