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Review: Intel Sandy Bridge DDR3 memory shootout: Corsair vs. Crucial vs. G.Skill vs. Kingston

by Parm Mann on 4 April 2011, 09:00 4.0

Tags: Crucial Technology (NASDAQ:MU), Kingston, Corsair, G skill

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qa5ej

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Test Methodology and Overclocking

All four of our assorted memory kits are tested using their default XMP profile, the specifications of which are detailed in the below table.

Comparison Memory

  Corsair Vengeance 8GB G.Skill Ripjaws-X 8GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer 4GB Kingston HyperX Genesis 4GB
Model Number CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9 F3-12800CL7D-8GBXH BL2KIT25664ST1608RG KHX2133C9AD3X2K2/4GX
Capacity 8GB (2x4GB) 8GB (2x4GB) 4GB (2x2GB) 4GB (2x2GB)
Speed 1,600MHz DDR3 1,600MHz DDR3 1,600MHz DDR3 2,133MHz DDR3
Timings 9-9-9-24 7-8-7-24 8-8-8-24 9-11-9-27
Voltage 1.50V 1.60V 1.65V 1.65V
Price* £85 £110 £70 £80
Cost per GB* £10.63 £13.75 £17.50 £20.00
*Approximate, correct at time of writing

Test bench

CPU Intel Core i5 2500K (3.3GHz, 6MB L3 cache, quad-core, LGA1155)
Motherboard Intel DP67BG
Storage device Crucial 256GB RealSSD C300 (SATA 6Gbps)
Graphics card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti (1,024MB, ForceWare 266.66)
Power supply Corsair AX750
Operating system Windows 7 Ultimate SP1, 64-bit


AIDA64 v1.60.1300 (download)
SiSoft Sandra 2011.4.17.43 (download)
MaxxMEM2 - PreView v1.91 (download)
HEXUS.PiFast (download)
Cinebench R11.5 (download)
PCMark Vantage v1.0.2.0 (download)
3DMark 11 v1.0.1.0 (download)
Formula 1 2010 (homepage)
Just Cause 2 (homepage)
Power Consumption


Overclocking on Intel's Sandy Bridge platform is a cause of contention among the enthusiast community, and it's clear to see why; overclocking is limited to multiplier-unlocked K-series CPUs, and even then there's little room to manoeuvre on other fronts.

When it comes to memory overclocking, Sandy Bridge offers little-to-no wiggle room for adjusting the system base clock, leaving users one option; increase the memory multiplier.

With that in mind, we're providing a very rough estimate of the overclocking ability of our four memory kits. We start by leveling the playing field by running all four kits with modest 9-9-9-24 latencies at 1.65V, and then go up to 12x, 14x and 16x multipliers to see which modules maintain stability at the increased speeds.

Corsair Vengeance 8GB
Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer 4GB
G.Skill Ripjaws-X 8GB
Kingston HyperX Genesis 4GB

As illustrated by the above table, Corsair's 8GB Vengeance kit wouldn't do 1,866MHz with 9-9-9-24 latencies. It managed 1,600MHz at 8-8-8-24, but to go up to 1,866MHz we had to increase latencies to 9-10-10-24.

No such problems with the other three kits, though, all of which managed to maintain stability at 1,866MHz with 9-9-9-24 latencies. That's the limit, though, as with voltage kept at 1.65V, none of our kits could manage 2,133MHz without sacrificing latency.