Market Positioning

Despite the price and the market for this memory kit, G.Skill still has price competitive challengers. At the time of writing, here was the state of Newegg, starting with the 2600+ 4x4GB kits, then the 2600+ 2x4GB kits, and finally the 4x4 GB kits in the same price range of the kit being tested today.

$600: Corsair Dominator DDR3-2800 11-14-14 4x4GB Kit
$500: Corsair Dominator DDR3-2666 12-14-14 4x4GB Kit
$360: Corsair Dominator DDR3-2666 10-12-12 4x4GB Kit
$360: Corsair Dominator DDR3-2600 10-12-12 4x4GB Kit

$600: G.Skill TridentX DDR3-2800 11-13-13 2x4GB Kit
$270: Avexir Core DDR3-2800 12-14-14 2x4GB Kit
$180: Kingston HyperX Predator DDR3-2666 11-13-13 2x4GB Kit
$170: G.Skill TridentX DDR3-2666 11-13-13 2x4GB Kit
$168: Team DDR3-2600 10-12-12 2x4GB Kit
$165: G.Skill TridentX DDR3-2600 10-12-12 2x4GB Kit
$160: Corsair Dominator DDR3-2666 11-13-13 2x4GB Kit

$180: Team Vulcan DDR3-2400 10-11-11 4x4GB Kit
$170: Corsair Vengeance DDR3-2133 9-11-10 4x4GB Kit
$170: Team DDR3-2400 11-11-11 4x4 GB Kit
$155: G.Skill TridentX DDR3-2400 10-11-11 2x8 GB Kit
$150: Kingston HyperX DDR3-2400 11-13-13 4x4GB Kit
$150: Corsair DDR3-2400 10-12-12 4x4GB Kit

As we can see, the more you ramp up the MHz numbers, the price of the kit rises exponentially at this end of the market.  There are lots of crazy numbers in that list, for minute increases in daily performance.  In the 2x4 GB space at that price range, the Corsair Dominator package at $160 seems to offer the same speed but at a cheaper price (overclocking not compared).  Going down to the 4x4 GB range and we see a set of 2400 C10/C11 modules offering almost the same performance and double the amount of memory at the same price.

A quick look at all the 2x4 GB kits available on Newegg gives the following table:

  2x4 GB Memory Kits
  1600 1866 2000 2133 2400 2600 2666 2800
CL 7 $73 Corsair
$70 G.Skill
$70 Mushkin
$65 Mushkin
CL 8 $60 Crucial
$55 Corsair
$55 G.Skill
$55 Crucial
$55 Mushkin
$53 G.Skill
$53 Crucial
$52 Mushkin
$52 Corsair
$75 G.Skill            
CL 9 $86 Corsair
$48 G.Skill**
$47 Kingston
$47 Corsair**
$46 Avexir
$45 G.Skill**
$45 Kingston
$45 Avexir**
$44 Patriot**
$43 Kingston**
$42 Corsair
$42 Kingston
$42 Mushkin**
$41 Corsair
$41 Kingston
$41 Patriot
and below
$90 Corsair
$75 Corsair
$60 Mushkin
$60 Avexir
$55 G.Skill
$55 Kingston
$55 Crucial
$55 Mushkin
$53 Crucial
$53 Kingston
$52 Corsair
$52 PNY
$50 Corsair
$50 G.Skill
$50 Kingston
$50 Patriot
$50 Crucial
$50 Team
$49 Corsair
$49 G.Skill
$48 GeIL
$47 Patriot
$46 Kingston
$44 Corsair
$75 Corsair
$68 Mushkin
$65 Avexir
$60 Corsair
$60 Mushkin
$130 Corsair
$120 Corsair
$110 Corsair
$70 Corsair
$70 Avexir
$65 Mushkin
$64 G.Skill
$62 Team
$61 G.Skill
$60 G.Skill
$60 Mushkin
CL 10       $85 PNY
$60 Mushkin
$56 Team
$100 Avexir
$85 Mushkin
$82 Team
$77 Corsair
$75 G.Skill
$72 G.Skill
$70 G.Skill
$168 Team
$165 G.Skill
CL 11 $45 Samsung $49 Kingston*   $58 Corsair
$57 Patriot
$56 Corsair
$55 Team
$50 G.Skill
$50 Kingston
$50 Patriot
$50 Team
$50 GeIL
$103 G.Skill
$95 Team
$77 Patriot
$75 GeIL
$60 Kingston
  $180 Kingston
$170 G.Skill
$160 Corsair
$160 Avexir
$600 G.Skill
CL 12               $270 Avexir
* Plug and Play
** Low Voltage

Test Bed

Test Bed
Processor i7-3770K @ 4.4 GHz
4 Cores / 8 Threads
Motherboard ASUS P8Z77-V Premium
Memory G.Skill 1333 MHz 9-9-9-24 1.5V 4x4GB Kit
G.Skill 1600 MHz 9-9-9-24 1.5V 4x4GB Kit
G.Skill 1866 MHz 9-10-9-28 1.5V 4x4GB Kit
GeIL 2400 MHz 11-12-12-30 1.65V 2x8GB Kit
G.Skill 2133 MHz 9-11-10-28 1.65V 4x4GB Kit
G.Skill 2400 MHz 10-12-12-31 1.65V 4x4GB Kit
G.Skill 2666 MHz 11-13-13-35 1.65V 2x4GB Kit
CPU Cooler Intel Stock Cooler
Graphics Cards Intel HD4000
Power Supply Rosewill SilentNight 500W Platinum
Storage OCZ Vertex3 240GB
SATA 6Gbps to USB 3.0 Thermaltake BlacX 5G Docking Station
Thunderbolt Device Lacie Little Big Disk 240GB
Test Bench Coolermaster Test Bed
Operating System Windows 7 x64 Ultimate

Many thanks to...

We must thank the following companies for kindly donating hardware for our test bed:

OCZ for donating the USB testing SSD
ASUS for donating the IO testing kit
ECS for donating NVIDIA GPUs
Rosewill for donating the Power Supply

ASUS MemTweakIt

With our overview of the ASUS Republic of Gamers range of products, one piece of software caught my eye while I was testing.  The ASUS MemTweakIt allows for almost complete control of the memory subtimings while in the OS, such that users can optimize their settings for memory reads, memory writes, or for pushing the boundaries.  The upshot of this software in our context is that it takes all the sub-timings and settings and condenses them into a score.  As the memory kits we test contain XMP profiles, these profiles determine a large majority of the sub-timings on the kit and how aggressive a memory manufacturer is.  We should see this represented in our MemTweakIt score.

As we do not know the formula by which ASUS calculates this value, it has to be taken with a pinch of salt.  It could be weighted in favor of one of the settings versus the other.  Normally I would not put such an non-descript benchmark as part of our testing suite, but the MemTweakIt software does give us one descriptor – it gives us a theoretical rate of improvement across the range of kits we test, and allows us to order them in the way they should perform.  With this being said, the results for our kits are as follows:

ASUS MemTweakIt

Percentage Increase Over DDR3-1333

Compared to our previous kits tested, we were under no illusion that a 2666C11 kit would take top spot.  But what this also means is that MemTweakIt does not differentiate between one memory stick per channel or two – it should however differentiate between single and dual channel orientations.  Note that according to the scores, we have ~20% increase in MemTweakIt score over a 4x4GB 1333 C9 kit for a whopping 127% increase in price (as well as half the capacity).

Overview, Specifications and Visual Inspection Gaming Tests: Metro 2033, Civilization V, Dirt 3
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  • Samus - Sunday, October 28, 2012 - link

    ditto, they're ridiculous. older g.skill memory (2008-2011) had a clean, effective design, this is pretty childish.
  • primonatron - Sunday, October 28, 2012 - link

    Why keep posting photos of RAM with heat spreaders not fitting on the mini-ITX board in reviews? The board is obviously not designed to accomodate them, and to keep posting the pictures just looks like the reviewer is stupid and hasn't learnt that yet. It even says under the photos the review is on an ASUS P8Z77-V Premium. A proper full size ATX, is what the companies would expect buyers to be using.
  • just4U - Sunday, October 28, 2012 - link

    It gives the user an idea (perhaps?) of how it will fit in their own setup if their using a large cooler. It sort of does need to be mentioned (almost as a disclaimer) for any buyers looking at ram when their system is in need of something with heatsinks of a lower profile.
  • JeauxBleaux - Sunday, October 28, 2012 - link

    and both have wasted vast amounts of page space and my time showing memory stick profiles that won't fit on a motherboard that was never intended to carry those sticks in the first place. Memory sticks may or may not have a tall profile due to their heatsink(s) but may also have fan kits mounted on them in the absence of huge heatsinks.

    What is the point of that? The author's choice of motherboard and massive cooling tower obviously preclude the use of most high performance memory w/heatsinks and/or fan kits and would certainly lead me to believe that the author has little experience in thoughtfully putting together a "system" in which all components play well together.

    So, while I appreciate the benchmarks the author displays and the consideration that has gone in to the testing of these memory sticks, a more appropriate representation of the ill fit of these particular memory sticks would be a simple one-liner and maybe ONE picture of what NOT to try to mount them in. Because, seriously, it makes the author look like he/she is simply trying to make the maufacturer look and only succeeding in making himself/herself look ignorant.
  • just4U - Sunday, October 28, 2012 - link

    It doesn't matter if it was meant for a low end setup or now.. there are alot of higher end boards that won't allow for that clearance either when paired with certain coolers.
  • bunnyfubbles - Sunday, October 28, 2012 - link

    part me wishes that faster memory could actually make a difference in real world performance, the other part is thankful I need no more than the low profile Samsung 30nm green stuff :)
  • GhostClocking3 - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    If you're willing to spend the money for better RAM you should easily be able to afford to go water to make it fit. That ultimately led me to have to switch since air cooler had to get larger to to cool more effectively.

    I don't blame anandtech for showing the RAM fitting, that is probably the most frequently asked question ever. Does it fit, blah, blah, blah.
  • Tchamber - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    So if so many of these kits have clearance issues, and don't generate a lot of heat, why are the spreaders so tall? So they can charge more? Or do the aesthetics really sell?
  • Guspaz - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    This review (and the one that preceded it) really just go to illustrate how pointless all this is. Clockspeed, latency, the differences in these don't translate to any significant difference in real-world performance. There's not much point, it would seem, in buying anything beyond something cheap and reliable (KVR if you don't want heatsinks, basic HyperX if you do). Any extra money spent on top of that would have been far better spent on a faster CPU.

    So, if you've got 16GB of RAM, you can pay $70 for KVR, or $80 for HyperX... Or you can pay $340 for the RAM reviewed here

    And you know what? There's no real performance difference in real-world applications. Oh, sure, you see a percentage point or two here and there, but you know what will give you a much bigger boost for your extra $260? Getting a faster CPU or GPU. Those will make a FAR bigger difference than the RAM.
  • Guspaz - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    I think the point of my comment above is "Please stop reviewing useless memory kits and review something that actually matters."

    Reviewing these things is a waste of everybody's time, both yours and ours.

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