Market Positioning

Being at the top end of the spectrum, a 2x8 GB 2800 MHz C12 memory kit actually does not have a lot of competition.  For the round sum of $646 however, the ADATA kit (as well as the others) have a hard time being taken seriously when cheaper kits offer similar performance.  Here is a rundown of 2x8 GB 2666MHz+ kits and pricing as of 12/12:

$205: G.Skill TridentX 2x8 GB 2666 C12
$230: Team Xtreem 2x8 GB 2666 C11
$270: G.Skill TridentX 2x8GB 2666 C11
$320: Corsair Dominator Platinum 2x8GB 2666 C11
$320: Corsair Dominator Platinum 2x8GB 2666 C12
$600: G.Skill TridentX 2x8GB 2800 C12
$646: ADATA XPG V2 2x8GB 2800 C12
$730: Corsair Vengeance Pro 2x8GB 2800 C12
$750: G.Skill TridentX 2x8GB 2933 C12

If we move to the 4x4 GB kits:

$211: Avexir Core ASUS Gold 4x4 GB 2666 C11 1.5V
$211: Avexir Core MSI Gaming 4x4 GB 2666 C11
$260: Mushkin Enhanced Stealth 4x4GB 2666 C12
$270: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 4x4GB 2666 C12
$270: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline Radioactive 4x4GB 2666 C12
$290: G.Skill RipjawsZ 4x4GB 2666 C11
$300: Avexir Core MSI OC 4x4GB 2666 C11
$300: G.Skill TridentX 4x4GB 2666 C11
$500: Mushkin Enhanced Stealth 4x4GB 2800 C12
$530: Mushkin Enhanced Stealth Red 4x4GB 2800 C12
$540: Avexir Core Blue 4x4GB 2800 C12
$580: G.Skill TridentX 4x4GB 2800 C11
$646: ADATA XPG V2 2x8GB 2800 C12
$720: G.Skill TridentX 4x4GB 2933 C12
$735: Corsair Vengeance Pro 4x4GB 2933 C12
$740: G.Skill RipjawsZ 4x4GB 2933 C12
$1400: G.Skill TridentX 4x4GB 3000 C12

It becomes painfully obvious that there is a significant price barrier between 2666 MHz and 2800 MHz memory kits: the most expensive 2666 kit is $320, and the cheapest 2800 kit is $500.  That becomes a bitter pill to spend at least $180 for the privilege in a 16GB kit.

A ceiling of ~$650 on memory also offers up these opportunities:

$650: G.Skill RipjawsZ 8x8GB 2133 C11
$650: G.Skill RipjawsZ 8x8GB 1866 C10
$620: Corsair XMS 8x8GB 1333 C9
$610: Corsair XMS 8x8GB 1600 C11
$600: G.Skill RipjawsZ 8x8GB 1600 C10
$600: Corsair Vengeance Pro 4x8GB 2666 C11
$560: Corsair Dominator Platinum 4x8GB 2400 C10
$550: G.Skill TridentX 4x8GB 2666 C11
$550: G.Skill TridentX 2x4GB 3000 C12
$520: Avexir Core 2x4GB 3000 C12

So, 2x8 GB 2800 C12 or 4x8GB of 2666 C11, for the same price or cheaper?  This pricing is not endemic by factor of ADATA, it is prevalent throughout memory vendors and thus is leads to the obvious conclusion in the absence of super awesome benchmark results.

Test Bed

Processor Intel Core i7-4770K Retail @ 4.0 GHz
4 Cores, 8 Threads, 3.5 GHz (3.9 GHz Turbo)
Motherboards ASRock Z87 OC Formula/AC
Cooling Corsair H80i
Thermalright TRUE Copper
Power Supply Corsair AX1200i Platinum PSU
Memory ADATA XPG V2 DDR3-2400 C11-13-13 1.65V 2x8 GB
Patriot Viper III DDR3-2400 C10-12-12 1.65V 2x4 GB
ADATA XPG V1.0 DDR3L-1600 C9-11-9 1.35V 2x8 GB
Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR3-2400 C10-12-12 1.65V 2x8 GB
ADATA XPG V2 DDR3-2800 C12-14-14 1.65V 2x8 GB
Memory Settings XMP
Discrete Video Cards AMD HD5970
AMD HD5870
Video Drivers Catalyst 13.6
Hard Drive OCZ Vertex 3 256GB
Optical Drive LG GH22NS50
Case Open Test Bed
Operating System Windows 7 64-bit
USB 3 Testing OCZ Vertex 3 240GB with SATA->USB Adaptor

Many thanks to...

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

Thank you to OCZ for providing us with 1250W Gold Power Supplies.
Thank you to Corsair for providing us with an AX1200i PSU, and Corsair H80i CLC
Thank you to ASUS for providing us with the AMD GPUs and some IO Testing kit.
Thank you to ECS for providing us with the NVIDIA GPUs.
Thank you to Rosewill for providing us with the 500W Platinum Power Supply for mITX testing, BlackHawk Ultra, and 1600W Hercules PSU for extreme dual CPU + quad GPU testing, and RK-9100 keyboards.
Thank you to ASRock for providing us with the 802.11ac wireless router for testing.

‘Performance Index’

In our Haswell memory overview, I introduced a new concept of ‘Performance Index’ as a quick way to determine where a kit of various speed and command rate would sit relative to others where it may not be so obvious.  As a general interpretation of performance in that review, the performance index (PI) worked well, showing that memory kits with a higher PI performed better than those that a lower PI.  There were a few circumstances where performance was MHz or CL dominated, but the PI held strong for kit comparisons.

The PI calculation and ‘rules’ are fairly simple:

  • Performance Index = MHz divided by CL
  • Assuming the same kit size and installation location are the same, the memory kit with the higher PI will be faster
  • Memory kits similar in PI should be ranked by MHz
  • Any kit 1600 MHz or less is usually bad news.

That final point comes about due to the law of diminishing returns – in several benchmarks in our Haswell memory overview performed very poorly (20% worse or more) with the low end MHz kits.  In that overview, we suggested that an 1866 C9 or 2133 C10 might be the minimum suggestion; whereas 2400 C10 covers the sweet spot should any situation demand good memory.

With this being said, the results for our kits are as follows:

Performance Index

The 2800 C12 kit starts high up our table, but not the best Performance Index.  Given the recommendation list above, 233 is close enough to 240 to be comparable.

ADATA XPG V2: 2x8 GB at DDR3-2800 C12 1.65V Overview, Specifications and Visual Inspection IGP Gaming
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  • YuLeven - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    Thanks for the review.

    But with all due respect to this site that makes one of the best hardware coverage in English, I'm kind missing interesting stories lately. The late 2013 MacBook Pro, some Windows tablets, GPUs, CPUs, operate systems... anything.

    As fat as real world performance is concerned, RAM impact is so negligible for the vast majority of users that this sort of article ends kinda of... boring.

    Yet again, thank you for the article. I meant no offence in any way!
  • SeeManRun - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    Definitely agree with this one...
  • Zak - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    I have to agree that these memory articles are uninteresting and not particularly useful. As others pointed out -- and these articles confirm -- the real life difference between decent DDR1600 and super-duper ultra-high-end RAM are virtually non-existent. One article summarizing that would be more than enough.
  • jeffrey - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    Ian Cutress,
    Hello again! This is another article stating 1866/C9 being the minimum for Haswell and to avoid 1600 or less. Even going so far as to say, "Any kit 1600 MHz or less is usually bad news."

    However, this ignores 1600/C8 modules. The 1600/C8 score a 200 on your Performance Index at stock timings. This is at your recommended 200 level. There are several kits of 2x4 GB 1600/C8 on Newegg that have memory profiles of 8-8-8-24 at 1.5v. I'll repeat, these 1600 8-8-8-24 1.5v kits score 200 on the Performance Index and hit the current memory sweet spot for most people of 2x4 GB. This scores very close to the 1866/C9 kits which have a Performance Index score of 207.

    The reason I bring this up is that the 1600 8-8-8-24 kits are often less expensive than the 1866/C9 kits and offer essentially all of the performance.

    I enjoy reading your articles and appreciate how active you have been lately!
  • The_Assimilator - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    This is why I am sticking with my DDR3-1600/CL7 memory until DDR4 hits mainstream. PI = 228 which is faster than 1866/CL9.
  • jeffrey - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    Ian, any comment on 1600/C7 or 1600/C8?
  • Gigaplex - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    "In this graph the x-axis is the Performance Index of the DRAM, and thus a PI of 200 can be 1600 C8 or 2400 C12."

    This article does not ignore 1600/C8 modules.
  • Popskalius - Sunday, February 23, 2014 - link

    hi, i'm new to ddr3 lol. Re: haswell & 1600/C8, anandtech's intel gaming rig pairs an i5 with 1600/C9. Is this bc it's the cheapest build so not worth the price/performance, or is there really something bad about mixing haswell with anything slower than 1600/c8?
    thanks a bunch
  • Senti - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    And another incompetent article from Ian... Didn't even bother to read comments to the previous one to correct errors...

    Oh, and my IP (range?) is still blacklisted by stupid spam filter. Of course, I probably not love my job enough...
  • AncientWisdom - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    Lol maybe it should spam filter depending on the job happiness scale, seems legit.

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