The Bottom Line
- + Built for stability
- + Dependable
- + Affordable
- + Known IC manufacturer
- - No pretty heat spreaders
- - No RGB
- - Nothing to see once installed (maybe a pro for some builders)
- - Loose timings
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Just like the last time we visited with Crucial, the idea is not to deliver the fastest or tightest timed kit as many other manufacturers are doing now. The idea behind the new line of Crucial RAM is to provide the most important things first, without any distractions that many others use to hide stuff under the hood.
As we saw last time, we cannot judge a book by its cover, as we had little hope for the 5200 MHz "kit" we got. Unmatched sticks, slower speed, and wide open timings seemed like a recipe for disaster. Still, Crucial pulled out with the win with sticks we not only got decent performance from but also left plenty of headroom for those that want to work for that speed increase or timings drop.
That being said, we are getting a speed increase with this latest kit to get tested. While talking about a 400 MHz bump in speed, Crucial also had to go to the timing table and open it up to allow their Micron-based sticks to run this fast. Of course, they could have pushed the voltage and made things work with tighter timings, but if you recall for the last look at Crucial RAM, energy savings and plug and playability are other major concerns for the engineers.
It all comes down to the fact that Crucial wants to make reliable, dependable, and simple-to-use kits that take advantage of all it offers, whether you enable XMP or not.
There are only two significant changes in what we will see today. Of course, we mentioned the speed increase, but along with that comes another change. Timings. With the most recent pair of sticks sent to us from Crucial, many will see these new timings and shy away, possibly laughing hysterically at them as they look for something else. Yet, here we are to see how well they do and see if the primary and secondary timings matter as much as we all think they do.
As Crucial did for the previous review, they have sent over a pair of individually packaged CT16G56C46U5 modules, which are not binned to run together, and are most likely just some random stock they sent. Currently, you can get 32GB kits from Crucial and save some money, opting for the CT2K16G56C46U5, which is the dual-channel kit.
Visually, you get the visually appealing view of the PCB and all of its solder points on one side, while the other offers a view of the ICs, PMIC, and all of the tiny electronic components to make them work. Crucial pulls a Henry Ford here and presents them in a multitude of colors, as long as your choices happen to be black.
The Micron ICs are tuned to 5600 MT/s this time, and to keep them running reliably at 1.10VDIMM, Crucial had to loosen things up. In this kit, we find the timings have increased to 46-45-45-90 2T. The size of the DIMMs is as compact as it can physically be at this time, with its 1237.7mm length, 31.25mm height, and 2.54mm thickness. Crucial also keeps weight down to just 15.8 grams per stick without heat spreaders and lighting added. Lastly, should you have issues with this product, or should problems develop down the line, you are covered with a limited lifetime warranty.
As we saw with the previous review, if you go hunting down the part number of the sticks we received, you will find them priced at $67.70, only $1.71 over the 5200 MHz sticks. Seemingly a great deal; you are still at just $135.40 for the set with two of them. However, Crucial has the dual-channel kits packaged up now, and if you look for the CT2K26G56C46U5, you will find them listed at the same prices as the others, at $114.99.
With the cost the same as the previously reviewed set, it is an obvious no-brainer to pick the kit with more speed. Isn't it? Well, we are here to find out exactly that and see if we get similar headroom for the overclockers out there.
Packaging and Crucial CT16G56C46U5
One way to save some loot is to keep the packaging simple, and Crucial delivers sticks and kits in form-fitting clear plastic, nothing extra. Using it makes it easy to see what you are buying, and with only the product sticker at the top, and the DDR5 sticker at the bottom, packaging could not be done any more straightforwardly.
Without the plastic to warp the view, we can see the side of the sticks that many will spend most of their time seeing through the chassis window, if at all. Without heat spreaders, the bare PCB is in full view. Beyond the black and gold, we can see the solder points, which oddly is a style in itself.
The other side of the sticks is where we look at what makes it happen. The ICs and the PMIC are in full view, as is the product sticker containing all the pertinent information about these modules.
We see the Crucial name on the sticker and that you should not remove it. To the right, we see the model number, density, speed, type, voltage, and CAS latency, along with the fact that these are made in Malaysia.
Side by side, there is not much to look at. While this may not be the most attractive look for a gaming PC, something like this is perfect for those gamers and professionals with closed cases. Also, it could always be worse, and the PCBs could be green.
Designing kits without heat spreaders also allows the sticks to stay skinny, with the PMIC components being the thickest of the modules. We realize there is little to be done about it, but the tan edges scream value RAM.
Moving closer to the back of the sticks, we can see the ICs used. Since Crucial and Micron are partners, we find the Micron 2WG45D8DDZ chips. Eight in total, but four of them are under the product sticker. These are slightly different ICs than were found in our 5200 MHz modules.
While we fully expected to see the same PMIC, we were mistaken. Renesas builds the P8911, and this is the first time we have run across it. Also, judging by the no-boot condition when attempting to unlock the voltage in BIOS, we conclude this PMIC is locked.
Of course, the Crucial RAM is not as matched to our system stylistically, but the black does well with much of our build. The bottom line is this, though. Would you rather have it look good or do its intended job? We would rather have the latter.
Test System Details
To obtain the Intel CPU-Z screenshots, you will see directly following this image, and this is the system we used to do it, as well as in attaining the results seen in the following pages. Thanks go out to be quiet!, ASUS, and NVIDIA, for supporting this venture. Detailed specifications of the system can be found below.
As we saw with the last kit, you will get the same result whether you enable BIOS defaults or opt to enable the XMP setting. Both will post the memory at 5600 MHz with those 46-45-45-90 2T timings we see above. The VDIMM is set to 1.10V, while our APEX sets the system agent to 0.833V and the memory controller to 1.119V.
Changing the voltages to 1.20VDIMM, VDDq, and Tx, and now using 0.93V for the system agent and 1.2125V for the memory controller, we attempted to reduce the timings. In doing so, we bottomed out at 38-42-42-90 2T. While we are happy about any movement, we had hoped to get better results in this quest.
With the timings this loose, we expected to get pretty high in clock speed, and even though we stopped at 6133MHz, we are not mad at the results. While not the 600MHz we got on the 5200 MHz set, it is close to the same amount of headroom on both sets of D8 ICs.
Chad's Intel DDR5 Dual-Channel Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus Z690 APEX - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i9 12900K - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: be quiet! PURE LOOP 360mm - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Phison B47R Fortis 1600 2TB M.2
- Case: Thermaltake Core P3 TG - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: be quiet! DARK POWER PRO 12 1200W - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Home - Buy from Amazon
We love how these 5600 sticks come out of the gate with our testing. Landing in sixth place while XMP is enabled, we cannot be mad at the CPU-Z benchmark score of 865.1. We took a big hit in the score with an increase in speed, but with the timings dropped, Crucial gets up to third place in this chart.
AIDA read results show that the timings do not matter as much as many think. With Crucial placing between the Patriot and TEAM 5600 kits, the XMP results from this set of Crucial RAM is better than expected. We did lose some throughput by changing the timings, but we did gain 8260 MB/s over XMP by pushing the speed higher.
Write performance is not quite as good, but it is still within range of similar kits and faster than the slower ones. Minimal gains were found by lowering the timings, but more speed nets us a boost of 7452 MB/s.
Copy results leave this set of Crucial DDR5 at the bottom of the 5600 kits but faster than the 4800s and 5200s below it. Reducing the timings does show some benefit, around 470 MB/s. However, we gained another 7892 MB/s throughput by pushing the speed higher.
Even though the latency is pretty poor, it scales to the other listed entries in our chart. We reduced the latency a bit, but both options are very close to each other, although speed won out over lower timings.
SuperPi has the Crucial RAM tied with a similar TEAM kit, but Patriot is still ahead with their 16GB results. It takes 6133 MHz to surpass the 5600 kits in the chart, but we took nearly six seconds off the time by reducing the timings.
Fire Strike Physics scores show that Crucial pretty much failed this test. While the CT16G56C46U5 does beat a pair of 6000 MHz sets of DDR5, the ways we used the RAM to score in this metric were all less than what the CT16G52C42U5 produced.
As we saw with 3DMark, PCMark also handed this RAM from Crucial their behind. Even if the results are not that bad overall and in line with others previously tested, with the CT16G52C42U5 so much further up the chart than these, it is hard to put a nice spin on it.
7-Zip results seem fairer to the speed difference this set offers, with all the scores higher than those from the previous Crucial review. Crucial slightly outpaced Patriot this time, but the TEAM kit is much faster at this. Reducing timings got us 10 seconds off of the XMP time, and we got to twelve seconds faster with more speed.
The CT16G56C46U5 does well in Cinebench testing, with the XMP results landing this kit in fourth place. We gained another couple of positions in the chart running this kit at CAS38, but Cinebench had nothing for our high-speed setting, as it seems to have hated that setup.
Again, we find this set from Crucial between the slightly slower Patriot RAM and the TEAM kit. Both attempts at gaining time back in this test produced similar results, with a six- to seven-second benefit from lowering timings or increasing the speed.
Unlike when we looked at the Ct16G52C42U5 modules, where the results were decent, and there were gains to be had with overclocking, we feel that the CT16G56C46U5 has no home. What we mean by that is that there are instances where the 5200 MHz DDR5 outpaced this kit, and while the Ct16G56C46U5 runs head-to-head with the TEAM and Patriot offerings, at a lower price point, in those instances, we would opt for the other two not the Crucial.
The fact that this newer kit, designed such as it is, could not pull ahead of the CT16G52C42U5 results means there isn't much of a point to these over those.
Please don't get us entirely sideways here. The CT16G56C46U5 has a place, but that place is not with us. For those looking for reliability, stability, economy, affordability, simplicity, and plug-and-play compatibility, Crucial has what you are looking for. You need to look hard at the results and see if the 5600 MHz option is what you want.
With minimal differences across the board and how both sets of Crucial DDR5 are tuned, you are essentially tossing a coin. Of course, small gains are had with this more recent entry to the charts, and at the exact cost, why not opt for the faster kit, right?
We cannot complain about the headroom left in this kit. While we would have liked more movement in the timings, we feel they did just fine for a pair of unmatched sticks. Even when it came to pushing the speed of this set, we ended up near the same 600 MHz boost we got with the previous kit. Considering this set is already faster out of the box, and we could run them at 6133 MHz, there is a bit more you can consider in the deal between the two Crucial options.
If you need a single stick, by all means, look up the CT16G56C46U5 sticks, and have at it, but to save some money, we suggest you look at the CT2K16G56C46U5 instead. At $67.70, we have nothing to complain about for what we saw today, but why pay more than you should? In the dual-channel packaging, what we showed you could be had at $114.99.
At the end of it all, we got everything Crucial claimed to offer, plus the ability to clock them, all at a great price point. While we had hoped for better performance results compared to the CT16G52C42U5, we feel there is enough here to convince those in need to give these Cricual sticks a good hard look when buying new RAM for a system that cannot do funny things when least expected.