The Bottom Line
- + Lower-profile
- + Cost
- + All-black aesthetic
- - Whitewashed ICs
- - Performance in class
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
For those who have never heard of KLEVV, we get it, as they seem to pop up occasionally with new products but never seem to get the limelight that many other RAM manufacturers do. At the helm is Essencore, a major player in the industry, with its fingers touching many aspects of the PC realm. Under them is a subsidiary company called KLEVV, which is technically an offshoot of SK Hynix. SK Hynix needs no introduction, as with the current DDR5, they are certainly the current leader in producing high-quality ICs. With those connections in the industry, KLEVV certainly has the potential to deliver some of the best kits on the market, which we have seen in the past, but this time, KLEVV is taking a different angle.
The CRAS and Urbane series in DDR4 were impressive, but up to now, we have seen the XR5, which was KLEVV's initial drop of RAM into the DDR5 game. These being only the second set of DDR5 to hit the lab from KLEVV, we had hoped for more of that magic formula, but the marketing changed directions to a mainstream set of memory for the everyday users, not those looking to get every last drop of overclocking performance, but those looking for stable and reliable memory with a decent speed and set of timings.
Typically, we would set the bar rather high as we start to look at a new set of KLEVV sticks, but knowing what we do with many mainstream offerings, there is not a ton of room left in the tank. While overclocking may not be overly impressive, the XMP results always drive our reviews. However, we will go a tad easy on the KLEVV Bolt V we have in hand, without the expectations we have seen from their more aggressive earlier product lines, as KLEVV steps out into the real-world of users and tries to win their hearts and minds.
The chart above was put together from information on the packaging, but it is also found on their product page. In hand is a set of KD5AGUA80-64A320H DDR5 from KLEVV with dark gray aluminum spreaders and accents painted on in white. Each stick has eight ICs totaling 16GB per module, for 32GB overall. The speed of this kit is set at 6400 MHz, and KLEVV has even had a go with the timings. For our kit, we get a timing set of 32-38-38-78, a tad tighter than the G.Skill set we looked at last.
Rather than the 4800 MHz at C40 that JEDEC/SPD requires, the XMP profile that delivers the above-mentioned specifications is at 1.35V, which is as low as it typically gets at this speed. Even with the tighter set of timings, voltage is not pushed as high as we saw with the G.Skill Ripjaws S5, and KLEVV has the numbers on their side to outperform one of the biggest players in the game, potentially. There are also the dimensions of 137.8mm length, 34mm height, and 8mm thickness. Additionally, we get a weight of 35.6 grams per stick and a limited lifetime warranty back the KLEVV Bolt V.
Glancing at current RAM pricing, it is quite affordable at the moment. That being said, pricing for a set of CAS32 6400 MHz DDr5 starts at $99.99, and depending on who made it, stock, and other factors, pricing can reach nearly $200 in this segment. Happily, KLEVV decided to go with the lowest current pricing, leaving the KLEVV Bolt V you will see on store shelves for a penny less than $100. With the timings we have for the speed, and the lowest cost possible for their class. KLEVV is off on the right foot so far. We hope this tone carries on throughout the rest of the review.
Packaging and KLEVV Bolt V
The packaging offers a plastic front for a view of the kit you are buying, but the rest is sandwiched cardboard, allowing KLEVV a place to add information. In this instance, we see KLEVV bolt V at the top-left, with the speed and density at the right. Between them, it says, "Gear up for the next triumph," while the bottom shows the warranty that it is DDR5 gaming memory and comes with an XMP 3.0 profile.
On the back portion of the cardboard, the top displays things we have already addressed, but the center is new. Not only is the area perforated for access to the RAM inside, but it is where KLEVV lists the features, describes the product, links to Essencore, and is also where you will find the product sticker.
KLEVV starts with a black PCB and, on top, installs a gray aluminum heat spreader on either side. The design is simplistic looking, with the angled bit across the length of each stick, but just above the Bolt V name is an open slot for ventilation. We also see the KLEVV name and logo at the left and DDR5 at the right, all done by applying white paint to the textured aluminum spreaders. We also noticed the black wings near the top, on either side, which look clever but also appear to protect the corners of the PCB.
These sticks' opposite sides are nearly identical, except that this side offers the product sticker. On it, you will find the model number, speed, timings, density, and voltage required for XMP. We also see the serial number under the bar code, which states that these are made in Taiwan.
We admit that the first look at these sticks left a bit to be desired with their basicness. However, the aesthetic improves once we get a look from another angle. Initially, while we assume the wings offered a design touch and a bit of protection when viewed from above, their true nature comes to light, as they are used to help click the RAM solidly into the DIMM slots.
The tops of the modules are not flat, as they have a drop in the center portion, which is covered by tabs from each spreader, bent to cover the top of the PCB as they meet in the middle. Off at the right, we again get the KLEVV name painted in white.
While our BIOS tells us that these are SK Hynix ICs, KLEVV opted to whitewash them this time with the Essencore name on them. The part number is E5CCAC8NAJR KPC, but we found little to go on from there. The tape used will tear when the spreaders are removed, as seen here, and we also see the good quality PMIC thermal pad. There is also added tape along the black plastic near the top of the spreaders, and we can see right through the angled portion cut into them.
Even though the thermal pad removed all traces of paint from the PMIC, we can tell you two things about it. Our BIOS states Richtek makes it, and it is unlocked. While a part number would be nice, it is made by the mainstream manufacturer, which is a good thing and unlocked. What more do you need?
Running or not, when you install the KLEVV Bolt V into your motherboard, you will see this. While the gray does play in the light and offers more contrast than the gray we saw in earlier pictures, the white paint's pop stands out the most. While not the most stylish set of DDR5 we have had on this motherboard, we have no complaints thus far.
Test System Details
To obtain the Intel CPU-Z screenshots, you will see directly following this image; this is the system we used to do it, as well as getting the results on the following pages. Thanks to Intel, be quiet!, ASUS, MSI, Corsair, and Sabrent for supporting us with this venture. Detailed specifications of the system can be found below.
After installation, a CMOS clear, and a trip back to BIOS to enable XMP, this is what KLEVV delivers. We get 6400 MHz of speed, and the timings are 32-38-38-78, which is pretty tight. As for the voltages our motherboard uses, the VDIMM is 1.35V, and so are the VDDq and Tx. Beyond that, we saw 0.785V for the SA and 1.119V for the memory controller.
As we do, we added a tenth of a volt to everything and tried our luck with tightening the timings. While we could get into windows much tighter than this, 30-38-38-78 is as low as we got with complete stability across testing.
We went for maximum speed using 1.45VDIMM/VDDq/Tx and an SA of 0.997 with the memory controller set at 1.254V. Our quest didn't take that long, as we soon found that anything more than the 6667 MHz seen in this image was the top of the range with our settings.
Chad's Intel DDR5 Dual-Channel Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus Z790 APEX - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i7 13700K - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Corsair iCUE H150i Elite LCD - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming Trio 24G - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Sabrent Rocket 4 PLUS-G 4TB - Buy from Amazon
- Case: Custom Thermaltake Core P3 TG
- Power Supply: be quiet! DARK POWER PRO 12 1500W - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Home - Buy from Amazon
An XMP score reaching 99,212 MB/s throughput in this read portion of AIDA has KLEVV ahead of G.Skill. Going from CAS 32 to 30 doesn't seem like much, but we gained 1352 MB/s. The added speed won overall, as it should, with a 4877 MB/s boost over XMP with little more than 267 MHz added to the Bolt V.
Write performance in AIDA shows lackluster results of the 6400 MHz kits of today. The rest of the chart is linear with speed, and KLEVV failed to get what is expected at 87,437 MB/s. However, they are still quicker than G.Skill. Opting for CAS 30 brings us a minuscule 803 MB/s, but with 267 MHz added, we received a 4213 MB/s boost, landing where we expected XMP to land.
Well ahead of the Ripjaws S5 at 89,476 MB/s KLEVV and the Bolt V land where we expected to see them. The reduced timings run nets us 405 MB/s, which is within the margin of error of the XMP run, but added speed gets us back into the 4000 MB/s advantage at 4052 MB/s over XMP this time.
Latency is even decent and still better than the Ripjaws. We were able to reduce the 65.8ns at CAS 30 slightly, but the added speed gets us down to nearly 64ns
The time it took the KLEVV Bolt V to complete the Super Pi run is five minutes and thirteen seconds, almost a second behind the Ripjaws S5. While the gap to the added speed run is over three seconds, shockingly, by just setting them at CAS30, we removed six seconds for time to completion, which is impressive results for simply changing one number in the timings menu.
PCMark 10 does not seem to appreciate the KLEVV RAM, but they score slightly higher than the Ripjaws S5, which is head-to-head competition. We got fewer points by adding speed to the Bolt V memory but gained some headway by allowing them to run at CAS 30.
When we get to file compression, we see how well KLEVV gets on with 7-Zip. A couple of seconds ahead of G.Skill is a good place to be. With tighter timings, we get another six seconds back, but with the Bolt V at 6667 MHz, we get nine seconds back compared to the XMP results.
Transcoding is not something that the Bolt V shines in, but they still rank ahead of the Ripjaws S5 by nearly three seconds. Even with added speed or tighter timings, we see improvements, but nothing staggering.
While we have known KLEVV for a few of their extreme sets of memory over the years, this is a new day, at least for us. With a mainstream offering that does not look bad but is not as fancy as some manufacturers offer, it is less about looks and more about providing the customer the best value in their segment. We got to like the more subdued design, and the lack of RGB illumination is not a huge deal for us. In the box we received, we got a no-nonsense set of DDR5 that we think the masses should keep in mind when looking for your next set of DDR5.
While whitewashing the ICs is not something we see often, it does happen, and we can see no good reason for doing so. We were not expecting the best ICs on the planet, but many would appreciate the IC stating what they actually are. With the PMIC, it is much less important at this time. We have always had good luck with Richtek controllers, and even if we did not get a part number, we know it unlocks to 1.90VDIMM, which is good enough for us.
We could go on about how, in a few metrics, we expected more, like we did when we reviewed the G.Skill Ripjaws S5, but with KLEVV outperforming them nearly every step of the way, how can we come down on KLEVV? In reality, something is odd in these newer 6400 MHz RAM offerings, but if you have to go with a 6400 MHz option, KLEVV currently has the ones to buy.
As we put it all on the table with these KLEVV Bolt V sticks, we find them to be that all-in-one deal for the time. They are stylish, gray is a nice change from black, and they have the needed performance to stand out in the crowd. What is not to like when you get a 32GB kit for around $100, and it beats G.Skill most of the way through? If KLEVV was off your radar, the Bolt V shows they should be.