As dual channel kits continue to roll into the TweakTown labs here, the latest offering comes from A-DATA and sits in that PC3-16000 category which has quickly become the speed of choice for most overclockers.
What we're seeing from PC3-16000 kits these days is a huge range that caters for all budgets. There are some low latency kits that set you back a pretty penny, while there's also some other kits that carry with them more relaxed timings and a much more comfortable price point for many people.
We're not too sure where the Xtreme series from A-DATA sits, but that's exactly what we intend to find out today. On our next page we'll have a look at the package before having a closer look at the modules themselves. After that we'll have a look at the specifications, how we went with getting the default clocks and also see if we had any luck overclocking before we get stuck into the benchmarking and wrap it all up.
The Packaging and Modules
A-DATA use a horrible blister pack that is a complete pain to open. Apart from that there's nothing worth really noting. We can see the modules clearly along with the size and speed. Inside the package the backing doubles as a manual that lets you know how to install the modules.
Having a look at the modules, there isn't anything we haven't seen before. We've got a pretty standard heatsink design with both sides showing the A-DATA logo along with there being mention that they're part of the Xtreme series. On the far right we have a holographic sticker that gives us the standard information you need to know.
Having a closer look at the stickers, you can see across the top we have the model followed by the timings, voltage and a URL. On the other module we see the full model number along with the serial number.
When it came to overclocking we really had no joy. We got into Windows at 2040MHz DDR, but it wasn't really stable at the default timings and at 1.65v. While A-DATA say you can do 1.6v to 1.8v, we prefer to stick to the 1.65v mark that Intel say is the highest. It also creates an even playing field across the board when it comes to looking at the OC potential of other memory kits.
You can see the validation here.
While getting much over 2000MHz DDR caused a bit of trouble, getting to the default 9-9-9-24-1T setup at 2000MHz DDR wasn't an issue using 1.65v, which can be seen above. While it's nice to get a bit more power out of a kit, you can't complain about the modules having no trouble getting to their stock settings.
Important Editor Note: Our maximum overclocking result is the best result we managed in our limited time of testing the memory. Due to time constraints we weren't able to tweak the motherboard to the absolute maximum and find the highest possible FSB, as this could take days to find properly. We do however spend at least a few hours overclocking every motherboard to try and find the highest possible overclock in that time frame. You may or may not be able to overclock higher if you spend more time tweaking, or as new BIOS updates are released. "Burn-in" time might also come into play if you believe in that.
Test System Setup and wPrime
Test System Setup
Processor(s): Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.8GHz (190MHz x 20)
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P (Supplied by Noctua)
Motherboard(s): ASROCK P55 Deluxe (Supplied by ASROCK)
Video Card: Gigabyte GTX 285 896MB (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 300GB Velicorapter (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Windows 7
Drivers: ForceWare 191.07
Important Note: When modules are overclocked we adjust the BCLK which not only lets us fine tune the MHz out of a module, but in turn increases the overall CPU clock speed. While we always make the effort to include the BCLK and CPU speed in our graphs, please just make sure that you make note of these when looking at the results.
In some tests that don't purely test the memory speed, the extra MHz on offer from the CPU can increase the result. Of course, it's worth noting that having faster memory gives you the ability to run your CPU at a higher speed as well.
With not much luck when it came to overclocking, we'll today be seeing how the A-DATA X Series kit goes against the G.Skill Ripjaws with the same 2000MHz DDR setup. Instead, though, they'll run at 9-9-9-27 with a 2T command rate. We've also thrown in the PC3-15000 OCZ Platinum kit at its stock speed and the overclocked speed we achieved.
For specifics you can see all the important information in the graphs over the next few pages.
Let's get started!
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.62
Developer Homepage: http://www.wprime.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.wprime.net/
wPrime uses a recursive call of Newton's method for estimating functions, with f(x)=x2-k, where k is the number we're sqrting, until Sgn(f(x)/f'(x)) does not equal that of the previous iteration, starting with an estimation of k/2. It then uses an iterative calling of the estimation method a set amount of times to increase the accuracy of the results. It then confirms that n(k)2=k to ensure the calculation was correct. It repeats this for all numbers from 1 to the requested maximum.
Under wPrime we can see that the two 2000MHz DDR kits sit quite close to each other. The more aggressive timings on offer from A-DATA don't really do anything for performance here.
Benchmarks - Everest Ultimate Edition
Version and / or Patch Used: Ultimate Edition
Developer Homepage: http://www.lavalys.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.lavalys.com/products/overview.php?pid=3&ps=UE&lang=en
Buy It Here
EVEREST Ultimate Edition is an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking it provides essential system and overclock information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings. CPU, FPU and memory benchmarks are available to measure the actual system performance and compare it to previous states or other systems. Furthermore, complete software, operating system and security information makes EVEREST Ultimate Edition a comprehensive system diagnostics tool that offers a total of 100 pages of information about your PC.
Looking at EVEREST, we can see that the more aggressive timings help improve read performance on the A-DATA kit when compared to the others. As for the write speed, you can clearly see that the two PC3-16000 kits actually have the same score here.
Benchmarks - SiSoft Sandra
Version and / or Patch Used: Professional Home
Developer Homepage: http://www.sisoftware.co.uk
Product Homepage: http://sisoftware.jaggedonline.com/index.php?location=home&a=TTA&lang=en
Buy It Here
SiSoft Sandra (System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is a synthetic Windows benchmark that features different tests used to evaluate different PC subsystems.
The slightly better timings help improve memory speed slightly when compared to the G.Skill PC3-16000 kit.
Benchmarks - Sciencemark
ScienceMark 2.0 is a mathematical program designed to stress the memory subsystems of both desktop/workstation and server environments to determine the read/write latency as well as the overall memory bandwidth available between the CPU and the memory controller.
While the Molecular test seemed to run a bit slower, the Cipher one came in fastest when compared to the other kits here.
Benchmarks - Far Cry 2
Far Cry 2
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.03
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com
Buy It Here
The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.
With the CPU clock between all setups being quite close, we don't see a whole lot of difference under Far Cry 2 performance which is going to benefit more with a higher CPU clock speed than memory clock speed.
Having a look at the A-DATA kit, you don't see anything that really stands out at you when it comes to the overall design of the kit. The heatsink that they've opted for isn't all that Xtreme, but does a good enough job when it comes to making sure that the default clocks can be achieved.
As for the timings, they're pretty good. The 1T command rate is nice and the 9-9-9-24 isn't too bad as some of the more relaxed kits come in at 9-9-9-27. In saying that, there are plenty of 8-8-8 kits out there if you want something more aggressive, but of course, this is going to come at a cost.
This is a nice kit of RAM from A-DATA. It's a little simple, but that doesn't mean it's bad. The simple design of the heatsink and timings that sit in the middle of the pack means that it's a nice kit of RAM for a lot of people. While we didn't have much luck getting any higher when it came to overclocking, that doesn't mean you won't have some luck with the kit.
The most important thing about these modules is that the stock clocks of 9-9-9-24-1N are achieved with no issue. Getting to that setup was done in the first attempt using 1.65v and that's what makes a good memory kit.
If you're hunting for something that's a bit more aggressive than the G.Skill kit we looked at recently, this could be a kit worth looking at. It's not fancy, but the kit does what you want which is what we want.