So you're sitting there on a P55 based machine, you want to get some RAM, but you're a bit down because if you had an X58 board you would be getting 6GB which seems like a good amount. Instead you're looking at a 4GB kit. While no doubt 4GB is nice, it would be nicer to have a bit more RAM. Sure, you could fill all your banks up, but you're not a huge fan of doing that for fear of instability or other performance related issues.
Well, A-DATA have come to the rescue today with an 8GB kit that's part of the Gaming Series. It's not the most aggressive memory, but that's to be expected since we're dealing with 4GB modules. For most gamers as well, it's not all about the speed, even though PC3-12800 is still impressive none the less.
The question is, how'd we go with the kit? Well, let's take the time to quickly have a look at what's going on with the package before we dive deeper into the clocks of the modules and see how we went with overclocking. Then we'll get stuck into the performance numbers.
The Packaging and Modules
A-DATA has opted for that horrible blister pack that annoys me so much. Apart from that, though, there's not a whole lot to the package. The good news is we can clearly see all the information we need including the fact that we're dealing with an 8GB kit and it comes in at 1600MHz DDR.
Looking at the modules themselves, there's not much you didn't see from the front of the package. Each side is nearly identical with just a different sticker on the end of each giving us some more detailed information.
Out of the box we're dealing with a 1600MHz DDR 9-9-9-24-2T kit and we can gladly say we didn't have a single issue getting the kit up to that speed.
You can see the validation here.
As always, we like to have a bit of a dabble in what is the overclocking pool. By leaving the timings at default and the voltage at 1.65v, we see what we're able to achieve.
You can see the validation here.
We ended up at 1666MHz DDR; it's not a huge overclock, but considering we're dealing with 4GB modules it's not too bad at all.
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
We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Sapphire, Western Digital, Noctua and Corsair.
We'll be checking out the A-DATA kit today against itself and a few other kits we've got on hand.
Let's get started!
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.
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.
While the kit performs slower than the Tri-Channel kit, that's due to the fact we're on an i7 860 CPU and not a massive 980X. Performance is good, though; hopefully it continues on like that.
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.
Even though slower in memory speed compared to the Kingmax kit, write performance is better on the A-DATA kit. Compared to the Crucial one which is running in Triple Channel, the A-DATA kit out performs it in both read and write performance.
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.
Good performance again from the A-DATA kit; overclocking yields a nice little bump.
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.
Here we can see that the A-DATA kit is again performing very strong.
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.
No real surprises when it comes to the Far Cry 2 numbers.
Total Performance Rating (TPR)
Total Performance Rating
The TPR graph is a combination of all our benchmarks in which we test our memory modules with.
The TPR number is a combination of:-
wPrime Benchmark, Everest Ultimate, SiSoft Sandra, Sciencemark 2.0 and Far Cry 2.
Due to the nature of some benchmarks where scores having a lower is better result, we've had to change the way we do the numbers when compared to our video card ones. Far Cry 2, SiSoft Sandra and Everest Ultimate numbers are all combined. In Sciencemark 2.0 and wPrime Benchmark where a lower number is better, we have a base number of 300. The score we get from the kit is then removed off that number. There's a total of 600 base points.
For example; if the wPrime Benchmark score is 193.266 and 6.297 for 1024M and 32M respectively, the number that is added to the graphs is 400. That number is obtained by using the following equation: 600 - 193.266 - 6.297 = 400.437. It's then rounded down to 400 in this case. In the event that the RAM was slower in wPrime, the total would be lower which represents our TPR graphs exactly how we want.
Because the kit isn't the most aggressive when it comes to timings and overclock, the TPR graph doesn't do it any real justice. However, it's worth noting that there's just more snappiness to the system when compared to a 4GB one, which isn't measured in our tests.
Total Value Rating (TVR)
Total Value Rating
The TVR graph is the TPR score divided by the price of the memory kit. The price of the memory kit is based on the list price of the model on Newegg.com. In the event the kit isn't listed, it will be based on the U.S. $ MSRP given to us by the manufacturer.
In the event we can't source a price from either, the product will not receive a TVR rating. As with our TPR graph, the amount of memory kits on the list will grow over time and the price of the model won't change from what it was when first reviewed. For this reason the U.S. $ price that the kit is based off will be included next to the name of the model.
In the event you want to find the TVR rating yourself based on the current price, all you have to do is simply divide the TPR number by the list price.
TVR numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number; 100.3 will be 100; 100.8 will be 101 and 100.5 will be rounded down to 100.
Because our tests don't show the best benefits when moving to more actual memory and instead benefits more from the speed of the kit, the higher price tag combined with the performance received at the default timings again don't do the kit a whole lot of justice.
In our tests today the PC3-12800 8GB kit performs like a PC3-12800 4GB kit that carries with it the same timings. This isn't a bad thing, but when it comes to our final graphs and the price being double that of a 4GB kit, the perceived value is lower.
However, when moving to 8GB over 4GB it gives you performance gains in other areas. The loading of applications, games and just Windows is definitely improved upon. There's more general speed when dealing with your operating system. Everything is just running faster. Sure, it's not twice as fast, but it's faster.
It's great that you don't have to fill your banks up with RAM to get 8GB of memory. Instead A-DATA offer us a nice kit that offers some good speed. What's great about the "Gaming Series" is that they're not these ultra fast modules with insane speeds and timings along with insane prices.
Instead, the series offers us good memory, at a good speed and at a good price of $334.99 at Newegg. This is exactly what the kit we've got here does. It's a fantastic option for people who want to go with a dual channel setup, but also want to move past the typical 4GB kit size that's associated with it.