Introduction, The Packaging and Modules
The last few kits of memory we've looked at from A-DATA have been a part of the Gaming Series. While impressed with what the kits offered, one of my favorite kits of RAM that I've looked at from A-DATA this year was the Plus Series 4GB PC3-17600 kit.
While the kit we're looking at today doesn't carry with it the same kind of speed (this particular one is PC3-15000), it's a 6GB Triple Channel kit suited for the X58 platform which in all honesty is an area we've seen neglected by a lot of memory companies as of late. It's ultimately easier to make faster Dual Channel kits than it is Triple Channel ones, because you only need to get two modules to perform at that speed instead of three.
With speed being the name of the game for most companies, we have seen Triple Channel samples dry up lightly as companies concentrate on creating faster Dual Channel ones. Today, though, we're able to look at the Plus Series in Triple Channel form, a series that's already impressed us previously in Dual Channel form and while it might not carry the same speeds of some of the recent kits we've looked at like 2400MHz and 2500MHz DDR, it doesn't carry the same price tag associated with those speeds either.
So without any further ado, let's check out the package and the modules before we look at overclocking and the overall performance of the kit.
From the outside we're able to get a good look at the modules we're dealing with. The package is clear, displaying the speed of the kit and the size while showing us the hero of the kit which is that heatsink. Apart from the kit itself, there's not much else to look at when it comes to the package.
We're dealing with a 6GB Triple Channel kit today which is part of A-DATAs Plus Series. These are some really nice looking modules that feel of excellent quality. While the heatsink is large, it didn't cause any problems with our large Noctua cooler which is good. The heatsinks themselves aren't actually much wider than the module with heatsink attached.
Each side is similar with a different sticker being shown. One gives us the barcode, serial number and all that other information while the other tells us the speed, timings, voltage and has the A-DATA website mentioned. We won't go into detail on all that here because we'll cover it in more detail on the next page.
Out of the box we're dealing with a PC3-15000 kit which translates to 1866MHz DDR. The timings are 8-8-8-24 and A-DATA say we'll need between 1.55v and 1.75v. We opted for 1.65v due to the fact it's the maximum speed Intel recommend with the use of the i7 processor.
You can see the validation here.
It came as no surprise that we didn't run into any problems getting those speeds considering our X58 ASRock testbed has seen speeds in excess of 2200MHz DDR. Once we knew that was all good, it was time to do some overclocking.
For that we leave our memory voltage at 1.65v and the timings at the same 8-8-8-24. We then start heading north on the BCLK and mucking around with our dividers.
You can see the validation here.
When it came to overclocking we ended up with 1944MHz DDR which is a nice little overclock from the stock 1866MHz DDR. Considering we're dealing with CAS 8 memory at 1T, this isn't 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 today be comparing the A-DATA Plus Series 6GB kit against the A-DATA Gaming Series 8GB Dual Channel kit and the Crucial Ballistix Triple Channel kit we looked at a little while back.
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.
Because our CPU isn't as strong against some of the other kits here, we do see under wPrime that the kit falls a little back compared to the Crucial modules running on our 980X at 4.2GHz.
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.
EVEREST performance is strong; overclocked we see even more performance which is good.
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.
Sandra performance like EVEREST is again very strong thanks to the test concentrating on just the memory.
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.
Again we see that because our CPU is clocked a little slower here, the A-DATA kit is performing a little worse because the test places more load on the CPU.
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.
Far Cry 2 performance is strong; slightly higher than the other kits we're looking at.
Total Performance Rating (TPR) and Final Thoughts
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.
Overall the performance is very strong. When overclocked the kit falls only behind kits that are clocked 500MHz DDR faster. The great performance is thanks to the aggressive timings and the decision to go with 1T over 2T.
We've been impressed with the Plus Series kits in the past and to be honest, going into the review we expected similar high performance from this kit. The good news is that the kit didn't disappoint; we had no problems getting the default clocks which is always a must, but overclocking was good, too. And while not as big as some other kits we've looked at, the timings are great and as we mentioned the decision to go with 1T over 2T has done wonders for memory performance.
Outside just the performance of the kit, the highlight of the kit is that cooler that A-DATA opt for on the series. The heatsink is of excellent quality and what's even better is that the heatsink doesn't take up heaps of room and doesn't conflict with our Noctua cooler which is quite large.
The A-DATA Plus Series PC3-15000 6GB kit is quality in all aspects. The kit performs strong not only in benchmarks, but also when considering the quality of the module. While 1866MHz DDR isn't the most common number these days, it's still one we see a bit and compared to 2000MHz DDR kits it also comes in a little cheaper.
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