Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
From what Corsair told us, this is likely the last chance you will have to look at new DDR4 from Corsair. Of course, they may change that as time goes by in this crazy world we live in right now, but that was the angle last we spoke with them. Being who they are and the emotions of this moment for them, Corsair went to the drawing board and came up with something completely new, yet still holds some traits from previous kits in their series. Not trying to spill the beans here, but as far as Corsair RAM goes, what we have, to us, is even better looking than the Dominator series, minus a couple of the special editions over the years. That is saying a lot, considering most of the rest of their offerings in RAM is much more straightforward in their visual appeal.
There are a few things about this new kit that may raise an eyebrow or two in interest. First, this is a "Z" kit, which means it is designed for Ryzen compatibility from the ground up. These are RGB sticks, as the title of the review implies, and with iCUE, you can take complete control over ten RGB LEDs as well as being able to keep track of thermals. These sticks come with an option where the center portion of the heat spreader is sold as black or white. As they all do, they pick tightly screened ICs but use custom PCBs for better signaling and stability. There is also something called Instant Overclocking we will be looking at as well.
Shockingly, the last of the DDR4 for Corsair is not of the Dominator family, which we would have loved to see one last special edition of them, but the Vengeance series is where we land today. For many, the older Vengeance designs may not have been so attractive, but we were indeed impressed with the styling of the Vengeance RGB PRO and RGB PRO SL, but even those cannot hold a candle to the styling of the Vengeance RGB RT we have for you now.
The specifications chart provided to us from the product page is relatively easy to follow, and even though this kit does not ship with a fan as the older LPX kits did, we are shown we are now dealing with the Vengeance RGB RT. We are still dealing in DDR4, 32GB worth over two sticks in this instance. The DOCP/XMP options in UEFI allow this memory to run at 3600 MHz with 18-22-22-42 timings, using 1.35V to do so. In this instance, we have the "black" version, but there is an option for a white center portion of the heat spreader.
The RGB lighting is available across the top in a dynamic lighting zone, which offers ten customizable LEDs in the light pipe. Where Corsair mentions instant overclocking, it has to do with the SPD profile. In it. Corsair opts to set that profile to run the Vengeance RGB RT at 3200 MHz with 22-22-22-53 timings, sipping just 1.20V. The rest of the chart deals with its PC4-28800 rating, supported chipsets, and a mention of anodized aluminum used for the heat spreaders.
More specifically, we are dealing with that custom black PCB that is the base of the CMN32GXM2Z3600C18 version 4.32 kit we have for review. On top of these PCBs are sixteen ICs arranged in a dual-sided layout, with eight chips on either side of the PCB. What are the ICs, you might ask? Corsair seems to have found some Samsung ICs, as our kit does its thing with K4A8G085WB-BCWE ICs. There is also an STTS2004 thermal sensor onboard from STMicroelectronics so that if you decide to add more volts as we will, you can keep tabs on how hot they are.
As we sit here with this set of Vengeance RGB RT DDR4 in our hands, we have hopes that not only is this memory great out of the box, but it has a bit of flexibility and the performance we deserve at this point in the DDR4 lifespan. With that in mind, please stick with us as we take you on the journey that is the Swan Song for Corsair when it comes to persuading customers to make a change with DDR5 right around the corner. We don't want to put the cart before the horse, but with what we have seen, many may find the upgrade worth it, as Corsair puts on one hell of a show in our charts, and is well worth a few moments to have a look and see if Corsair does enough to get the market onboard with the Vengeance RGB RT.
Packaging and Corsair Vengeance RGB RT
Typical to anything Corsair Vengeance related, we find our RAM in a black box, using a triangular-shaped pattern as the background, with a splash of bright yellow to highlight the packaging. On the face of it, we see the Corsair name and logo at the top, with the speed and density to the right. In the middle is a good look at the memory contained in this box, where at the bottom of the packaging, we see the Vengeance RGB RT naming for this DDR4 RAM. The last things we see are the notation of this being optimized to suit Ryzen and a note that one can customize them through iCUE.
The back of the packaging starts with the compatibility of ASUS and MSI motherboards sync software, and next, we see some of the features. Corsair covers the ten-zone dynamic RGB lighting, the panoramic light pipe design, that they are optimized for AMD, and that it comes with a dual-tone heat spreader. While we also found a pair of openings to see the product stickers on the sticks, where all of the technical information is found, and a small notation to this being a two-stick kit. At the bottom is the legalese at the left, while to the right is a sticker that verifies you got the kit you ordered, cross-checking the model number offered there.
Inside the box, there is clamshell packaging to keep the sticks safe and protected during transit, but it also comes with some literature. The top portion shows you how to install the RAM, explains that software makes options better, and then shows where to get it. The last thing inside is a QR code, which delivers you to the product page. The safety information covers what you should do should you need to dispose of this kit down the road.
Our first unimpeded look at the Vengeance RGB RT shows that Corsair goes over the top with the design this time around. Using a few angles at the top of the stick, going with the angles found in the brushed aluminum portions, which is then matched again with the angles of the Vengeance sticker placed on both sticks. The lower part of the heat spreaders is black and sport the triangular pattern on the packaging. The black PCB is a must with this design, and compared to many other sticks on the market, the light pipe at the top, just above the //RT moniker, is thin, yet can be viewed from pretty much any angle.
On the reverse, the sticks are nearly identical in appearance, down to just one detail. Rather than the Vengeance sticker we found on the front, it gets replaced with a product sticker. On it, we see the CMN32GX4M2Z3600C18 part number, and beyond that, we are shown that this is a 32GB kit across two sticks; it is 3600MHz in speed, timings via DOCP or XMP use are 18-22-22-42 with 1.35V, and this kit is version 4.32.
From this distance, the light pipes appear to be marked with the Corsair logo in the middle, which in most designs would be enough, but there is a bit more to see here.
We can see the same triangular pattern we have seen everywhere else by changing the angle and moving closer to the RAM. While we are showing just one end of the light pipe, both ends are identical in the pattern applied.
Standing up, as they will likely be seen in a build, we love the overall simplicity of the aesthetics but like it even more. As you get closer and look more intently, there is more and more to like about what you find. The mix of brushed aluminum, patterning, and the thin light bar is an excellent way to go with what is likely the last of Vengeance DDR4.
Next comes the ICs under the head spreaders, and luckily, we do not have to peel them to see what is under the hood. Opening Thaiphoon Burner shows us that the Vengeance RGB RT we have in hand is based on Samsung K4A8G085WB-BCWE DRAM components. On top of that, these sticks come with thermal sensors, and we also see that the speed grade is shown as 3200AA, which comes into play for those now wanting to set XMP/DOCXP in the UEFI.
With the Vengeance RGB RT placed into the AMD test rig and powered up, we get to see how well they did with blending the ten LEDs in the light pipe and get a feel for just how bright this kit is. Also, while the sides of the spreaders are muted as far as colors go, the use of a holographic sticker that delivers its rainbow of colors is a lovely addition to this kit.
The same can be said when the Vengeance RGB RT is installed and powered on the Intel system. Most times, we prefer the look of RAM when they are next to each other, but with this set of DDR4, we would like to see more of the second stick, as they are almost too pretty to hide like this.
Test System Details
To obtain the AMD 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 Corsair, ASUS, and GIGABYTE for supporting this venture. Detailed specifications of the system can be found below.
If you were to be silly and swap RAM and boot the Vengeance RGB RT, it is likely, if the system supports it, that the RAM will run the 3200 MHz CAS22 SPD profile without any messing about. However, if, like us, you reset CMOS and then enable DOCP, you will find what we have, where the RAM boots up at 3600 MHz with 18-22-22-42 1T timings. Our motherboard sets the VDIMM to 1.35V as it should, while our SOC is at 1.08V.
Attempting to find the lowest stable set of timings for the Vengeance RGB RT, we first boosted the VDIMM to 1.45V, followed by an increase to 1.18V to the SOC. In doing that, we ended up with the kit running at 16-20-20-42 1T. CAS15 results in the motherboard speaker screaming at us like we have no RAM at all. Lowering the secondary's further results in postcode 01 or 05.
We also attempted to get more speed out of the Vengeance RGB RT paired with the 3900X but had little to no luck. We set 3666 MHz in the UEFI and got to windows, but testing failed almost immediately. We also tried 3700 MHz in case we found a hole, but that resulted in an instant BSOD upon loading into Windows.
Chad's AMD DDR4 Dual-Channel Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair VIII HERO Wi-Fi - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Corsair H150i PRO - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER Gaming OC 8GB - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Corsair Force MP500 480GB NVMe - Buy from Amazon
- Case: Thermaltake Core P5 TG - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: Corsair RM750x 750-watt - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
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 Corsair, ASUS, and GIGABYTE for supporting us here too! Detailed specifications of the system can be found below.
Repeating the steps we took on the AMD rig, we cleared CMOS, went into the UEFI, enabled XMP, and booted the PC. In return, we find the Vengeance RGB RT running at 3600 MHz with 18-22-22-42 2T timings, using a VDIMM of 1.35V, but our VCCIO) is set at 1.312V, and the VCCSA is 1.504V. Those wanting to boot the kit without a trip to the UEFI will find this kit running at 3200 MHz at 1.20V.
When it comes to reducing the timings, the 2T command rate did not afford us any more room to move them. As we saw earlier, our Intel system matched the 16-20-20-42 timings at 3600 MHz, but we did bump the VDIMM to 1.45V and left the VCCIO and VCCSA as they were.
Unlike the lack of response when we tried to raise the speed with the 3900X in control, when paired with our 10700K, we could get to 3900 MHz with 18-22-22-42 2T timings. We kept the VDIMM at 1.45V, still leaving the VCCIO and VCCSA as-is. We did see 4000 MHz, but it could not pass Cinebench testing, and 4100 MHz results in a plethora of postcode numbers.
Chad's Intel DDR4 Dual-Channel Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus XII Apex - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i7 10700K - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER Gaming OC 8GB - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Intel SSDPEK1W120GA
- Case: Thermaltake Core P3 - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: Corsair RM750 - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
The ADIA64 read performance is pretty good, ending up in third place overall with DOCP, where we get 54508 MB/s. Opting to reduce the timings, while stable, lost us 54 MB/s. Considering that first place has a 400 MHz lead on the Vengeance RBG RT, and that the XTREEM is 3600 MHz 14-15-15, we feel there is not much more Corsair could have done here.
A second-place finish in write performance is better than expected, and the kit in first also came with 14-15-15 timings and is why they are in first. The DOCP setting delivered 53209 MB/s. Opting for lower timings helps, but only slightly, with an 11 MB/s advantage over the DOCP timings.
Copy performance is also up near the top of the charts, this time in third with 50048 MB/s throughput. Lowering the timings was not advantageous for us, resulting in a 383 MB/s hit in the score.
Even though the latency does not seem impressive at 73.2ns for the DOCP run, and our best, at 71.1ns with a reduction in timings, it is still better than average in this chart, and to be honest, we do not put much faith in this number as any guide to the RAMs performance.
When it comes to the physics portion of 3D Mark Fire Strike, Corsair surprised us. With a 55 point advantage over the Vengeance PRO SL, that score had us rerun the test to ensure it wasn't a fluke. However, for those like us, thinking that a timing reduction may help, sadly, we lost over 800 points in that quest.
PCMark 10, the great equalizer, has handed Corsair their rear ends when it comes to this metric. Nearly 300 points from first-place are not where we expected to see the Vengeance RGB RT end up. We did get a slightly better score by lowering the timings but to the tune of seven whole points.
Outside of the odd pair of Nighthawk RGB or Ripjaws V that shocked us with their results, we are not mad at that 429.172-second result using DOCP. However, should you opt for 16-20-20 timings, you can knock another fifteen seconds off that time for every 7.62GB worth of file compression.
Unlike PCMark, where it shows the Vengeance RGB RT had some hope, with Cinebench R15, they came in dead last. Shockingly, by reducing the timings, we could mingle in the middle of the chart with a reasonable score.
If transcoding is your thing, Corsair is undoubtedly up to that task with the Vengeance RGB RT. Ever so slightly behind their own Dominator Platinum kit, we cannot complain about the DOCP results. The lowering of the timings helps again, with a difference of ten seconds of each 4.19GB of compressed data.
AIDA64 read performance is better than average and lands in fifth place overall at 49556 MB/s. Lowering the timings netted a loss of 222 MB/s compared to XMP. While we expected slightly more, we cannot complain about the 52249 MB/s, a 2693 MB/s improvement.
Second place in write performance is nothing to scoff at, as first place is held by a much faster set of Corsair memory. XMP delivers us 53781 MB/s out of the box and reducing timings nets a 78 MB/s loss. However, when increasing speed to 3900 MHz, that 4262 MB/s boost is more than appreciated.
Copy performance is a lot like the write performance, where the Vengeance RGB RT is only bested by that same faster set of Vengeance LPX. Baselining in the chart at 46982 MB/s is not bad at all for the XMP profile. However, either a reduction in timings or the speed increase will show a marked advantage as we see in this chart, as they take the top two spots at this time.
With a 56.6ns latency with XMP enabled, it is by far not the best, but again, latency is not everything. A reduction in the timings lowered latency to 53.2ns, but the best result we got was had with the Vengeance RGB RT sped up to 3900 MHz, delivering the 51.6ns we see in the chart.
The physics scores in Fire Strike are not all that pleasing to see. The XMP option has us third from last, and opting for CAS16 did not do us any favors. Yet, astonishingly, a few hundred megahertz added, and BAM, third from the top of the chart.
The XMP results in PCMark 10 have us dumbfounded. We fully expected the Vengeance RGB RT to be hammered in this test, yet Corsair comes out on the top of this chart. More speed netted a loss in the score, but nowhere near as bad as when we ran these at CAS16.
As they did with the AMD system, they do with the Intel rig for file compression. 7-Zip shows the Vengeance RGB RT only two seconds out of first place, which is impressive on its own. If you like to tinker, and compression is your game, running these at CAS16 is eleven seconds faster, and opting for overall speed reduces the XMP result by nearly 22.5 seconds.
Cinebench R15 places our XMP run slightly below average at 203.46 CBs. Lowering the timings is not the way to improve that score, and even with more speed, the Vengeance RGB RT ends up only slightly above average.
As good as the results were with the AMD setup, we expected the Vengeance RGB RT to follow suit and do well here, and the third-place finish is proof that the Vengeance RGB RT is darn good out of the box with Handbrake and transcoding. Speed is where it reduces the time to completion, with slightly more than a ten-second advantage. Opting to run this kit at 16-20-20 timings kills things with a near fifty-second penalty for trying it.
If you are going to come into the market this late, with, let's say, the last hurrah for Corsair and DDR4, we have not one complaint about its visual appeal. With a mix of the triangular textured lower portion, covered with an angled section of brushed aluminum with a holographic Vengeance sticker on them, it all comes together brilliantly. On top of that, literally and figuratively, we still have the light pipe.
While one of the thinnest on the market right now, with ten SMD LEDs across the top of the PCB, Corsair masters the intensity with a soft blend of colors as patterns present themselves. Taking the triangles onto the light pipe is also a nice added touch for a bit of added flare. Aesthetically, we feel that Corsair has upped the game and did so without it looking over the top or too busy. In this aspect, whether you opt for the white versions or the black ones, the Vengeance RGB RT kits will be a terrific addition to any supported system.
Performance is also something we enjoyed when testing this set of Vengeance RGB RT DDR4. In the eighteen charts we keep, looking back, Corsair finished above average in thirteen of them on both camps. Not only were they better than average in those metrics, of those thirteen, Corsair finished in the top five or better, and ten of those times, they were in the top three. Basing the Vengeance RGB RT on Samsung ICs was a pleasant surprise to find, as we almost assumed everyone had moved past them to other manufacturers at this point.
Considering how well the Vengeance RGB RT did with our AMD system, the lack of wiggle room for more speed is not a detractor, as we are not starting with a sub-par kit, with the need for more out of it. Even when we could add speed, only specific tests benefited with the Intel system, and almost hands down, we would say not to bother with timings either. Just run them with the XMP or DOCP profile and have fun. Corsair did most of the heavy lifting for you here.
We mentioned keeping tabs on thermal and the Vengeance RGB RT kits; we did just that. In all of our testing. The lowest we saw in iCUE was 32°C when at rest, and even overvolted, and they never saw 50°C under load.
Keep in mind, for those, who for some reason, would not clear the CMOS when installing new RAM; Corsair offers what they call instant overclocking. While nothing magical is happening here, this kit shows in Thaiphoon Burner that these are 3200 MHz binned chips rather than the typical 2400 or 2666 we see in that box. In our use of this RAM, Corsair set the SPD to allow these sticks to boot at 3200 MHz 22-22-22-53 with 1.20V. Not precisely "instant overclocking" in our minds, but it is more than what 99% of the rest of the kits offer.
Even as stunning as these are, and even though they do perform well, it all comes down to the cost in the end. We also know that when it comes to anything Corsair makes, it comes with a premium. One, because they are Corsair, and two, because almost everything they sell needs iCUE to take full advantage. That being said, while the market shows that for around $140, you can get these specs in another makers kit, with RGB included, that does shine a dimmer light on the $209.99 MSRP of the Vengeance RGB RT.
While these may be performers, and they are some of the more attractive sets of DDR4 we have ever seen, you are going to have to shell out a bit more to get what we showed you today. While it will hurt the scoring, for those looking for a top-performing option for both camps, few options do as well, and likely hard to acquire, while these are hot and fresh, ready to be homed in your system.
The Bottom Line
The price may be high, but Corsair backs it with style and performance. For their last chance at DDR4 for the masses, the Vengeance RGB RT is the kit to add extended life to an aging DDR4 based system.