Dual-channel DDR3 RAM (Part 1)

8/14/2013 9:19:43 AM

Leo W. loves to stuff his PCs with 8GB or 16GB of fast dual-channel DDR3 memory, and the cost can be surprisingly modest, onward with this week’s group.

A-Data Premier Pro 16GB DDR3-1600MHz

The model name that A-Data has selected for this DDR3-1600 is Premier Pro, which conjures up an impression of something out of the ordinary. The ‘something’ in this instance is a blister pack containing two modules of memory with a large colored image of a hummingbird. As it happens the hummingbird is A-Data’s company logo, and while the picture is both appealing and eye-catching, it isn’t immediately obvious which aspect of the DDR3-1600 is either Premier or Pro.

ADATA Premier 16GB DDR3 1600MHz

A-Data sent me the Premier Pro RAM in a plain package which focused my attention on the modules, and I wasn’t won over by the cosmetic appeal of this memory, as it is stunningly dull.

The modules are built on green PCB with eight chips on each side, so that’s 16 chips for each 8GB module, and there are no heat shields to provide any visual distraction or to pretty things up. The chips are printed with A-Data identification numbers that give no clue about the specification or the fabrication process that was used to manufacture the dips.

I didn’t get much help from the A-Data website, as the specification page appears to be a bit behind the times and refers to module density of 2GB or 4GB, which rather ignored the fact that I had 8GB modules in the test PC at that very moment.

ADATA 8Gx16 DDR3 1600MHzADATA 8Gx16 DDR3 1600MHz

The only other nugget of information in the specification is that Premier Pro runs on 1.5V but that is exactly what you expect from memory with a rated speed of 1600MHz.

When I tested the A-Data memory, I found it ran at 1600MHz by default on my fourth-gen Intel Core i7 test system, so there was no need to use XMP to change the clock speed, since the memory was already running at its maximum rated speed.

If you have an older PC that uses slower memory settings, there are XMP profiles that might come into play, but the numbers are a bit odd. The speeds below 1600MHz are 1370MHz and 1200MHz and in addition I saw there’s a higher dock speed of 1676MHz on offer. This is such a small improvement on 1600MHz that I didn’t bother to run benchmarks at this speed, but if you’re desperate for an extra percent or two, you might consider it worthwhile.

Performance really isn’t the object of the exercise with the A-Data RAM, and this is brought home by the fact that performance is slightly lower than the other memory in the group when they're all compared at 1600MHz. In particular, the latency looks low at 57.8ns, although the Patriot memory has similarly slow response. In the other benchmarks the A-Data does a reasonable job, but it’s left in the dust when the memory is run at maximum speed, because it starts as 1600MHz and has no scope for running at a higher speed.

This means that the read bandwidth is limited to 24,000MB/s, while faster memory such as Avexir or Kingston zooms up no 36,000MB/s.

If you demand ultra-high performance, then the A-Data isn’t for you, because that is not where its strength lies.

You’ll need to hunt around, as l found the A-Data DDR3-1600 on sale for $116, but I also saw it priced at $125 on Amazon US, so the pricing is highly variable.

Shop carefully, and if you fancy 16GB of perfectly decent memory at a reasonable price, then you should snap up the Premier Pro smartish.


·         Price: $116

·         Manufacturer: A-Data

·         Website: www.adatagroup.com

·         Quality: 5/10

·         Value: 8/10

·         Overall: 7/10

Avexir Core Blue 8GB DDR3-2400MHz

I was looking forward to my first hands-on experience with Avexir DDR3 memory, and it came thanks to Overclockers, which is the sole UK outlet for this brand of memory. In fact, Overclockers sent me three sets of Core Series memory, so l had to do a bit of reading to figure out the difference between DDR3-1600 Core Red, DDR3-1600 Core Yellow and DDR3-2400 Core Blue.

4GB x4 DDR3-2400C10 1.65V

4GB x4 DDR3-2400C10 1.65V

The name Core suggests this particular range of memory should live down at the basic end of the Avexir family, but this is not the case. Avexir lists Budget, Platinum and Green models that have the memory chips on show, and then we have Standard, Core and Blitz series, which are covered with heat spreaders.

Core is a performance model that employs LED lighting along the length of the module, while Blitz is a juiced up version of Core that adds a second XMP profile to the module.

You can buy Core kits that range from 1333MHz to 2800MHz with dual-channel capacities that start at 2GB and go up to 16GB.

It’s the Red, Yellow and Blue label that sets Avexir apart from the competition, because this describes the color of the light in each module. I have to be honest and say I’m not usually in favor of having lights inside my PC, because I value ease of access and decent cooling but have little time for fans with colored LEDs in the rotating blades or strings of fluorescent lights. I am impressed by those people who build water cooled systems with colored coolant in clear tubes, but that’s more about the engineering than the lighting, so I did not expect to like the Avexir Blue DDR3-2400 RAM.

Avexir DDR3-2400MHz

Avexir DDR3-2400MHz

“In terms of performance the Core Blue worked perfectly at the default speed”

I was wrong. The blue LEDS in this model illuminate in a pattern that pulses up and down each module and flashes between the two modules in sequence. When I added a pair of Avexir Core Yellow modules to the other slots in the motherboard the effect was eye catching and very appealing. I’m not certain that I want a light show inside my PC case, but if I did go down that route, I reckon that Avexir RAM would be on my shopping list.

One downside to the inclusion of lighting strips is that the modules are moderately tall at 30mm.

In terms of performance, the Core Blue worked perfectly at the default speed of 1600MHz but gave problems when I enabled XMP, as the memory was unstable and would boot into Windows but refused to run SiSoft Sandra.

This was easily solved by manually raising the RAM voltage to 1.65V, which allowed the Avexir RAM to run at full speed. I asked Overclockers why the XMP profile didn‘t work correctly and it, told me that the ASRock BIOS probably didn’t recognize Avexir, as it’s a lesser-known manufacturer. It also offered the view that you’re best advised to ignore XMP and use manual settings to get maximum performance.

That’s a valid point, but I feel that the combination of UEFI and XMP in modem motherboards is taking us away from the traditional BIOS and manual settings Enthusiasts will have no problem with manual memory settings, but the more casual customer who is attracted by the lure of pretty lights might find the Avexir less appealing.

When the Cote Blue is running at full speed, you get high performance and low latency that put this memory at the top of the group. If you feel that integrated lighting is something you desire, then Avexir Core should be the RAM inside your PC.

Personally, I can take the lighting or leave it and would prefer to see the price drop by $7 there is no doubt that Core Blue stands out from the rest of the field, and that is very welcome.


·         Price: $101

·         Manufacturer: Avexir

·         Website: www.avexir.com

·         Quality: 8/10

·         Value: 7/10

·         Overall: 7/10

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