Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 16GB Memory Review
With a fair number of X99 motherboard reviews under our belt, we felt that it was time to focus a little more on the memory side of this new platform. As you might already know, the enthusiast-oriented Intel Haswell-E processors make use of the new DDR4 memory standard, and with a quad-channel memory interface they require quite a bit of it. When you combine the need for four modules with the fact that DDR4 is still a very niche item, the end result is that most DDR4 memory kits are quite pricey at the moment.
The first DDR4 memory kit that we reviewed was a highly clocked G.Skill Ripjaws4 DDR4-3000 model, which although impressive by any measure was quite pricey at almost $400USD/$450CAD...and it has gotten even pricier as the weeks go by. What this means is that although this new memory format is unquestionably a critical part of this forward-looking platform, it also represents a significant part of the overall build cost of any LGA2011-3 system. With that in mind, today we are looking at a memory kit that is more reasonably priced, while not giving up much of the clock speed advantage that makes DDR4 special.
Since they are one of the heavyweights of the DIY PC market, it is no surprise to see Corsair come out aggressively supporting this new memory standard. How aggressive? Well as of this moment, the company's DDR4 line up consists of an incredible 38 models, ranging from 16GB to 64GB and DDR4-2400 all the way up to DDR4-3300. We will be reviewing the "mid-range" Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 16GB model, otherwise known as the CMK16GX4M4A2666C15R. This 4x4GB kit features a DDR4-2666 clock speed with 15-17-17-35 timings at 1.20V. The R at the end of the model number stands for RED, which is the colour of the heatspreaders. Corsair also has a similar model with an all-black design. Now we used scare quotes around "mid-range" since this is still a $285USD/$345CAD item, however as you will see on the next page this memory kit has a secret party trick.
Most consumers never even get to see the packaging of the products they buy online before ordering them, but a little attention to the detail does go a long way towards creating a positive initial impression when they receive their product. As a result, let's see what Corsair have done with this new quad-channel DDR4 memory kit.
Unlike most other memory kits that come in a standard plastic clamshell with a cardboard insert, Corsair packages this model in a little branded box. It is a pretty compact affair since the modules feature fairly low profile heatspreaders. Inside there are two separate plastic trays that each hold two modules. They can be opened by hand - no knife required unlike with blister packs - which means that they are also resealable. There is also a little pamphlet on the inside listing warranty details.
Although these memory modules feature an updated look, they definitely share some design DNA with those found in the previous Vengeance LP DDR3 memory kits. Made of anodized aluminium, these are fairly low profile heatspreaders with a height of about 34mm/1.34". As mentioned in the intro, although this particular model comes with red heatspreaders, but there is a black version as well known as the CMK16GX4M4A2666C15.
In the introduction we mentioned that this memory kit had a secret party trick, and well here it is. Corsair have included an additional XMP 2.0 profile that pushes the modules up to DDR4-2800 while keeping the same 15-17-17 timings as the stock DDR4-2666 setting. There is voltage bump from 1.20V to 1.35V, but that's well within reasonable limits. This is pretty awesome addition since you are basically getting a DDR4-2800 kit for less than you would ordinarily have to pay.
Although we could not remove the heatspreaders without risking damaging this RAM, we do know without a shadow of a doubt that our single-sided modules were manufactured with Hynix MFR ICs, which are the best overclocking DDR4 memory chips on the market right now. That may change in the future, but if you can find a kit with the same version number (5.29), then you have a great chance of also having these excellent memory chips.
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