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Thread: Corsair Vengeance Quad-Channel Memory Review

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    Default Corsair Vengeance Quad-Channel Memory Review

    Corsair Vengeance Quad-Channel Memory Review


    Corsair Vengeance DDR3 memory modules are geared toward the enthusiast and overclocking communities. The reason the Vengeance memory modules can target these market segments is because they are selected for their high-performance and overclocking potential. In addition, all kits of Vengeance memory utilize an aluminum heat-spreader design that improves heat dissipation for overclocking and, if it matters, a sleek design that can be had in multiple colors.

    The Vengeance memory kits examined today are designed for the new Sandy Bridge-E platform, as they utilize a quad-channel design. There is no real difference between dual, triple or even quad-channel memory kits, but since the host system can support a certain amount of channels there must be a certain amount of memory present for the system to run the appropriate amount of channels. That's the reason X58 motherboards required three modules to run in triple-channel mode and Sandy Bridge motherboards require two modules to run in dual-channel.

    In our initial review of the SB-E platform, we observed a massive memory bandwidth increase in comparison to any other consumer based platform on the market. This allows SB-E to deliver amazing performance for data-intensive applications. However, how this translates into benefit for the average user has not yet been fully examined. So, in this review we intend to find out exactly how the increased memory bandwidth affects tasks such as gaming, video decoding and transferring files.

    We'll be examining two kits of Corsair Vengeance memory; both are 16GB kits of DDR3 1600MHz memory rated at 1.5 volts, but each uses different settings and heatsink designs. The first is a standard Vengeance kit that utilizes a finned aluminum heat spreader design and has timings of 9-9-9-24. The second kit is the Vengeance LP (Low-Profile), which as the name suggests has a low-profile heat spreader that will allow the DIMMs to fit in tighter spaces. This kit also has slightly tighter timings of 8-8-8-24.

    Both the Vengeance and Vengeance LP memory modules are currently available at retail and have a street price of $89 and $149, respectively. While the price of the LP kit we received is higher than the Vengeance kit, the difference in price is due to the tighter latencies and not the size of the heat spreader. So, any 16GB Vengeance kit with a CAS 8 rating is going to be around $149, while the CAS 9 models will retails around $89.

    Closer Look: The Memory

    Corsair sent Neoseeker 64GB of memory in total, 32GB of standard Vengeance memory and 32GB of Vengeance LP memory. All the sets came in small rectangular packages that displayed an image of the memory on the front along with the memory type, size and model name. On the front panel is an image of the memory installed in a high-end ASUS ROG motherboard. Using an ROG motherboard really shows that these models are geared toward high-end gamers, as the ROG series includes the all of the enthusiast grade products in the ASUS arsenal.
    The front of the packaging features an adjustable panel that prominently shows the Vengeance logo on the left side, while the right side displays actual size images of the memory modules along with a small cut-out that showcases either the Vengeance logo or product sticker. Turning the packaging around we see that the back includes a description of the Vengeance series memory, while the sides of the package simply list the memory model and capacity. Unlike many other manufacturers, Corsair doesn't include a long list of specifications on the outside, but the box informs the user of all the key features regarding the memory.
    As quad-channel memory kits, the Corsair Vengeance memory modules are optimized for the Sandy Bridge-E platform but they can also be used in dual-channel mode in both AMD and Intel systems. Since this kit is part of the Vengeance LP series, they look significantly different than the Vengeance models that included a finned heat-spreader design. The low-profile design is going to be beneficial to anyone using the memory in conjunction with a large CPU heatsink, or in a small form factor case. Without the fins at the top of the heatspreader, the memory can more easily fit into virtually any system without clearance issues.
    Vengeance memory modules are built with DRAM chips specially selected for their high-performance potential. The Vengeance LP modules we received utilize timings of 8-8-8-24 at 1600Mhz, however, they are also available at 9-9-9-24. The difference between CAS-8 and CAS-9 in the Vengeance series in terms of dollars is around $60, as the CAS-8 models are currently priced at $149 while the CAS-9 models are more affordable at $89. Other than the latencies, the memory actually has the same specifications; both are rated at 1600MHz, require 1.5 volts and have a limited lifetime warranty. The Vengeance memory modules also support Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP), which is an technology that automatically overclockes the memory when XMP is activated.
    The second Vengeance memory modules we received are also part of a 16GB kit that runs at 1600MHz, but they use the slightly higher CAS-9 latency. In addition, this kit sports the more traditional Vengeance heat-spreader which features a honeycomb product sticker with the Vengeance logo on the front and the product sticker on the back. It also includes all black aluminum heat-spreaders with an extruded fin design at the top for more efficient thermal performance.
    While both the memory kits we received for this review utilize a black heat-spreader, they can also be found in at least one other color. Currently the Corsair website shows the quad-channel Vengeance memory modules available in both red and black. A blue quad-channel kit could pop up down the road, but as of now just these two colors are available.

    Test Setups and Benchmarks

    To test the Corsair DDR3 memory kits, I will be using an Intel X79 motherboard paired with Intel's Core i7 3960X CPU. The same platform will be used for upcoming products as well. Turbo Boost will be disabled during testing in order to ensure consistent benchmark results and reliable comparisons between the memory kits.

    Test Setup: 16GB Corsair Vengeance (9-9-9-24)

    • Processor : Intel Core i7 3960X
    • Motherboard : Intel DX79SI
    • Video Card : XFX HD 6970
    • Hard Drive : Seagate 7200.11 750GB
    • Power Supply : Corsair AX1200
    • Operating System : Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit

    Test Setup: 16GB Corsair Vengeance LP (8-8-8-24)

    • Processor : Intel Core i7 3960X
    • Motherboard : Intel DX79SI
    • Video Card : XFX HD 6970
    • Hard Drive : Seagate 7200.11 750GB
    • Power Supply : Corsair AX1200
    • Operating System : Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit

    Benchmarks used

    • Futuremark PCMark Vantage
    • SiSoftware Sandra 2010
    • HandBrake
    • WinRAR
    • Far Cry 2
    • DiRT 3

    In case you guys are interested in more here are the links since i can't post the rest making the page look long

    Overclocked settings

    Sisoftware Sandra 2010

    handBrak and WinRar

    Far Cry 2 And DiRT 3 Benchmarks

    Far Cry 2 is yet another first person shooter, but this one has been developed by Ubisoft. The story takes place in Africa, where the ultimate goal is to get rid of an arms dealer.

    DiRT 3 is the third installment in the DiRT series and like it's predecessor incorporates DX11 features such as tessellation, accelerated high definition ambient occlusion and Full Floating point high dynamic range lighting. This makes it a perfect game to test the latest DX11 hardware.

    Similar to what we saw when comparing the HandBrake results, our gaming benchmarks showed that regardless of the timings and clock speeds the results are going to be similar. The kit that showed the largest increase in performance was the Vengeance modules that were set at 1971MHz, but again this is more due to the processor also having a slight overclock as opposed to mainly the memory.


    The truth about quad-channel memory is that like the triple-channel memory sub-system of Nehalem, Sandy Bridge-E is not starved of memory bandwidth. Essentially this means that even while the overall synthetic testing of quad-channel memory is mind-blowing, the results will not necessarily translate into better performance in real-world applications. Currently there is just not the need for this type of memory outside of large-scale workstations. However, even while the quad-channel memory architecture of the SB-E processor might not fully benefit all users, it is still important to use high-quality memory to achieve the highest performance possible.
    This isn’t to knock Corsair, and in fact both of the Vengeance memory kits were actually rock solid. They both performed well across the board when overclocked above 1900MHz, and have an attractive design. It's just that the quad-channel architecture itself is not necessarily as important as the timings and overall quality of the memory.
    Of the two, the fastest kit was of course the Vengeance LP, which was able to perform slightly better due to the tighter CAS 8 latency. In our testing, the LP kit scored better across the board, and the only test where it didn’t scale better with the improved latencies was DiRT 3. So for anyone looking for bleeding edge performance, it is worthwhile to spend the extra scratch and get memory that is going to give the best results without tweaking.
    The CAS 9 Vengeance memory modules also held up quite well under scrutiny, and while the performance wasn’t quite as good as the CAS 8 modules, the MSRP is dramatically lower. A 16GB kit of Vengeance memory with CAS 8 latency costs around $50 to $60 USD more than the CAS 9 offerings, so if you have the cash on hand it is a good option, but otherwise the kits with lower timings still offer similar performance at a considerably lowerprice.
    All in all, you can’t go wrong with either Vengeance kit as they both offer exceptional performance, high overclocking headroom, are highly efficient, and look quite slick to boot. If you’re looking for a new quad-channel kit for your high-end SB-E system, the Corsair Vengeance memory modules come highly recommended.

    Source-Neoseeker Review
    Last edited by Trave160; November 27th, 2011 at 23:57.

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