Wow, what a year it’s been for memory companies. Demand for gigabytes has never been higher, while at the same time the price-per-GB has never been lower. Overall, that means that module manufacturers need to work harder and harder for less profit. Tough in any economy – but when things are flat, cashflow is a pain.
Companies that can innovate and drive forth in that kind of environment deserve respect.
Highlights included the Kingston’s major assault on the performance and enthusiast sectors – which saw the year end with the launch of the 8GB Beast kit. G.Skill brought its strong relationships with the gamer/OC communities to various events – clocking TridentX memory to 3,900MHz with Christian Ney on a Gigabyte GA-A75-UD4H AMD chipset mainboard.
Even the second biggest memory module maker in the world, ADATA, got in on the act with redesigned and rebranded units aimed at the overclocking community (as well as a clever wireless access system for SD cards).
Geil’s renewed drive into the market couples its existing memory brands like EVO with Epic Gear for gamers and Zenith SSD drives. And let’s not forget the company that defined the performance memory category with TwinX and Dominator – Corsair has not been resting on its laurels.
As with other groups, we considered two market requirements for memory: Value for people that want to build a great system on a budget and Performance for those us who are, let’s face it, a little crazy.
Even before we begin judging the actual products themselves, we first had to decide what ‘Value’ meant in 2012.
There was a time when memory was £20 a GB. Then for ages it was £10 and, today, you can buy a pair of Kingston 1GB Blu sticks for a little over £10. For us, ‘value’ means a set up that will do everything you need – without borrowing money from another part of the system. On that basis, we’re going to consider dual module kits, with a minimum of 8GB, that cost under £50 for this award.
Straight out of the box, the Kingston HyperX Predator Beast 8GB kits are very impressive and the 2400MHz modules weigh in around £40, which is impressive considering they can be clocked past 2,500MHz without adjusting the 1.65v.
In comparison, the Patriot Intel Extreme Masters 8GB kit runs at 2133MHz out of the packet and, although it packs some serious overclocking performance, the £50 asking price is less competitive. The same is true for the G.Skill TridentX Series 8GB 2400MHz kit up near £60. For us, the winner has to be the 2400MHz 8GB Kingston HyperX Predator Beast.
We did like AData’s XPG Xtreme Series 2,133MHz 16GB kit – which clocks to 2,448MHz but costs around £140. We also love the 16GB Evo Leggera 1866MHz kit from Geil, which can be tuned to work comfortably past 2,100 MHz and only costs only £79. Patriot has great kits, designed in conjunction with Intel to celebrate the Extreme Masters tournaments – well worth considering in both 8GB and 16GB kit form.
At the very high end, our two favourite performance kits of 2012, are the budget priced Samsung Green DDR3 1,600mhz kit which could be overclocked to 2,400mhz+ and the Corsair Dominator Platinum 2,666mhz 16GB kit which ships at 2,666MHz and which we managed to clock to an incredible 2,849MHz. If you have deep pockets and want the ultimate memory for your system then the Corsair Dominator Platinum 2,666mhz memory is the best you can buy and it takes our Performance Memory Product of the Year award for 2012.