ADATA XPG V2 DRAM Review

ADATA might not be the biggest kid on the block, but they do specialize in various memory and storage related products, in which this specialization should help them churn quality products.  In fact, ADATA has the most award-winning product designs, which does show their enthusiasm to providing top-notch memory solutions to their customers.  Today we’ll take a look at the new ADATA XPG V2 DRAM memory kit to see how it stacks up against their performance claims.

The new XPG V2 series is designed for 4th Generation Intel Core Processors (Haswell) and the Z87 platform, and features colorful and visually striking heat spreaders.  These DDR3 modules come in speeds starting at 1600MHz (9-9-9-24 timings @ 1.5v) and go up to a staggering 3100MHz with 12-14-14-36 timings @ 1.65v.  Should you not have a board capable of running at these speeds, or if you forget to change them on a board that does, they are JEDEC compliant and will run at 1333MHz with 9-9-9-24 timings @ 1.5v.  To unleash the full power of these modules, you just have to simply activate the XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) profile 1.

The XPG V2 kits come in either 8GB or 16GB sets, featuring either gold or tungsten gray colored heat spreaders.  These memory modules are backed by ADATA’s limited lifetime warranty.  The kit that we will be looking at today is the 8GB 2400MHz gold kit (AX3U2400W4G11-DGV) and has a retail of $94.99 shipped on Amazon.

Below is a quick list of the various speeds and kit sizes that ADATA offers for the XPG V2 DRAM.

Model

Speed

Size

Latency

Voltage

Color

DDR3-3100

PC3-24800

4GB x 2

CL12-14-14-36

1.65V

GOLD / Tungsten grey

DDR3-2800

PC3-22400

8GB x 2

CL12-14-14-36

1.65V

GOLD / Tungsten grey

DDR3-2800

PC3-22400

4GB x 2

CL12-14-14-36

1.65V

GOLD / Tungsten grey

DDR3-2600

PC3-20800

8GB x 2

CL11-13-13-35

1.65V

GOLD / Tungsten grey

DDR3-2600

PC3-20800

4GB x 2

CL11-13-13-35

1.65V

GOLD / Tungsten grey

DDR3-2400

PC3-19200

8GB x 2

CL11-13-13-35

1.65V

GOLD / Tungsten grey

DDR3-2400

PC3-19200

4GB x 2

CL11-13-13-35

1.65V

GOLD / Tungsten grey

DDR3-1600

PC3-12800

8GB x 2

CL9-9-9-24

1.5V

GOLD / Tungsten grey

DDR3-1600

PC3-12800

4GB x 2

CL9-9-9-24

1.5V

GOLD / Tungsten grey

 

To bring the quality and stability into these modules, ADATA selects each memory chip through a strict filtering process, complete with high quality PCBs which use 2 ounces of copper, and the aluminum heat spreader to help ensure stability when pushing your RAM to the limits.

There isn't anything more to introduce with this RAM, so let’s move on to a quick closer look at the packaging and modules themselves.

 

A Closer Look At ADATA’s XPG V2 DRAM

The packaging that this memory kit came in was quite basic.  It did the job of protecting the RAM modules and that’s all it needed to do.

I tend to cringe when I see items packaged in this manner, just for the frustration on opening them, but fortunately ADATA made opening it up a breeze with the back that just zips right off.  Just on the upper left is the point to easily open it up.

Once you open up the package, you’ll have to take out the paper insert.  If you flip this insert open, you’ll find the instructions printed inside, which also gives you a nice breakdown of their warranty policy.

Taking a look at the modules themselves, you can’t help but notice the large heat spreaders.  With the heat spreader in place, these modules measure 43.5mm tall.  That’s not overly tall, so it shouldn't be an issue for most people with large aftermarket air coolers or water cooling loops.  For reference, there are other memory modules out there that are quite a bit larger yet; like Corsair Dominator GTX tall, coming in at 64.3mm.

This kit came with gold colored aluminum heat spreaders, and I wasn't too sure about the color at first.  It is definitely different, but I think I’ll like it in the end.  I’m always up for different colors and this one sure meets that category.  Again, the other color is tungsten grey, which I feel will be a color that more people opt for.

The color of the PCB is a slick black, which I am really digging.  The black and gold really go together quite well, but what doesn't black go together well with?

When I take close-up shot of the side profile, you can begin to see the layering of the PCB.

Finally, here is a shot of the label that’s used on the modules.  This sticker gives you the model number (AX3U2400W4G11-DGV), the memory speed, and finally the timings at that speed at 1.65v.  You will achieve the 2400MHz speeds via the single XMP (Intel Extreme Memory Profile).  These modules are programmed at JEDEC standards, running at 1333MHz with 9-9-9-24 timings at 1.5v.

Next up let’s take a quick peek at the test system, then get on to the benchmarking!

 


 

The Test System

Before we take a look at the performance numbers, let’s take a brief look at the test system that was used.  All testing was done using a fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running.

Intel Z87/LGA1150 Platform

The Intel Z87 platform that we used to test these memory modules was running the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD4H motherboard with BIOS version F7 that came out on 08/05/2013.  The processor used, the Intel Core i7 4770k, was just using the stock frequency of 3.5GHz with turbo boost enabled, which can boost it up to 3.9GHz.

Up next I will run a couple benchmarks against these modules to see how they perform to ADATA’s claims.


 

ADATA XPG V2 Benchmarking

I started off benchmarking with the stock Extreme Memory Profile (XMP), which was 2400MHz at 11-13-13-35 timings running at 1.65v.  I then ran the same benchmarks to the highest frequency the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD4H would let me, which came to 2600MHz at 11-14-14-36 timings and still at 1.65v.  I could not find a sweet spot (voltage and timings) to let the system POST and get even more out of the memory, but I’m sure there has got to be more give, I just appear to be ill-equipped.

 

SiSoftware Sandra 2013 SP4

Sandra needs no introduction as it is the most popular memory performance benchmark available.

ADATA XPG V2 8GB (2x 4GB) Memory at 2400MHz 11-13-13-35

ADATA XPG V2 8GB (2x 4GB) Memory at 2600MHz 11-14-14-36

Benchmark Results:  Running the XMP Profile #1 at 2400MHz, we saw an aggregate memory performance of 26.7 GB/s.  When overclocking to 2600MHz, it was quite stunning to see this number drop to 26.17 GB/s.  To ensure there wasn't a flaw, we re-ran the test on both frequencies and got similar results.

 

AIDA64 Extreme Edition 3.0 Beta

AIDA64 Extreme Edition 3.0 software is an excellent benchmarking tool for looking at memory performance on any desktop PC.

ADATA XPG V2 8GB (2x 4GB) Memory at 2400MHz 11-13-13-35

ADATA XPG V2 8GB (2x 4GB) Memory at 2600MHz 11-14-14-36

Benchmark Results:  Running AIDA64 Extreme Edition, we found the read and write scores to be 34089 MB/s and 35279 MB/s at 2400MHz with CL11 timings.  When bumping the speed to 2600MHz with the same CL11 timing, and the read dropped to 30214 MB/s while the write jumped up to 38239 MB/s.  It was very interesting seeing the read speeds drop by nearly 13%, while the write jumped a little over 8% just by an overclock.  Everything else was pretty much a wash.

Why the big difference between the AIDA64 and Sandra memory bandwidth scores? The higher scores are due to the fact that AIDA64 uses extreme optimizations in all its cache, memory, CPU and FPU benchmarks.

 

MaxxMEM² v1.99

MaxxMEM² is another memory benchmarking tool that is starting to become quite popular as of late.

ADATA XPG V2 8GB (2x 4GB) Memory at 2400MHz 11-13-13-35

ADATA XPG V2 8GB (2x 4GB) Memory at 2600MHz 11-14-14-36

Benchmark Results:  Following a similar trend with the other benchmarks, MaxxMEM² came up with similar results showing the overclock actually hurt the performance.

 

Metro Last Light Benchmark

 Metro: Last Light is a first-person shooter video game developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and features action-oriented game play with a combination of survival horror elements. It uses the 4A Game engine and was released in May 2013.

 I ran Metro at settings that aren’t GPU intensive to help show a better impact of the memory.

 

Benchmark Results:  Despite the previous synthetic benchmark numbers showing decreased performance, I was astonished to see my average FPS went up by 2 FPS with the 2600MHz settings.  It isn't really much to brag about, but it was a gain none-the-less.

 

ADATA XPG V2 DRAM Conclusion

ADATA went a little different on the color of the heat spreader on this kit.  At first I wasn't sure about it, but in the end I really liked it.  It’s just a different color, and I don’t have a problem with different.  The design of the aluminum heat spreader was pleasing to the eye, so if you have a window on your case, these modules will look nice through it.  Should you not want to go with the gold color, you can always pick up the tungsten grey kit, which will surely work well with just about everyone’s setup.  Fortunately the heat spreader isn't overly huge, so users with large CPU coolers or water cooling loops should not have any issue with these modules.

On the performance side of the house, I really liked how these modules performed on the stock XMP Profile 1 settings.  Hitting 2400MHz on the stock profile, I was kind of hoping I’d be able to get higher yet on an overclock.  Unfortunately I couldn't find setting above 2600MHz where my Intel Core i7-4770 'Hawell' system would POST.  Bumping the voltage or the timings didn't get me anywhere, so I had to settle with the 2600MHz clock.  I have a feeling this memory has more give in it, but I need a motherboard that can dish it out.

The cost of the AX3U2400W4G11-DGV kit is definitely on the higher side of comparable speed and sized kits.  This kit will run you $94.99 shipped on Amazon and is backed by ADATA’s lifetime warranty.  The other kits in the same class even have tighter timings, which makes me hope this kit comes down in cost because it is quite nice.

Legit Bottom Line:  ADATA’s XPG V2 DRAM is aesthetically pleasing and delivers on the stock XMP Profile 1 setting, but we couldn't find much room to overclock.  The price also feels a bit high when compared to other similar speed and sized kits.