The enthusiast memory market can be considered the most vibrant part of the computer hardware components market. Dozens of manufacturers make their high-speed memory for high-performance systems; however, the product range from either of these makers is overall pretty similar to what the competitors have to offer. It is fairly difficult to figure out which way to go when there are so many very similar memory models out there that is why in most cases the users prefer to go with a known brand name, although it is not always the best choosing strategy. Therefore, from time to time we publish comparative memory roundups of the existing solutions. And today time has come for another article like that.
Our today’s article will discuss the popular triple-channel memory kits, 6 GB each, targeted for LGA1366 platforms. These systems are currently the highest-performance solutions available in the market. Therefore, those who buy systems like that select their components very carefully and pay special attention not only to mainboards or graphics cards, but also to system memory. And even though our research suggests that the system performance doesn’t depend on the memory subsystem speed too much, it is the memory that may eventually become a bottleneck limiting the system’s overclocking potential. Therefore, it is of special interest to compare the features and potential of different DDR3 SDRAM kits for LGA1366 systems.
The arrival of Core i7 processors based on Nehalem microarchitecture became a powerful stimulus for increasing popularity of DDR3 SDRAM. The memory controller integrated into these processors doesn’t support DDR2 memory that is why the users trying to put together a powerful system do not have any other choice, but to go with DDR3 SDRAM. As a result of this increasing interest to DDR3 memory, the prices on modules like that went down significantly. As you can easily see, DDR2 and DDR3 SDRAM kits of the same capacity are selling at comparable prices. At the same time, there are relatively expensive DDR3 kits as well as pretty affordable ones in the today’s market offered side by side. In our opinion, the best choice in terms of price-to-performance ratio today is DDR3-1600 SDRAM. 1600 MHz memory features sufficient bandwidth, especially when used in a triple-channel memory configuration and at the same time allows overclocking the system by simply raising the base generator clock frequency, without setting the lowest multiplier for the memory bus frequency. As for the retail price of DDR3-1600 SDRAM, it is not that much different from the price of slower DDR3 models. Therefore, today we decided to take a real close look at the existing DDR3-1600 SDRAM for LGA1366 systems shipped in triple-channel kits including three identical memory modules, 2 GB each – the today’s most popular DDR3 SDRAM configuration.