The Corsair Link software significantly simplifies the overclocking process. Each of their modules incorporates an eight-layer PCB and highly-screened memory ICs, both of which are there to ensure and secure high-performance overclocking. The modules come in a variety of colours.
A bit of an overkill for most customers.
The Corsair Vengeance LPX (C16) is a great choice if you're running a virtual machine. It is also a great choice if you're building a server computer. It's a bit of an overkill for gaming and other everyday purposes but the RAM offers a good way to future-proof your PC.
32GB kit (2 x 16GB)
XMP 2.0 support, anodised aluminium heat spreader
The stylish modules incorporate a sort of shark fin design. The aggressive, cheeky look makes the sticks stand out from the otherwise bland crowd. The timings are superb. Featuring 16-18-18-38 nanoseconds in every category, it will take the modules less time to receive commands from the CPU and to respond to them.
A bit more sizable than your average RAM stick.
The G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 RAM is easily the most impressive option for hardcore gamers and overclocking enthusiasts out there. It is also one of the better options for high-end system builders looking to break their own records or to build the gaming rig of their dreams.
16GB kit (2 x 8GB)
XMP 2.0 support, TridentZ™ heat spreader
The RAM is compatible with the motherboards that come equipped with the Intel’s 100 series and X99 chipsets. Each stick features precisely 31 millimetres in height. This kind of size makes them suitable for Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, and some of the smallest cases out there.
The timings are relatively low.
This iteration of HyperX FURY is one of the most well-balanced DDR4 RAM kits on the market today. The dual channel setup that adds up to 16 gigabytes will be more than enough to make video editing, high-end gaming, AI processing, and 3D rendering a whole lot faster.
16GB kit (2 x 8GB)
XMP 2.0 support, aluminium heat spreader
The modules will give you a 32% increase in bandwidth and about a 40% decrease in power consumption (compared to DDR3 RAM). They are really easy to set up. All you'll need is a screwdriver, the manual that comes with the RAM, and a couple of minutes. You won't need any additional tools or computer skills.
Limited as far as overclocking potential goes.
The Crucial CT2K8G4DFD824A makes a pretty convincing case for itself with its simplicity of installation, efficient use of hardware real estate, and solid performance. If you're looking to build a high-end gaming unit without spending too much money, this DDR4 RAM will fit you to a tee.
16GB kit (2 x 8GB)
XMP 2.0 support
The pure aluminium heat spreader excels at dissipating and pulling away heat from the ICs and right into the computer’s cooling path. The automatic overclocking capabilities with the XMP 2.0 support will allow you to boost your PC's performance without any hassle as you won't have to manually push the DRAM frequency.
The SPD speed is lower than 3000 MHz by default, so you'll have to access BIOS and set the speed up.
The Corsair Vengeance LPX (C15) is the choice of today. It probably won't be enough in a few years but the affordable price makes the kit easily one of the most sensible DDR4 RAM prospects. The modules have your multitasking needs covered and that's all that you need from budget RAM.
8GB kit (2 x 4GB)
XMP 2.0 support, anodised aluminium heat spreader
Corsair Vengeance LPX C16
More RAM Than You Can Shake a Stick At
The Corsair Vengeance LPX (C16) is definitely one of the most impressive options on the market. Having said that, it is also one of the pricier ones. Aside from the steep price, its capacity will just be a bit of an overkill even for hardcore gaming enthusiasts. Of course, we aren't saying that this is a niche product. There are quite a few people who would benefit from this DDR4 memory kit.
Featuring two 16-gigabyte sticks, the product will be enough to support a serious server machine. With 32 gigabytes of RAM, you'll also have no trouble running a virtual machine.
And, sure, it is an overkill for gaming purposes as even the most demanding triple-A titles, with an array of tabs and applications running in the background, won't be able to even approach the maximum capacity of this kit. But it is never a bad idea to future-proof your PC since DDR4 is here to stay and you'll definitely find some use for it in the near future.
We're dealing with one of the most expensive options on the market, so it goes without saying that the frequency characteristics of each stick is also off the charts. Boasting 3200 MHz of clock speed, the RAM communicates with the motherboard about as fast as a couple of teenagers in the Fortnite chat.
It's Already There
Unless you enjoy wasting money, you don't get this kind of monstrosity without any overclocking intentions in mind. Sure, as we've said earlier, it is already an overkill for most people, but most people aren't willing to spend this much money on RAM anyway. The engineers at Corsair know their target audience and they sure know how to cater to them.
The Corsair Link software significantly simplifies the overclocking process. Each of their modules incorporates an eight-layer PCB and highly-screened memory ICs, both of which are there to ensure and secure high-performance overclocking.
DDR4 and any other type of RAM are as much about specifications as they are about design and construction. Which is why we particularly like the low-profile, 31-millimetre design of the sticks. Even though Mini-ITX and Micro ATX motherboards with DDR4 support aren't there yet, the modules from Corsair are already here. These sticks are perfect for smaller cases or for any system that has a limited amount of internal space.
Corsair were never the ones to disregard aesthetics either. So it's not too much of a surprise that the product is available in a variety of different colours. With the right stick, you'll be able to match your system board, your hardware, or just your style.
To rephrase our earlier points, the Corsair Vengeance LPX (C16) is a great choice if you're running a virtual machine. It is also a great choice if you're building a server computer. It's a bit of an overkill for gaming and other everyday purposes but the RAM offers a good way to future-proof your PC.
G.Skill Trident Z
Fast as a Shark
The people at G.Skill were always about two things: aesthetics and performance. In Trident Z, this philosophy of theirs is more evident than ever. Though we were definitely more impressed with the RAM's specifications, we'd like to start with the design of the modules. Sure, it won't make your PC run faster, but the difference in RAM from different companies can often be so minuscule that you ought to look outside the box to find the winner.
Or, in this case, right at the box. Of course, the "box" here is a couple of stylish, sleek, and daring modules that incorporate a sort of shark fin design. It's not much but the cheeky look definitely makes the sticks stand out, and that's not an easy fit to accomplish in RAM.
With the product's aggressive aesthetics out of the way, we can get to the heart of the matter. Performance-wise, Trident Z is an absolute beast. Featuring the clock speed of 3200 MHz, this thing will streamline each interaction between your motherboard's components, so your system will run like Usain Bolt on steroids on top of a cheetah.
But that's just the default speed. The Trident Z series was actually the very first DDR4 RAM to reach the 4000 MHz mark. And it was also the very first module to break the 5000 MHz barrier.
It Gets Faster
Of course, you see these numbers and you might think to yourself that you won't be able to get there without special equipment worth thousands of pounds. But that isn't the case here.
First, the modules come equipped with the TridentZ™ heat spreader. This little component is exceptional when it comes to dispersing and distributing heat, so even an amateur overclocker without some sort of a liquid cooling setup will be able to get a lot out of this RAM. And, of course, the model supports Intel's XMP 2.0 (Extreme Memory Profile), so you don't have to be a technical wizard to overlock the modules.
The last but definitely not the least important aspect of this DDR4 RAM concerning performance is its latency (timings). Featuring 16-18-18-38 nanoseconds in every category, it will take the modules less time to receive commands from the CPU and to respond to them. Sure, it isn't a huge difference compared to your average DDR4 memory module. But, as you probably know, all of these numbers tend to stack up and, big picture, they often matter more than you would think.
Honestly, the only thing we didn't like about this product from G.Skill is the size of the sticks. As each of the two features 44 millimetres in height, you might have a hard time trying to fit them in smaller cases. But, other than that, the G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 RAM is easily the most impressive option on the market for hardcore gamers and overclocking enthusiasts. It is also one of the better options for high-end system builders looking to break their own records or to build the gaming rig of their dreams.
If you happen to be right in the middle of building yourself a new and versatile desktop computer, there's a good chance it could use the help of the HyperX FURY DDR4 RAM. In short, this pair of 8GB RAM sticks features one of the better balances of performance, ergonomics, and practicality.
Starting with the latter, the model is compatible with the motherboards that come equipped with Intel’s 100 series and X99 chipsets. This means you won't have to bother trying to build a specific rig that would fit these modules.
Speaking of fitting, each stick features precisely 31 millimetres in height. This kind of size makes them suitable for Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, and some of the smallest cases out there. But it won't just fit in there from the ergonomics standpoint.
Incorporating the signature HyperX FURY design, the modules boast that elegant but sharp low-profile that will give your rig more of a daring, dynamic look. On the other hand, the combination of the black background with white logos and inscriptions won't stand too much, so you won't have to waste your time trying to match the sticks with the rest of your components.
Overclocking Made Simple
HyperX is a gaming brand first and foremost and the only people who enjoy overclocking their hardware and getting the most out of their computer more are high-end system builders (well, they're often the same people, but we digress).
And while this iteration of Fury won't give you as much overclocking wiggle room as the most expensive DDR4 RAM modules on the market, there's plenty to go around for anyone who isn't looking to set a personal record.
The product supports XMP 2.0, a piece of software that simplifies the overclocking process and streamlines to help even the least experienced people draw as much as possible out of their RAM. The modules also offer automatic overclocking up to a pretty high frequency of 2666 MHz.
You won't have to tinker with BIOS and you'll be able to get the speed you want straight out of the box. But if you're not satisfied with that, the aluminium heat spreader will be able to support a considerable increase in clock speed, so overlock to your heart's extent.
The module's timings that stand at 15-15-15-35 nanoseconds are a tad slow compared to what you'd get from your standard DDR4 RAM but you're unlikely to notice the difference in your everyday use, so we wouldn't really hold it against them.
Again, this iteration of the HyperX FURY is one of the most well-balanced DDR4 RAM kits on the market today. The dual channel setup that adds up to 16 gigabytes will be more than enough to make video editing, high-end gaming, AI processing, and 3D rendering a whole lot faster.
Efficiency Without any Nonsense
Crucial was never the company to hide behind flashy design solutions or to trick their audience into buying their products based on the looks alone. Yes, their products often look bland, and Crucial CT2K8G4DFD824A is not an exception to this rule. As you can see in the picture or infer from the name, you won't find some sort of a bombastic layout here nor does it boast a cool name like Fury, Vengeance, or Trident.
And we don't have a problem with that. Hardware doesn't have to look good and some might even argue that it shouldn't. It should work. It should be fast, efficient, practical, and affordable. And these are exactly the words we would use to describe this DDR4 RAM kit from Crucial.
At the end of the day, it is all about performance and these modules do not trail behind in that category. Featuring 2400 MHz of clock speed, it will process your commands a lot quicker than even the fastest DDR3 RAM. The modules will load even the most demanding applications in a couple of seconds, so you will be able to work at a much more efficient rate.
Crucial Green is XMP 2.0 ready, so the only thing standing between you and a faster RAM for gaming, video editing, and rendering purposes is a couple of simple settings. Unfortunately, the sticks do not incorporate the kind of aluminium heat spreader that you will often find in DDR4 RAM, making them limited as far as the overclocking potential is concerned. Now, we're not saying that you won't be able to boost your RAM's performance, just that it might not be enough to satisfy the overclocking enthusiasts.
The Latest Take on RAM
On the flip side, for a really affordable price, you will get yourself a pair of 8-gigabyte sticks. With 16 gigabytes of RAM, you will be able to do a whole lot of things at once. Feel like playing a demanding next-gen video game while browsing through 50 tabs in Google Chrome? No problem. Rendering 3D images while editing videos? Easy, as long as other elements of your hardware can support that.
Again, you're getting two sticks of DDR4 RAM at a really affordable price, so you're also getting all of the advantages of DDR4. That includes the 32% increase in bandwidth and about a 40% decrease in power consumption (compared to your run-of-the-mill DDR3 RAM).
Finally, these modules are really easy to set up. All you'll need is a screwdriver, the manual that comes with the RAM, and a couple of minutes. You won't need any additional tools or computer skills. The people at Crucial have also included a video installation guide, so you can always refer to it.
To sum it up, the Crucial CT2K8G4DFD824A makes a pretty convincing case for itself with its simplicity of installation, efficient use of hardware real estate, and solid performance. If you're looking to build a high-end gaming unit without investing too much in it, this DDR4 RAM will fit you to a tee.
Corsair Vengeance LPX C15
Enough for Everyday Use
Future-proofing your equipment sounds like a good thing, doesn' it? Problem is, you can't always predict the future nor will you always have the necessary financial means at your disposal. When you're on a budget, you have to be smart with your money. And that's what we like about Corsair Vengeance LPX (C15).
This is a DDR4 RAM, so it isn't like you're settling for mediocrity here. But given that the kit includes 2 modules, each featuring 4 gigabytes of RAM, you're really getting enough for your everyday 2018 use. In a couple of years, this much RAM probably won't cut it for serious multitasking involving some of the more demanding applications and video games.
But today, 8 gigabytes of RAM is enough to run AAA titles without any hiccups. It is enough for efficient multitasking. As long as the rest of your desktop computer is up to par, the modules will let you work with a variety of applications and to juggle with a number of tabs, all at the same time.
As far as the actual "running" is concerned, this affordable kit is absolutely no slouch. The clock speed adds up to 3000 MHz, the sort of frequency that will allow the computer to register and issue your commands in no time at all.
Though, to be fair, the actual SPD speed is set lower than 3000 MHz by default, so you will have to access BIOS and set the desired speed yourself. A minor inconvenience but the one that we still felt like mentioning.
Boost It Up
Despite the fact that the Corsair Vengeance LPX (C15) is one of the most modestly-priced DDR4 RAM prospects, the model is still, by all means, part of the Corsair's Vengeance series, so it gets to exploit all of the advantages that come with it. For instance, you have your pure aluminium heat spreader. As per usual, this component excels at dissipating and pulling away heat from the ICs and right into the computer’s cooling path. Thanks to it, you'll have the freedom to push your system harder as it will keep the operating temperature at a minimum.
On top of that, the modules' automatic overclocking capabilities with the XMP 2.0 support will allow you to boost your PC's performance without any hassle as you won't have to manually push the DRAM frequency.
Finally, each stick is 31-millimetre tall, so you'll be able to fit them in smaller cases. It may not sound like much but the compact size can make a world of difference, especially as far as budget builds are concerned.
All in all, the Corsair Vengeance LPX (C15) is the choice of today. It probably won't be enough in a few years but the affordable price makes the kit easily one of the most sensible DDR4 RAM prospects. The modules have your multitasking needs covered and that's all that you need from budget RAM.
What Is a DDR4 RAM?
Double data rate fourth generation synchronous dynamic random-access memory. Sounds badass. Also, quite bewildering for someone who is not a pro in the computer hardware.
A DDR4 RAM is the latest memory standard and it offers way fewer limitations than its predecessor, the DDR3. For one, the DDR4 memory has a larger list of clocking speeds, i.e. the speeds at which the RAM reads and writes data. There are also better—lower—timings, less energy required, more options for the capacity, and much better overall performance of the system. All these parameters might be of little need for an office worker or a casual computer user, but if you are an avid gamer aiming to be a pro and you are about to upgrade your gaming PC with a new RAM, the DDR4 is what you should be looking at.
Before you go and buy the DDR4, we do recommend checking the compatibility, though. The standard is not backward compatible, which means you can not insert this stick into a slot designed for DD3 and expect it to work: it won't.
Besides the RAM, you might need some other parts for your gaming PC, like a dedicated gaming graphics card or a good sound card as well.
What Features to Compare
RAM Speed and Latency
The RAM speed is expressed in MHz or GHz and the higher speed you have in your RAM, the faster the commands are processed. The DDR4 has a variety of speeds available, the highest one today being the 4266MHz, twice as much as DDR3, and it seems this is still not the limit. At the same time, the difference between, say, 3000 MHz and 3200 MHz offered by two sticks, both of which are DDR4, won't be really noticeable for the naked eye so if you choose between two numbers this close and not too different in price, we'd recommend checking out the capacity and get the bigger one. This will make the processes faster thanks to the sheer amount of memory available.
Often accompanying the RAM speed, there are latency numbers a.k.a. the timings. These are the numbers written with dashes. They designate the time necessary for the memory to receive the command from the processor and to respond to it. When it comes to latency, the lower the better, though, in consumer-level RAM modules, they rarely differ more than a couple numbers and, furthermore, the difference is not something you will notice since we're talking nanoseconds here.
More comparisons. The average maximum amount of RAM memory for DDR3 is 128GB, generally, it is considered the top for this standard. The DDR4 memory is able to offer no less than 4 times this number, 512GB. Usually, this is the parameter that affects the price the most and a 512GB kit will most certainly cost an arm and a leg. More affordable and, therefore, more popular options would be between 16GB and 128GB. Why not buy a DDR3 of the same capacity, then, one might ask. They are cheaper, after all. Well, what you've saved on the stick cost, you will pay later in your electricity bills since DDR3 requires more power. DDR4 is more efficient and needs less power, it is a win-win.
Another thing to keep in mind about power is that lower power means a more stable system and less danger your RAM will fry itself during overclocking.
Finally, if you are on a really tight budget, an 8GB DDR4 RAM is as good as some bigger DDR3 offers and definitely better than DDR3 of the same capacity.
Overclocking means enhancing your RAM's speed to exceed its basic limit. Usually, this is done by gamers to achieve better performance in high-demanding games. The process can be automatic, semi-manual, or fully manual. If you do plan on overclocking, your RAM needs a good heat spreader to avoid damaging the stick since the process results in some considerable load. If you are a novice and need an automatic overclocking, on an Intel platform, the XMP support is necessary as well.
Gamers, especially those who build their computers from scratch, often care about looks and manufacturers know about it. From keyboards and mouses to inner parts, computer peripherals for gamers today look stunning. They often have vibrant backlighting, unusual but convenient shapes, and a variety of bells and whistles created solely for eye-pleasing purposes. It is not uncommon for gamers to have their computer cases open for better ventilation due to high loads and to have a free access to the insides for maintenance. Therefore, the looks of those insides now matter quite a lot. Lately, the backlighting for DDR4 RAM sticks is all the rage, for example. The sticks themselves also become smaller.
How to Overclock Your DDR4 RAM
It Was Risky and Difficult
To the majority of people, overclocking sounds like a complicated and risky process that they would rather avoid engaging in. And we don't blame them. It is certainly true that, back in the days, overclocking wasn't by any means a simple thing that the inexperienced users had the knowledge or the capacity to perform. And the "risky" part isn't wrong either. Most pieces of hardware had very little means of protection against it, so there was a real chance you could fry your CPU or some other component while trying to slightly improve your computer's performance. For the average user, the risk simply wasn't worth the reward.
A lot Simpler and Safer Than You Would Think
But that's not the case anymore. Nowadays, overclocking still isn't as simple as turning on the computer but it is straightforward enough for your average consumer. On top of that, hardware these days comes equipped with all kinds of sophisticated safety solutions that simply turn off or prevent overclocking past a certain point, so there's next to no chance you'll be able to fry your component. So, with that out of the way, let's get down to business and figure out how to overclock your DDR4 RAM.
In a nutshell, overclocking your RAM can be done in three different ways: auto, XMP, and manual. Generally speaking, you'd be better off using the combination of all three, but the manual approach is a tad more complicated and we wouldn't recommend a newcomer tackling it.
A good place to start is auto. First, you need to access BIOS. You should already be familiar with this part of the procedure if you've already overclocked your CPU. If you haven't done that already, we would suggest starting with the processor. We'll wait.
Done with the CPU? Alright, back to the BIOS we go. Now, choose the advanced mode. From there, you o to the page where you do your overclocking. Generally speaking, it is usually some variation of something Tweaker something. ASUS motherboards have it as AI Tweaker. ROG call them Extreme Tweaker. As you can see, not much of a variation, so you shouldn't have to hard of a time locating it.
There, you should find a setting with a name like AI Overlock Tuner or something along those lines (again, it depends on your motherboard). The menu of this setting will present you with a choice of the aforementioned auto, XMP, and manual overclocking. Just as the name suggests, the auto mode will do everything for you. Plus, it will tell you if the system is stable enough and if your RAM is defective or not.
Extreme Memory Profile
XMP is a slightly different animal. With the help of CPU-Z, you should set the said tool to clock your RAM at a certified profile (more often than not, it is the advertised settings of your RAM). In, say, Corsair Vengeance LPX (C16), it would be DDR4-3200 with 16-18-18-36 timings at the 1.35 voltage point. After that, set the AI Overclock Tuner to XMP. It will change all of the other requires BIOS settings on its own. All that's left to do is to save the settings and reboot your system. If your DDR4 RAM officially supports XMP (and most of them do), it should work just fine.
All of it is pretty basic and there's nothing particularly complicated about the process (until you get to the manual part) but XMP alone might give you between 25 and 50% increase in frequency. Which is a lot, in case you were wondering. Now, if you're willing to risk your RAM's safety, you could play with the voltage and a number of other settings and you might be able to get an even bigger increase in performance. But that's a topic for another time, one that you should avoid tackling before you get comfortable with the basics.