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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Memory
Written by David Ramsey   
Monday, 12 December 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB DDR3-1600
Closer Look: Vengeance LP DDR3-1600
Testing and Results
Synthetic Tests
Application Tests
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Corsair Vengeance LP Final Thoughts

A common mistake for enthusiasts to make is to concentrate on only a single aspect of system performance: a fast CPU can be hobbled by a low-end video card, or too little memory or hard drive space. Hard drive prices have skyrocketed in recent months due to the flooding in Thailand, which makes SSDs more attractive (although there's still a huge price differential).

But while hard disk prices are up, memory has become absurdly cheap in the last couple of years, with prices as much as 80% lower than prices just two years ago. This is good news for computer users: it's now possible to buy 16GB of good memory for well under a hundred dollars from top-tier vendors like Corsair and Kingston. This CAS-8 memory kit represents a compromise between sub-$100 16GB kits, which typically have either slower speeds like 1333Mhz or looser timings like CAS-9, and more expensive high-performance kits that run at higher frequencies.

corsair_vengeance_lp_side2.jpg

Still, as our tests have shown, there's little real world difference between various memory kits, even when the speeds and timings are dramatically different. This is because modern processors contain megabytes of cache memory (15MB in the case of the Core i7-3960X I used), and thus most memory requests will be satisfied from the cache, without accessing main memory at all, and even low-end CPUs these days typically have 2-4M or more of cache. Continuous accessing of system memory is simply quite rare in "real world" applications, while synthetic benchmarks are designed to do just that...which is why you see memory performance differences in these benchmarks, and not in applications. Enthusiasts should remember that having enough memory is much more important than having fast memory, and take advantage of current low prices.

CML16GX3M4X1600C8 Conclusion

The whole point behind paying more for high-performance components, be they fast CPUs, killer graphics cards, SSDs, or performance memory, is to see this better performance in your system. The Corsair Vengeance LP 1600Mhz memory represents a middle ground in 16GB memory kits, with both its price and its performance falling neatly between the lower-end, sub-$100 kits and the high-speed kits like the Kingston HyperX Genesis 2133, which costs over twice as much. Corsair's own CAS-9 Vengeance 16GB quad channel kit CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B has an MSRP that's $40 less than this kit, and I've seen it on sale for as little as $79.00. Enthusiasts will want to consider if the miniscule performance advantages of faster memory are worth the significant extra price.

Construction quality was good, although the sheet aluminum heat spreaders aren't as substantial and visually impressive as those on Corsair's Dominator memory.

Since performance is so similar for most DDR3 memory kits, vendors try to distinguish themselves on appearance and price. The Corsair Vengeance LP kit is comprised of about the plainest-looking modules you'll see short of kits with no heat spreaders at all.

Anyone running this memory (on an Intel system) should select its XMP profile in their computer's BIOS for the best performance. Corsair doesn't currently offer Vengeance memory with AMD performance profiles but AMD users can manually set the same settings specified in the Intel XMP profile). The memory was stable during testing and even under benchmarking loads the heat spreaders were only warm to the touch.

Functionality is excellent: the user can elect to run this memory at its default SPD-determined 1333MHz speed, but the guaranteed, albeit minor, performance improvement of 1600MHz is just a mouse click away. The low profile heat spreaders sacrifice visual bling for a noble cause: being able to fit any air cooler you want without worrying about clearance problems. This is a good tradeoff to make, especially on the X79 platform.

Priced for $149.99 at Newegg, this memory is priced competitively with other kits of similar specifications from other vendors. Corsair offers a lifetime warranty on all their memory and has a well-deserved reputation for quality and support. The Vengeance LP 1600MHz C8 memory kit represents a good value for the performance-minded system builder who wants more than "base level" memory.

Pros:

+ Low-profile heat spreaders won't present cooler clearance problems
+ XMP profile makes best performance easy to achieve
+ Lifetime warranty

Cons:

- Your pay a lot more for that CAS-8 timing
- Low profile heat spreaders are visually dull

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.00
  • Appearance: 7.50
  • Construction: 8.50
  • Functionality: 8.50
  • Value: 8.75

Final Score: 8.45 out of 10.

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Comments 

 
# Works in X58 TooDr_b_ 2011-12-22 00:23
Bought this exact four pack, and because they were so cheap, used three of them in an X58 (gigabyte X58A-UD5 board to be precise). In one of the systems, set the xmp profile (profile1) and changed nothing else, and system works flawlessly. Put another set of three in an similarly specd system, and it wouldn't reliably run at 1600Mhz. Attempted some voltage tweaks but got impatient and just set it back to 1333Mhz and kept the xmp profile latency timings and it runs great.

Importantly, as the reviewer notes, you do not really see a perceptible difference between high speeds and lower latencies. It is good RAM, and the low profile heatsinks (which is all you need if you are going to run at 1600Mhz, these do not get hot at all, they are warm to the touch) enable them to fit even under large heatsink overhangs. Perfect.
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# RE: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB DDR3-1600Squall Leonhart 2011-12-22 00:54
Hi, your benchmark results are lower then they should be for the write tests

enable C state tech and rebench please, the memory performance suffers greatly on Core i processors when C state tech is disabled.
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# RE: RE: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB DDR3-1600David Ramsey 2011-12-22 07:58
Someone will need to explain to me how keeping CPU's cores running at full spec (disabling C state) makes memory bandwidth _worse_. Until then I'm inclined to regard the test results as an idiosyncrasy in AIDA64. In the forum post quoted below, the AIDA64 administrators seemed unaware of this as well; in any case, they certainly didn't recommend one setting or the other.

In benchmarking tests the most important thing is consistency, so that users can judge the relative performance of the products being tested. All the memory in these benchmarks was tested on the same system with the same settings, so even if the C state thing is legitimate (and I will do more research on this), the results are comparable.
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# RE: RE: RE: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB DDR3-1600Squall Leonhart 2011-12-22 08:08
its not isolated to AIDA64. Performance is reproducibly worse in applications that like to swap data back and forth such as manipulating a texture currently live in video memory (requires copying back to system memory and writing it back)

these write results are also a good deal less than what i've seen from other benchmarks using the C9 vengeance kit on lesser hardware (the C8 sticks should obviously be a little faster)

see
##pureoverclock.com/review.php?id=1216&page=5
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB DDR3-1600David Ramsey 2011-12-22 08:39
"its not isolated to AIDA64. Performance is reproducibly worse in applications that like to swap data back and forth such as manipulating a texture currently live in video memory (requires copying back to system memory and writing it back)"

Can you provide an example of a reproducible benchmark I can use to test this? If so I can incorporate it into future memory reviews.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB DDR3-1600Squall Leonhart 2011-12-22 19:14
i was using the emulator dolphin for performance comparisons, i don't know if they would be willing to turn the "Copy to Ram" function into a benchmark
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# RE: RE: RE: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB DDR3-1600David Ramsey 2011-12-26 08:50
Now that I'm back from vacation, I decided to look into this. In my original tests, C states were enabled, since the test bed machine was run with the default BIOS settings. I re-ran the AIDA64 tests on the same motherboard and CPU used in this review, but with Kingston HyperX Genesis DDR3-2133 memory.

C states enabled: read 18924,, write 14995, copy 16914, latency 48.8ns
C states disabled: read 18897, write 15082, copy 17101, latency 48.9ns

The difference in write performance is a fraction over 1%, well within the margin of error of these tests. I conclude that at least with this motherboard and CPU, whether or not C states are enabled makes no difference in memory performance as measured by AIDA64's tests.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB DDR3-1600Olin Coles 2011-12-26 09:16
I'm adding this into the article, to prevent future confusion for anyone in disbelief of the results.
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# Bogus Appearance scoreRobert Johnson 2011-12-22 07:13
The appearance score by the reviewer is completely bogus and he obviously didn't do his homework. He fails to mention the fact that the LP memory comes in three different colors so that enthusiasts who build there own PCs can try to color match their mod. In addition the white Corsair LP memory although at CAS9 runs at a very low 1.35 volts. I've been reading benchmark reviews for some time but might stop reading them after this lackluster review effort. As mentioned by Squall Leonhart above you didn't even bench it properly for the write tests.
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# RE: Bogus Appearance scoreDavid Ramsey 2011-12-22 08:01
Your complaint is totally bogus since you obviously didn't read the review. Look at the VERY FIRST SENTENCE on the second page. Since you missed it the first time, I'll quote it here for you:

"You can choose red, blue, or black heat spreaders (there's also a special white, low-voltage version)."

In any case I can only review what a vendors sends me. Corsair sent me a black memory kit, so that's what the appearance score was judged on.

Sigh.
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# RE: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB DDR3-1600Squall Leonhart 2011-12-22 07:22
the bandwidth should be closer to thus in the following forum post

#forums.aida64.com/index.php?/topic/292-c-state-tech-disabled-negatively-affects-memory-bandwidth-tests/page__p__1712#entry1712
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# RE: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB DDR3-1600matt 2011-12-22 08:36
tried the 8GB LP Vengeance kit on my x48 blackops and it wont post, no matter what i change in the bios.
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# RE: RE: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB DDR3-1600David Ramsey 2011-12-22 09:12
If other memory kits work and this one doesn't, sounds as if it's time to take advantage of Corsair's lifetime warranty.
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# Of InterestTman1 2011-12-22 16:59
Might of been nice to touch on these running under XMP 1.3 which is not backward compatible to XMP 1.2, so while enabling XMP settings might work on older mobos, i.e. 1156, 1155, 1366 it would be best to use manual settings on those mobos with these sticks
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# RE: Of InterestSquall Leonhart 2011-12-22 19:11
the xmp profile on the vengeance and vengeance LP sticks works fine on 115x and 1366
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