I would like to thank A-DATA
for supplying the review sample. The company has a full line-up of memory modules. They first made a name for themselves in the European and American market when they introduced DDR1 500 MHz memory at extremely competitive prices. Their current line-up of DDR2 memory goes all the way up to 1200 MHz, which seems to be the current limit of most manufacturers.
From the A-DATA website:
- Suitable for: Desktop PCs
- Module specification: 240Pin Unbuffered-DIMM Non ECC
- Versions available: 2GB Kit (1GBx2)
- Pin layout: 128m x8
- Transmission bandwidth: 12800MB/Sec（PC3-12800）
- CL value: 7-7-7-20
- Working voltage: 1.75V-1.85V
- Lifetime warranty
A-Data ships the memory in the most elaborate package I have seen for memory so far. The large box is made of cardboard and the full color paint job on the package is glossy. The A-Data and X-Series logo is clearly visible on the front, while the back holds the label. This is where you need to look if you want to know what's inside the package.
Opening the package is done in a "roll out" motion. The two parts hold a module each, which can be revealed by pulling the black box apart - very nice and certainly unique.
A Closer Look
A-Data has placed graphite colored heatspeaders on the memory. These are of the same format as the red ones found on their DDR2 memory, but have a different logo on them. There are no clips holding them in place - only thermal tape.
Both sides are identical, with the sticker being the only difference. The heatspreaders are very compact and are made of Aluminum.
Taking a close look at the logos on the heatspreaders, there are two. The first is the A-DATA company logo, while the second is the Vitesta brand name. Interestingly enough there is no mention of the "X-Series" line under which these kits are marketed. It looks like A-Data merely took the red speaders found on their Extreme Series DDR2 memory and changed the base color to granite. It would have been nice to see a bit more changed - at least a different, or additional logo printed on them. Some may mistake the memory for a DDR2 variant instead.
There are two different labels on the modules. One has a bar code and holds the general model numbers to identify the memory. On the other side the sticker holds the actual speed, CL rating and Voltage required for operation. This is the one of importance.
Taking a closer look at the modules inbetween the spreaders it becomes apparent that these are single sided. The clear side has been filled with a thick thermal tape, which holds the heatspreader in place. The side with the ICs has a thinner tape, which is supposed to hold tight. As was the case with the DDR2 memory modules we reviewed, it does not hold well at all. The problem is not that bad, but I was still able to pull the heatspreader off easily and taking a look at the thermal tape, it becomes apparent that it does not make proper contact with the ICs. This gives us the opportunity to take a close look at the Micron chips used - clearly labled D9GTR.
||Intel E6300 Conroe
1.8 GHz, 2 MB Cache
||ASUS P5K3 Deluxe BIOS 0910
||PowerColor X800XL Pro 16 PCI-E
||Samsung P80 80 GB
||Ultra V-Power 450W
||Windows XP SP2, Catalyst 8.3
Performance & Overclocking
As soon as the memory is installed, we run CPU-Z. The SPD programming is very relaxed and on the safe side. While the memory is rated for 1600 MHz CL7, the SPD maxes out at 1333 MHz CL9.
The first benchmark run was done at the intended setting. The 1.8V seems to be right on the mark. Getting a higher speed also means raising the voltage. Before we do that, the memory was tested using 1.5V at CL7. This is the default voltage for DDR3. With this much power, the X-Series memory manages 717 MHz (DDR3-1434). At a full 2.0V, the memory breaks the 1800 MHz mark and reaches 1834 MHz. This is certainly a very good overclock of almost 15%.
Tightening the timings is the next step. These were set to CL6, then CL5. The X-Series can run at 1600 MHz CL6-6-6-18 and even beyond that using 2.0V. A-Data has clearly chosen to go with slighly more relaxed timings and lower voltage. This is certainly a smart move to expand the possible user base of such a product.
Lowering the timings to CL5 the memory almost manages 1400 MHz at 2.0V. The X-Series beats DDR2 memory in every aspect. You will never manage these speeds at these CL ratings with the second generation DDR memory.
|A-DATA DDR3 X-Series 1600 MHz CL7-7-7-20 2GB Kit
|6 x 434 3:5
|6 x 466 3:5
|6 x 483 1:2
|6 x 400 2:3
|6 x 450 2:3
|6 x 466 5:8
|| 9883 MB/s
|6 x 474 3:5
|6 x 416 1:2
|6 x 469 3:4
|| 8439 MB/s
|6 x 480 3:4
|6 x 426 2:3
|6 x 436 2:3
Our sample scales very well with voltage, but seems to reach the limit at 918 MHz, as even CL8 or CL9 did not change that. The Mainboard can do around 970 MHz though, its maximum is 485 MHz FSB. The CL8 has been added for reference only, as you can reach the maximum speed with CL7 as well. Consider that these numbers reflect only the results of our individual kit, so your milage may vary!
Value and Conclusion
- The 2 GB kit of the A-DATA X-Series DDR3 1600 MHz CL7 sells for just under 150 €. A very good price for such a kit!
- Can run CL6-6-6 at the rated speed
- Perfectly binned for the rated speed
- Plenty of room to overclock - around 15%
- Can run over 1333 MHz at CL5
- Runs at over 1600 MHz at CL6
- Well priced
- Single sided memory
- Incredible packaging
- Graphite aluminum heatspreaders looks sleek
- Lifetime Warranty
- Heatspreader does not hold well
- May need high-end motherboards to perform best
- Our kit did not manage to push the ASUS P5K3 Deluxe to the limit.
||The A-Data X-Series DDR3 memory does not only come in a beautifully crafted box, but also performs very well. It manages to overclock nicely right out of the box and if your board can manage 2.0V then it also runs at CL6 at the rated speed. Considering that the memory can run at 1834 MHz at CL7, odds are that you may be able to squeeze 2 GHz out of the kit at CL8 or CL9 with a bit of luck - although ours did not manage - your milage may vary. On the other end of the spectrum the memory runs at almost 1400 MHz at CL5. Considering that the fastest DDR2 kits at CL5 run max out at around 1250 MHz, it becomes obvious, that DDR3 has matured far enough to replace the previous memory standard and A-Data has managed to create a excellent performing kit to do so. The very good price of around 150€s makes it even more appealing.|