ADATA Spectrix D50 DDR4 Review


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Born to serve the needs of high-performance computers, ADATA’s new XPG Spectrix D50 combines speedy XMP profiles with a stylish-but-subdued RGB design. We’ve recently seen companies pushing the limits of RGB memory modules, but ADATA took the D50 in a different direction – focusing on aesthetics while not forgetting about performance and value. The overall lighting element produces a softer glow than we are used to seeing and the result is an understated RGB light show. We’ve obtained a sample of this new offering, so follow along as we take a close look at what makes the D50 special.

Specifications and Features

The XPG Spectrix D50 features a simplistic and clean design. The overall theme is geometric with a sharp angular design that includes a triangle-shaped RGB light diffuser. Composed of thick 2 mm aluminum, the heat sink includes deep grooves on each side which add to its style as well as increasing surface area for better cooling.

If it’s XMP options you want, then you most certainly won’t be disappointed. With 24 different speeds and configurations, there’s sure to be an option that suits your needs nicely. The product line ranges from a single 8 GB stick clocked at 3000 MHz, all the way up to a 16 GB kit rated for a blistering 4800 MHz. In terms of latency, the product line ranges from CL 16 up to CL 19. There are no low latency modules (such as CL 14).

The table below contains the full product lineup at launch

Spectrix D50 Ordering Information
ADATA Part Number Model Name Capacity Timings Color
AX4U300038G16A-DT50 DDR4-3000 8 GB x 2 CL16-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U300038G16A-ST50 DDR4-3000 8 GB x 1 CL16-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U3000716G16A-DT50 DDR4-3000 16 GB x 2 CL16-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U3000716G16A-ST50 DDR4-3000 16 GB x 1 CL16-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U320038G16A-BT50 DDR4-3200 8 GB x 1 CL16-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U320038G16A-DT50 DDR4-3200 8 GB x 2 CL16-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U320038G16A-ST50 DDR4-3200 8 GB x 1 CL16-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U3200716G16-DT50 DDR4-3200 16 GB x 2 CL16-18-18 Tungsten Grey
AX4U3200716G16-ST50 DDR4-3200 16 GB x 1 CL16-18-18 Tungsten Grey
AX4U3200716G16A-DT50 DDR4-3200 16 GB x 2 CL16-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U3200716G16A-ST50 DDR4-3200 16 GB x 1 CL16-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U3200732G16A-DT50 DDR4-3200 32 GB x 2 CL16-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U3200732G16A-ST50 DDR4-3200 32 GB x 1 CL16-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U3600316G18A-DT50 DDR4-3600 16 GB x 2 CL18-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U3600316G18A-ST50 DDR4-3600 16 GB x 1 CL18-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U360038G18A-BT50 DDR4-3600 8 GB x 1 CL18-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U360038G18A-DT50 DDR4-3600 8 GB x 2 CL18-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U360038G18A-ST50 DDR4-3600 8 GB x 1 CL18-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U3600716G18A-DT50 DDR4-3600 16 GB x 2 CL18-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U3600716G18A-ST50 DDR4-3600 16 GB x 1 CL18-20-20 Tungsten Grey
AX4U413338G19J-DT50 DDR4-4133 8 GB x 2 CL19-23-23 Tungsten Grey
AX4U413338G19J-ST50 DDR4-4133 8 GB x 1 CL19-23-23 Tungsten Grey
AX4U480038G19K-DT50 DDR4-4800 8 GB x 2 CL19-26-26 Tungsten Grey

In the table below are the specifications of our test kit:

ADATA Spectrix D50
Part Number AX4U360038G18A-DT50
Capacity 16 GB (8 GB x 2)
Type DDR4 U-DIMM
Voltage 1.35 V
Speed Spec PC4 28800
Rated Frequency  3600 MHz (MT/s)
Kit Type Dual-Channel
Rated Timings CL18-20-20
Pricing Newegg: $94.99
Amazon: $94.99
Warranty Lifetime
Downloads Datasheet – XPG SPECTRIX D50
XPG RGB Sync App Beta

 

Below is a screenshot of Thaiphoon Burner, a wonderful free tool that allows users to read the Serial Presence Detect (SPD) firmware of the DRAM. The SPD information is critical in determining how the stick will perform and how the computer will recognize it out of the box.

 

As the Thaiphoon Burner screenshot shows, this specific kit of memory is composed of SpecTek E-Die ICs. You may not have heard of SpecTek before, but don’t worry, it’s a wholly-owned division of Micron Technology. As ICs go, Micron’s E-Die has gained a reputation for very high frequency overclocking. Achieving frequencies above 4800 MHz with CL 18 and 1.50 V is within the realm of possibilities.

DDR4 PCBs are broken down into three common types, two of which are common and widely used. The older design, called A0, has the ICs spaced evenly on the PCB and can limit the maximum frequency achievable. The newer A2 design places the ICs closer together and closer to the PCB connection edge. The A2-style PCB has become the new unofficial industry standard because it allows for higher frequencies. As a result, motherboard manufacturers are now routing memory traces to coincide with the IC placement on A2-style PCBs.

Our review sample memory utilizes the modern A2-style PCB layout. For testing today we will use the ASRock X570 Taichi, which has been specifically optimized for A2-style memory PCBs, so we have a good chance at achieving high frequencies.

Packaging and Product Tour

Memory modules, unlike motherboards, don’t come with a box full of accessories. It’s for this reason that the box and packaging the memory comes in usually gets discarded instantly, as there is no need to keep it. However, we feel that the packaging is still an important aspect of memory. The packaging of the ADATA XPG Spectrix D50 falls right in the middle of the gamut in terms of package quality and overall first impression.

The front has a full cover image of the memory module and basic product information. On the back, we find rather crude specs in multiple languages. However, the back also includes a see-through window to see the actual memory module part number, this is a nice touch.

Meet the Spectrix D50

Once the packaging has been opened, we get an up-close and personal with the memory. The heat sink is thick and feels quite substantial when holding it compared to many others who use thin, stamped aluminum heat spreaders. When compared to the inexpensive modules out there, the D50 clearly stands out as being of quality construction. While it’s not the most high-end cooling solution we have come across, it should do a great job at keeping the memory running cool.

The light diffuser doesn’t dominate the module. They struck a balance between adding that bit of bling without overdoing it with plastic.

Most users will see the memory from a top-down perspective in their build. As seen below, the heat sink extends all the way up to the top of the module. This breaks up the light and reduces the visible RGB area.

We tested the RGB functionality with ASRock Polychrome Sync. The software effortlessly communicated with the D50 memory modules and allowed us to control the light show.

Additionally, ADATA also has its own standalone software suite – the ADATA RGB Sync App is designed to work independently of any motherboard control software. It works with all major motherboard brands including Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and ASRock.

Software download: XPG RGB Sync App Beta

Software download: ASRock Polychrome Sync

Testing and Overclocking

If and when the XMP profile has been established to be stable, we will evaluate the memory from a performance perspective. We want to see what this memory can do, but without hurting it. Therefore, we will stick to what could be classified as 24/7 stable daily memory voltages. According to the XMP 2.0 certifications, the absolute maximum allowable voltage is 1.50 V VDDR. Thus, all overclocking endeavors will be conducted with no more than 1.50 V.

Below is the test system and resulting memory speeds that will be used to evaluate the memory and run the various benchmarks.

Test Setup
CPU AMD RYZEN 7 3900X @ 4.3 GHz
Cooler Corsair H115i RGB PRO XT
Motherboard ASRock X570 TAICHI AM4
Graphics Card EVGA RTX 2080 Ti Kingpin Edition
Solid State Drive T-Foce CARDEA Liquid 1 TB
Power Supply Seasonic Prime SSR-1200PD 1200 W
Operating System Windows 10 x64 V1909
Memory Speeds Compared
XMP Profile 1 ~ 3600 MHz CL18-20-20-42 + XMP Sub Timings @ 1.35 V
XMP Profile 2 ~ 3200 MHz CL16-18-18-36 + XMP Sub Timings @ 1.35 V
Test Case 2 ~ 4600 Mhz CL18-24-18-42 + XMP Sub Timings @ 1.40 V
Test Case 3 ~ 3600 MHz CL16-18-18-36 + Tight Sub Timings @ 1.50 V

 

 

 

 

 

As is the case with all overclocking adventures, your results may vary, so proceed only if you assume all risk.

To view and examine all of the various memory profiles, we use two primary tools which include AIDA64 and the AMD Ryzen Master utility. AIDA64 is a powerful system diagnostic and benchmarking tool that can be purchased for a reasonable price.

XMP Testing

ADATA included two XMP profiles in the D50 memory modules. This is a feature we don’t often see in modern DDR4, but we believe it should be implemented more often. Budget motherboards might have a problem achieving the rated specification, so ADATA has included a second, lesser, XMP profile. ADATA has done us a great service with an additional XMP profile.

As you can see below, we had no problem running our memory using the one-click XMP memory profile. In this case, the FCLK = 1800 MHz and UCLK = 1800 MHz.

 

AIDA64 XMP 1 Scores

 

XMP 1 Timing Profile

The second profile baked into the D50 is 3200 CL16. We had no doubts that this would work perfectly because the primary XMP profile worked effortlessly on our test platform. We’ll take a look later on how this profile compared to the first one, but here is the timing profile and AIDA64 test result. In this case, the FCLK = 1800 MHz and UCLK = 1600 MHz.

 

AIDA64 XMP 2 Scores

 

XMP 2 Timing Profile

Overclocking

As we pointed out above, Micron E-die is known for high-frequency overclocking. The goal here was to find out the maximum stable frequency with the best possible primary timings. To make things easier on the memory, we left the sub-timings on auto and let the motherboard determine them.

By simply bumping up tRCD to 24, and an incredibly modest voltage bump from 1.35 V to 1.40 V, we were able to overclock the frequency a staggering 1 GHz! The XMP rated primary timings are CL18-20-20-42, and we were able to achieve full stability at 4600 MHz with timings of CL18-24-18-42. This is an incredible feat of overclocking, and it’s credited to the Micron E-Die ICs. It’s worth noting that 4800 MHz was very close to being stable in all benchmarks, but failed during the brutal Sisoftware Sandra memory test.

Below is the resulting first overclock test case with FCLK = 1800 MHz and UCLK = 1150 MHz.

 

AIDA64 Test Case 1 Scores

 

Test Case 1 Timing Profile

Contrary to the first test, this time only the memory timings were manipulated in order to produce the most efficient timing profile possible for the X570 platform. The operating frequency was held at the XMP rating of 3600 MHz, but the primary and secondary timings were decreased as far as possible while still maintaining relative stability.

The downside to Micron E-Die is that the primary timings cannot be reduced much below CL16. We were only able to take the memory from CL18-20-20-42 to CL16-18-18-36 . However, we made substantial changes to the sub-timings, which helped our cause greatly. As is the case with modern memory overclocking, the sub-timings play a very big role in overall system performance. To achieve full benchmark stability, we needed to bump the voltage up to 1.50 V.

Below is the resulting second overclock test case with FCLK = 1800 MHz and UCLK = 1800 MHz.

 

AIDA64 Test Case 2 Scores

 

Test Case 2 Timing Profile

Benchmark Results

How did our memory overclocking impact the overall performance? In total, our overclocking endeavors had a noteworthy effect on performance. It comes down to how we interpret the results and which tests we choose to look at. We are a big fan of the multiple XMP profiles. As you can see below, profile 2 is substantially slower, however, it’s intended for maximum compatibility so it’s still a winner to us.

Across the board, our attempt at creating a harmonious memory profile at 3600 Mhz showed favorable results. However, the real story here is our 4600 MHz profile. As our results show, the AIDA64 benchmark clearly favors raw memory frequency above everything else.

Next, we used Geekbench 4 to test our memory profiles. It has proven itself to be an excellent tool for determining the real-world performance of the system being tested. This type of benchmark is purely 2D calculation-based and there is no graphical processing element, so it’s a great analytical tool to evaluate memory performance.

Focusing on the total score, we see that this ‘real world’ test benchmark favors the tighter sub-timings. Here, all of our overclocking endeavors showed an increase in performance. It might come as a surprise, but the raw frequency doesn’t help much in Geekbench. Adjusting the memory timings and sticking to 3600 MHz showed the best results.

Lastly, we examined the performance using a few of the memory benchmark tests offered within the SiSoftware Sandra suite. The flagship product, known as Sandra, is a powerful suite of many different benchmarks used to evaluate computer performance of all major components, including the processor, graphics, memory, and disk.

What we’ve seen so far is that Geekbench 4 favors tight timings while AIDA64 favors high frequencies. As you can see below, Sandra represents them both! The tight timing profiles showed a substantial gain in memory bandwidth performance. In the Cache & Latency test, we saw the biggest improvement by keeping the frequency at 3600 MHz and lowering the timings as much as possible.

XMP Comparison

In this next section, we will examine the XMP profile scores of a few kits of memory we have on hand. We used the same exact X570 test bench and operating system for all of the tests. Due to this fact, we are able to make some direct performance comparisons. For the purposes of continuity, we will examine only the XMP profile and exclude any overclocked comparisons.

First up is the AIDA64 Memory Benchmark. The graph below gives us a nice representation of the various XMP memory profiles and how they stack up against each other. As we might expect, the high-frequency XMP profiles take the lead here.

In the Geekbench 4 results below, we found it interesting that the percent difference between all kits is quite small.

We have come to appreciate Geekbench 4 for its ability to scale the result scores with memory speeds and timings. However, looking at the hard comparison data, it’s difficult to make a compelling argument to justify spending extra money on speedy memory kits for the average user. The performance difference between the various kits becomes small when overclocking results are excluded.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to love about ADATA’s new Spectrix D50 series. We appreciate the subtle approach to RGB lighting and the great thing about RGB memory is that if it’s not to your liking, whether too bright or too dim, you can easily change it. What you cannot change, however, is the light diffuser and overall style. From the soft RGB glow to the beefy and stylish 2 mm heat sink, we think the D50 is a home run in the style department. While it may not be a jaw-dropping design, its unpretentious look would feel right at home in the average gaming computer.

In terms of overclocking, we had truly exceptional and unexpected results. We were able to achieve a ridiculous, stable overclocked profile of 4600 MHz with CL18-24-18-42, with almost no additional voltage. While our high-frequency profile is not favorable in all benchmarks, it’s nice to have flexibility.  In the world of budget memory, there are currently two main options on the market: Hynix and Micron. In our experience, Micron is far superior and allows impressive frequency overclocking with very low voltage. We appreciate that ADATA outfitted the D50 with Micron ICs instead of the more common Hynix option.

The big victory for the D50 is value. Priced at just $94.99 for the 16 GB kit, it’s a noteworthy contender purely from a price-per-gigabyte standpoint. If we include the stunning RGB element then we’d have to conclude it’s a big success for ADATA. More impressive still, after taking overclocking into account we feel this kit is a slam dunk. Because our D50 test sample is fully stable running at 4600CL18, we’d like to give you a quick comparison to think about. Shopping on Newegg, a 16 GB kit of 4600CL18 rated memory will set you back between $300 and  $360. For less than a third of the price, you could have relatively the same system performance, which is food for thought when you are choosing your next memory kit. Overclocking mileage will vary, but we feel the D50 has widespread appeal.

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David Miller – mllrkllr88

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