The XPG product line from ADATA has a new family member in the newly released SPECTRIX D45G DDR4 modules. They’re a strong offering in the RGB memory space with high XMP ratings and budget-conscious price tags. It seems like just yesterday that an XMP rating of 4400 MHz would cost you upwards of $300, and that was without the added RGB element. But today’s review item offers that speed at a super-competitive price point of just $149.99. We obtained a test sample, and we’re going to put this budget memory to the test.
Specifications and Features
Every new product launch we’ve covered, the RGB element of the memory has been a big success. The XPG DDR4 product lines have gained a reputation in the enthusiast community for stunning RGB designs. Their designs tend to favor an unobstructed lighting view with a soft and subtle glow. The new SPECTRIX D45G follows the same trend with a completely clear top-down RGB view and a warm RGB lighting effect.
To dissipate the heat, they’ve outfitted the D45G with beefy-looking cast aluminum heat sinks on both sides. The color scheme is flat black aluminum with an opaque natural color plastic light diffuser on top. The overall look is exquisite, and it makes an excellent addition to the XPG lineup of RGB memory.
Today we’ll be overclocking and reviewing the flagship model in the D45G product lineup, the 4400 MHz kit rated for 19-26-26 timing. For a closer look at the entire product launch details, please refer to the table below.
Marketing Campaign at a glance
- RUGGED AND RELIABLE The SPECTRIX D45G looks and is robust with a solid, armor-like aluminum exterior with rugged ridges and sturdy performance.
- HIGH-QUALITY COMPONENTS FOR OPTIMAL PERFORMANCE Using only the highest quality IC chips and PCBs, the SPECTRIX D45G is made to deliver optimal stability and overclocking performance.
- RGB YOUR WAY Set the RGB lighting the way you want it. Choose from different effects (static, breathing, and comet) or sync the lights with your favorite jams via Music Mode. All this can be done through the XPG RGB Sync app or RGB control software from all the major motherboard brands.
- WORKS WITH THE LATEST AMD PLATFORMS The SPECTRIX D45G has been tested and verified to work with the latest AMD platforms for hassle-free compatibility and excellent overclocking performance.
- SUPPORTS INTEL® XMP 2.0 Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 2.0 makes overclocking a snap and enhances system stability. Instead of adjusting individual parameters in BIOS, you can do it right through your PC’s operating system.
- Source: xpg.com
ATADA’s marketing mentions overclocking, so we’ll be putting that to the test. In the table below are specific details of our test kit:
|XPG SPECTRIX D45G
|Capacity||16 GB (2 x 8 GB)|
|Type||288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM|
|Rated Frequency||DDR4 4400 MHz (PC4-35200)|
|Chipset||Intel XMP 2.0|
|Multi-channel Kit||Dual Channel Kit|
|Rated Timings||CL 19-26-26|
|Dimensions(LxWxH)||133.35 x 45.26 x 8.2 mm|
|MSRP Pricing||Amazon: $149.99|
|Registered / Error Checking||Unbuffered / Non-ECC|
Below is a screenshot of Thaiphoon Burner, a 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 motherboard will recognize it out of the box.
As the screenshot shows, this specific memory kit is composed of Hynix ICs. The important factor to note here is that the modules are D-Die ICs. This could be considered the high-tier IC within the Hynix family. It also shows us that our test kit leverages the advantages of the A2 style PCB.
DDR4 PCBs break down into three major layout designs. The older design, called A0, has the ICs spaced out evenly on the PCB and can limit the maximum frequency. The newer A1 and A2 designs (effectively the same) place 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 and generally better compatibility. As a result, motherboard manufacturers are now routing memory traces to coincide with the IC placement on A2-style PCBs.
Packaging and Product Tour
The datasheet outlines two different package options available for this product line. For the budget-conscious buyers out there, they offer most of the SKUs in a simple, single-color package option. Today’s review kit is only sold in the dual-color package option. Based on the fact that this is the upgraded packaging option, we found it lacking. Granted, most people don’t care about the package for memory modules, but since ADATA went to the trouble to make two different package options we felt this upgrade version was a bit weak.
Inside the package, we find a 2-piece plastic clamshell to transfer the memory safely. There’s nothing else inside the box for this kit.
Meet the XPG SPECTRIX D45G
We may have had a minor complaint about the packaging, but there were no complaints from us once out of the package. Subjectively speaking, this memory is among the best-looking memory we’ve seen. The flat-black heat sink design is attractive and will match just about every motherboard out there.
There’s a single large sticker on each of the modules. The sticker displays helpful information such as the rated frequency, timings, and voltage.
The XPG logo is part of the aluminum casting, and post-processing has been done to expose the aluminum and create the overall look.
When it comes to the RGB element, we feel the D45G is a big success. As we noted above, the XPG series of RGB memory has always impressed us with an overall clean, subtle, and understated elegance. This latest addition to their product line is no different. The color transition looks very even and, overall, easy to look at. All design talk aside, RGB color transition programming is a significant factor of the overall look, and ADATA nailed it!
The pictures don’t do them justice, unfortunately. There are no hot spots or otherwise ugly sections of the lighting.
We tested the RGB functionality with ASRock Polychrome Sync. The bundled motherboard software effortlessly communicated with the SPECTRIX D45G memory modules and allowed us to control the light show.
Software download: ASRock Polychrome Sync
Testing and Overclocking
If and when the XMP profile has been established to be stable, we evaluate the memory from an overclocking perspective and want to see what it can do without hurting it. We know from previous overclocking endeavors that Hynix needs a minor voltage increase to fly. The overclocking headroom between 1.40 V and 1.65 V is substantial. Furthermore, we’ve seen DDR4 modules released with XMP voltages of 1.65 V so we feel it’s safe for overclocking this memory.
Below is the test system and resulting memory speeds used to evaluate the memory and run the various benchmarks.
|CPU||Intel Core i9-11900K Rocket Lake 8-Core|
|Cooler||Corsair H115i RGB PRO XT|
|Motherboard||ASRock Z590 OC Formula|
|Graphics Card||EVGA RTX 2080 Ti Kingpin Edition|
|Solid State Drive||T-Foce CARDEA Liquid 1 TB|
|Power Supply||be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12 1500W PSU|
|Operating System||Windows 10 x64 V1909|
|Memory Speeds Compared|
|XMP Profile ~ 4400 MHz CL19-26-26-46 + Auto Sub Timings @ 1.50 V|
|Overclock 1 ~ 3733 MHz CL14-19-19-32 + Improved Sub Timings @ 1.55 V|
|Overclock 2 ~ 5066 MHz CL19-26-26-42 + Improved Sub Timings @ 1.65 V|
|Overclock 3 ~ 5333 MHz CL22-32-32-48 + Improved Sub Timings @ 1.65 V|
XMP Profile ~ 4400 MHz CL19-26-26-46 + Auto Sub Timings @ 1.50 V
Despite the high-frequency rating, we had no trouble with the XMP profile with all BIOS settings on auto.
The XMP profile proved to be incredibly stable. We never once crashed from the OS, even after a few hours of hard testing. Below are the resulting AIDA64 test bench result and the XMP profile timings.
Overclock 1 ~ 3733 MHz CL14-19-19-32 + Improved Sub Timings @ 1.55 V
The objective of the first overclock test was to create the absolute best profile we could with the Gear 1 setting. The Gear 1 setting can be a considerable performance increase for some programs, and it can also be slightly slower in others. We know that single-threaded applications can benefit from Gear 1, while multi-threaded ones might be hindered. Regardless of the potential efficiency difference, we wanted to show the best that Gear 1 offers.
The next step in creating the profile below was testing each timing and getting it as low or otherwise efficient as possible. We managed to get 3733 MHz stable, which is close to the maximum possible on the Intel Z590. That’s a great start but lowering the frequency allows for greater timing headroom.
Overclock 2 ~ 5066 MHz CL19-26-26-42 + Improved Sub Timings @ 1.65 V
For the second overclock attempt, we wanted to let this Hynix stretch its metaphorical legs. We arrived at a stable profile at 5066 MHz with XMP-rated primary timings of 19-26-26.
This memory is following the same trend we’ve seen with other recently-released Hynix-based modules. In essence, they are incredibly overclockable with both frequency and timings. The critical factor here is that tRCD, tRAS, and tRFC need to stay relatively high, but everything else is able to be set very tight.
Overclock 3 ~ 5333 MHz CL22-32-32-48+ Improved Sub Timings @ 1.65 V
Lastly, we wanted to know where the frequency wall is. We soon found that the memory was functional at 5600 MHz with loose sub-timings, but unfortunately, it was not stable in all of our benchmarks. So, we ended up at 5333 MHz, which proved to be rock-solid stable.
As we pointed out above, tRCD, tRAS, and tRFC are the critical factors that limit frequency. By raising those, we can, in turn, increase the frequency up to a point.
Benchmark download: AIDA64
AIDA64 is perhaps the most important tool we have for assessing memory performance. It’s pretty old but still very relevant because it scales beautifully with changes to memory speeds and timings. However, it’s worth noting that with modern DDR4, we see the most significant effect in the scoring from frequency overclocking.
Here we observe an interesting trend. Firstly, the Gear 1 profile turned out to be much worse than the XMP profile, which is expected based on how AIDA64 works. We didn’t expect that our 5066 and 5333 profiles are scoring very similar for the read performance. We can potentially attribute this to a timing penalty. Increasing the frequency helps improve the score, but the primary timings were substantially increased to make that happen. In this case, the overall effect was less than optimal.
Geekbench 4 Multi-Core
Benchmark download: Geekbench 4
Next, we used Geekbench 4 to test our memory profiles. It’s one of the best synthetic benchmarks for predicting ‘real-world’ performance. This benchmark utilizes 25 unique sub-benchmarks of varying complexity and then collates them to create an overall picture of performance.
The same trends we saw in AIDA64 continue here. The higher timings required to achieve 5333 MHz penalize the overall performance less than the increased frequency helps. If we were able to run
Si Software Sandra
Benchmark download: SiSoftware Sandra Lite
Lastly, we examined the performance using a few 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 the computer performance of all major components, including the processor, graphics, memory, and disk.
So we’ve seen how the memory compares against itself when overclocked, but how does it compare against other XMP profiles on the market today? All of the test results below were newly generated on the Z590 OC Formula motherboard. This section excludes all overclocking results and uses only XMP profiles for comparison against different brands.
Dual-rank modules have a clear advantage in Geebench 4. The benchmark makes better use of timings and improved interleaving, so we find single-rank modules suffering here. Therefore, the SPECTRIX D45G scores well below others in our Geekbench 4 comparison.
At just $149.99, XPG SPECTRIX D45G demands your attention. From the heat sink design to the RGB element, we loved everything about the physical characteristics of this memory. They’ve achieved a balance between an eye-catching design and a classy, elegant look.
Memory overclocking is not for everyone; we understand that. Even if you never dare to overclock this memory, an XMP rating of 4400 CL19 means that your computer will still be more efficient than most other systems out there. That said, memory overclocking is fun, and this memory makes it easy. Our test sample showed incredible frequency overclocking capabilities with a 933 MHz gain in frequency, from a scant 15 millivolts increase in voltage.
We’d recommend this memory even if it were priced at $200 because it has all the hallmarks we look for in a good DDR4 kit. It’s got a competitive XMP rating, excellent overclocking capabilities, and knockout styling. However, with a price tag of $149.99 you should be asking yourself not if you want to buy it, but how many kits you want to buy.
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David Miller – mllrkllr88