ADATA XPG SPECTRIX D60G DDR4 3200 Review

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Today we are evaluating a new offering in the RGB DDR4 world. ADATA just released the XPG SPECTRIX D60G, which promises more RGB lighting surface area than any other module on the market. A whopping 9,497mm2 of the module’s surface area is covered in visible RGB light, which turns out to be over 60%. It’s clear that ADATA is making a bold statement with RGB lighting, but what does that mean for the performance? With a newly acquired test sample, we are going to investigate the performance and overclocking capabilities of the all-new D60G.

Specifications and Features

The XPG SPECTRIX D60G DDR4 is all about using the available memory real estate to maximize the lighting effect. ADATA has come out with a new memory module that packs in 5 LEDs on each side of the PCB, for a total of 10 LEDs. The addition of a newly designed, fully-integrated light diffuser promises to make the XPG SPECTRIX D60G stand out from the crowd. The fully-exposed RGB light strips are extra-wide for maximum effect.

Fortunately, ADATA hasn’t sacrificed performance for RGB lighting, as they offer a wide range of frequencies to meet any demand. Sold in kits of 2×8 GB, the D60G series offers 4133 MHz, 3600 MHz, 3200 MHz, and 3000 MHz variants. All of the memory configurations within the D60G lineup support XMP 2.0 specifications for easy, one-click overclocking.

In the table below, we examine the particular details of the memory being evaluated today.

ADATA XPG SPECTRIX D60G DDR4 3200
Part Number AX4U320038G16-DR60
Capacity 16 GB (2 x 8 GB)
Type DDR4 U-DIMM
Voltage 1.35 V
Speed Spec PC4 25600
Rated Frequency DDR4 1600 MHz (3200 MHz Effective)
Kit Type Dual Channel
Rated Timings CL16-18-18
Pricing MSRP $189.99
Warranty Limited Lifetime

The XMP rating is often the easiest way to quickly compare DDR4 performance when making a purchase. It’s an overclocking profile stored inside each memory module, which allows the user to easily apply the rated frequency and timings. This particular version of the ADATA XPG SPECTRIX D60G comes with two XMP ratings stored as profiles. The rated spec of 3200 MHz, CL16-18-18 is available from the XMP 2.0 Profile 1. However, due to the fact that some motherboards might have compatibility issues, ADATA has programmed a second XMP option. The XMP 2.0 Profile 2 is programmed with 3000 MHz and timings of CL16-18-18. Mid-range and budget motherboards often have issues above 3600 MHz, so we don’t expect any problems applying the XMP profiles of this memory on the vast majority of systems.

For those interested, here is a closer look at the particular details of this memory. Below is a screenshot of Thaiphoon Burner, a wonderful free tool that allows one to read the Serial Presence Detect (SPD) firmware of the DRAM. The SPD stores the XMP profile, which is critical in determining how the stick will perform and, ultimately, how the computer will recognize it.

In terms of overclocking, we are mostly concerned with what type of memory IC is under the hood. In this case, our sample has been built using Hynix M-Die. This memory uses a total of 8 ICs, all of which are located on only one side. Knowing the die type and manufacturer gives us a glimpse into the overclocking potential, but it does not tell the whole story. Hynix DDR4 is not traditionally known for stellar memory overclocking capabilities. However, we will disregard all preconceptions and overclock this memory to the limits later on.

ADATA XPG Spectrix D60G
 

More RGB per mm2

The D60G sports more RGB lighting per mm2 than any other memory module out there, 9,497mm2 to be exact. That equates to over 60% of the module’s surface area. It has fully-exposed RGB light strips which are extra-wide for maximum effect. Combined with a mesmerizing, multi-colored flow effect, your build will outshine the competition.

 

Diamond-Cut Design

The unique, avant-garde styling of the D60G will turn heads. It includes an edgy, X-light design with a diamond-inspired, multi-faceted surface that’s a cut above the rest.

 

Stable, Durable and Reliable

The D60G is built with high-quality chips and a metal heat sink for excellent signal integrity, reliability, and stability, which effectively extends the lifespan of the memory module.

 

Programmable RGB Lighting

Customize your gaming experience with programmable lighting effects! Set up patterns, pulse speed, lighting intensity, and more. Control is hassle-free with the XPG RGB Sync app. Or, if you already have an existing RGB light control software from a major motherboard maker, you can use that too.

Packaging/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 which 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 the memory. On the lower end of the spectrum for memory packaging, we see a basic clamshell with no box. Contrarily, with the high-end packaging, we often find a full box with die-cut foam inserts to house the memory safely. The packaging of the ADATA XPG Spectrix D60G falls right in the middle of the gamut in terms of package quality.

Opening the box, we find a basic plastic clamshell that securely houses the RAM.

   

Once out of the packaging, it becomes immediately apparent that this memory is heavily focused on RGB lighting and style. Apart from a thin strip of metal, the entire heat-spreader assembly is one large light diffuser. All other memory we have seen up to this point have implemented a two-stage approach to cooling and RGB representation. The industry norm has been to mount metal heat sinks on the actual DDR4 ICs, and then attach some form of light diffuser to the top.

ADATA has stepped outside of the norm and cloaked the entire memory module in a single, integrated plastic light diffuser. One initial concern is that the actual ICs don’t contact the metal strip, rather, they touch the base of the plastic light diffuser. We speculate that this could actually have an adverse effect for cooling and act as an insulator instead of actively cooling the ICs.

The D60G module is anything but streamlined. With a diamond-inspired, multi-faceted surface, the design is sure to stand out in your next build. Looking from the top down, as they will be installed in motherboards, the light diffuser has a viewable size of 126 mm long by 6 mm wide.

The total weight of one memory module is 48 grams. The overall maximum dimensions are 133 mm long, 45 mm tall, and 9 mm thick. The memory PCB utilizes the most modern and current A2 style layout. This refers to how the ICs are arranged on the PCB itself in accordance with modern engineering practices.

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As seen in the picture below, the IC contacting surface is made purely from plastic. While there is a small metal strip on the outside, it is apparently for aesthetics only. Whether or not this type of heat sink design is effective at eliminating heat long term remains to be seen.

When it comes to the lighting, the XPG SPECTRIX D60G doesn’t disappoint. Booting up the system we find that the prototypical rainbow-like color shift algorithm is pre-programmed into the module. The transition between colors is effortless and beautiful. ADATA’s unique light diffuser design does a remarkable job of displaying the available light.

In certain light situations, we observed that the LEDs shine brightly enough to show the hot-spot effect. Most memory modules seemingly attempt to hide any hot-spots from LEDs. However, on the D60G series, the hot-spots actually add some variety to the style, and the overall result is quite striking.

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If you don’t like the pre-programmed rainbow transition, or you just simply want to change the settings, that’s not a problem. You can, according to ADATA, use RGB lighting control software from major motherboard manufacturers to control the memory. Additionally, ADATA offers the XMP RGB Sync App, which is a standalone application for controlling the RGB LEDs.

We tested the aforementioned software with an ASRock Z390 ITX motherboard. We were able to successfully control all aspects of the memory RGB lighting. You can get of copy of the standalone application here: XPG RGB Sync App Beta

Below is a video demonstration of the pre-programmed rainbow lighting transition.

Testing and Overclocking

The overall objective is to evaluate the memory under a variety of different conditions. To accomplish this task, we will turn to benchmark programs to examine the performance of the memory under various conditions. Our approach is to start out by fully testing the XMP profiles. Once we have established that the XMP profiles are working on the test system, then the real fun begins as we evaluate the memory from an overclocking perspective.

We will investigate the overclocking potential without excessive voltage. According to the XMP 2.0 certifications, the absolute maximum allowable voltage is 1.50 V VDDR. Thus, our overclocking endeavors will be conducted with less than 1.50 V.

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

Test Setup
CPU Intel i9 9900k@ 5.0 GHz (4.7 GHz Cache)
Cooler NZXT Kraken X62 280 mm AIO
Motherboard ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/AC
Graphics Card MSI R9 290X Lightning
Solid State Drive Team Group L5 LITE 3D SSD
Power Supply Enermax RevoBron 700 W
Operating System Windows 10 x64
Memory Speeds Compared
XMP Profile 1 ~ 3200 CL16-18-18 @ 1.35 V
XMP Profile 2 ~ 3000 CL16-18-18 @ 1.35 V
Test Case 1 ~ 3600 CL16-18-18 @ 1.35 V
Test Case 2 ~ 3600 CL14-18-18 @ 1.40 V

As is the case with all overclocking adventures, your results will likely differ slightly from ours. Overclocking can be dangerous and potentially destroy any or all of the computer equipment, so please proceed with overclocking only if you assume all risk.

To view and examine all of the various memory profiles we use two primary tools, which includes AIDA64 and ASRock Timing Configurator. AIDA64 is a powerful system diagnostic and benchmarking tool, which can be purchased for a reasonable price. Next, we will be using the ASRock Timing Configurator, which is a free piece of software that allows users to see the primary, secondary, and tertiary timings of Intel-based system.

Below is the XMP profile 2. Of the two XMP profiles which are stored in this memory, profile 2 is less stressful for your motherboard to run. The XMP Profile 2 should always be considered the fail-safe profile because it operates the memory at lower frequencies than they were intended to run. The operating voltage of this profile is 1.35 V.

AIDA64 XMP Profile 2 Scores

XMP Profile 2 Detailed Timings

Below is the XMP Profile 1. This is the profile that most enthusiasts and computer builders should choose to select. This profile sets the optimal frequency and latencies which the memory is designed to run at. The operating voltage of this profile is 1.35 V.

AIDA64 XMP Profile 1 Scores

XMP Profile 1 Detailed Timings

Memory overclocking is all about pushing the frequency higher and lowering the timings. One hurdle for memory overclocking is the motherboard. The distance between the CPU and the memory modules has a direct relationship to the overclocking potential of the RAM. Motherboards with a larger distance between the CPU and the memory will have greatly-reduced overclocking potential compared to motherboards with a shorter distance. Therefore, motherboards with only two dual, in-line memory modules (DIMMs) will have a better likelihood of increased memory overclocking potential than motherboards with four DIMMs, because the distance is inherently shorter.

Once the XMP profile has been successfully tested, we can dive into overclocking. Our methodology is to set the maximum working voltage of 1.50 V and see what can be accomplished, then lower the voltage to find the stability point. The motherboard being used is the ASRock z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX, which is an entry-level priced motherboard that has elite-level memory overclocking capabilities

For overclock test case 1, we were able to increase the frequency from 3200 MHz to 3600 MHz. We achieved the respectable 400 MHz gain completely free of charge, with no additional voltage required beyond XMP spec.

AIDA64 Test Case 1 Scores

Test Case 1 Detailed Timings

The final objective was to achieve the best overclock possible while still staying within the maximum allowable voltage of 1.50 V. Here we hit a figurative brick wall with the overclocking. Using a maximum working voltage of 1.50 V, we were not able to achieve any frequencies higher than 3600 MHz. Additionally, in order to maintain system stability, the primary timings were not able to be lowed much from the starting point of XMP Profile 1. The resulting overclock, as shown below, is 3600 MHz with CL14-18-18, which required 1.40 V to maintain stability.

AIDA64 Test Case 2 Scores

Test Case 2 Detailed Timings

As mentioned earlier, XPG SPECTRIX D60G does not use the prototypical metal heat sinks for cooling. In our tests, with a maximum voltage of 1.50 V, there was negligible heat generated. Using an infrared temperature sensor, we measured an increase of 4 degrees Celsius after an hour of running benchmarks. While that temperature increase is not nothing, it’s not enough to become a long-term problem. Furthermore, this type of temperature measurement is subjective and susceptible to experimental error. Thus, we can safely conclude that the lack of active heat sinks does not hurt the memory, at least at the maximum XMP voltage of 1.50 V.

Benchmark Results

First up, we used AIDA64 Cache and Memory Benchmark. The graph below shows that overclocking the memory beyond XMP had a positive impact for all test cases. Overclocking the XPG SPECTRIX D60G showed a noteworthy improvement in the AIDA64 benchmark. The sweet spot for performance is undoubtedly test case 1. As mentioned earlier, although, this overclock required no additional voltage, the results clearly show an admirable increase in the overall system performance.

AIDA64 Benchmark Results

Next up is Geekbench 4, and 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 a purely 2D calculation based and there is no graphical processing element so it’s a great analytical tool to evaluate memory performance.

Geekbench 4 tells a similar story to AIDA64 with a few exceptions. Across the board, the integer and floating point tests showed an insignificant performance gain from all overclocking test cases. The Memory and Crypto scores showed that memory overclocking, whether increasing the frequency or lowering the timings, had a marked improvement on the score.

Geekbench 4 Multi-Core Sub Test Results

Next, we will examine the performance using a few of the memory benchmark tests offered within the SiSoftware Sandra suite of benchmarks. 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.

Some benchmarks tests don’t show much performance gain from memory overclocking, and the SI Sandra Transactional Throughput is one of them. Here we can see that overclocking the memory showed a noticeable gain in the memory bandwidth. As is often the case, overclocking the memory frequency often has the biggest gain in performance compared to tighter timings.

SiSoftware Sandra Memory Test Results

Memory overclocking and relative performance are directly related to the tasks being performed. For mathematical tasks, such as encoding, Geekbench 4 shows us that memory overclocking plays a fairly important role. The AIDA64 test results show a noteworthy performance improvement from overclocking; however, they don’t necessarily represent common daily computational usage.

XMP Comparisons

In this next section, we will examine the XMP profile performance of recently reviewed memory. All of the memory compared here have been tested on the same exact z390 test bench, and with the same exact operating system. Due to this fact, we are able to make some direct performance comparisons. For the purposes of continuity, we will examine the XMP profile and exclude any and all overclocked results.

Below, are the AIDA64 test results. In all of the tests, we observed that the operating frequency showed the biggest gain in performance. For this reason, it should come as no surprise that modules with a higher XMP frequency will score higher.

AIDA64 Benchmark XMP Comparison Results

Below are the XMP comparisons using Geekbench 4. Contrary to AIDA64, the tighter timings of the D60G actually give it an advance in the Crypto test. However, with Geekbench 4, the overall score is best represented by the Memory Score, in which the D60G shows lower overall performance.

Geekbench 4 Benchmark XMP Comparison Results

As most benchmarks and real-world tests will show, DDR4 frequency is often the most important factor when it comes to overall system performance. Other than for competitive benchmarking purposes, making the memory run tighter often has very little effect on the overall system performance.

Conclusion

Overall, the SPECTRIX D60G series was well received. We appreciated the attention to detail and the effort that ADATA made to set themselves apart and offer something slightly different in the RGB memory world. With the highly stylized, diamond-inspired light diffuser, this memory was clearly made to impress. We found the light show to be mesmerizing, and the memory certainly makes a good first impression with its attention-grabbing, lighting effect.

Utilizing Hynix M-Die ICs meant that memory overclocking and overall performance would not be in the same arena as Samsung B-Die ICs. However, the trade-off of using Hynix ICs is a substantially lower price per gigabyte. While pricing information is not available at the moment, we expect that the D60G will be highly competitive in its class.

The ADATA XPG SPECTRIX D60G 3200 may not be the first choice for serious overclockers, but with an MSRP of $189.99 its an attractive option for those looking for high-class RGB memory. However, the lifetime warranty, well-rounded performance, and unparalleled RGB lighting would make this an excellent choice for gamers, computer enthusiasts, and system builders alike. Overclockers Approved!

Overclockers_clear_approvedClick the stamp for an explanation of what this means.

David Miller – mllrkllr88

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