If you have been around computers for a long time, then the VisionTek name probably conjures up thoughts of video cards. Actually, that’s not such a bad thought as VisionTek used to be one of the “go-to” names in the video card industry. I owned several of their video cards back in the day, but admittedly, it was quite some time ago. VisonTek has branched out since then and now offers enthusiast level memory, SSDs, and of course, video cards as an AMD partner. Today, we’ll be looking at one of their branch-out products in the form of a Red Label DDR3-2133 2×4 GB memory kit. VisionTek has been working hard to get the attention of computer enthusiasts once again, so let’s find out if this memory kit will help propel them a little deeper into that market.
Specifications and Features
Here are the specifications as best I can piece them together from VisionTek’s website.
|VisionTek Red Label DDR3 2133 MHz Specifications|
|Type/Model||PC3-17000 CL11 2133 EX|
|Capacity||8 GB – (2 x 4 GB)|
|Cooling||Extruded Heat Spreader (Black & Red)|
There isn’t much to show you in the way of features past what’s in the specifications table above, but the VisionTek marketing folks have a word or two to share.
VisionTek Red Label EX Performance DDR3 memory is an established leader for the PC performance enthusiast that needs speed and reliability. This award winning memory recently received 9 out of 10 stars from Kitgutru and was the fastest 12GB triple channel configuration tested on an Intel platform in their test labs. The ultimate in PC memory performance VisionTek Red Label EX Performance modules are equipped with high efficiency extruded aluminum heat sinks which ensure longevity and performance in the most demanding environments. This memory is ideal for workstations used with 3D rendering or non-linear video editing, as well as the fastest consumer level systems used for online gaming. When you have to have the best of the best, VisionTek Red Label EX Performance memory modules are the best available today.
Benefits of VisionTek Memory
VisionTek uses only Premium Memory and manufactures with industry leading patented testing and verification. VisionTek memory products are rigorously tested at the factory and at assembly. VisionTek memory is built to last under the most demanding environments and backs its products with a lifetime warranty.
I’m liking the lifetime warranty; and as you’ll see in a minute, the modules look pretty sharp too!
Packaging and First Look
The box VisionTek uses is in predominantly a red and black theme that gives you basic information of the product inside. The marketing blurb on the back lets you know only premium components are used, and they are tested at the factory and during assembly. There is a sticker on the back with the web address to register the product, which must be done to activate the lifetime warranty.
Inside, we find each of the modules well-protected in a plastic clam shell of their own. There is a third empty clam shell and a cardboard filler, which indicates this box is probably used for packaging many different Red Label memory kits.
If you own a motherboard that features a red and black color theme, you’ll like the looks of this memory kit. My test bench holds an ASUS Maximus VI Formula (ROG board), and this kit blends in nicely and looks right at home when installed. The only real downside to the aesthetics is the green PCB that they are built on. As you’ll see in the pictures below, there are parts of the green PCB that will be visible once the kit is installed. A black PCB would look awesome under those heat spreaders!
As long as we’re on the topic of heat spreaders, these guys are tall. With the modules installed, I came up with right at 2″ from the top of the DIMM slot to the top of the heat spreader. For the water cooling crowd, this is no problem at all. However, special care must be taken when choosing an air cooler to use with this memory, or you’ll undoubtedly run into clearance issues. Unlike other memory I have seen, the top portion of the heat spreader is not removable.
Below is a slide show of the memory modules from just about every angle I could think of, enjoy!
All and all, a pretty nice presentation by VisionTek, let’s get them installed and check them out!
Testing for Stability
No memory kit is worth its asking price if it won’t pass stability testing at its rated specifications. Once the memory was installed, I manually set the timings (11-11-11-24) and voltage (1.65 V) and fired up Memtest 86+ Version 5.1. I let Memtest 86+ run for a little over 12 continuous hours, and it passed that with flying colors.
Hyper PI is another good utility for testing memory stability. I ran the 32M test several times back to back, and again no problems were found.
|Motherboard||ASUS Maximus VI Formula|
|CPU||Intel i7 4770K Haswell @ 4.0 GHz|
|Memory||VisionTek Red Lable DDR3 2133 2X4 GB Kit 11-11-11-24|
|SSD||Kingston HyperX 3KSSD 240 GB|
|Power Supply||Corsair HX1050 Professional Series|
|Video Card||HIS R9 280X iPower IceQ X2 Turbo|
|Cooling||Swiftech Apogee HD CPU Water Block – 3X120 mm Radiator – MCP35X Pump|
I have a few different G.Skill memory kits to use as comparisons today. We have everything from a 1866 MHz kit all the way up to a 2666 MHz kit to look at. Obviously, direct comparisons are not the intent here, but rather to give you an idea of how (or if) the speed variations relate to performance increases. Of course, price plays a part in this as well, but we’ll get to that later.
|VisionTek||900494||Red Label||DDR3 2133 MHz||2×4 GB||11-11-11-24-2T||1.65 V|
|G.SKill||F3-2666C11D-8GTXD||TridentX||DDR3 2666 MHz||2×4 GB||11-13-13-35-2T||1.65 V|
|G.Skill||F3-2400C10D-16GTX||TridentX||DDR3 2400 MHz||2×8 GB||10-12-12-31-2T||1.5 V|
|G.Skill||F3-14900CL9Q-8GBZL||RipjawsZ||DDR3 1866 MHz||2×4 GB||9-10-9-28-1T||1.65 V|
The graphs below are based off of percentages with the VisionTek being the basis, and therefore, always being 100%. The actual score of each test is in parenthesis next to the percentage values.
The AIDA64 memory tests show the pecking order just as it should be. The only exception was the TridentX 2400 MHz kit beating out the TridentX 2666 kit in the read test. The VisionTek kit performed as expected with no issues noted.
SuperPI 1M and 32M again show the pecking order intact. The exception here being the VisionTek kit actually matched the TridentX 2400 kit during the 1M run. Good showing there! As you can see in the graph below, WPrime seems to favor those kits with tighter timings.
7Zip, x264, PoV Ray, and Cinebench handle our real world testing duties. Here we test compression, video conversion, and rendering performance. There isn’t really a whole lot of difference between all the kits with only a couple percentage points being the greatest difference during a few of the test runs.
A pretty good showing here for the VisionTek kit, absolutely nothing to complain about.
Overclocking was pretty successful on the VisionTek Red Label kit, both on the raw MHz front and with timings. I was able to get the kit stable at 2400 MHz with a bump in voltage to 1.775 V. The timings had to be set to 12-13-13-35, but get there we did! Passing Hyper PI’s 32M run is a good indication it was stable at that speed. Anything beyond 2400 MHz would require voltages in the danger zone and timings set so loose that performance would drop significantly. A 267 MHz increase isn’t bad at all and certainly adds to the value of this kit.
Returning the memory kit back down to its rated 2133 MHz, I set off to see how tight the timings could go. Again, the results were good and I landed at a stable 9-11-10-31. All in all, whether it’s a raw MHz overclock you’re after or a tighter set of timings, this kit will deliver decent results.
On the performance and aesthetics side of things, there really isn’t anything to complain about with the VisionTek Red Label DDR3 2133 kit. It performs as advertised and overclocks very well, which should appeal to those who don’t do much in the way of memory overclocking and those enthusiasts that do.
As far as price and availability go, it’s a difficult kit to find; but the price is about right. Currently, the only “big name” I could find that actually has the kit in stock is Amazon. If purchased through Amazon, the kit sells for $83.43, which is right in line with similar kits. Even though they are currently out of stock, OutletPC was selling the kit for as low as $67.89. Point being… shop around!
The folks at VisionTek mentioned they plan on revamping their online store to make it more user friendly and perhaps offer their memory products if demand warrants. All I can say about that is how difficult it is to create demand if product isn’t available in the first place. Hopefully, that situation will get better because this VisionTek offering justifies a good hard look if you’re in the market for a great performing 2133 MHz memory kit.
Wrapping this review up, there are a lot of goods things about this kit that should appeal to a wide variety of users. I’d expect availability to get better now that VisionTek is making its push into the enthusiast market. Given the value, performance, and overclocking potential this kit has – it’s Overclockers approved. Now, let’s get more product out there for people to buy, VisionTek!