A new generation is upon us — actually, scratch that. Multiple new generations are upon us. The 12th Generation of Intels Core processors has ushered in both PCI Express Gen 5 and DDR5 for faster storage, graphics cards, and as is the case in today’s article, memory. ADATA was kind enough to send over its DDR5 XPG Lancer memory kit for testing, factory overclocked to 5200 MHz. Coming in with a sleek, RGB-free design and a price of $299, let’s take a closer look and see if it’s worth upgrading or holding on to your trusty DDR4 kit for just a while longer.
- Current Price: $299 (B&H)
- Memory Type: DDR5
- Form Factor: U-DIMM
- Color: Black
- Capacity: 32GB
- Speeds: 5200
- Memory Timing: 38-38-38-76
- Operating Voltage: 1.25V
- Operating Temperature: 0°C to 85°C
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 133.35 x 40 x 8mm
- Weight: 74g
- Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
ADATA XPG Lancer: DDR4 vs DDR5
Before diving into the performance of this kit, it would benefit us to spend some time looking at DDR4 vs DDR5 in general to see what this latest generation brings to the table. The headline improvement is obviously the speed boost. We’re already seeing promises of DDR5 kits running at 7000 MHz in our future, though the minimum standard is 4800MHz, so new kits shouldn’t go any lower than that. These higher speeds come with increased latencies. The standard latency will be CL40. In both cases, we’ll see variations from this, and many of the launch kits are factory overclocked to 5200MHz or higher.
Another interesting change is how the memory banks are structured. On DDR4, sticks were limited to single-channel each, so enabling dual-channel required at least two memory sticks. Running a single memory stick resulted in a noticeable performance loss. Now, each stick contains two channels each, so single-stick, dual-channel or dual-stick, quad-channel configurations are now possible.
The potential density of each die has also been doubled from last generation, 16Gb to 32Gb each This means that we’re likely to see higher capacity DIMMs than were possible with DDR4.
(Editor's note: Added a clarification regarding 32Gb density being potential as it is not available yet. It is part of the DDR5 spec and should come in time).
DDR5 brings a number of other changes with it. All memory is now error-correcting, a capability previously limited to server-side memory, increasing its reliability. Power management is also now handled directly on the chip with an integrated controller. This generates a small amount of additional heat, however, so it’s possible we could see this impacting higher speed or poorly designed kits in the future. The chips also use less power overall, pre-overclocking with a 1.1v standard
The other thing to know is that DDR5 is currently prohibitively expensive. The kit we’re looking at today currently retails for $299 for two 16GB sticks. A quick search of Newegg shows that you can buy twice the capacity of DDR4 at 3200MHz for $60 less. Conversely, you could pick up 32GB of DDR4-4800 MHz for the same discount. As a result, it’s going to have to offer a substantial performance boost to justify the added cost.
ADATA XPG Lancer - Kit Overview
The XPG Lancer kit we’re reviewing today is a 2x16GB configuration. It features an XMP 3.0 (overclock) profile of 5200MHz with CL38 timings and runs at 1.25V. Note that this profile will need to be enabled in your system BIOS. The modules utilize Micron ICs which which should bode well for overclocking if history is any indicator.
The Lancer kit is available in RGB and non-RGB versions at launch. We were sent the non-RGB kit. It features a sleek, black aesthetic with angular cuts and some tracery on the left side of its aluminum heatsink. At 40mm high when installed, it’s not overly tall but you’ll still want to check the clearance for air coolers. Subjectively, it’s a nice-looking kit that should fill well with most systems.
ADATA XPG Lancer - Benchmark Results
Intel Test System #1: Intel Core i9-12900K, MSI Z690 MPG Carbon WiFi, Corsair iCUE Elite LCD 360mm, ADATA XPG Lancer DDR5-5200MHz, Nvidia RTX 3090, Samsung 970 Pro NVMe 1TB, Corsair HX-1050 1050 Watt Power Supply, Windows 11 (fully updated).
Intel Test System #2: Intel Core i9-11900K, ASUS Z490 Maximus XII Extreme, Corsair iCUE Elite LCD 360mm, G.Skill TridentZ Royal DDR4-3600MHz 32GB DRAM Kit, Nvidia RTX 3090, Samsung 970 Pro NVMe 1TB, Corsair HX-1050 1050 Watt Power Supply, (fully updated).
Since we’re so early in the testing cycle for this generation, our stable of comparison products is currently very limited. Specifically, we currently only have one motherboard available that does not support DDR4. As a result, these benchmarks will be split to showcase the current ADATA RAM kit as well as a competing DDR4 kit. They are at different speeds and will necessarily utilize different processors. As we receive more samples in for testing, we will expand our data set to showcase more comparisons, but this should give a good idea of the kind of improvement you can look forward to.
All tests are conducted at the recommended XMP profile for each set.
ADATA XPG Lancer - Overclocking
I consider myself fairly inexperienced with memory overclocking, but have enough experience to know which settings to adjust to push memory speeds. I share that because a more experienced overclocker may have better results, or perhaps I was just unlucky with the silicon lottery.
I was able to achieve a stable overclock of 5400MHz. Achieving this required me to push the voltage to 1.3V and increase latency timings to CL40, however. Anything more resulted in system instability or a completely failed boot.
In general, I don’t consider this worth the effort. The benefits of pushing this overclock aren’t noticeable in normal use and the experience left me feeling disappointed rather than excited. With a sample size of one, it’s impossible to draw any conclusions from this, but it will be interesting to see other users’ experiences and what the go-to ICs are for overclocking this generation.
The ADATA XPG Lancer kit is solid but expensive. That’s honestly expected on both counts. ADATA is one of the biggest names in the business and makes good products. The XPG Lancer lived up to that. Depending on the games you’re playing, there is a noticeable boost in performance — but it’s not as consistent as I hoped it would be. For users building a new computer and that know they’ll want a DDR5 kit in the next six months, this price or one similar is a likely reality you’ll have to face. If you can’t wait, definitely give this kit a closer look, and prepare to bite the bullet. If you have a DDR4 kit you can live with, direct that closer look toward the games you’re playing and whether DDR5 with give you the uplift you’re looking for — at least for now.The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.