Choosing the right DRAM kit can be a tough task. How much RAM do you need, should you pay more for speed, why are they priced different? If you’re looking for customization, which RGB kit has the best looks and options? We’re here to help you answer those questions, looking at the new XPG Spectrix D41 kit from ADATA. Read on for our full review.
Specifications (per ADATA)
- MSRP: 4X8GB Pricing Currently Unavailable ($199 per 16GB kit)
- Density: 8GB, 16GB modules available, 8-64GB kits available
- Speed: 3200MHz tested, 2666 - 3600MHz available
- Voltage: 1.2V at 2666MHz, 1.35V 3000 - 3600MHz
- Latency: 16-18-18 (2666 - 3200MHz), 17-18-18 (4.2MHz)
- Illumination: Yes, programmable RGB
- Software Control: Yes
- Warranty: Lifetime Warranty
ADATA is no newcomer in the world of memory and storage. If you’ve been building PCs for more than a few years, you’ve surely heard of them through their line of Solid State Drives. Recently, they’ve caught our attention with their XPG line of gaming memory. Featuring much flashier looks than their standard DRAM kits, they’re designed to enhance the look of your system while still offering the kind of performance gamers demand.
The XPG Spectrix D41 kits are fresh to the market, little brothers to the eye-catching liquid cooled D80 memory kits. The D41s opt for a more conventional approach, eschewing the hybrid liquid cooling for a conventional heatsink and eye-catching RGB LED diffuser bar.
The kit comes in a a number of different configurations ranging from a single 8GB stick to a quadruple 16GB sets at 2666MHz. Anything higher than that speed - 3000MHz, 3200MHz, and 3600MHz kits are also available - is limited to 8GB densities per stick up to a total of 32GB. We were sent two 16GB, 3200MHz sets intended to fill out our four DIMM slots and be tested as a 32GB kit, though at the time it appears that 32GB kits may not have made their way to market quite yet and so we’re unsure of launch pricing. Given the extensive listing of options available on the ADATA website, it appears that the offerings in the D41 line should be expanding substantially over the next year.
Each configuration comes with an option of a Titanium Grey or Crimson Red heat spreader. We requested the Titanium Grey version and would recommend you similarly avoid buying a colorized heatspreader with your RGB memory stick. Though it clearly doesn’t bother everyone, we’ve found that colors such as red can cause unintended reflections that aren’t always what you were intending. The Titanium Grey models don’t suffer this at all and actually look quite good in our opinion.
This puts it in line with RGB offerings ADATA’s competitors, but what sets it apart is just how thick that diffuser bar is. With all four slots filled, the diffusers have only a very slight separation and present a nice block of color and motion for the center of your rig.
The XPG Spectrix D41 kit will work with most motherboards out of the box; our ASUS system had no trouble recognizing the sticks and integrating them right away. You can also download a lighting driver from the ADATA website, though once it recognized that motherboard, immediately integrated in and would simply launch ASUS AURA when launched from the start menu.
We were able to choose from 12 different presets (demonstrated, sans MUSIC which wouldn’t respond at the time of recording, in the video above), as well as customize most of them to our own speeds and color scheme. Many of them also allow you to customize down to the five individual lighting zones on each stick, which is a nice touch, if a bit cumbersome to actually program in. It’s not as rich with options as something like Corsair’s iCUE software but does allow you to create some nice schemes with a little effort. The user friendliness and overall options are almost certainly influenced by our kit’s integration with ASUS AURA, though, so your mileage may vary.
Of the presets, many of these involve different forms of pulsing and flashing but with that diffuser bars, it’s the effects with seamless transitions that really look best and we wish there were more options here. I did find SMART effects to be a neat visual indicator of your system temperature of CPU utilization.
Test system: i7-7700k at 4.2GHz, MSI Z270 Gaming M7 Motherboard, GTX-1080Ti (SLI), 500GB Samsung 960 EVO, 12TB HDD Mass Storage, Corsair HX-1050 1050-watt PSU
Memory kits compared: 64GB Ballistix Elite DDR4-3200, 16GB G.Skill RipJaws V DDR4-3200, 32GB Ballistix Tactical Tracer DDR4-2666 RGB, 32GB HyperX Predator DDR4-2933 RGB, 32GB ADATA XPG Spectrix D41 DDR4-3200
In order to test our memory, we run through a number of benchmarks. These include PCMark 8’s Conventional and Express tests, AIDA64, wPrime, and SuperPi. While these benchmarks (excepting AIDA64) also benchmark the CPU, RAM performance is a key factor in the scores being rendered. We also do in-game benchmark testing, though we’ll save that for discussion following the presented charts.
Our assessments are not “point for point” in that we’re looking at different capacities and DRAM speeds between the different kits. The Spectrix kit we’re looking at today comes in at 32GB and features a performance speed of 3200MHz, putting it in line with the GSkill RipJaws V kit and notably faster than several other kits we tested. It also features a CAS latency of 16-18-18, which places it in line with the all but the HyperX Predator kit included below.
The D41 kit offers impressive results in AIDA64 Extreme’s read, write, and copy tests. That 3200MHz speed really allows it to shine, offering the best results of each of our five kits.
PC Mark is a whole system assessment that looks at what we could consider low intensity tasks compared to high-end gaming (for the most part). As a result, it seems to emphasize memory speed over capacity. In the Conventional assessment, our ADATA kit finds itself in the middle of the pack. The Express test offers better results, with the additional capacity giving it an edge over the similarly specced 16GB kit from G.Skill.
The SuperPi test looks at how fast a system can render the digits of Pi. We set our test to render up to 32 million digits. Like many benchmarks, this test is also impacted by the other components in your system but offers a good comparison of, if all other things are similar, the processing impact of a given RAM kit. Here we’re looking for the lowest completion speed. Again, our ADATA Spectrix D41 set leads the way.
Finally, we come to wPrime, a test that calculates a set number of square roots to hone in on processing time. Once more, we’re looking for the lowest score. Interestingly, our Spectrix kit again finds itself in the middle of the pack in the 32M test but pulls into second place in the 1024M test.
In-Game Testing and Performance Conclusions
We tested each of these kits in four different MMORPGs, including World of Warcraft, Black Desert Online, Elder Scrolls Online, and Guild Wars 2. We also tested them through a series of demanding single-player games, which include The Witcher 2, Project Cars 2, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, and Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Each title was tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions running through the in-game benchmark or, when that wasn’t possible, a repeatable series of in-game content.
As in our last memory kit review, we found that were very close. The ADATA and G.Skill kits performed nearly identically, which isn’t surprising given their matching speeds and memory timings. The HyperX Predator kit had a very slight advantage of 1-3FPS, which we attribute to the slightly tighter memory timings. Though, across all of our kits, framerate data showed a maximum span of six frames a second with the Ballistix Tactical Tracer 2666MHz kit coming in last.
These results reinforce our belief that the average gamer should consider factors like the kit pricing, heat spreader, and overall look more so than most other components. If you’re looking for sheer performance on benchmarks, the ADATA XPG Spectric D41 kit offers impressive results.
Considered as a whole, ADATA has an impressive memory kit here but an expensive one. With 16GB kits coming in at $199, it’s substantially more expensive than many other options available. I definitely like the light diffuser, which in a full kit really comes together to add a solid block of flowing light to your system. In my own PC (above), it’s not an exaggeration to say that it really ties the look together, but I do wish there were more options that emphasized the flow those diffusers can enable.
Performance-wise, they’re impressive, offering read, write, and copy speeds that are among the best we’ve used. I also appreciate that they offer dual X.M.P. profiles for users whose systems might not handle full 3200MHz speed (though Intel and 2nd gen Ryzen users should be just fine).
Overall, we have a kit that looks good and performs better, but who might be pricing itself a bit too high for many of its customers.
- Bright LEDs really enhance the look of your system
- Fully customizable across each stick’s 5 LEDs
- Great performer on benchmarks and gaming scenarios
- Dual X.M.P. profiles
- Comes to market at an expensive price
- Too few “flow” based effects
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.