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Crucial DDR4-2133 32GB Dual-Channel Memory Kit Review

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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One of the advancements brought forth by DDR4 is support for higher density memory modules of up to 128GB. While those extra-large modules aren't available yet, there has been a trickle down effect whereby smaller 16GB modules are now widely available, relatively inexpensive, and compatible on consumer-oriented motherboards. That last part is important, because while there are 16GB DDR3 modules as well, they are all Registered ECC variants intended for servers or workstations and they have historically cost an arm and a leg.

Considering the fact that one of the standout features of the Skylake platform is support for up to 64GB (4x16GB) of system memory - Haswell & Broadwell were limited to 32GB - we thought it was time to test out a larger yet still relatively affordable memory kit. Looking back in time, when the Haswell-E LGA2011-3 platform launched we had the opportunity to review a quad-channel 32GB DDR4-2133 memory kit from Crucial. Not only was it the cheapest 32GB kit available at the time - a 'mere' $420 USD / $450 CAD - but as we found out it overclocked pretty well considering its low default frequency.

With this in mind, we decided to take a look at Crucial's new CT2K16G4DFD8213 model, which is a dual-channel 32GB memory kit that features two 16GB modules clocked at DDR4-2133 with 15-15-15-36 timings at a low 1.20V. Despite these sleepy JEDEC-following specs, this kit retails for about $200 USD / $275 CAD, which is actually higher than quite a few factory overclocked 32GB memory kits that are currently available. While Crucial's renowned lifetime warranty is obviously a selling point, since it is a policy that they pioneered, it has also become a norm among all popular RAM manufacturers.

So in this review we are going to see how this kit performs and also how well it overclocks, since a solid result in that department could easily make its slight price premium worthwhile for those interested in maximizing performance.
Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_1.png
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Messages
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Packaging & Memory Overview

Packaging & Memory Overview


Most consumers never even get to see the packaging of the products they buy online before ordering them, but a little attention to the detail does go a long way towards creating a positive initial impression when they receive their purchase. As a result, let's see what Crucial have done with this new dual-channel DDR4 memory kit.


Crucial have packaged the CT2K16G4DFD8213 in two plastic clamshells, one for each module, with a informational cardboard sleeve holding the two clamshells together. Thankfully, as is becoming increasingly common, the plastic packaging does not require a knife or scissors to open, so it can be pulled apart by hand and is thus is also re-sealable.


With their familiar green PCB , lack of heatspreader, one Crucial sticker and one Micron sticker, these modules look absolutely identical to those that Crucial have been selling for over a decade. And that's not a criticism at all, since there's nothing wrong with consistency when it works. As per JEDEC specifications, these memory modules are 31.25mm/1.23in tall, so quite low profile and thus they should avoid any clearance issues with the fan(s), fan clips or just fins of particularly wide CPU coolers.

Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_11th.png
Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_12th.png

These modules are clocked at DDR4-2133 15-15-15-36-2T with a default voltage of 1.20V. This model obviously doesn't have any XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) options, but it does have a bunch of JEDEC-approved profiles which are designed to ensure the greatest possible compatibility with all present and future DDR4-supporting motherboards.
 
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SKYMTL

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Test Setups & Methodology

Test Setups & Methodology


For this review, we are going to be testing a variety of different frequency and timing configurations while also attempting to keep the CPU and Uncore clocks are identical as possible across all of those configurations. The components and software are the same across all six configurations, and aside from manually selecting the multipliers, frequencies, timings, and voltages in the manual overclock configurations, every option in the BIOS was at its default setting.

Intel Core i7 LGA1151 DDR4 Test Setup​
Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_13.png

For all of the benchmarks, appropriate lengths are taken to ensure an equal comparison through methodical setup, installation, and testing. The following outlines our testing methodology:

A) Windows is installed using a full format.

B) Chipset drivers and accessory hardware drivers (audio, network, GPU) are installed.

C)To ensure consistent results, a few tweaks are applied to Windows 7 and the NVIDIA control panel:
  • UAC – Disabled
  • Indexing – Disabled
  • Superfetch – Disabled
  • System Protection/Restore – Disabled
  • Problem & Error Reporting – Disabled
  • Remote Desktop/Assistance - Disabled
  • Windows Security Center Alerts – Disabled
  • Windows Defender – Disabled
  • Screensaver – Disabled
  • Power Plan – High Performance
  • V-Sync – Off

D) All available Windows updates are then installed.

E) All programs are installed and then updated, followed by a defragment.

F) Benchmarks are each run three to eight times, and unless otherwise stated, the results are then averaged.


Here is a full list of the applications that we utilized in our benchmarking suite:
  • 3DMark Vantage Professional Edition v1.1.3
  • 3DMark11 Professional Edition v1.0.132.0
  • 3DMark 2013 Professional Edition v1.5.915
  • AIDA64 Extreme Edition v5.50.3600
  • Cinebench R15 64-bit
  • FAHBench 1.2.0
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward Benchmark
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • HEVC Decode Benchmark (Cobra) v1.61
  • LuxMark v3.0
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • PCMark 8
  • SuperPi Mod v1.9 WP
  • Sisoft Sandra 2015.SP3 20.28
  • Valve Particle Simulation Benchmark v1.0.0.0
  • WinRAR x64 5.30 beta 6
  • wPRIME version v2.10
  • X3: Terran Conflict Demo v1.0
That is about all you need to know methodology wise, so let's get to the good stuff!
 

SKYMTL

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Overclocking Results

Overclocking Results


For our memory overclocking tests we are usually interested in two main elements: how well the memory scales with additional voltage and how versatile it is at overclocking with different timings. While we usually cap memory voltage to 1.40V during our DDR4 overclocking endeavours, with this memory kit we had to limit ourselves to 1.35V because 1.40V caused errors in Hyper PI. Thanks to this static voltage, we were able to put all our efforts into determining timings scalability.

In order to make sure that there weren't any possible CPU-related bottlenecks, the CPU VCCIO was set to 1.275V and the CPU System Agent Voltage set to 1.35V. Our ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme does not handle memory speeds above DDR4-3733 very well when using large 8GB modules, and we expect a similar (or worse) limitation in this case since we are dealing with even larger modules. We focused on four basic timing configurations (13-13-13 / 14-14-14 / 15-15-15 / 16-16-16) with a 1T command rate in order to maximize performance.

With the pleasantries out of the way, let's get to the fun stuff.

Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_14.png

Given the fact that we are dealing with large 16GB modules with a base speed of DDR4-2133 we didn't have the highest expectations in the world, but in the end this memory kit proved to have a respectable amount of overclocking headroom.

As you can see, at the tightest timings, we were able to hit DDR4-2460, which is pretty good compared to stock. While there was surprisingly little difference between 13-13-13 and 14-14-14, once we loosened the timings to 15-15-15 these modules started to stretch their legs and we were able to hit DDR4-2733, a full 600Mhz over stock at stock timings. Further loosening the timings to 16-16-16 provided some additional headroom, allowing us to ratchet the memory speed up to DDR4-2870. While we were confident that we would be able to approach DDR4-3000 at CAS 17, it was regrettably not meant to be. We did attempt 17-17-17, but we just barely crossed the DDR4-2900 mark, and even then stress testing stability wasn't great. We tried testing the modules individually, and the results were roughly the same. Loosening the command rate to 2T did not yield any additional overclocking headroom either.

If we compare these overclocking results to those our previously tested quad-channel Crucial DDR4-2133 32GB (4x8GB) kit, the differences are interesting. While this newer kit achieved a much better result at 15-15-15, the reverse was true when it came to 14-14-14 results, and even the 13-13-13 results were a tiny bit worse. Difference sized modules, different ICs, and even different platform, but still an interesting brief comparison.

Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_15th.png
Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_16th.png

Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_17th.png
Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_18th.png
Click on image to enlarge

These screenshots are just to prove that we did indeed achieve the overclocks listed, and that they were stable enough to pass a series of mainstream benchmarking and stress testing applications. If you are doing super critical work, then maybe a little Prime95 stress testing should be done as well, but for gaming and day-to-day tasks our approach is more than sufficient.

Check out the next few pages to see our benchmarking results. We kept CPU frequencies as close to 4.40Ghz as possible and increased the Cache/Uncore frequencies to around 4.10Ghz to try an eliminate any memory bandwidth bottlenecks. We were able to keep all four configurations within these guidelines, with only a 10Mhz variation in CPU frequency.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
System Benchmarks

System Benchmarks


In the System and Gaming Benchmarks sections, we reveal the results from a number of benchmarks run with this Crucial CT2K16G4DFD8213 memory kit, on an ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme motherboard, and with our Core i7-6700K processor overclocked to 4.40Ghz and with a 4.10Ghz Cache/Uncore. We tested 8 frequency/timings combinations ranging from default DDR4-2133, to default with 1T enabled, and four overclocked configurations. This will illustrate how much performance can be achieved with this memory kit in stock and tweaked forms.


SuperPi Mod v1.9 WP


When running the SuperPI 32MB benchmark, we are calculating Pi to 32 million digits and timing the process. Obviously more CPU power helps in this intense calculation, but the memory sub-system also plays an important role, as does the operating system. We are running one instance of SuperPi Mod v1.9 WP. This is therefore a single-thread workload.

Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_19.png


wPRIME 2.10


wPrime is a leading multithreaded benchmark for x86 processors that tests your processor performance by calculating square roots with a recursive call of Newton's method for estimating functions, with f(x)=x2-k, where k is the number we're sqrting, until Sgn(f(x)/f'(x)) does not equal that of the previous iteration, starting with an estimation of k/2. It then uses an iterative calling of the estimation method a set amount of times to increase the accuracy of the results. It then confirms that n(k)2=k to ensure the calculation was correct. It repeats this for all numbers from 1 to the requested maximum. This is a highly multi-threaded workload.

Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_20.png


Cinebench R15


Cinebench R15 64-bit
Test1: CPU Image Render
Comparison: Generated Score


The latest benchmark from MAXON, Cinebench R15 makes use of all your system's processing power to render a photorealistic 3D scene using various different algorithms to stress all available processor cores. The test scene contains approximately 2,000 objects containing more than 300,000 total polygons and uses sharp and blurred reflections, area lights and shadows, procedural shaders, antialiasing, and much more. This particular benchmarking can measure systems with up to 64 processor threads. The result is given in points (pts). The higher the number, the faster your processor.

Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_21.png


WinRAR x64


WinRAR x64 5.30 beta 6
Test: Built-in benchmark, processing 1000MB of data.
Comparison: Time to Finish

One of the most popular file archival and compression utilities, WinRAR's built-in benchmark is a great way of measuring a processor's compression and decompression performance. Since it is a memory bandwidth intensive workload it is also useful in evaluating the efficiency of a system's memory subsystem.


Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_22.png



FAHBench


FAHBench 1.2.0
Test: OpenCL on CPU
Comparison: Generated Score

FAHBench is the official Folding@home benchmark that measures the compute performance of CPUs and GPUs. It can test both OpenCL and CUDA code, using either single or double precision, and implicit or explicit modeling. The single precision implicit model most closely relates to current folding performance.


Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_23.png


HEVC Decode Benchmark v1.61


HEVC Decode Benchmark (Cobra) v1.61
Test: Frame rates at various resolution, focusing on the top quality 25Mbps bitrate results.
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

The HEVC Decode Benchmark measures a system's HEVC video decoding performance at various bitrates and resolutions. HEVC, also known as H.265, is the successor to the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding) standard and it is very computationally intensive if not hardware accelerated. This decode test is done entirely on the CPU.


Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_24.png


LuxMark v3.0


Test: OpenCL CPU Mode benchmark of the LuxBall HDR scene.
Comparison: Generated Score

LuxMark is a OpenCL benchmarking tool that utilizes the LuxRender 3D rendering engine. Since it OpenCL based, this benchmark can be used to test OpenCL rendering performance on both CPUs and GPUs, and it can put a significant load on the system due to its highly parallelized code.


Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_25.png


PCMark 8


PCMark 8 is the latest iteration of Futuremark’s system benchmark franchise. It generates an overall score based upon system performance with all components being stressed in one way or another. The result is posted as a generalized score. In this case, we tested with both the standard Conventional benchmark and the Accelerated benchmark, which automatically chooses the optimal device on which to perform OpenCL acceleration.

Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_26.png


AIDA64 Memory Benchmark

AIDA64 Extreme Edition is a diagnostic and benchmarking software suite for home users that provides a wide range of features to assist in overclocking, hardware error diagnosis, stress testing, and sensor monitoring. It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives.

The benchmarks used in this review are the memory bandwidth and latency benchmarks. Memory bandwidth benchmarks (Memory Read, Memory Write, Memory Copy) measure the maximum achievable memory data transfer bandwidth. The code behind these benchmark methods are written in Assembly and they are extremely optimized for every popular AMD, Intel and VIA processor core variants by utilizing the appropriate x86/x64, x87, MMX, MMX+, 3DNow!, SSE, SSE2, SSE4.1, AVX, and AVX2 instruction set extension.
The Memory Latency benchmark measures the typical delay when the CPU reads data from system memory. Memory latency time means the penalty measured from the issuing of the read command until the data arrives to the integer registers of the CPU.


Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_27.png
Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_28.png
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Gaming Benchmarks

Gaming Benchmarks



Futuremark 3DMark (2013)


3DMark v1.1.0
Graphic Settings: Fire Strike Preset
Rendered Resolution: 1920x1080
Test: Specific Physics Score and Full Run 3DMarks
Comparison: Generated Score


3DMark is the brand new cross-platform benchmark from the gurus over at Futuremark. Designed to test a full range of hardware from smartphones to high-end PCs, it includes three tests for DirectX 9, DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 hardware, and allows users to compare 3DMark scores with other Windows, Android and iOS devices. Most important to us is the new Fire Strike preset, a DirectX 11 showcase that tests tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Like every new 3DMark version, this test is extremely GPU-bound, but it does contain a heavy physics test that can show off the potential of modern multi-core processors.


Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_29.png


Futuremark 3DMark 11


3DMark 11 v1.0.5
Graphic Settings: Extreme Preset
Resolution: 1920x1080
Test: Specific Physics Score and Full Run 3DMarks
Comparison: Generated Score


3DMark 11 is Futuremark's very latest benchmark, designed to tests all of the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. At the moment, it is lot more GPU-bound than past versions are now, but it does contain a terrific physics test which really taxes modern multi-core processors.


Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_30.png


Futuremark 3DMark Vantage


3DMark Vantage v1.1.2
Graphic Settings: Performance Preset
Resolution: 1280x1024

Test: Specific CPU Score and Full Run 3DMarks
Comparison: Generated Score

3DMark Vantage is the follow-up to the highly successful 3DMark06. It uses DirectX 10 exclusively so if you are running Windows XP, you can forget about this benchmark. Along with being a very capable graphics card testing application, it also has very heavily multi-threaded CPU tests, such Physics Simulation and Artificial Intelligence (AI), which makes it a good all-around gaming benchmark.


Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_31.png


Valve Particle Simulation Benchmark


Valve Particle Simulation Benchmark
Resolution: 1920x1080
Anti-Aliasing: 4X
Anisotropic Filtering: 8X
Graphic Settings: High

Comparison: Particle Performance Metric

Originally intended to demonstrate new processing effects added to Half Life 2: Episode 2 and future projects, the particle benchmark condenses what can be found throughout HL2:EP2 and combines it all into one small but deadly package. This test does not symbolize the performance scale for just Episode Two exclusively, but also for many other games and applications that utilize multi-core processing and particle effects. As you will see the benchmark does not score in FPS but rather in its own "Particle Performance Metric", which is useful for direct CPU comparisons.


Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_32.png


X3: Terran Conflict


X3: Terran Conflict 1.2.0.0
Resolution: 1920x1080
Texture & Shader Quality: High
Antialiasing 4X
Anisotropic Mode: 8X
Glow Enabled

Game Benchmark
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

X3: Terran Conflict (X3TC) is the culmination of the X-series of space trading and combat simulator computer games from German developer Egosoft. With its vast space worlds, intricately detailed ships, and excellent multi-threaded game engine, it remains a great test of modern CPU performance.


Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_33.png


Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward Benchmark


Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward
Resolution: 1920x1080
Texture & Shader Quality: Maximum IQ
DirectX 11
Fullscreen

Game Benchmark
Comparison: Generated Score

Square Enix released this benchmarking tool to rate how your system will perform in Heavensward, the expansion to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. This official benchmark software uses actual maps and playable characters to benchmark gaming performance and assign a score to your PC.


Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_34.png



Grand Theft Auto V


DirectX Version: DirectX 11
Resolution: 1920x1080
FXAA: On
MSAA: X4
NVIDIA TXAA: Off
Anisotropic Filtering: X16
All advanced graphics settings off.

In GTA V, we utilize the handy in-game benchmarking tool. We do three full runs of the benchmark and average the results of pass 3 since they are the least erratic.


Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_35.png



Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor


Resolution: 1920x1080
Graphical Quality: Custom
Mesh/Shadow/Texture Filtering/Vegetation Range: Ultra
Lighting/Texture Quality/Ambient Occlusion: High
Depth of Field/Order Independent Transparency/Tesselation: Enabled

With its high resolution textures and several other visual tweaks, Shadow of Mordor’s open world is also one of the most detailed around. This means it puts massive load on graphics cards and should help point towards which GPUs will excel at next generation titles. We do three full runs of the benchmark and average the results.


Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_36.png
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Conclusion

We have always been a fan of Crucial because their memory kits tend to be attractively priced and usually have excellent overclocking headroom. Crucial is such a large RAM manufacturer that the ICs used in their run-of-the-mill DDR4-2133 kits generally aren't simply the rejects that couldn't meet the specs of their enthusiast line, which is the case for most other manufacturers. As a result, it is often easy to find a diamond in the rough and end up with a highly overclockable Crucial memory kit.

Crucial_DDR4_2133_32GB_37.png

As we mentioned in the introduction, because of the fact that this particular CT2K16G4DFD8213 model features a higher price than many higher clocked kits, our judgment of this product was going to be heavily dependent on its overclocking capabilities. Regrettably, while were able to get a fair bit of overclocking headroom, and decent results like DDR4-2870 16-16-16, DDR4-2733 15-15-15, DDR4-2460 14-14-14, that is simply not enough when compared to the competition. There are factory overclocked 32GB memory kits, with pre-binned ICs and cool looking heatspreaders, that are equally priced and that are certified to run at DDR4-2800 14-14-14 or even DDR4-3200 16-18-18.

Even if you don't care about overclocking at all, these higher clocked models from enthusiast-oriented manufacturers are only about $15-20 more expensive than the cheapest 32GB DDR4-2133 kit on the market, and future platforms will support higher default memory speeds so it is always good to have a bit of extra headroom if you have future upgrade plans.

In the end, this is a fine memory kit, but it needs a $20 USD /$25 CAD price cut to be competitive with what is on the market right now. Even Crucial's higher-end Ballistix Sport LT 32GB models that are clocked at DDR4-2400 16-16-16, which feature better ICs and attractive heatspreaders, are only $10 more expensive than the plain OEM-looking kit that we have reviewed today.
 
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