Corsair CMK8GX4M2A2133C13 Review

HX421C14FBK2-16_00 Having lately tested a number of freshly (re)invented memory products from GeIL, G.Skill and Klevv, today we return with a review of something a tad more common and traditional.

Back in the hey-day of DDR3, the Vengeance LPX was released as a compact alternative to Corsair's well-known Dominator Platinum and Vengeance Pro series. Thanks to its attractive design, versatility, strong build quality and affordable pricing, it quickly became a hit among the masses. On the surface, the USA-based memory maker seems to be following the same principles with the DDR4 incarnation of the Vengeance LPX. Whether or not it still is a smart buy - we will try to answer within the upcoming minutes.

 Manufacturer  Corsair
 Series  Vengeance LPX Black
 Part Number  CMK8GX4M2A2133C13
 Type  DDR4
 Capacity  8GB (2 x 4GB)
 Frequency  1066 MHz (DDR4-2133)
 Timings  13-15-15-28
 Voltage  1.2 V
 Warranty  Lifetime Warranty

At a first glance, the kit's specs can hardly catch anyone's attention: finding DDR4 rated below DDR4-2133 is hard even if you dig through the obscure OEM models or JEDEC's release documents. Still, Corsair have managed to reduce the CAS latency from the official 15 to a more sensible 13 with no impact to the rated voltage, which still stands at the standard 1.20V.

Of course, 13 is not the lowest value that DDR4 can potentially offer. Bumping the voltage by a few notches would easily allow for significantly lower values. However, these days the makers seem to be overly cautious with the voltage ratings, unlike in the good old days of DDR1 and DDR2 when 40% rated overvoltage was relatively common.

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The packaging is similarly unspectacular. The sticks are presented in a plastic tray that is wrapped by a small paper box.

The front side of the packaging is a typical attention catcher - it features an oversized picture of the product, the series name and the key specs. The back side is a bit more technical telling you that the Vengeance LPX was designed with microATX and Mini-ITX systems in mind, plus some boring legal information.

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In terms of appearance, the Vengeance LPX are a classic combination of standard-height PCB and basic aluminium heatsinks that barely extend above it. Naturally, Corsair couldn't do without contemporary changes such as black PCB and other minor cosmetic adjustments. However, the main concept remained the same - the modules had to stay compact in order fit along any type of CPU cooling solution.

Another important aspect is the colour scheme. Paiting the modules black not only allows them to look more elegant, but also allows them to blend in with nearly any motherboard you can imagine, as can be seen from an image below.

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Depending on where you are sitting, the modules will face you either with a Vengeance logo, or with a white spec sticker. From the latter, we can see that the version of our modules is 3.20 which, using Corsair's existing convention, is an indicator that the kit is built upon Micron chips of 4Gbit (512MB) density.

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After a quick heatsink removal and a formal warranty void, we confirmed the chip information. Although the labels don't directly say Micron, the "S" on each chip resembled a logo of Spectek which, in turn, is a division of Micron.

The further labels on the memory chips are an indicator of their manufacturing week (1504 = year 2015 week 04) and their JEDEC speed bin (-083 = DDR4-2400 CL17-17-17). As predicted by the version number, the chip density is 4Gbit (512MB) thus is takes eight memory chips in a single-sided configuration to assemble each of 4GB modules.

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Each module carries a miniature SPD chip that is flashed with information on its manufacturer, internal part number and the production date. The SPD chip also contains several setting presets (called JEDEC presets) that guarantee compatibility no matter how weird of a platform you plan to use the kit in.

On top of the JEDEC profiles, there is an XMP (Xtreme Memory Profile) which contains the kit's formal specs. Note that most motherboards will set the memory to its highest JEDEC profile unless you go in the BIOS and manually load the XMP.

Doing so on our test platform has resulted in having the following timings and subtimings at DDR4-2133.

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