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Express review of XPG Lancer Blade RGB DDR5-6000 memory modules with a capacity of 32 GB on SK Hynix chips

06.12.2023 11:47

The RAM market is gradually moving to DDR5, but the process is slower than expected due to several factors. Maintaining DDR4 support on existing Intel processors has slowed the transition to the new standard, which is important for many system manufacturers. For example, DDR5 is still not so widespread in compact PCs, although it is no longer something exotic. For many users, saving money remains a priority, but over the past two years the price gap between DDR4 and DDR5 has narrowed significantly. Now native DDR5 frequencies become more attractive, although they are officially limited to DDR5-5600. However, future processors will likely support higher frequencies. And although they may not be available now, the trend towards increasing frequency continues.

It's important to note that not all users strive for the highest frequencies. Most DDR5 modules on SK Hynix chips operate stably at 6000 MHz at 1.25 V and up to 7000 MHz at 1.35-1.4 V, which is often optimal for most systems. Exceeding 7 GHz can cause problems due to limitations of processors and motherboards, especially for older platforms. Despite this, modern processors, including inexpensive models, can operate memory at higher frequencies, but without guarantees or official support. Therefore, it is important to purchase modules with the right characteristics and a flexible approach to overclocking, doing this after building the system if necessary.

If the goal is not to strive for official support for frequencies above DDR5-6000 and similar levels, then the costs will be relatively low. 32GB memory kits typically cost a little more than a couple of the most affordable 16GB modules with lower frequencies. In reality, significant savings can be achieved if you limit yourself to 16 GB and choose modules without heatsinks, although this may seem strange in 2023, when heatsinks are recommended for DDR5. The Lancer Blade RGB available on the market is not the cheapest solution, but one of the available ones. Sometimes Lancer Blade RGB models can be even cheaper than regular Lancer Blades at the same store, making this an attractive option, especially if you're looking to try backlit modules for the first time.

The technical specifications and design of this memory series are in line with modern standards. The Lancer Blade DDR5 series is presented in 32 GB kits (of two 16 GB modules) with memory frequencies of DDR5-6000 or DDR5-6400. The operating voltage is specified at 1.35 or 1.4 V. In the characteristics of the modules, one can note a low CAS Latency value of 30 or 32 depending on the memory frequency.

The company has done a good job with the design of the Lancer Blade RGB modules. Unlike the standard Lancer or Lancer RGB, where more frequency options are available (up to 7200 MHz), Lancer Blade RGB have a height limit of up to 40 mm, which provides wider compatibility with coolers. It is this Lancer Blade RGB series that integrates customizable lighting, available in black or white heatsinks, which may be of interest to modders. The company’s assortment also includes modules of an even lower profile, but without backlighting. By the way, Blade and Blade RGB, according to diagnostic utilities, are technically similar (except for the absence of LEDs on the former), but the price for them is not always reduced, despite the lack of backlighting.

These modules look stylish, attractive and easy to use. Technically they don't offer anything exclusive, which can often increase the cost significantly, but instead they are focused on achieving certain frequencies. Support for Intel XMP 3.0 and AMD Expo profiles means that the modules are designed to work with these profiles. Now it's interesting to see how they can exceed expectations.

On full auto it starts at 4800 with fairly conservative timings.

It is clear that the JEDEC standard provides support up to DDR5-4800 frequency. Many manufacturers prefer not to certify overclocking modules for higher frequencies, since they do not always find demand for such extreme capabilities. However, there is one XMP profile that corresponds to the Expo profile in basic parameters. This means that this profile can easily configure memory to DDR5-6000 frequency with the click of a button. The main thing to note is that the modules are based on SK Hynix chips, which may mean it is possible to achieve frequencies other than the declared DDR5-6000.

To begin with, we still switch with the same button in Setup to the official 6000. CAS Latency is really 30, the rest of the relative timings are normal (but this was clear from the profile). The question arose — what happens when you try to overclock. It is clear that with such a CAS it is pointless to increase the frequency head-on, so we decided to start by leaving the timings at the discretion of the board.

While maintaining the same supply voltage, to save time, we immediately jumped to 7000 MHz. Note that, despite the terrible timings, the measured delays even in this mode turn out to be slightly higher than in the one carefully selected by the manufacturer.

You can rise above 7000 at a voltage of 1.4 V. At 7600, you can even boot Windows every once in a while — but with a more or less serious load on the memory, we get a blue screen. With a probability of 90 percent, this is already a processor and a board — so we could move on. But you can live on 7467 for quite a long time. Take the test results — even more so.

It turned out to significantly improve the timings without the need for a long setup — about one and a half times. Delays have decreased by about 10%, which is also pleasantly surprising. Perhaps even greater results can be achieved with more careful tuning. However, it should be taken into account that the final result will depend on other components of the system. In any case, this result is achieved very quickly and significantly exceeds the results obtained using the XMP profile.

For visual representation, we have prepared the main low-level results in two graphs. In terms of throughput, everything is quite obvious — it increases almost proportionally to the frequency. However, the standard mode for the modules is quite conservative (for example, the Intel Core i9-12900K specifications are limited to DDR5-4800), but with simple manual tuning you can achieve much better results.

Delays depend both on relative timings and on the same frequency — after all, they are adjusted relative to it. And here, too, everything is simple. The XMP profile is noticeably superior in comparison to JEDEC precisely due to its higher frequency — but no one bothers to increase it much more manually.

This appears to apply to DDR5 modules based on SK Hynix chips. After studying several of these kits, we found that they behaved the same way. Therefore, it is not always necessary to look for modules with impressive declared characteristics. When setting up manually, completely different factors come into play. For example, ease of access to modules—their availability in stores and price—are of great importance. In this aspect, the XPG Lancer Blade RGB modules are presented well. The design is also beautiful. Slightly conservative official characteristics do not become an obstacle to achieving great results. It is almost guaranteed that more can be achieved. And if you're lucky, much more.