Introduction & Closer Look
Up until the last couple of weeks, DDR4 memory was technically only available for the enthusiast via the Intel X99 platform. Given the hefty specifications of some of the available processors such as the Intel Core i7 5960x which features 8 cores and 16 threads of power, quad channel memory is supported. Now of course we have socket LGA 1151 or Z170 (Skylake), which not only opens the doors up to the general consumer without the need to spend £1000 on a motherboard/memory/CPU upgrade, but it means DDR3 is slowly going to be phased out. Maybe we are just speculating, but it makes sense as the last jump from DDR2 to DDR3 yielded huge price cuts and with DDR3 being cheaper than it has ever been in the last 4 years, DDR4 looks to take the crown as the go to memory type.
The only drawback (if you can call it that) is that Skylake or Z170 only support dual channel DDR4 memory and as you have probably seen, DDR4 comes mainly in quad channel kits; memory kits with 4 x sticks of memory if you didn’t already know! So what does that mean for you? Well, the difference between quad channel and dual channel is marginal at most. Most of the difference comes in synthetic benchmarks which measure bandwidth as quad channel offers more of that etc. On the gaming front, there is no noticeable difference from quad to dual, so that blows that speculation out of the water!
So in our grasp today is a new dual channel kit from Corsair, the Corsair Vengeance LPX 2666MHz 16GB (2x8GB) dual channel kit to be exact! This particular kit not only features a low profile heat sink design which offers superior cooler compatibility, but it comes in a lovely clean black finish. Now of course it is worth noting that doubling up 2 of these kits on X99 would offer quad channel support, but of course the focus today is on Skylake and on our Z170 test bench, which features the ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming ATX motherboard.
In typical memory packaging, the Corsair Vengeance LPX kits come in a thin cardboard box surrounding the blister pack containing the aforementioned kits; nothing too extravagant for packaging, but it works, looks good and has all the required information you would expect such as size, how many modules and of course, how fast they are!
Moving onto the dual channel kit of Vengeance LPX 2666MHz memory itself, it has nice subtle, but functional black heat sinks with a big thumbs up to those looking for a low profile kit. With Skylake being focused on general consumers rather than blazing rich enthusiasts, air coolers are a much more viable option and I have to say I like Corsairs approach regarding memory/cooling compatibility; sometimes it is under appreciated!
The height of the heat sinks after the memory is installed into compatible motherboard measures out at 3cm or just over 1” for those not familiar with metric measurements!
Touching on the specifications, the Corsair Vengeance LPX kit on test today is the 16GB (2x8GB) variant with XMP 2.0 rated speeds of 2666MHz with latency timings of 16-18-18-35. This is pretty average for DDR4 memory, but Corsair have equipped the kit with a 2nd XMP profile of 2800MHz which opens the gateway up to overclocking. No other brands have implemented more than 1 x XMP profile which I have seen so far, so it seems Corsair not only offer more for the money, but they obviously have confident in their chosen chips.