HotHardware Holiday Gift Guide 2009
RAM prices may have fallen sharply over the past few years, but the stuff made for performance-minded users still demands some serious cash. Here's a look at a few solid bets for this holiday season, arranged from least expensive to most.
Kingston HyperXR DDR3 - $60+
Starting at just $60 for a 2GB kit, Kingston's true-blue memory bundles are actually really affordable given their performance. You can find a wide variety of speeds and latencies to best fit your needs (or the needs of that special someone), with clock rates running all the way up to 2133MHz. The sticks are available in kit capacities of up to 8GB dual-channel, and 12GB triple-channel for high-endconfigurations.
OCZ Low-Voltage DDR3 Kit - $103+
Need support for Intel's P55 Chipset and subsequent Intel Core i7, i5, and i3 (Socket 1156) processors? You've come to the right place. OCZ's new DDR3 Low-Voltage Dual Channel Kits are available in a multitude of speeds, with each of the 2x2GB bundles promising to function properly with some of Intel's newest wares. OCZ's heralded performance and warranty is included for free, too. Okay, so maybe it's baked in, but it "seems" free.
OCZ AMD Black Edition Memory - $130
If you're gearing up to build an AMD system, particularly one with a Phenom II CPU, OCZ has a RAM kit for you. The new 2x2GB OCZ Black Edition kit includes memory that runs with an ultra-low voltage, not to mention a fairly sweet design and an AMD-branded XTC (Xtreme Thermal Convection) heatspreader.
Corsair Dominator GT for Phenom II CPUs - $235
We know, RAM is RAM, right? Well, sorta. If you're worried over compatibility (and it's okay, you should be), Corsair has memory out that'll absolutely play nice with your AMD Phenom II processor-based platforms using Socket AM3 motherboards. This CAS 6 memory kit (2x2GB) operates at a frequency of 1600MHz with ultra low-latency timings of 6-6-6-18 and a Command Rate of 1T. Compared to standard 1333MHz DDR3 memory, Corsair claims this stuff provides 20% better performance when tested with a AMD Phenom II X4 Black Edition processor. Gotta love that!
Corsair Dominator XMS3 1866 MHz - $300
Dominator RAM ain't for those with skinny wallets, but the quality is top notch. We had a chance to test this 6GB kit earlier in the year, and we were duly impressed with the results. The kit comes with 6GB (3x2GB) of 1866 MHz memory at 9-9-9-24 latencies, so, speed freaks will thank you forever, and if you're really feeling gracious, why not snag two kits? 12GB of RAM never hurt anyone!