Crucial 3GB Kit (3x1024MB) PC3-10600/DDR3-1333 Memory Review


The introduction ...

Triple Channel memory kits are a good investment for Intel Core i7 systems.
However, the test system for DDR3 memory modules is based on an AMD Phenom II processor and supports only the Dual Channel mode.
We have some nice Triple Channel kits for the 10 years April 2010 drawing, so it is obvious to test them on the AMD system with three modules, two modules and one module.
Let us have a look, how high the Crucial 3GB PC3-10600 Triple Channel DDR3 kit can be overclocked and if a purchase of the inexpensive Crucial 3x 1GB DDR3-1333 kit can be worthwhile also for an AMD Dual Channel system.




Thanks for the support ...

Many thanks for the support with the CT3KIT12864BA1339 3GB PC3 10600 / DDR3 1333 CL9 kit
by the manufacturer Crucial.

Click Here

The Crucial CT3KIT12864BA1339 3 GB kit contains 3x 1024 MB 240-pin DIMM DDR3-1333 memory modules and has a price of approx. 85 Euro (04/2010).
It is also available as Crucial CT2KIT12864BA1339 2 GB kit, which costs about 55 Euro at the review date (04/2010).
Memory modules are available with the upper banner in the Crucial Shop and at our sponsors.

Here you can buy Crucial DDR3 RAM.



The supply of the three 1024MB PC3-10600 memory modules ...

In this antistatic plastic packing the three well protected memory modules were supplied:



That is contained in the package ...

This kit came without a manual, but usually Crucial delivers memory modules with a quick installation guide.

The plastic packing can be opened very easy, by pressing the back to the rear, to break the three predetermined breaking points and fold up its cover. This is an exemplary Blister packaging, which can be also closed again without any problems:


Here is a picture of the three 1 gigabyte CT12864BA1339.8FF modules without packing ...


Here is a picture of the modules back side, they are single sided equipped ...



The technical data ...

Manufacturer Crucial
Article number CT3KIT12864BA1339 or 3x CT12864BA1339
Memory 3GB kit (1024MBx3)
Package 240-pin DIMM
Type DDR3 PC3-10600
Configuration 128Meg x 64
Error correction NON-ECC
Speed DDR3 1333 (200 MHz * 6,66)
Voltage 1.50 Volt
Memory timing 9-12-12-30 2T (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS)



Characteristics and other features ...

The memory modules are delivered without heat spreader (heatsinks), so it is necessary to measure the RAM temperature for higher overclocking.
Alternatively one can mount a passive or active memory cooler, which are available in different versions e.g. at our sponsors like

Crucial grants lifelong warranty (Limited Lifetime Warranty) for the buyer. All information to manufacturer conditions are of course without guarantee by

Officially these Crucial modules are designed for the JEDEC standard voltage of 1.50 V for DDR3 modules.
The manufacturer timings and latency can be easily reached on this voltage.
By the way, the test modules were equipped with Micron D9KPT chips, whereby the assembly can vary however within production.



3GB RAM in operating systems ...

32-Bit operating systems like e.g. Windows Vista x32 or Windows 7 x32 or also Windows XP as 32-Bit version supports less than 4 GB, thus 3GB memory capacity is an optimal size for these operating systems.
Here is a guide which contains among other things a table, how much RAM is supported by the respective operating systems.



Benchmark values and test results ...

Let us continue with the most important part of the test report, the highest possible stable performance.
The test results are based on an ASRock M3A790GXH/128M motherboard with an AMD Phenom II 710 X3 CPU on different frequencies depending on the reference clock for the different memory benchmarks.
The multiplier adjustment remains on 13x with all frequencies, because an adjustment for the CPU in half multiplier
steps would be too inaccurate to get nearly the same CPU frequency for all tests.
Microsoft Windows 7 RC Ultimate Edition is used as the operating system.
The stability was examined with the software Memtest86 and SiSoft Sandra Lite 2010c program is used for all
benchmarks, since it offers extensive adjustments and a fast result comparison.
BTW. the latest SiSoftware Sandra 2010c version is available on our download server and can be downloaded very fast.
All benchmarks are also included in the free Sandra Lite version.

First the maximum possible frequency of the memory module was determined with default 1.50 Volt (1,53V).
The memory frequency was increased in small steps with a fixed memory timing of 8-8-8-24 2T and default memory voltage, as long as the detailed memory test with Memtest86 runs without any errors.
This quite long testing time ensured that this frequency works really stable with these modules.

The highest possible frequency with 8-8-8-24 2T (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS) timings and 1.53V was 710 / 1420 MHz.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z 1.53 with 710 / 1420 MHz and 8-8-8-24 2T with 1.53 Volt:


Of course it's possible to run much higher frequencies with increased voltages or lower timings,
because the frequency values and timings depends directly from each other.
But officially Crucial specify only a voltage of 1.50 Volt without loosing the warranty.
The voltage should not be increased very much without additional cooling modifications.

The benchmark comparison of all DDR3 memory modules were tested with the default 1.53 V, where these Crucial 1GB modules reached 1420 MHz.
This highest possible clocking on the default DDR3 voltage was compared now with two other settings.
On the one hand they were tested with 200 MHz reference clock x6,66 = 1333 MHz and SPD values
(SPD values are programmed in the SPD IC by the manufacturer).
On the other hand the highest possible frequency with the permitted manufacturers voltage was determined at 8-8-8-24 2T. But in case of these modules the highest voltage is identical with the lowest test voltage, so the second test is equal to the first result.

With a frequency of approx. 667 MHz the SPD EEPROM autodetection timings were 9-12-12-30 2T (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS).

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z 1.53 with 666.7 / 1333 MHz and 9-12-12-30 2T:


Comparison between one, two and three memory modules on an AMD Phenom II system ...

Additionally to the official benchmark test, a comparison of one, two and three 1GB memory modules on an AMD Phenom II platform shows the performance difference between Single Channel and Dual Channel, and shows if there is a disadvantage of a Triple Channel kit on this Dual Channel platform.
All of the following values are measured with the same frequency and timing on an AMD Phenom II test system:

Memory Kit
Memory Bandwidth
RAM Range
Int Buff'd iSSE2
Memory Bus Range
3x 1GB
Dual Channel Mode
12.74 GB/s
21.88 GB/s
84 ns
2x 1GB
Dual Channel Mode
12.63 GB/s
21.88 GB/s
84 ns
1x 1GB
Single Channel Mode
8 GB/s
11 GB/s
83 ns

The values shows that the memory performance is almost identical in SiSoftware Sandra 2010c when using two or three memory modules.
The memory controller only changed to the full Single Channel mode when using just one memory module and this results in high losses of the RAM range and the memory bus range.
According to the motherboard manual, the combination of three modules would not run in DC mode.
However, with the combination of three modules, the Dual Channel mode was recognized by the motherboard.
So the test platform with an AMD in unganged mode was able to operate two thirds of the memory in the Dual Channel mode.
A Triple Channel kit was thus not very disadvantageful in this test with the AMD Phenom II system.
It depends on the motherboard and CPU, if three modules or different asymmetric memory combinations will run in the Dual Channel mode and should be explained in the documents of the respective manufacturer.

The difference between unganged and ganged mode is already described in previous Phenom and Phenom II motherboard test reports, here is again an excerpt for better understanding:
In unganged mode it has two separate 64bit DCT (DRAM Controller) which can be application-oriented much faster with two or more CPU cores.
In contrast to it, single threaded applications can profit with the simple 128bit ganged mode
(ganged is by the way necessary for the ECC error correction).
Once again the difference between ganged and unganged in shortform:
ganged = Single Dual Channel = 1x128bit = better for single threaded applications and ECC
unganged = Dual Single Channel = 2x64bit = better for multi threaded applications


Let us continue with the official benchmark results ...

Here are the SiSoftware Sandra 2010 benchmark results:

RAM Range
Int Buff'd iSSE2
Memory Bus Range
213 MHz * 6.66 = 1420 MHz
fix (8-8-8-24 2T)
1.53 Volt
12.71 GB/s
22.19 GB/s
80 ns
213 MHz * 6.66 = 1420 MHz
fix (8-8-8-24 2T)
1.53 Volt
12.71 GB/s
22.19 GB/s
80 ns
200 MHz * 6.66 = 1333 MHz
SPD (9-12-12-30 2T)
1.53 Volt
11.47 GB/s
20.84 GB/s
92 ns

By the way, the "Memory Bus Range" is no benchmark value, but this value is quite simple to calculate by the frequency and
this is useful for a benchmark comparison.


Here's a diagram of the benchmark values:


Here is a direct benchmark result comparison of some DDR3, DDR2 and DDR memory modules:


The three 1GB modules reached the fifth place concerning the highest overclocking with a JEDEC DDR3 voltage of 1.5V.
So the Crucial 3GB PC3-10600 Triple Channel kit is at present approx. in the middle of all DDR3 modules tested so far.


Result and general impression ...

The Crucial PC3-10600 CL9 3GB RAM kit 1x CT3KIT12864BA1339 or 3x CT12864BA1339 is desgined as Triple Channel kit, for example for Intel Core i7 platforms and can be overclocked a bit, even without heat spreader.

But this Triple Channel DDR3 kit is also quite interesting on current AMD platforms. Because the three 1GB modules offers a good total size for 32bit operating systems and offers thereby an optimal cost-performance ratio.
In the 2+2=3 article one can read more about possible memory capacities in 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems.

Memory kits without heatspreader are of course a little bit disadvantaged regarding the overclocking values, because the manufacturers (like also Crucial with this kit) only permits the official JEDEC DDR3 voltage of 1.5 V.
You do not find XMP or EPP profiles on these modules, because the increased heat development of the higher memory voltage should be dissipated with active or passive heatsinks.
Anyway, good results could be reached in the test with standard voltage, but do not expect too much on 1.5 Volt.

All in all this Triple Channel kit is thus not "just" for Intel Core i7-9xx systems, but also interesting for current AMD platforms. However, who like to use a 64-bit operating system with a Dual Channel platform, or who like to address the full RAM in Dual Channel mode, should spend a few more euros and buy e.g. a 2x 2GB kit.


Read on in the hardware test area with several hardware reviews ...


All pictures and article copyright 2010