Introduction

When it comes to Memory solutions, ADATA is a well-known brand famous for their all-around coverage of the market with different solutions that start from budget-conscious segment to as high as enthusiast segment. Backed by technical expertise, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, and premium customer service, ADATA offers complete memory solutions including DRAM modules, USB flash drives, memory cards, solid state drives and portable hard drives. Xtreme Performance Gear (XPG) was founded by ADATA and is dedicated to providing high-performance products for gamers, e-sport pros, and tech enthusiasts. Every XPG-branded product surpasses stringent ADATA A+ testing methodology, which ensures the highest standards for superior product stability and ultra-high performance. Not only does the XPG line sport solid technical features, its strength shines through with sheer cool designs that have earned prestigious accolades worldwide such as Good Design from Japan and Taiwan Excellence Gold Award. XPG delivers extreme gaming experiences to help gamers make every moment exciting. Comprised of two separate parts, the XPG symbol draws on the infinite power of the “energy storm”. An energy vortex full of positive power is at the center of the symbol, demonstrating XPG’s dedication to creating top-level eSports gears for all gamers’ needs. The outer edge represents Poseidon’s Trident, symbolizing aggressive fighting power and expressing XPG’s willingness to fight through challenges and break free of limitations.

Adata has sent us their new Spectrix D41 RGB RAM kit for the review. D41 and D80 were showcased during PAX, 2018. Keeping up with the trend of RGBness that has taken over like a storm in this industry, Adata was not behind. D41 comes with a new design element on it. It has a single lighting diffuser bar on top with XPG branding printed in the middle. These kits are available in two colors; Crimson Red and Tungsten Gray. We requested for the later color to have a neutral base. These kits are available from 2666MHz frequency to up to 4133MHz in DDR4. The available sizes are in multiples of 8GB module starting from 1x8GB going up to the 64GB capacity of the kit. Recently, they have released TUF Gaming Alliance compatible D41 kit in Black color. The RGB lighting solution on D41 Spectrix is natively compatible with the leading motherboard manufacturers’ onboard RGB lighting. XPG has a Beta software to control the lighting on individual modules with multiple effects ranging from Rainbow mode to color cycling, breathing etc to name a few.

  • Product:               Spectrix D41 RGB
  • Manufacturer:       ADATA
  • Brand:                 XPG
  • Price:                   $165.69

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

The kit is shipped in a premium packaging which is something I have yet to see from any other vendor. The box is made of cardboard and it comes in black and red colors background. The front side has XPG brand name printed on the top left side with its brand logo printed in red color on the top right side. There is a picture of a RAM module in multiple colors (5 colors at a time) to showcase its RGB goodness. At the bottom, the kit’s compatibility with the various motherboard manufacturers’ lighting solution is mentioned like AURA Sync from Asus, RGB LED from ASRock etc. Spectrix D41 is printed in multiple colors to signify the RGB enabled RAM. There is a black color sticker pasted on the bottom right side with 8GB X2, PC4-21300 2666 printed on it. This kit has two modules each of 8GB capacity and rated at the 2666MHz frequency. The backside of the box has Desktop U-DIMM printed in 22 different languages. The ADATA and its hummingbird logo are printed on the top left side. Spectrix D41 DDR4 RGB Memory Module is printed on the top right side. The kit carries a limited lifetime warranty. There is a sticker pasted on the bottom with the part no of the module printed on it which AX4U266638G16-DT41. Timings and voltage information is printed below that. Conformance information to various regulations is printed on the bottom right side. The left, right, top, and bottom sides are in the red color background with XPG branding in black color printed in the center. Now comes the part where the real premium touch would be seen. There is a flip over cover on the front side. Flipping it will show the textured printed cover in black color showing a single memory module on the bottom. The same textured pattern continues on the underside of the flip cover. It seems like four strips are pasted on it in red color accent. Features like Ideal for Gaming Desktop PCs, 288-pin unbuffered DIMM, RGB Lighting, Intel XMP 2.0 are printed on these strips. The overall look and feel is very satisfying and definitely gives the premium packaging edge to the box. Opening the box would show a plastic container with the capacity to pack 4 memory modules. Ours has two modules. There is a black color insert in the middle. Taking this container out would show another interesting element of the packaging. There is a printed side at the bottom of the case (from the inside). This side can’t be accessed or taken out without cutting the main box. I am not sure why they took this route where they could have used a paper printing to show that information and disclaimers.

 

Closer Look

It is time to take a look at the kit and discuss its design elements followed by the RGB lighting effect. Here is what XPG is saying about it, “THE XPG SPECTRIX D41 RGB memory brings together outstanding performance and mesmerizing RGB lighting to give you a worthy upgrade for your system. Featuring stunning speeds up to 5000MHz the SPECTRIX D41 delivers smooth, fast gaming, and overclocking, all the while supporting Intel X299 and AMD AM4/Ryzen Platforms. What’s more, with vivid RGB lighting that is compatible with a range of lighting control software, your gaming setup will outshine the competition.”

The SPECTRIX D41 comes in three colors which are Crimson Red, Tungsten Gray, and Black. Black is for the TUF Gaming Alliance. TUF Gaming Alliance has products from various manufacturers supporting the Asus TUF series motherboards in terms of the looks and compatibility making it easier for the users to buy TUF Gaming Alliance labeled products with ease of mind that the products will be compatible and overall will look that good when it comes to color coordination of the build. These kits are available in multiple of 8GB modules. There is no less than 8GB module which makes sense to keep the costing in check. These kits start at 2666MHz and go up to 4133MHz as listed on their website. Our kit has two modules with the capacity of each being 8GB. The base timings of the kit are 15-15-15-35 with a base frequency of PC4-17000(2133MHz) at 1.20V. The rated timings are 16-16-16-39 with the frequency of PC4-21300 (2666MHz) at 1.20V. It is Non-ECC, Unbuffered DIMM with a 288-pin layout (DDR4). These kits are tested for Intel and AMD platforms for reliability and compatibility and are Intel XMP 2.0 ready. It is good to see that these kits are compatible with the AMD Ryzen based chips using AM4 socket.

 

The kit has a black PCB and it is multi-layered. We can see ICs on both sides that could mean the same PCB is being used for all the capacities. Our kit has single sided modules. There are four memory chips on the left side and four on the right side. There is a single thin thermal pad running across the entire length of the heat spreader. As is the case with DDR4s, there is no chip in the middle of the PCB. The heat spreaders are almost in hexagonal design. The dimension of a module is 133.3×45.8x8mm (LxHxW). You would need to keep in mind the height of a module with respect to the CPU cooler as there is no point if the RGB enabled modules are blocked or hidden under the cooler. The heat spreaders carry a bold yet pleasant design. They are made of aluminum. With pointy edges, grooves, curves, and lining, all emerging from the middle where an XPG brand logo is pasted on a Rhombus shape in black color. The rhombus has a smooth and shiny surface. This overall is giving an impression of a medallion like a shape in the center of the heat spreaders. The same design is followed on both sides. The kit we are reviewing has Tungsten Gray color heat spreaders. The heat spreaders are not covering the entire length of the PCB. The height of the PCB itself is 30mm. One side of the module has a sticker pasted on it. In my opinion, such stickers which we would find on any DDR4 ruins the looks of the kit from this particular side. This sticker has XPG branding on the leftmost side in black color which makes the appearance of the sticker pleasant in person. Part No of the kit is printed on the top of the sticker which AX4U266638G16-DT41. Warranty voids in case this sticker is removed.

 

Let’s take a look at the top of the modules where all the lighting magic comes from. There is a white color translucent diffuser on the top with a length of 113mm. It does not run across the entire length of the PCB but has a reference from the heat spreaders. What really makes this diffuser stand out is that it does not have the same width on the entire length rather it has more width in the center which is 8mm and 5mm width on the edges. The diffuser has a synchronous design with respect to the top half of the heat spreader. It takes a sharp angular turn on the edges with the length of 17mm. The overall design elements of this kit are well synced giving good look and feel to it. There are 5 RGB LED zones under the diffuser which can be controlled individually using the XPG RGB software. The extreme ends on the top side of the heat spreaders have four triangular shape cutouts. The diffuser can be seen through these cutouts. This is a wise design to spread the light not only from the top but from these cutouts as well. But they sever another person as we observed during our testing. The overall lighting of the kit can be affected by the strong surrounding lighting solution inside the chassis. Like in our case the fully brightened CableMod Wide Beam RGB LED strip was making this kit looking less brightly with uneven light distribution on the diffuser. Like the red color seemed like to be an orange accent, blue was light blue. But the lighting coming from these cutouts were in full and original color to which the kit was set at confirming that it is not the kit but the powerful surrounding lighting that is impacting. As soon as we turned off the CableMod strip, we could see evenly distributed lighting on the diffuser with original colors in full swing.

These kits are using Samsung B-Dies which makes them offer utmost performance. The package is standard monolithic 78-ball FBGA. Die Density is 8 Gb B-Die (20 nm) with a composition of 1024M x8 (64M x8 x16 banks). This kit is XMP 2.0 certified with 16-16-16-39-55 at 1.20V at 1333MHz. This kit has only one XMP profile stored on it. Some kits are reportedly using two XMP profiles on them for better cross-platform compatibility.

RGB Lighting

Before proceeding to our testing section, let’s talk about the RGB lighting effects on this kit as this is a primary aspect of these modules in addition to the performance. As mentioned above, there are 5 RGB LED lighting zones under the diffuser. Each zone can be controlled individually using the XPG RGB software. This software is Beta version at the moment. We have tested the lighting on the Asus ROG Maximus X Hero motherboard. The Asus AURA Sync software was already installed. Before installing the XPG RGB software, we gave a try to the AURA Sync. The lighting was being changed but there was no control over the individual memory module and lighting zones. Unfortunately, XPG RGB software was not working perfectly with AURA Sync installed. So, we ended up un-installing the AURA Sync after which the XPG RGB software worked like a charm. It has a similar interface as is on the Asus AURA Sync. XPG is printed on the top left side of the main interface. On the right side, we have a Close button below which the On/Off buttons are located. Lighting can be turned off completely by clicking on this button and can be turned back on using the same button. There are 12 modes listed on the left side of the interface, which are:

  • Static
  • Breathing
  • Color Cycle
  • Rainbow
  • Comet
  • Flash and Dash
  • Wave
  • Glowing Yoyo
  • Starry-Night
  • Strobing
  • Smart
  • Music

 

Static is a default selected mode in the application. Please, note that this does not mean that this is the default lighting mode on the kit. The default mode is XPG Rainbow mode and it will continue to be so unless XPG RGB application is used to control the lighting effect. As can be seen on the right side of the interface, each module is mentioned as DRAM1, DRAM2 and so on depending on the no of the modules in the kit. Each lighting zone is referred to as DRAM1_1, DRAM1_2, DRAM1_3, DRAM1_4, and DRAM1_5 followed by the same repetition for the other modules. There is a color circle on the far right side with color intensity triangle inside it. There are three basic colors in square boxes on the left side of the triangle. These are Red, Green, and Blue. The static mode will set the lighting effect to a single color on the selected zone/module. Breathing would start breathing effect with the static color of choice. The color cycle will start cycling through the colors with one color at a time. All connected modules will have a single color on them at a time. In Rainbow mode, the user has the option of changing the colors under cycle color options or set the range of the colors using a Gradient option. There is a slider to control the speed of the effect from Slow to Fast in 4 steps. We have found the Gradient option in Rainbow mode very useful to coordinate the lighting effects with the Deepcool Castle 240 RGB CPU Cooler and CF120/140 fans. The result was too good to speak of. Comet, Flash, and Dash modes have the same options though different lighting effects. Wave, Glowing Yoyo, Starry Night, Strobing modes have similar options but different effects. The smart mode will enable the user to change the colors as per the temperature of the CPU. In Music mode, the lighting effect will be changed as per the selected Genre and background playing music.

We have made a demo video of the lighting effects. We have yet to horn out video editing skills so bear with us on this one. It may not do the justice of how good the lighting effects on this kit are but would give you an idea about it.

 

Testing

We have tested this drive on the X99 platform. The test bench setup is as follow:

  • Intel i7 6850k
  • Asus RO Rampage V Edition 10
  • Open Loop Setup using Swiftech/Alphacool items
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
  • Seagate 2TB Barracuda
  • Colorful iGame GTX 1050Ti
  • Corsair AX1200i

We have used the AIDA64 Extreme and SiSoftware Sandra suite to test the performance of the kit. We have tested the kit at default 2133MHz, with XMP and then with the overclocking. The CPU Strap and BCLK were set to 100 for the 2133MHz and XMP testing. For overclocking the kit the BCLK of 125 was used and CPU Strap was set to 125 as well. Unfortunately, our system did not respond to this change of CPU Strap and we set it back at 100 and did the manual overclocking. With XMP, the DRAM timings and Voltages were verified as per the manufacturer’s rated specification. We have used BIOS version of 1703 on the Asus motherboard. The Asus motherboard on the test bench supports maximum frequency of 3333MHz (OC). This kit was overclocked to 3400MHz with relaxed timing. We first tried with 2800MHz at 1.35V and same timings of 16-16-16-39. It was a success. Then we tried with 3000MHz with same timings which were not successful hence we raised the voltage to 1.40V and 3000MHz with 16-16-16-39 was achieved successfully. Then our attempt to achieve 3200MHz with same timings went futile. We did not increase the voltage any further and relaxed the timing to CL 17 which resulted in a successful attempt. Then we tried with 3400MHz with CL 18 and it was a success as well. Anything beyond was simply not possible due to the platform restriction. The 734MHz above the rated speed of 2666MHz is showing a good overclocking potential of this kit. Let’s take a look at the results.

We ran the AIDA64 on all above-described frequencies which are 2133MHz, rated 2666MHz and overclocked 3400MHz. With XMP the read speed was 39244MB/s, Write speed was 32318MB/s and copy speed of 33925MB/s. This is a performance right on the money. With overclocking the read speed was 42258MB/s which is a 7.1% performance gain over the rated frequency. 38388MB/s was the Copy speed with overclocking, representing 13.15% performance gain over the rated frequency. 34316MB/s was the write speed with overclocking representing the 6.18% performance gain. The latency value comes to 65.4 ns with XMP 2.0. It was reduced to 61.7 ns with overclocking. This is a 5.6% improvement.

Next, we ran the SiSoftware Sandra suite to check the memory bandwidth using the Multi-Threading and Single-Threading options. With XMP 2.0 loaded, 16.60GB/s was the aggregate memory performance in single threaded mode and 34.21GB/s aggregate memory performance in multi-threading. With overclocking, there was 17.78GB/s aggregate memory performance which is a 7.1% improvement on a single threaded performance. Aggregate Memory performance was 36.45GB/s under Multi-Threaded mode with overclocking which is 6.54% performance gain. Next, we ran the SiSoftware Sandra Latency test. 25.4ns was the tested latency at 2666MHz which was reduced to 24.1ns with overclocked memory.

Conclusion

The ADATA SXPG Spectrix D41 is available in three colors namely Crimson Red, Tungsten Gray, and Black. Black is for the Asus TUF Gaming Alliance only yet it retains all the performance and stunning lighting effect. D41 is a successor of the D40 from the XPG. Now, we have a new model which is D80 which we are hoping to review in the coming time. D41 was showcased during PAX, 2018 and it has vivid and stunning lighting effect to it which is compatible with various motherboard manufacturers’ lighting solution like Asus AURA Sync, Gigabyte RGB Diffusion, MSI Mystic Lighting, ASRock RGB LED etc. These kits start from 2666MHz and go as high as 4133MHz though ADATA is marketing these to go as high as 5000MHz. Seems like 5000MHz rated kits will be released in coming time. These kits are available in multiple of 8GB modules with 8GB being the minimum denomination here. This is obviously due to cost consideration. We were sent XPG SPECTRIX 2x8GB kit. We requested for Tungsten Gray color to ensure the neutral base. These kits are compatible with the AMD Ryzen using the AM4 chipset and Intel X299 as well.

The ADATA XPG SPECTRIX D41 16GB is an RGB enabled Memory module kit consisting of 2x8GB modules. Each module is rated aa t 2666MHz frequency with XMP 2.0 and timings of 16-16-16-39-55 at 1.20V. On the stock frequency of 2133MHz, these modules have 15-15-15-35 at 1.20V. These kits are using Samsung B-Dies which makes them offer utmost performance. The package is standard monolithic 78-ball FBGA. Die Density is 8 Gb B-Die (20 nm) with a composition of 1024M x8 (64M x8 x16 banks). This kit is XMP 2.0 certified with 16-16-16-39-55 at 1.20V at 1333MHz. This kit has only one XMP profile stored on it. Some kits are reportedly using two XMP profiles on them for better cross-platform compatibility. These kits have black color PCB with ICs on both sides indicating that standard PCB is being used for all capacities. Our kit is a single-sided one. It has 4 Samsung chips each of 1GB on the left side of the PCB and same 4 chips on the right side. As is the case with the DDR4s, there is no chip in the center of the PCB. There is a single thin thermal pad running on the entire length of the heat spreader on both sides. The dimension of a module is 133.3×45.8x8mm (LxHxW). You would need to keep in mind the height of a module with respect to the CPU cooler as there is no point if the RGB enabled modules are blocked or hidden under the cooler. The heat spreaders carry a bold yet pleasant design. They are made of aluminum. With pointy edges, grooves, curves, and lining, all emerging from the middle where an XPG brand logo is pasted on a Rhombus shape in black color. The rhombus has a smooth and shiny surface. This overall is giving an impression of a medallion like a shape in the center of the heat spreaders. The same design is followed on both sides. The kit we are reviewing has Tungsten Gray color heat spreaders. The heat spreaders are not covering the entire length of the PCB. The height of the PCB itself is 30mm. There is a white color translucent diffuser on the top with a length of 113mm. It does not run across the entire length of the PCB but has a reference from the heat spreaders. What really makes this diffuser stand out is that it does not have the same width on the entire length rather it has more width in the center which is 8mm and 5mm width on the edges. The diffuser has a synchronous design with respect to the top half of the heat spreader. It takes a sharp angular turn on the edges with the length of 17mm. The overall design elements of this kit are well synced giving good look and feel to it. There are 5 RGB LED zones under the diffuser which can be controlled individually using the XPG RGB software. The extreme ends on the top side of the heat spreaders have four triangular shape cutouts. The diffuser can be seen through these cutouts.

Speaking of the RGB lighting effect, these kits pack true stunning and vivid lighting effects. The good thing is there is an even light distribution on the entire length of the diffuser so the job is well done ADATA. XPG branding creates good impression though having a logo there would have been more effective but looks are subjective. ADATA has provided XPG RGB software which can be downloaded from their website. Somehow, it was not working well with Asus AURA Sync installed hence we ended up removing the AURA Sync installation. Each module has 5 lighting zones which can be independently controlled using this software. There are 12 modes using the AURA Sync. As we have tested the lighting effect on the Asus ROG Maximus X Hero motherboard in tandem with the Deepcool Castle 240 RGB CPU Cooler and CF120/140 fans, it seems like they are made for each other as they complement each other that good. We are impressed with the lighting on these kits. These kits carry a limited lifetime warranty.

This kit is listed at $165.69/- at the time of the review. With the current price fiasco of the DRAM, it is hard to evaluate the value proposition of the given RAM at hand. But this price is damn killer deal as competitive offerings are rated higher than this and many have loose timings in this price range. In terms of performance, we were able to push this kit to 3400MHz using CAS 18 at 1.40V. This is a 734MHz boost over the effective speed of this kit. Samsung B-Die definitely doing a wonderful job here making this kit one heck of a performer. We were able to achieve 3000MHz using the same 16-16-16-39 timings which is impressive. It seems like kit could do more but with higher voltage for which we did not try any attempt as our X99 motherboard has a maximum supported frequency of 3333MHz (OC).

We are thankful to ADATA XPG for giving us the opportunity to review their SPECTRIX D41 16GB DDR4 kit.

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