Corsair was founded in 1994. The company started as a high-performance DRAM manufacturer. Now they are the provider of enthusiast-grade PC components and peripherals. The company launched their Corsair Gaming brand in 2014 and targets the eSports professionals and gamers alike with the high-end products like keyboards, mice, headsets and mouse mats. Corsair is now a leading manufacturer of PC Enthusiast products like Chassis, Power Supply Units, DRAM, Solid State Drives, Cooling solutions for CPU and Graphics Cards, sleeved cables for their PSU units, and various gaming peripherals using cutting edge technology. Today, Corsair is enjoying the position of the premium brand in the market with leading performance packed products backed by their effective customer support service.
Ever since the launch of lighting solutions for the PC products and markets, this trend has spread like a pandemic and this fever is what majority of PC enthusiasts love today albeit a few advocating the other way around. It is about time that Corsair has released their addressable RGB Lighting enabled DDR4 kits called Vengeance RGB Pro. Their previous lighting solutions on the memory were based on non-digital RGB. The Vengeance RGB Pros are their premium digital RGB Lighting kits with high performance. To say the least these kits are using Samsung B-Dies so one should expect these kits to perform much better and overclock as well. Kits with Samsung B-Dies have shown better scalability on the AMD Ryzen platform.
Recently, we have set up our AMD platform based test bench configuration with the idea of testing the incoming products for the review on both Intel and AMD platform to make our contents more effective and to cover both sides. AMD was kind enough to jump in and provided us with their consumer leading chip Ryzen 7 2700X. Other manufacturers like Asus, Antec joined us and provided with their products for this test bench. Corsair was kind enough to sponsor us with their premium Vengeance Pro RGB kit and today I will be taking a look at this kit and will be testing it on our AMD test bench to see what it has to offer to the user.
The Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro is available in two colors; black and white. These kits are available in multiple configurations starting from basic 16GB (2x8GB) and going as high as 128GB using 8x16Gb configuration. Their rated frequencies range from 2666MHz to whopping 4700MHz. I will be taking a look at the block colored Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 2x8GB rated at 3200MHz using 16-18-18-36 timings at 1.35V. These kits have Intel XMP 2.0 support and are compatible with Intel 100, 200, 300 series chipsets as well as X299 series. From AMD camp, they are compatible with 300, and 400 series chipsets. As I have tested this kit on AMD X470, I can tell you one thing for 100% confidence that my Ryzen 7 2700X is loving this kit. These kits have anodized aluminum heatsinks on both sides which look that good in person but they catch fingerprints that easy as well. Besides performance, these kits pack stunning, vivid and fluid lighting effects to my utmost liking. Without further ado let’s begin.
- Product: Vengeance RGB Pro 3200MHz CL 16
- Manufacturer: Corsair
- Price: $142.99
Packaging and Unboxing
The kit is shipped in Corsair’s typical packing box made of paperboard finished in the black and yellow colors. The packaging in itself speaks for the stuff. The front side of the box has a Corsair brand name and logo printed on the top left. DDR4, 2x8GB, 3200MHz which are the salient features of the kit at its very core are printed on the top right. There is a picture of a single module in the middle with the diffuser illuminated in multiple colors to signify the digital lighting solution. The kit can be controlled using the Corsair’s iCUE software which can be downloaded free from their website. The kit is Intel XMP certified. VENGEANCE RGB PRO is printed at the bottom.
The backside of the box has a Corsair brand name and logo printed on the top left. Vengeance Pro RGB text is printed on the top right. The salient highlight of the kit is printed in 6 different languages. The iCUE is compatible with the Microsoft Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 OS. In addition, this kit is compatible with the Gigabyte RGB Fusion and MSI Mystic Lighting solutions. I am surprised as no Asus AURA Sync support is there! There is a sticker pasted at the bottom with the serial no, part no labels of the kit. The kit is manufactured in Taiwan. On the right side of this label, x2 is printed on the yellow color background which indicates the no of modules in the packing. These kits are backed with a limited lifetime warranty.
The left and right sides are identical. They have a Corsair brand name and logo printed on the leftmost side. Vengeance RGB Pro printed in the center followed by the DDR4 text. The capacity of the kit is printed on the rightmost end.
The top and bottom covers have the Corsair brand name and logo printed in the center.
Opening the box will show a transparent container having two modules tucked in nicely.
It is time to take a look at the kit and discuss its design elements followed by the RGB lighting effect. Here is what Corsair is saying about it, “Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro series DDR4 memory lights up your PC with mesmerizing dynamic multi-zone RGB lighting while delivering the best in DDR4 performance and stability. Every module boasts ten RGB LEDs to deliver a stunning lighting experience, powered by Corsair iCUE software for in-depth lighting control and system-wide Corsair lighting synchronization.”
The Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro comes in two basic colors namely black and white. 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 from 2666MHz and go up to whopping 4700MHz. Not all kits support such high-speed frequency so make sure to check for the specifications before buying. There is a thermal sensor on each module as well. The only iCUE can read from these sensors though. Our kit has two modules with the capacity of each being 8GB. The base timings or SPD latency of the kit is 15-15-15-36 with base frequency or SPD speed of PC4-17000 (2133MHz) at 1.20V. The rated timings are 16-18-18-36 with the frequency of PC4-25600 (3200MHz) 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 and this is exactly why this kit is here as Corsair was kind enough to sponsor us for our newly setup AMD platform based test bench.
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 on the non-populated side. On the populated side, each chip has its own black color thermal pad. As is the case with DDR4s, there is no chip in the middle of the PCB.
The dimension of a module is 142x45x7mm (LxHxW). The total height of a module is 50mm including the 288-pin connector. It is 45mm without the exposed PCB and connector. 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.
Each IC has been carefully screened to ensure top-notch performance and extended overclocking potential. As mentioned earlier that the starting speed on these kits is 2666MHz which is now a standard DDR4 speed after 2133MHz and 3200MHz is a sweet spot these days particularly on the AM4 platform which is fastest JEDEC specifications (OC). These kits can go as high as 4700MHz (not all configurations) many thanks to hand-screened ICs and custom PCB.
The heat spreaders carry a bold yet pleasant design. They are made of anodized aluminum and finished in the black color. The heat spreaders are have vented slots on top end on both sides. Both sides vented slots faced each other and this design sits very well in the overall look and feel of the kit. The vents also have another aesthetic purpose. They are right on top of the diffuser and the lighting would also reflect through these slots. There is a Corsair brand name and logo in the silver color finishing. Vengeance RGB Pro is printed in the center on a black color plate which stands out from the rest of the heat spreader surface. The heat spreader is a fingerprint magnet. Keep that in mind and keep micro-fiber cloth ready for cleaning when needed.
The heat spreader is not fully covering the PCB from the left and right sides as PCB is exposed on these sides. Air ventilation is ensured from both ends.
Text coding can be easily seen on the populated side of the PCB.
The other side of the modules has an identical layout and design. There is a sticker pasted in the center. This sticker is finished in the same design as is on the heat spreader. CMW16GX4M2C3200C16 is the identification part no of the kit. Type, speed, timing, the voltage of the memory are printed on the sticker as well.
Let’s take a look at the top of the modules where all the lighting magic comes from. There is a translucent diffuser on the top which runs across the entire length of the PCB. The first distinct feature of this diffuser is the layered design as it has 5 layered design to it which looks that good in person. The middle portion is recessed as compared to the left and the right sides. On the exterior ends, the diffuser has a sharp angular design which is covered by the heat spreader. This is the only area on the top where the heat spreader can be seen. Corsair has given maximum exposure to the lighting and surprisingly, there is no Corsair branding on the diffuser from any side. All that you would get from the top is fluid lighting.
There are 10 RGB LED zones under the diffuser which can be controlled individually using the Corsair iCUE software. The lighting is fluid, vivid, and most importantly, it is done in an even manner as I did not observe any spill over and it is bright enough not to be disturbed from the surrounding lights.
These kits are using Samsung B-Dies so you can expect utmost performance from these kits. The package is standard monolithic 78-ball FBGA. Die Density is 8 Gb B-Die (20 nm) with a composition of 1024M x8 (64Mn x8 x16 banks). This kit is XMP 2.0 certified with 16-18-18-36-54 at 1.35V using 3200MHz frequency. This kit has only one XMP profile stored on it.
Before moving on to the next section, there is one important design element that needs to be discussed. These kits have in-built thermal sensors which is too good a decision on the Corsair! The manufacturer of these sensors is Seiko Instruments. The model of the sensor is S-34T04A which is enabled by default. Its temperature accuracy is rated at B-Grade with temperature resolution of 0.2500°C (10-bit ADC). It has support for negative measurements and interrupt capability.
RGB Lighting and iCUE
Before proceeding to our testing section, let’s talk about the digital 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 10 RGB LED lighting zones under the diffuser. Each zone can be controlled individually using the iCUE software. I have faced issues as iCUE was not detecting the kit. Even my attempt on Intel-based PCs was futile. Since I was concerned about testing it on the AMD system, I had to figure out the issue to make the kit work. I am using the Asus Strix X470-F motherboard. The BIOS was updated to the latest 4207 version. I ended lowering it to 4202 version and by using the most updated iCUE version, the software detected the kit and kept me going. I am mentioning this so that if anyone having a similar issue could try this solution in addition to whatever has worked for other users.
Let’s take a look at the iCUE and see what it offers to the user. The main interface is split into multiple sections. The left side has the action options for the connected devices. The top side has a Home, Dashboard, Instant Lighting, and Settings menu. Under the Devices, the detected ones will pop up. Vengeance RGB Pro can be seen in the detected list. The bottom has a picture welcoming the user to the iCUE.
Clicking the connected device will load its further options. I selected the Vengeance RGB Pro as it was the only Corsair device on the test bench. The right side pane is showing the picture of the DDR4 module along with the temperature readings. As I mentioned above that these kits have built-in thermal sensors from Seiko Instruments and the only iCUE can read from these sensors at the moment as I tried with the AIDA64 and HWInfo64 but both did not show any option regarding this sensor. Keep in mind that HWInfo64 shows the memory thermals regardless of the built-in sensors. Under Default Profile, we have the following options to interact with to control almost every aspect of the memory:
- DIMM Setup
- Lighting Effects
DIMM setup allows the user to visually set up the memory based on dual-channel or quad channel motherboard configuration and the no of the installed modules. This is a handy implementation for sure and Corsair has my praise for it. Under DIMM layout the user can select from the shown configurations depending upon the no of DIMMs. I opted for 2 X 4 DIMM Layout as I am using 2x8GB configuration.
Lighting control is at the heart of the iCUE as it gives total control to the users in terms of what they want to do with the kit at hand. iCUE is filled with a plethora of lighting modes which the user can use without any hurdle to easily select the desired effect. The effects have been divided into three broader categories:
- Lighting Link
Each of these categories has provided modes. Total modes are as follow:
- Rainbow Wave
- Spiral Rainbow
- Color Shift
- Color Pulse
- Color Wave
- Static Color
- Type Lighting
A few of the modes have fewer control options like Spiral Rainbow has only speed and direction of lighting flow control whereas others have
more control options. Color shift lets the user to either select two colors and alternate between them or uses Random colors. The Rain and Sequential modes also give Direction control. Temperature mode will detect the CPU’s sensor and will let the user declare three temperature categories and assign each category a distinct color which will then be applied if the thermal condition is met.
How to control each LED zone individually?
If you are particularly interested in how to change the individual LED zones on the Vengeance RGB Pro then Multi-Color option under Custom is the option you are looking for. You will see LED # from 1 to 10 and each number has its own box below. The user can select any color from the color palette or define one using hex code or combination etc. User convenience and flexibility is written all over the iCUE options.
The Timings options will show the loaded timings on the memory.
The Graphing will show the thermal graph of the DIMM at hand.
The user can create notifications in the Notifications tab.
Clicking at the Settings menu will show the memory related setting on the top and software related settings at the bottom. This is where the brightness can be controlled of the memory. I wish they have also provided the brightness control under the Lighting tab. The firmware of the memory is also shown. The software asked me to update the firmware version but I did not update the firmware for my own reason. The General settings will let the user change the temperature reporting unit, restart the iCUE service, enable debug logging, enable/disable startup at windows login, check for the software update etc.
Sensor Logging will allow you to select the sensors which you want to monitor the telemetry of. I am particularly showing the sensor options of both modules in the select. OSD allows the user to enable the selected parameters to be displayed in the OSD.
All in all, the Corsair iCUE is one heck of a complete software that gives the user total control over the connected Corsair devices and to color coordinate and sync the lighting effects on multiple Corsair devices.
Here are a few of the lighting pictures. These don’t serve the purpose truly but would still give you a hint of the brilliance that Corsair has
achieved with their Vengeance RGB Pro.
Since this kit has been sponsored for our AMD test bench so it is tested on AM4 with the following configuration:
- AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
- Asus Strix X470-F Gaming
- Asus ROG Ryujin 360
- Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080
- Adata XPG SX950U 250GB
- Antec HCP 1300
- Primochill Praxis Wetbench
The kit has been tested using AIDA64 Extreme and SiSoftware Sandra suite. XMP was loaded for the tests. APU Frequency was kept at 100MHz. The kit was overclocked manually using the voltage regulation. With XMP the DRAM timings and Voltages were verified as per the manufacturer’s rated specification. The BIOS version 4207 is used. The Asus motherboard on the test bench supports maximum frequency of 3466MHz (OC). This kit overclocked to 3466MHz without changing the timing. It seems like a walk in a park for this kit. I am sure this kit could do more than just that. I could not go beyond the 3466MHz the motherboard did not support it and the system was stuck in boot loop. I was able to reduce the timings to 14 CAS using 1.380V and 3466MHz which is an amazing performance. For comparison, I have included another digital RGB RAM from ADATA. It is XPG Spectrix D41 with 2666MHz.
AIDA64 Memory benchmark has shown that there was 7.57% performance boost in Read speeds when the Corsair kit was overclocked to 3466MHz. 8.32% performance boost was observed in the Write speeds. 7.98% performance boost is reported in the Copy speeds. Remember that infinity fabric on AMD Ryzen loves lower latencies and higher transfer speeds.
With tightened timings, the latency was improved to 61.7ns coming from 68.3ns on XMP and tested timing.
The performance boost was also observed in the SiSoftware Sandra Memory Bandwidth tests.
Above is a picture of the kit at various speeds and timings.
The Corsair has ventured into a digital RGB lighting solution on their ever popular DDR4 memories and has launched the Dominator Platinum RGB kits and the Vengeance RGB Pro. Both types are high-performance kits with vivid, fluid and amazing lighting solution. We have taken a spin on their Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB kit as Corsair was kind enough to sponsor our AMD test bench which we have recently set up with the help of AMD, Asus, Corsair, and Antec. Our future contents will have test results from both platforms (Intel and AMD). The Vengeance RGB Pro are available in multiple of 8GB modules starting from 16GB and going as high as 128GB featuring the tested speeds of 2666MHz (minimum on any kit) and going all the way up to mouthwatering 4700MHz speeds. These kits feature the Intel XMP 2.0 and have a 288-pin layout for the DDR4 type memory. SPD speed on our sample is 2133MHz with SPD timing of 15-15-15-36. Tested speed on the kit is 3200MHz (PC4-25600) with tested timing of 16-18-18-36 at 1.350V. The Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro comes in two colors; white and black. I have tested the black color.
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 (64MB x8 x16 banks). 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 the non-populated side whereas the populated side has cut-to-size thermal pads on each chip. The ICs are handpicked and monitored to ensure better performance with extended stable overclocking.
The dimension of a module is 142x45x7mm (LxHxW). The total height of a module is 50mm including the 288-pin connector. It is 45mm without the exposed PCB and connector. 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 anodized aluminum. The heat spreaders are not covering the entire length of the PCB.
There is a translucent diffuser on the top which runs across the entire length of the PCB. The first distinct feature of this diffuser is the layered design as it has 5 layered design to it which looks that good in person. The middle portion is recessed as compared to the left and the right sides. On the exterior ends, the diffuser has a sharp angular design which is covered by the heat spreader. This is the only area on the top where the heat spreader can be seen. Corsair has given maximum exposure to the lighting and surprisingly, there is no Corsair branding on the diffuser from any side. All that you would get from the top is fluid lighting.
These kits have in-built thermal sensors which is too good a decision on the Corsair! The manufacturer of these sensors is Seiko Instruments. The model of the sensor is S-34T04A which is enabled by default. Its temperature accuracy is rated at B-Grade with temperature resolution of 0.2500°C (10-bit ADC). It has support for negative measurements and interrupt capability.
There are 10 RGB LED zones under the diffuser which can be controlled individually using the Corsair iCUE software. The heat spreader on both sides has perforations on the top facing opposite to each other. Lighting comes out of these perforations as well. Speaking of the RGB lighting effect, these kits pack stunning and vivid lighting effects with fluid and even flow of light. I would give the Corsair a credit as they packed 10 ARGB LEDs in such a small size area which has enabled them to give user a truly visual experience that speaks for itself and is not easily influenced from the light coming from the surrounding areas as this was my keen observation when I reviewed the D41 kit from ADATA. Least to say I am impressed with the lighting solution on the Vengeance RGB Pro. This is what I would expect from Corsair to deliver. iCUE allows the users to color coordinate and sync the RGB devices from the Corsair in a single interface. It provides a plethora of lighting modes that the user can use. iCUE can be used to monitor the thermal sensor reading right from memory. Definitely a great feature. Thanks, Corsair for thinking of this.
This kit is listed at $1424.99/- at the time of the review. I am not able to provide the local pricing in PKR as these kits have not yet been launched in Pakistan. Easetec, the authorized distributor of Corsair in Pakistan, has confirmed that they will soon launch these kits here. So, keep an eye out. At present, Easetec is selling Vengeance RGB kits. With RAM prices coming down, this price is a damn killer deal enabling the user to experience the truly immersive lighting at 3200MHz using CL16. In terms of performance, I was able to push this kit to 3466MHz using CAS 14 at 1.380V. I am sure this kid could do much better as I was struck with maximum supported frequency on the AMD Ryzen platform.
I am thankful to the Corsair and Easetec for giving us the opportunity to review the Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB 3200MHz black kit. This kit will now be used and featured in all contents coming from AMD based test bench.