Whether they are branded so or not, the likelihood is that you have got some Samsung memory somewhere in your house.
In fact it's probably very likely that you've got some in your rig. They have the number one market share on the planet of SSD drive memory, and over half the Memory kits that come through our offices have Samsung RAM on them.
So of course it makes perfect sense for Samsung to release their own RAM kits, and they've been doing so for a long time now. The question has to be then, why are we reviewing one now? Well the kit on test today has three key ingredients that make it worthy of a look.
Firstly, it's low voltage. At rated speeds it runs at 1.5v, but by slowing the kit down you can get it down to 1.35v. Secondly it's pretty big being 4GB density sticks and so the kit we have here is 8GB. A nice amount for nearly everybody's needs. Finally it's VLP. Very Low Profile. In fact it's so low profile that it reminds me of the original 30 pin SIMM memory in my 386SX-16. However as only me and a couple of other people are nodding at this point, let's move on.
As well as a limited lifetime warranty we'd expect from such a major brand as Samsung, the VLP has reasonable timings, although clearly the need to shrink the RAM to such a short height lessens the performance compared to the 'big' DIMMs.
|Speed (MHz)||CAS Latency||Timings||Voltage|
Speaking of how short it is, let's take a look.
With green being the watchword it's good to see the VLP comes in the most minimalist packaging possible. Not a single centimetre of excess packaging. Even the plastic is an amazingly snug fit.
By virtue of the lower profile 30nm chips and low speeds, the VLP Green doesn't come with a heat-spreader. However with a heat-spreader it wouldn't be as low as it is.
Although it doesn't show when it's sat against itself, the more eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted the reduced latch room on the sides. But let's make it more obvious..
Yes. It's VERY low profile. Three sticks of this is equal in height to one Kingston T1. It's minuscule.
We've got the Samsung in our standard Sandy Bridge test setup that we use for all our dual-channel testing.
Samsung Green VLP 8GB
Intel Core i5-2500K @ 4GHz
Cougar CM1000 PSU
Windows 7 64 Bit
Without a heat-spreader in place this really isn't designed to have 1.65v pushed through it, and that would be missing the point anyway. One of the downsides of the Sandy Bridge fixed BCLK is the next memory speed is a whopping 266MHz ahead and there are very few kits that can cope with that.
PC Mark Vantage
The major comparison for the Samsung Green is the Corsair Vengeance which runs at 1.35v, .15v less than we need to obtain 1600MHz from the VLP. However the results are pretty close throughout PC Mark Vantage.
Obviously the VLP can't compare to some of the mega 2133MHz kits in our graph so again we're looking at it up against the Corsair. Considering this kit is all about the low profile, probably even more than it is about low-voltage, the performance is pretty good. You have to remember we're running at a slack CAS11 here.
Demonstrating that, unless you're at the bleeding edge of performance, the latency is immaterial the VLP puts up a pretty big 50ns yet still keeps up with the Corsair.
Yes it's a, ahem, whopping 14 billionths of a second slower than our best performing kit. Sometimes people need to remember how tiny a nano-second is rather than fret it so much. Barring a score of 10ns of 100ns it's really not important what we get here. Ballpark is good enough.
Such is the ease with which Sandra separates the Memory from the rest of the system, it's very clear which are the four 1600MHz kits in our graph. As we'd expect the Samsung is close to the rest, but still a shade behind. Considering the other sets are CAS9 and this is CAS11, it's very much all about the MHz on Sandy Bridge.
In the Cache and Memory bandwidth we get our first real drop-off from the Corsair LP to Samsung VLP. Quite a surprising amount less to be honest. We've had hints that it is just behind the rest, but not to this degree.
Things return back to where we're expecting them to be with CineBench R11.5. The VLP Samsung is just behind the Corsair, but not disgraced.
The testing methodology behind the Sandra Cache and Memory Benchmark must be very similar to the wPrime test as the Samsung Green again gives us a result far worse than we've seen from the rest of the results.
The Samsung Green VLP is a bit of an odd one.
We've often spoken about how certain RAM kits end up with heat-spreaders so large that you need to pay close attention if you've got a large CPU cooler because they certainly don't all fit below them. However some, such as the Kingston Genesis, are a perfect height to fit any cooler we've ever seen over the top of. The VLP is so low profile that the latches that hold it in place are higher than it.
So maybe it's not totally about the height. Maybe it's the low-voltage that's important?
In some respects it is. Obviously any reduction we can have in the power draw of our systems is vital to help our Planet. However we've tested the Corsair Vengeance LP and that did 1600MHz @ CAS9 and 1.35v. If you want 1600MHz out of the Samsung you'll need to run 1.5v, and that puts it in range of a huge amount of very high performing kits. Even more you then need to run the slack 11-11-11-28 timings. Generally speaking this doesn't have a noticeable effect upon the performance, but by and large the Samsung was the slowest of the 1600MHz kits we've tested.
So it's not quite as green as it should be, and if you want to run the lowest voltages you take a pretty heavy performance hit. Once again we return to the ultra-low profile part of it. Do you really need a kit only 18mm high? If you do then this sits in a class of one.
For the average person you'll get better performance, at a lower voltage, from the Corsair Vengeance LP. But if you desperately need the combination of low voltage and extremely low-profile, the Samsung is a good choice. For just shy of £40 you get 8GB of 1600MHz RAM, freed from the colour constraints of a heat-spreader. We understand this isn't designed to be a powerhouse, but even in what it does there are better options out there.
So it's good value for money and therefore wins our Value For Money award. It's just a shame that you can't get those low voltages alongside decent timings in the low-profile package.
Thanks to Samsung for supplying the Green VLP 8GB kit for review. Discuss in our forums.