Producing roughly ¼ of DRAM ICs for the worldwide market makes Micron Technology a pretty big deal, but what does this mean for its retail brand Crucial? While the firm came through for us during the launch of consumer DDR5 (a crucial moment), the race for overclocking supremacy has mainly been left to Korean competitors Samsung and SK Hynix. That doesn’t appear to upset Crucial at all, given its focus on perfecting the ordinary (stability and customer service), but perfectly ordinary products rarely get the kind of attention that any perfect product should. Putting a value price on its fastest product to date, DDR5-5600, should help.
|Crucial DDR5-5600 CT2K16G56C46U5|
|Capacity||32 GB (2x 16GB)||Voltage||1.10 Volts|
|Data Rate||DDR5-56200 (XMP)||Height||32mm|
The deal is pretty much the same as seen in our Crucial DDR5-5200 review: Having run out of its CT2K16G56C46U5 two-pack kits, Crucial delivered two of that kit’s constituent CT16G56C46U5 single-pack modules. Readers who are patient enough to break down the model numbers will notice that the only difference is that the longer part code designates a 2-piece kit at the same specification as the shorter part code.
A pattern begins to emerge after comparing the DDR5-5600’s 2WG45 IC code written to the 2UG45 of its DDR5-5200 and 1QA45 of its DDR5-4800, but we’d still prefer Micron to make these basic component IDs public rather than have us publicly guess at what they mean. Micron also appears to be using the Renesas P8911 of today’s DDR5-5600 kit interchangeably with the Anpec APW8502C of Crucial’s previously-reviewed DDR5-5200 kit, as we’ve also seen the P8911 on its DDR5-4800.
Things get a little weird regarding XMP and standard programming, as our motherboard configures CT16G56C46U5 as DDR5-5600 CAS 45 straight timings by without enabling XMP, and enabling XMP slows its timings to 46-45-45. Crucial’s AMD EXPO profiles appear identical to its Intel XMPs.
|CPU||Intel Core i9-13900K: 24C/32T, 3.0-5.8 GHz, 36 MB L3 Cache, LGA 1700|
|CPU Cooler||Alphacool Eisblock XPX CPU, VPP655 with Eisbecher D5 150mm, NexXxoS UT60 X-Flow|
|Motherboard||ASRock Z690 Taichi LGA 1700, BIOS 13.05|
|Graphics||Powercolor Red Devil Radeon 6750 XT: 2324-2623MHz GPU, 12GB GDDR6|
|Power||be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Platinum|
|Hard Drive||Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD|
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio|
|Graphics Driver||AMD Adrenalin Edition 2022.10.1|
Processor and firmware updates have helped ASRock’s old Z690 Taichi push two of our test kits to DDR5-6933 and one of those kits, Thermaltake’s ToughRAM XG RGB D5, appears today as the competing DDR5-5600-rated sample.
Overclocking & Latency Tuning
We’ve never seen a set of Micron DDR5 that could even reach DDR5-5866 without crashing, let alone DDR5-6400, yet here we are pushing that height with Crucial’s ordinary DDR5-5600…at stock latency. The thing is, the CAS 46 timings of this kit are far worse than even the CAS 42 we had been using to reach such lab records as DDR5-6933.
Dissatisfied with an overclocking attempt that used lengthier timings than the kits to which the new parts are being compared, we pushed the Crucial DDR5-5600 parts to the tightest DDR4-6400 timings it would run without crashing any of our benchmarks during hours of repetition. The upper left corner image shows where we ended up by only increasing voltage and clock, while the lower right corner shows that we did eventually get the Crucial kit down to CAS 42. Unfortunately, were weren’t able to do anything about its 45-cycle tRCD or tRP, as reducing either of these allowed the memory to become unstable under heavy software loads.
The HWiNFO portion of the above collage shows our 1.30V VDD and 1.35V VDDQ voltage settings from BIOS, along with the program’s inability to distinguish differences of less than 15mV from these ICs.
|Lowest Stable Timings|
|42-45-45-90 (2T)||36-40-40-80 (2T)||32-35-35-70 (2T)|
|ToughRAM XG RGB D5
|36-38-38-76 (2T)||31-33-33-66 (2T)||26-28-28-56 (2T)|
|X||38-41-41-82 (2T)||36-36-36-72 (2T)|
|Adata XPG Lancer 5200
Micron ICs appear in the competing Adata kit as well as the other Crucial kit, with ToughRAM being the sole representation of SK Hynix. It’s in a completely different league in both overclocking and price, costing roughly 60% more than Crucial’s non-RGB parts.
Remembering that performance improvements are marked by more bandwidth and less latency, we see the inexpensive Crucial kit hanging close to high-priced ToughRAM in bandwidth alone, the later supporting far tighter timings.
The CPU score of 3DMark benefits from bandwidth, but the looser timings of the inexpensive Micron kit come in behind the premium ToughRAM. Comparing a real-world bandwidth-impacted game, F1 2021’s memory bottleneck was essentially “uncapped” at somewhere around DDR4-4000, and the lack of upward movement when using our new GPU indicates that it’s now likely capped by CPU performance.
7-Zip’s built-in benchmark shows Crucial DDR5-5600 to be barely any better than its DDR5-5200, with ToughRAM’s tighter timings giving it a particularly large boost in real-world file compression. In Handbrake, overclocked Crucial DDR5-5600 almost catches up to the XMP performance of the lower latency ToughRAM DDR5-5600.
Using the oldest (Adata) kit as our baseline, Crucial’s DDR5-5600 XMP comes out only 1% better. Overclockers can easily push another six or seven percent improvement from the Crucial kit without paying ToughRAM prices.
This is where the rubber meets the road: At $143 (as of this publishing), Crucial’s DDR5-5600 is the same price as its DDR5-5200. Why would anyone pick DDR5-5200 when they could have DDR5-5600 for the same price? After all, unlike faster parts (DDR5-6000 and above) or low-latency versions, Crucial’s DDR5-5600 offers nearly universal DDR5 motherboard compatibility. There may be better choices for budget-minded hardcore builders, but those who prefer simple compatibility at an acceptable price from a company that’s known for its excellent customer support can get a mild performance bump from Crucial’s DDR5-5600 kit.
|Crucial DDR5-5600 CT2K16G56C46U5|
|The positives we told of Crucial’s previously-reviewed DDR5-5200 are amplified in its DDR5-5600, offering more XMP performance and more manual adjustment ability for the same price as the lower-rated kit.|