Final Score: 93%
At this point in time there are almost zero reasons to even think about DDR4 memory and DDR4 motherboards. The only time we would even indulge in such thinking is if it was for a system that required 128GB of memory and was using a dual channel IMC. That is it. For every other build DDR5 is the only reasonable choice.
This massive 180-degree change in sentiment is due in a large part to Micron’s Crucial brand in general and their extremely good value DDR5 series. To be even more precise their DDR5-5200 2x16GB kit’s asking price has put massive downward pressure on the market – and let’s face it, if it was not for Micron forcing prices down… 9 out of 10 ‘rebadge’ RAM sellers would have happily pocketed the extra profits.
This fact alone makes this kit one of the few we reach for when it comes time to populate entry and even mid-level builds. However, it is the combination of attractive good looks, perfect compatibility, zero installation issues, and rather decent overclocking potential that keeps us coming back.
Yes. They ‘lack’ heatsinks.
Yes. They are ‘slow’ with CL42 stock timings.
Yes. They are ‘only’ a few dollars cheaper than heatsink clad DDR5-5200 CL40 options from certain other companies.
None of that really matters. A lot of heatsink equipped models being sold today would do better, i.e. run cooler and have fewer compatibility issues, if the new owners ripped those useless pieces of chinesium off and ran them nekkid. Furthermore… 16GB sticks of DDR5 at 1.1v run cool. So cool that they don’t need heat spreaders to keep them from thermal limiting. No. Most include heatsinks for visual reasons only. These pitch-black sticks don’t need help in that regards. They just plain look ‘cool’ all on their own… as these are not your daddy’s value sticks of RAM. This series is a new breed that prioritizes attractiveness as much as it does performance.
As for CL42 vs CL40. Even excluding the fact that is a mere 0.769 of a nanosecond difference, we have run these specific model kits of RAM in nearly 10 builds now. Three kits could run CL40 at 1.1v, two could at 1.11, and the rest fell between 1.12 and 1.16 volts. Even at 1.16v they run cool and stable. Stable enough we were willing to put our name on that custom build and support it for next 5+ years.
To summarize. The Crucial DDR5-5200 2x16GB kit are pretty much easy mode for system builders. Be they novice or experienced users this is a kit that will not only be plug and play perfect but will not noticeably detract from the overall aesthetics of a custom build. They even have a bit of gas left in the tank to further improve performance for those who want to squeeze ever centavo from their budget. When you mix in the extremely reasonable asking price the end result is obvious: they are a Real Deal. Such a real deal that there is no reason to even think about the DDR5-4800 kits anymore. Step up to 5200 and consider this your new ‘base’ upon which to scale upwards with a given build’s increase in budget.
Crucial DDR5-5200 CL42
To summarize. The Crucial DDR5-5200 2x16GB kit are pretty much easy mode for system builders. Be they novice or experienced users this is a kit that will not only be plug and play perfect but will not noticeably detract from the overall aesthetics of a custom build. When you mix in the extremely reasonable asking price the end result is obvious: they are a Real Deal. Such a real deal that there is no reason to even think about the DDR5-4800 kits anymore.
Ease of Use
Build Quality & Warranty