For people who say that higher-speed memory won't increase your max framerate in games, I say "You are correct", but then counter with "in many cases, the MINIMUM framerate is increased!", which I will take gladly! Now, granted, I also do video/photo/audio editing, so I get the advantages of faster memory pretty much across the board, but anyway...
This is Overkill.net, so I wonder why people are always so quick to point out that anything above 1600 has "minimal performance implications", yet get excited about a new SSD that can do 555/545 up from the previous "fastest SSD" that was doing 545/540?? Honestly, I can tell more of a difference between DDR3-1333 and 2133 than I can between any two similar SSD's in an otherwise-identical system... (i.e. difference between a Samsung 830 256GB and 240PRO 250GB? NO! Between a Vertex4 and a Vertex3 MaxIOPS? NO! Between 8GB DDR3-1333 8-8-8-21 and 8GB DDR3-2200 9-11-10-28? YES!)
Honestly, when you have a super-fast CPU, a kick-butt Motherboard, a solid storage subsystem with at least one SSD and one HDD, and one or more kick-butt GPU's....why would you not want to go all-out with memory?
Keep in mind that DDR3 is at an all-time low, and prices will likely never get much better than they are now (maybe by a few dollars, but nothing drastic), while speeds are at an insane high, one that many thought would never be feasible for DDR3, and you end up with it being a GREAT time to buy a lot of very fast RAM!
Okay, so first, yes, I 110% agree with you that Corsair Dominator Platinum (or GT, or Vengeance, or XMS) are overpriced and underwhelming. Don't spend $450-600 on a memory kit, because you can get WAY better for WAY less!
Here are some kits, all 4x4GB because it's a lot easier to get 2x4GB stable at speed than it is 4x4GB, that I PERSONALLY really really like, in no particular order:
*(Tested with either my sig rig or friends 3770K @ 4.4Ghz to 5.2Ghz + Maximus 5 Extreme/Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 + 2x Samsung 830 128GB RAID0 + 2x GTX670 SLI + PC P&C 1500W PSU + 2x 1TB VR 10krpm RAID0 + 2x 2TB Blacks + Titanium HD PCIe x1 Sound Card + Completely-Custom Test Bench; water-cooled with 4x560 rads, CPU+2xGPU+M5E+RAM Blocks and UP7 block ordered)DDR3-2133
- G.Skill Ripjaws-Z 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3-2133 9-11-10-28 (F3-17000CL9Q-16GBZH)
~ I use these in my own rig, and they are absolutely BEAST! Granted, I run X79 and not Z77, but I have yet to see a single kit NOT be able to hit ~2200 9-11-10 with 4 out of 5 kits having hit 2400 10-11-10-30 and one friend's kit (doing some "sub-zero air cooling" courtesy of Mother Nature the other week) hitting over 2680 11-13-12 @ 1.735v and just over 2700 with the same timings at 1.75v! IVB has a very strong IMC, stronger than SNB-E when it comes to high memory speeds at least, so I would be incredibly surprised if you couldn't get AT LEAST 2350-2400 11-11-11-30 at 1.65v, with chances being good that you'd hit the same speed at 10-12-11 or 10-11-10 timings; or, you can push the stock 2133 9-11-10 and drop the voltage to 1.600v, or if you're lucky run at 2133 9-10-9-26 1.65v (I've seen ALL of these speeds hit, in person, and no DICE/LN2/phase-change/etc; mostly just air, a bit of water, and 18F air on one occasion); there simply isn't a better kit for the price IMO, if you want a minimum guaranteed speed of 2133 with awesome timings; BEST PART: right now, $129 with $25 off
at Newegg thru 12/19/12 with code EMCJHJF34
- Mushkin Enhanced Redline 16GB DDR3-2133 9-11-10-28 1.65v (993997)
~ A friend has two sets of these for OC'ing and as far as I can tell, they are likely made from nearly identical chips/IC's as the Ripjaws-Z 2133 9-11-10-28 kit; however, these two particular kits didn't seem to clock quite as high, with ~2250 10-12-10-30 and 2380 11-11-11-30 being the maximum for these at stock voltages; however, they were able to run at 2133 9-10-10-27 at 1.635v, both kits, and could down-clock just as well as the Ripjaws-Z kits, hitting 1866 8-9-8-24 at 1.625v, 1600 7-8-7-21 or 7-7-7-20 at 1.630v/1.640v, and 1333 6-6-6-15 at 1.585v, giving you a very nice range to play with; right now, they are going for $129
AND they are rocking the "RidgeBack" Heatsink (one of, if not the best looking heatsinks for ROG motherboards!)
- Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 16GB DDR3-2133 10-11-10-28 1.5v (994015)
~ awesome, awesome memory with fantastic speeds and timings for 1.5v! I've seen these push 2400 10-13-11-30 at 1.615v, although not all kits will have quite as much overhead, as the other kit I've used hit a wall at 2200 9-10-9-27 1.725v and I wouldn't push them further (weren't mine). Still, if you want fantastic memory that is ridiculously fast but only requires 1.5v, these are an excellent choice! Also, only $114
- G.Skill Ares 16GB DDR3-2133 9-11-10-28 (F3-2133C9Q-16GAB)
~ pretty much the same old, same old; just threw this in here in case you like/prefer/need low-profile memory (although to be honest the Ripjaws-Z heatspreaders are surprisingly low-profile); these are not bad at all, but they aren't great, so if you buy them I wouldn't hold expectations TOO high and who knows, you might even be surprised! Right now you can snag them for $130DDR3-2400
- G.Skill Ripjaws-Z 16GB DDR3-2400 10-12-12-31 1.65v (F3-2400C10Q-16GZH)
~ Honestly, not much to say except that these are essentially the aforementioned 2133 9-11-10 kit just with an XMP Profile enabling 2400 with decent timings; I have not personally used these, but a friend just got a set over the weekend and has said that they are no different than the F3-17000CL9Q-16GBZH kit, so I can recommend them but for the money the 2133 kit is better; these go for $145
- G.Skill Trident X 16GB DDR3-2400 10-12-12-31 1.65v (F3-2400C10Q-16GTX)
~ also pretty much the same as the Ripjaws-Z kit above, just binned higher I suppose; they overclock well, but exactly "how well" is seemingly luck-of-the-draw, and if you get lucky you get very lucky, but if you don't then I hope you're happy with the specs exactly as stated; pretty much the only difference I've found is that these have the Trident X heatsink, so if you like that then there ya go; they are selling for the same price as the Ripjaws-Z 2400 kit, at $145
- G.Skill Trident X 16GB DDR3-2400 9-11-11-31 1.65v (F3-2400C9Q-16GTXD)
~ These are the sticks to get if you are wanting 2400 and to not pay a fortune for it, as they are actually very nice despite what some people say; I have seen 2666 10-12-11 1.675v out of these with nothing but case airflow, and they seem to LOVE extra voltage so I have no doubt that the timings could be dropped and/or the frequency cranked up even more with some patience and a bit of luck (and good cooling); These were basically made to get the most out of the Z77 platform without costing a crazy amount of money, and I would personally say that in terms of price:performance, these are the only dead-on "tie" with the Ripjaws-Z 2133 9-11-10-28 kit; however, I don't want to get your hopes up TOO high, as the memory speed is heavily dependent on your CPU's IMC, and while my friend has an incredibly strong 3770K that can take speeds north of DDR3-3000 without error (32M Pi) while the CPU itself is clocked at 4.8-5.1Ghz, not all chips will be as lucky (but some will be even stronger), it's just the Silicone Lottery at work; Right now, these kits are selling for $189
which isn't bad at all, and they even come with one of those nifty RAM-Cooler Fans (I would take the stock fans out of the RAM cooler, and yank some 80x25mm fans from some Dell Optiplex or similar pre-built rigs, as a pair of those Kingston HyperX black RAM coolers with a pair of Delta 80x25 0.89amp 74cfm fans each will keep the memory within 3C of ambient!)
- Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 16GB DDR3-2400 11-13-13-31 1.65v (994093)
~ another solid kit from Mushkin, and also equipped with their wonderful and beautiful Ridgeback heatspreaders; these can push 2400 11-13-12 or 10-12-11 depending on whether you want to stay with 1.65v or if you don't mind going to ~1.675-1.690v, and the kits I've seen tend to have another 100-170Mhz in them without more than a 5% voltage bump at the most; they really shine if you start to lower the speed and really tighten the timings, as I've seen as low as 1866 7-8-7-21 at 1.645v with a strong CPU and a good kit of memory! Sell for $145
, and it's a good price for very good memory
- Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 16GB DDR3-2400 11-13-13-31 1.65v (994092)
~ I don't know that they're any different from the above kit with the exception of the heatspreaders (these use the "FrostByte" ones, not as good looking) and likely slightly-lower-binned IC's, but that does result in a price that's a bit lower, coming in at just $129
for 16GB of 2400 with decent timings... I'd go for the other Mushkin set over these every time, but these aren't bad at all!DDR3-2666
- G.Skill Trident X 16GB DDR3-2666 10-12-12-31 1.65v (F3-2666C10Q-16GTXD)
~ The only 16GB 2666 kit I've ever seen, much less used, and while the price of admission is significant, the memory is truly masterful... 2666 at 10-12-12-31 stock, with just 1.65v, means that these are some seriously-heavily-binned chips/IC's! Only seen/used one set, but with the same 3770K these could do 2910 12-13-13-33 at 1.695v or 3045 12-14-13-34 at 1.735v in (max of)18F ambient before hitting their wall, and that's some wall to hit! We managed to keep the DIMM's at no more than 34.085F (2x Thermal Probes per DIMM plus a Rosewill Laser-Assisted IR Thermometer, a FLUKE IR-Imaging Thermometer and an IR Camera/Sensor I got from when I worked at an FFL that is accurate to within 0.005F at 25ft), with an average of 29.190F when at 1.695v, and no more than 39.08F with an average of 33.155F at 1.735v; using 4x 120x38 Delta 4800rpm (184cfm, >46mmH2O) blowing 16-18F air across the memory DIMMs and the MB VRM/MOSFET area, we could keep everything below 33F, and we managed to keep it all under 28F once temps dropped to 12F.... However, we had to stop out of fear of condensation on the water lines, as we were already keeping one of the four 560 rads inside at that point, although fortunately the humidity was so low that even at 12F there was no condensation (4x 560 rads: 2x Alphacool NeXXos UT60 with 8x/ea Bgears Blasters P/P and 2x HWLabs Black Ice GTX with 8x/ea Delta 120x38mm 4800rpm w Bgears Shrouds; XSPC Raystorm Copper CPU Block; 2x HeatKiller LT 680 Blocks w EVGA Backplates; 3x MCP355 w XSPC Triple-Pump Top; 2x 400mL Koolance Reservoirs; 1/2x3/4 Tygon tubing; Bitspower Fittings)....
Overall, this is some WICKED RAM, but it's not cheap... You're looking at $359
to get the kit (Free RAM Cooler! Yay!), but you can't really do much better at all, period!!
If I had to pick, well, I did and I went with the first in the list for my X79 (RIVE + 3930K) build, but second would be the Mushkin Redline Ridgeback, and after that I'd have a tough time deciding, but I have to say that the 2666 kit is absolutely INSANE!!!!
I really, really hope this helps you at least narrow-down your search! I can vouch for every kit listed, and while I don't own them all obviously, I have used them all and I have been extremely impressed by them; I left out the ones that were either "meh" or "waste of money", for obvious reasons.
Best of luck to you, sir!