PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5 review: incredible value without too much compromise

PNY's new DDR5 kit delivers outstanding performance at a great price

PNY xlr8 gaming mako ddr5 sticks on a purple desk mat
(Image: © Future / John Loeffler)

TechRadar Verdict

With some of the best performance for the price of any RAM we've tested, PNY's XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5 RAM is the best high-performance DDR5 you can get if you're on a mid-range budget. Those looking for more visual flash though should look for some RGB kits instead.


  • +

    Great performance

  • +

    Excellent price

  • +

    Decent efficiency

  • +

    Both XMP and EXPO compatible


  • -

    Not the absolute fastest memory around

  • -

    Looks a bit plain

  • -

    No non-binary modules

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PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5: One-minute review

The PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5 RAM kit might not be the most eye-catching memory I've slotted into the test bench, but boy howdy does it get the job done, especially if you're looking for some more affordable options for upgrading your rig.

To be clear, this isn't the best RAM on the market if what you're looking for is the fastest raw performance. There are kits with much higher OC speeds that can honestly run circles around it, but with higher memory speeds comes power and stability issues, especially if you're going to dig in and fiddle with the timing profile of the modules. 

PNY xlr8 gaming mako ddr5 RAM slotted into a motherboard

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

If what you're looking for though is a great plug-and-play kit with a respectable OC performance at the click of a BIOS button, then the XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5-6000 kit is impossible not to recommend.

This is all the more impressive given that the PNY kit holds its own against probably the venerable Corsair Dominator Platinum running at a higher memory speed, and goes toe to toe with the best G.Skill DDR5 RAM kit, the Trident Z5 Neo, running at the same speed.

And while the Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR5-6600 I had in the lab is the better bet for DDR5 RAM in terms of raw performance, you're paying a massive 54% premium ($184.99, about £140/AU$270) for a 32GB (2 x 16GB) kit, compared to the XLR8 Gaming Mako 32GB (2 x 16GB) kit, which sells for $119.99 (about £95/AU$175). 

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Overclocked Performance (Two modules, Quad channel)
Header Cell - Column 0 PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako 32GB (2x16GB) KitCorsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-6600 32GB (2x16GB) KitG.Skill Trident Z5 Neo 32GB (2x16GB) Kit
Max Speed6,000MHz6,600MHz6,000MHz
Max VDDQ1.320V1.410V1.380V
Total Power (per UDIMM)4.125W4.875W4.750W
PassMark Memory Test (2 Module)3,9354,1514,018
PassMark Latency (2 Module)
AIDA64 Read (2 Module)93,993103,27794,473
AIDA64 Write (2 Module)82,24688,96381,846
AIDA64 Copy (2 Module)84,90292,17585,739
AIDA64 Latency (2 Module)71.965.869.8
Average Speed63,23568,55963,036
Average Score3,7243,9133,803
Average Latency52.848.350.7

For that price, you're getting about 93% of the performance of the Corsair kit with only about 9.4% higher latency when running with Intel XMP at the module's max-rated speeds. 

These differences aren't nothing, but you do need to ask yourself if that marginally better performance is worth the extra money, because that extra money's not nothing either. The PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5-6000 32GB kit has an average performance-per-dollar score of 253.28, compared to the Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-6600's 148.06 – a 47.5% better showing for the PNY kit.

The baseline 4,800MHz speeds for the two kits equalized things considerably, with the PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako kit actually coming in a bit faster than the Corsair kit. The timings on the two kits are also pretty much even (38-40-40-78 for the Corsair kit and 40-40-40-77 for the PNY modules). 

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Baseline, Non-OC Performance (4,800MHz)
Header Cell - Column 0 PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako 32GB (2x16GB) KitCorsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-6600 32GB (2x16GB) KitG.Skill Trident Z5 Neo 32GB (2x16GB) Kit
Max VDDQ1.125V1.110V1.125V
Total Power (per UDIMM)2.5002.5002.500
PassMark Memory Test (2 Module)3,4273,4403,413
PassMark Latency (2 Module)
AIDA64 Read (2 Module)75,79575,68675,258
AIDA64 Write (2 Module)68,20167,90768,340
AIDA64 Copy (2 Module)68,62768,43968,584
AIDA64 Latency (2 Module)85.485.887.9
Average Data Speed51,52251,52651,256
Average Score3,2583,2563,225
Average Latency62.663.263.6

On the other side of the ledger, you have the G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo, one of the most popular RAM kits out there, which comes in at the same price as the PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5 for a 32GB, two-stick, 6,000MHz kit.

Pitting these two against each other, they beat each other to an effective draw on every measure, though the G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo technically wins on points, while neither can keep up with the fully overclocked Dominator kit, which is expected given the Dominator kit is 600MHz faster.

Given that the two 6,000MHz kits perform identically and cost the same, if you can't get your hands on a G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo kit, the PNY kit is an ideal substitute (and vice versa).

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Final Performance Averages
Header Cell - Column 0 PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako 32GB (2x16GB) KitCorsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-6600 32GB (2x16GB) KitG.Skill Trident Z5 Neo 32GB (2x16GB) Kit
Final Average Data Speed78,84882,60178,926
Final Average Score3,6813,7963,716
Final Average Latency58.1556.0957.89
Performance Per MSRP Dollar343.90233.52344.37

All told then, the PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5 is some seriously good RAM, especially at this price. Unless you're looking to break records on your PC or need extremely fast RAM for specific memory-intensive workloads, this RAM kit is really all you'll need.

PNY xlr8 gaming mako ddr5 RAM slotted into a motherboard

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5: Price & availability

PNY xlr8 gaming mako ddr5 sticks on a purple desk mat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • How much does it cost? $119.99 (about £95/AU$175)
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK and Australia availability forthcoming

The PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5-6000 is available now, with an MSRP of $119.99 (about £95/AU$175) for a two-stick 32GB kit (2 x 16GB).

In the US, you can get a 32GB kit right now through PNY's website as well as other retailers, and while PNY's site shows a single module option for this RAM, clicking it doesn't give you an option to buy or even a price, so it's likely only going to be available in a two-stick kit for the time being.

The price puts it on par with the G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo kit at the same speed, module config, and capacity, while also matching its price. As noted before, the XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5-6000 is substantially cheaper than the Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5 kits around the same speeds, with the 6,000MHz CL36 Dominator Platinum RGB 32GB (2 x 16GB) kit going for $159.99 – about 33% more expensive than the PNY kit at the same speed and CAS Latency.

This is the best value of any RAM we've tested above 6,000MHz, though there are better-performing options that cost more, there are diminishing performance returns. Meanwhile, there are much cheaper RAM kits, but they're slower and not that much cheaper, so the PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5-6000 kit really occupies something of a memory sweet spot for those looking for a good balance of performance and affordability.

PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5: Specs

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PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5-6000 Specs
SKU MD32GK2D5600036MXRRow 0 - Cell 3
Max speed 6,000MHzRow 1 - Cell 3
CAS Latency 36Row 2 - Cell 3
Available Kits Single, DualRow 3 - Cell 3
Available capacities 16GB (single), 32GB (2 x 16GB)Row 4 - Cell 3
Overclocking Profiles Intel XMPRow 5 - Cell 3

Should you buy PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5?

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ValueThe only thing keeping this RAM from getting full marks for value is that there are some cheaper kits that have higher value scores, but not by much.4.5 / 5
DesignThe XLR8 Gaming Mako doesn't come with much in the way of flash, but it's not ugly by any means.3.5 / 5
PerformanceThere are faster performing RAM kits out there with higher speeds, but the performance of this RAM kit is very solid.4.5 / 5
Average ratingAll in all, this kit is a great choice for anyone upgrading their memory that doesn't want to spend too much money and doesn't want to sacrifice too much performance for a better price.4.17 / 5

Buy it if...

You're concerned about price and performance
This RAM kit has a great balance of price and performance without getting stuck too much in the middle of better performing or lower priced options. 

You want RAM without a lot of flash
While the aluminum heat spreader on the RAM modules has some interesting design details, this is a non-RGB kit, so it'll pop into your PC without drawing too much attention to itself.

Don't buy it if...

You want the fastest RAM around
While this RAM kit is great, there are faster kits out there.

You want the cheapest RAM around
You do have to pay the going rate for the performance you get with this RAM kit, and there are better values out there if you aren't as concerned about high performance RAM.

PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5: Also consider

G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo
The Trident Z5 Neo DDR5-6000 is essentially the same RAM as the PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako kit in all the ways that matter. If you can't find this PNY kit, this G.Skill kit is the perfect substitute.

Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB
The gold standard of DDR5, Corsair's Dominator Platinum is fast, powerful, and very stylish, though this does come with a requisite premium price tag as well.

Read the full Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB review

How I tested PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5

  • I spent about a week testing the PNY XLR8 Gaming Mako DDR5
  • I used it for productivity work, gaming, and creative content work
  • I used our standard suite of benchmarking tools like Passmark and AIDA64

In addition to using this RAM in my personal gaming PC for about a week playing Diablo 4 and other titles, I really put this RAM to the test with creative content work like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, where I worked with many layers at once with several large files open, which has a noticeable impact on memory usage.

I also formally benchmarked the RAM kit using Passmark PerformanceTest and AIDA64's memory benchmarks. I tested the kit at its default factory speed as well as its maximum overclock speed, both as a single module and as a pair, for four rounds of testing. In addition, I tested competing RAM at or around the same speed, price, and capacity to see how it stacks up against its competition.

I've been working with PCs for many years now, as well as spending years studying computer science at an undergraduate and graduate level, so I know the ins and outs of memory microarchitecture as well as how RAM can impact actual real world performance.

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed August 2023

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).