G.Skill was one of the first memory companies to really show up as a competitor in the performance market after companies like Corsair and OCZ and dominated for a number of years. As time goes on we've seen more and more companies enter the market meaning that there's more competition than ever. What this ultimately means for everyone is we get faster, better and cheaper memory.
Today we'll be checking out a 6GB PC3-16000 kit from G.Skill that sits in the company's Trident series. We haven't seen anything from this series before so hopefully it can impress us. Of course PC3-16000 means that our memory is clocked at a whopping 2000MHz which well and truly places it in the high end segment.
What we'll be looking for today is a good solid looking memory kit that feels good and can also perform. Before we get onto the performance side of things, though, we'll find out what's going on with the package then take a closer look at the modules to see how they're built followed by checking out the specifications of the kit.
The Package and Modules
G.Skill uses a blister pack that is held together by two knobs at the top of the package. We can see the modules through the package and we can clearly see that they're part of the Trident series. Across the top we can also see it's a tri-channel kit which is designed for i7 CPUs. We can see below this, G.Skill mentions "Extreme performance for Nehalem from G.Skill."
On the back of the package we can see across the top the G.Skill logo along with a "Where speed is!" motto. Below this we have a bit of a blurb on G.Skill and their tri-channel kit.
Across the very bottom we have some information on G.Skill, but more importantly we have the model which not only tells us how much memory we've got, but also the speed, which as we've mentioned is 2000MHz. Further to that is mention of the timings these modules are designed to run at. We'll get into more details on this in just a moment, though.
Having a look at the modules themselves, we can see that G.Skill have mixed it up a bit when it comes to the heatsink design. We've got three fins on each side that look pretty funky. What you can't see here is that those three fins are also three fins deep, so what we have is 18 little fins per module.
We already saw the front of the modules when we had a look at the package. We can see on one side we have a sticker that gives us the G.Skill and Trident logo along with a bit of artwork in the middle and DDR3 mentioned here as well.
On the other side of the modules there isn't a whole lot going on. We do have a sticker in the top right corner that gives us a run down on all the important information. As we've already mentioned a few times, the modules come clocked in at 2000MHz. As for timings, they're pretty relaxed with a 9-9-9-24 setup. This is achieved at 1.65v. As for the amount, we've got a 2GB x 3 setup to give us a grand total of 6GB.
Like most of our other PC3-16000 kits, overclocking was not easy. Getting to 2000MHz and running the kit at the company's 9-9-9-24 setup was an absolute breeze. Getting any further then that was difficult and even moving to a 10-10-10 setup and bumping the voltage up slightly didn't give us the ability to squeeze anymore MHz out of the kit.
Important Editor Note: Our maximum overclocking result is the best result we managed in our limited time of testing the memory. Due to time constraints we weren't able to tweak the motherboard to the absolute maximum and find the highest possible FSB, as this could take days to find properly. We do however spend at least a few hours overclocking every motherboard to try and find the highest possible overclock in that time frame. You may or may not be able to overclock higher if you spend more time tweaking, or as new BIOS updates are released. "Burn-in" time might also come into play if you believe in that.
Test System Setup and wPrime
Test System Setup
Processor(s): Intel i7 920 @ 4GHz (200MHz x 20)
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P (Supplied by Noctua)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE EX58-UD5 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Graphics Card(s): ASUS GTX 285 (Supplied by ASUS)
Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 300GB Velicorapter (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Windows Vista SP1 64-Bit
Drivers: ForceWare 185.65
Today we'll be seeing how the G.Skill kit goes against a number of other kits at different speeds. The main comparison we'll be looking at is the G.Skill kit against the Corsair one. The difference between the two kits is the timings; the G.Skill one uses a more relaxed 9-9-9-24 setup while the Corsair one uses a more aggressive 8-8-8-24 setup.
We'll find out what kind of edge these timings give the Corsair kit. The other thing we have to remember is that the Corsair comes in at $329 versus $149.99 which is what the G.Skill kit comes in at over at Newegg.
With that all said and done, let's get stuck into the benchmarks and find out what exactly we have going on with the memory we have today.
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.62
Developer Homepage: http://www.wprime.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.wprime.net/
wPrime uses a recursive call of Newton's method for estimating functions, with f(x)=x2-k, where k is the number we're sqrting, until Sgn(f(x)/f'(x)) does not equal that of the previous iteration, starting with an estimation of k/2. It then uses an iterative calling of the estimation method a set amount of times to increase the accuracy of the results. It then confirms that n(k)2=k to ensure the calculation was correct. It repeats this for all numbers from 1 to the requested maximum.
Across the board we can see that all memory kits sit quite close together with no major difference being seen.
Benchmarks - EVEREST Ultimate Edition
Version and / or Patch Used: Ultimate Edition
Developer Homepage: http://www.lavalys.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.lavalys.com/products/overview.php?pid=3&ps=UE&lang=en
Buy It Here
EVEREST Ultimate Edition is an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking it provides essential system and overclock information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings. CPU, FPU and memory benchmarks are available to measure the actual system performance and compare it to previous states or other systems. Furthermore, complete software, operating system and security information makes EVEREST Ultimate Edition a comprehensive system diagnostics tool that offers a total of 100 pages of information about your PC.
Under EVEREST we can see the 2000MHz kits shine. Write performance between the two kits is very similar. As for read, we can see that the slightly more aggressive timings on offer from Corsair give it a slight edge.
Benchmarks - SiSoft Sandra
Version and / or Patch Used: Professional Home
Developer Homepage: http://www.sisoftware.co.uk
Product Homepage: http://sisoftware.jaggedonline.com/index.php?location=home&a=TTA&lang=en
Buy It Here
SiSoft Sandra (System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is a synthetic Windows benchmark that features different tests used to evaluate different PC subsystems.
Under Sandra performance on the G.Skill kit is a fair whack behind the more aggressively timed Corsair modules.
Benchmarks - Sciencemark
ScienceMark 2.0 is a mathematical program designed to stress the memory subsystems of both desktop/workstation and server environments to determine the read/write latency as well as the overall memory bandwidth available between the CPU and the memory controller.
In the Cipher test we see the G.Skill kit fall back ever so slightly. As for the Molecular test, it manages to pull out a win.
Benchmarks - Far Cry 2
Far Cry 2
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here
The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.
Looking at real world performance, there isn't much between all the kits.
One thing we have to mention that we haven't already is the build quality. Slapping two pieces of aluminum onto the side of a memory module isn't enough to stand out from the pack these days. While you can't really see the quality of the kit from pictures, when you pick up the kit and feel it you really notice that G.Skill have made the effort to make a high quality heatsink.
The other big stand out feature of the kit is of course the price. At 149.99 U.S. Dollars over at Newegg, the kit manages to again stand out from the pack and for some people this will be the most important feature G.Skill could offer.
If you want a 2000MHz kit that isn't going to break the bank the G.Skill option we have here today is going to be a good choice. The other bonus, as we've mentioned, is the quality of heatsink the company has opted for.
We've got some good speed, an aggressive price tag and some all round good performance here. If you want the fastest modules on the market you're going to have to spend so much more for what will ultimately be a very little performance gain in real world situations. The G.Skill kit manages to stand out and if you want to spend under $150 then it's one kit that's seriously worth looking at.