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G.Skill ARES PC3-17000 16GB (DC) Memory Kit Review

We check out the new Dual Channel ARES series from G.Skill and see what it's all about.
By Shawn Baker from Mar 16, 2012 @ 10:24 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 98%Manufacturer: G.Skill

We've got this little bit of a lull in the memory market at the moment as we have seen most companies already show Quad Channel memory kits in force and companies aren't doing much with Dual Channel at the moment as we wait for the new Intel Z77 Express chipset to launch next month.

Still waiting around isn't something G.Skill normally do and if anyone was going to launch a new series in between chipsets, it would be this Taiwanese company. Introducing the new ARES series. Having a look below you can see we're of course dealing with a four module kit sporting a new heat spreader from the team over at G.Skill.


The ARES series is ultimately designed for those who have really large air coolers and need a lower profile heatsink, which is something we don't see a lot of company's offering these days as more and more feel bigger is better. Available in both blue and orange you can see above we're of course got our hand on one of the blue kits which looks great (Ed: and matches the TweakTown color scheme great!).

While the kit does consist of four modules, it's worth knowing that the ARES series at the moment is still only a Dual Channel kit designed for the P67 / Z68 platform along with hopefully the upcoming Z77. With our X79 testbed so close, though, we'll see how the kit fairs in Quad Channel today as well as Dual Channel.


Moving in a little closer we can see the blue heatsink and that black PCB that we love to see making for a really nice looking kit. We can see the G.Skill logo on both sides while the ARES is seen on only one and the other side offering our main specifications sticker.


Looking in we can see we're dealing with a PC3-17000 kit (2133MHz DDR) that consists of four 4GB modules to make a 16GB kit. On the timings front you can see they're not super relaxed at 9-11-10-28-2T, but they're not exactly super tight, either.

Getting up and running at the stock speeds we knew wouldn't be an issue. Unfortunately the first time around I forgot to take a CPU-Z validation and when I went back in it wouldn't update on the validation website. Instead you can see below our AIDA64 screenshot with the speeds it's running at along with the numbers.


Under AIDA64 we ended up with Read / Write numbers of 22,314 MB/s / 20,113 MB/s, Copy speed of 23,870 MB/s and latency of 39.0ns.

No surprises at all when it comes to stock performance and what we want to see is what kind of overclock we can get out of the kit while leaving the memory timings running at the same speed.

After a bit of mucking around in the BIOS we ended up and running in Windows at an even 2300MHz DDR using the same default timings and 1.65v voltage rating. Up and running in Windows it was time to check out the performance we could get.

Under AIDA64 we ended up with Read / Write numbers of 23,933 MB/s / 21,713 MB/s, Copy speed of 25,746 MB/s and latency of 36.6ns.

Comparing the two setups you can see a nice little boost across the board with the best improvements being seen when it comes to copy speed and overall latency. What we really wanted to do with the kit, though, was see if we could have the same kind of luck on our X79 platform with the kit running in Quad Channel.


We slid the kit into our beloved ASUS Rampage IV Extreme and got up and running in no time. You can see our CPU-Z validation here. Up and running in Windows it was time to check out the performance we could get.

Under AIDA64 we ended up with Read / Write numbers of 21,277 MB/s / 17,760 MB/s, Copy speed of 19,606 MB/s and latency of 43.9ns.

As usual we can see that Quad Channel numbers don't look as strong when compared to the Z68 platform under AIDA64. This isn't anything new and if you're interested in reading more about it, I'd recommend you check out an article we did called Intel X79 Quad Channel and Z68 Dual Channel Memory Performance Analysis.

It wasn't a shock that at stock the kit worked in Quad Channel, even if it's not officially supported by G.Skill. What we wanted to do, though, was see how the overclocking performance was. The Z68 platform doesn't give us the best options when it comes to fine tuning memory clocks and we had hoped that we'd be able to get at least the same clock speeds.

After a bit of messing around in the BIOS and fine tuning we actually came out ahead on our X79 offering. Running at the same default timings and in Quad Channel we saw the kit come in at 2352MHz DDR. We actually had the system booting as high as 2400MHz DDR and got into Windows at 2380MHz, unfortunately it wasn't really stable.

In the end, though, the 2352MHz DDR clock is a nice overclock from 2133MHz DDR and a stronger one then we achieved on the Z68 platform thanks to the ability to tweak the MHz / BCLK better. You can see our CPU-Z validation here. Up and running in Windows it was time to check out the performance we could get.

Under AIDA64 we ended up with Read / Write numbers of 22,033 MB/s / 17,510 MB/s, Copy speed of 19,560 MB/s and latency of 42.3ns.

Because our CPU was running a little lower due to the fact we needed to drop the multiplier to increase the BCLK we can see there's not a lot of change between the memory performance. But overall we see a little boost in write numbers along with improved latency.

The ARES series is a nice addition to the already strong line-up from G.Skill and helps expands the company's portfolio when it comes to RAM. With some good looks, strong overclocking performance, a $154.99 price tag and the kit having no issue working in Quad Channel, G.Skill have got a really nice kit with in this new series.


It's nice to see G.Skill show some love towards people who have opted for those massive air coolers and need a lower profile heatsink. The fact they've done this and then offered modules that come in at a great speed is fantastic news. Most the time we see companies opt for a low profile heatsink and offer it on slower kits instead of higher MHz ones. As always, G.Skill impress with another great RAM kit.



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