Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Even though GeIL may not be on the radar when looking for a new kit of DDR4, with thirteen current flavors of families to choose from, it is high time they should be! From naked sticks and the Dragon RAM, all the way to some of the tallest heat spreaders in the industry, over as many series as GeIL has available, you will find something that fits the need! If not for an overclocking competition many moons ago, we likely would have never heard of them outside of our current occupation, but thinking about that kit brings back fond memories, no pun intended. Even with many of the more recent kits we have been sent over the years, in one way or another, there was always something to brag about when reviewing those products, and we expect no less today!
With much news about DDR5 at this point, many will say this is a waste of time reviewing more DDR4, but two things play into the relevance of DDR4. The first is the adoption rate. While we all love to be on the bleeding edge of tech releases, it will still be a couple of years before DDR5 will be widely available. The second thing going for DDR4 is the cost. While many things part of the PC game are either out of stock or being scalped at ridiculous prices, DDR4 is affordable and will remain so until the stock starts to disappear, and that is no time soon.
Taking it the step that GeIL did also makes this kit more relevant than ever since the new AMD CPUs are out in the wild. Many will know the issues with memory on many a motherboard and CPU combination for Ryzen. When looking for advice, you get three answers. Look at the QVL for the motherboard, buy a known B-die kit, or invest in a set tuned for Ryzen, which the latest GeIL memory is!
Keep in mind, too, we have, but one of a plethora of options regarding the Orion AMD Edition sticks we have from GeIL. With a wide range of speed, timings, and density, GeIL has what you need, no matter if it's a high-speed kit for gaming or a mass of RAM on demand for productivity. Along those same lines, if the aesthetics of the kit we have do not play well with the build you have in mind, this is one of two color choices within the Orion AMD Edition Series.
Within the chart found on the GeIL product page for the Orion AMD Edition Series kits, we see that these "long DIMM" sticks can be gotten in packs with single sticks, two sticks, or four. Speed in this series ranges from 2666 MHz on the low-end through to 4000 MHz on the high-end, and each stick can be had in densities of 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB to make sets up to 128GB in density over four modules. CAS latency differs depending on the kit you are looking at, but we do know that CL16 includes the 2666 MHz, 3000 MHz, and 3200 MHz kits but increases as speed increases after that in even-numbered jumps. The slower sticks can run at 1.20V, while many will need 1.35V, and the 4000MHz sets need 1.40V to run properly.
We made mention of the fact that we have one of two color options. Our kit is delivered in Racing Red, but there is a more subdued looking Titanium Gray version that many will likely gravitate towards. All of the GeIL memory runs through their proprietary DYNA 4 SLT testing, and while AMD compatible, they still use an XMP 2.0 profile for their rated settings. The last thing to cover is the warranty, where GeIL offers a limited lifetime warranty on all of their DDR4.
Knowing what the range of all of their options are is a good thing to know, but more specifically, we have the GAOR416GB3200C16ADC. Breaking that down, these are GeIL Orion sticks, but ours are 3200 MHz in speed, with the CAS set at 16, requiring 1.35V to run properly. We have the Racing Red variety, and we are taken back to when we first saw their DDR2, as the styling is reminiscent of heat spreaders seen years ago! That fact also carries into the overall height, where minimal room is required to fit our RAM as they are not much taller than their naked Dragon RAM. So far, all things point to an experience we may enjoy, and it has us eagerly awaiting testing!
Putting it out there, GeIL memory is not always the easiest to find when looking to buy a kit! When we took a look at Amazon, the GeIL memory offered is limited. We found a 3000 MHz red kit and a 3600 MHz red kit, which is what we link to buy. However, on top of limited offerings, the only sellers are third-party and are asking way too much for these sticks! Off to Newegg, we went to see what they have listed and were astonished at all of the kits we saw.
We found the kit we have in hand listed there for just $76.99, which we feel is a great price for a 16GB kit of DDR4 at this time. All we can do now is look over what GeIL sent us, see what is under the hood, and get to testing and see if all of this AMD Edition stuff is worth the effort!
Packaging and Kit
Packaging and Orion AMD Edition
Our set of Orion AMD Edition sticks came in a thick box with a fancy looking front panel. Using the bulk of the space for an image of the Racing Red module, the background is a mix of brushed metal and some industrial building or guts of a space module behind it. Around the module, you see the GeIL name, the notation of the DYNA 4SLT testing, its DDR4 nature, that this is a dual-channel kit, and it is hard to miss the Ryzen name and logo at the left.
The box's back is covered in what looks like it could be the outside of a spaceship, where the manufacturer is listed first and foremost. A small window lets you get a glimpse of what is inside, but a product sticker is applied to the packaging to tell you all you need to know except for the voltage. To the right is the company information for GeIL, along with the web address.
Fresh out of the boxes clamshell inner packaging, and with thin strips of plastic removed from the shiny black tops of the heat spreaders, these gloriously bright red sticks are what we have for testing. With a slightly raised black plastic top and the anodized side components, along with the bulbous GeIL emblem at the right, they harken back to a much older time in RAM production! We like the added touch of the cutaway hexagonal-shaped openings with the fine black mesh showing through them. Orion's series name is painted onto the spreader and is just below the big "G."
You will find a product sticker applied at the left edge on the back of both sticks, just under the GeIL name presented in red on the black tops. Slightly off-center and slightly crooked is the Ryzen name and logo, with the silver "G" at the right like we saw on the other side. What is also visible now is that the heat spreader is not flat; it is highest across the middle, where all sides are angled to meet in the middle.
With the angles offered in the spreader, it makes sense that the corners of the top portions are eased back, angled, and offers much of this design style. This is also the side you will see when installed on a mainstream system, leaving you to enjoy all of the efforts they put into making this RAM stand out in the crowd!
With Thaiphoon Burner's aid, we see that GeIL came out swinging with these kits based on Samsung B-die. Even while using the standard K4A8G085WB-BCPB IC model number, delivering 16-18-18-36 timings in a 3200MHz kit means it is not the litter's best pick. It goes along with what we say about all B-die not being equal, but this kit does fit two parts of AMD users' typically recommended advice. It is made for Ryzen, and it is B-die!
Once the Orion AMD Edition is installed into our AMD system, we find the bright red very appealing! The black portion of the spreaders is designed to come down to the slot and locks, which encompasses that bold red with a black plastic ring! The metallic G at the top, the red GeIL at the bottom, and even the small vents pop. For a "standard" looking set of DDR4, the more we look at them, the more we like about them!
While we do prefer to have the space to see more of the red on the sticks' side, we cannot complain about the look when these sticks are placed next to each other. Even though the top portion is made of shiny black plastic, it will also act as a mirror, reflecting any additional lighting that may be going on in the chassis.
Test System Details
To obtain the AMD CPU-Z screenshots, you will see directly following this image, and this is the system we used to do it, as well as in attaining the results seen in the following pages. Thanks go out to Corsair, ASUS, and GIGABYTE for supporting this venture. For detailed specifications of the system, those can be found below.
To obtain the screenshot we have here, all we did after clearing CMOS when installing the kit was to boot the system, enter the BIOS, and enable the DOCP profile. Once done with that, we rebooted to find our GeIL Orion running at its rated 3200 MHz with the appropriate 16-18-18-36 1T timings. The VDIMM required is 1.35V, while our SOC voltage was automatically set at 1.08V.
When it came to tightening the timings a bit, we ran into a pretty hard wall. While CAS14 is completely stable, we could not move the secondary timings using 1.45V to the memory. Any attempt to change them resulted in a postcode error or a BSOD.
We also attempted to raise the Orion AMD Edition's overall speed to find that there is little room for improvement here, opting to use 1.45 VDIMM and 1.18V for SOC voltage. While the divider is set to 3266 MHz, the fluctuating bus speed shows it slightly slower. However little we could gain, with these settings, the kit is stable as can be!
Chad's AMD DDR4 Dual-Channel Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair VIII HERO Wi-Fi - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Corsair H150i PRO - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER Gaming OC 8GB - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Corsair Force MP500 480GB NVMe - Buy from Amazon
- Case: Thermaltake Core P5 TG - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: Corsair RM750x 750-watt - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
To obtain the Intel CPU-Z screenshots, you will see directly following this image, and this is the system we used to do it, as well as in attaining the results seen in the following pages. Thanks go out to Corsair, ASUS, and GIGABYTE for supporting us here too! For detailed specifications of the system, those can be found below.
We used the same process to obtain these results as we did for the AMD system, just that this time we enabled the XMP 2.0 profile. In doing that, we have the 3200 MHz speed we should, along with the 16-18-18-36 timings, just that this time we are using 2T command rate. VDIMM is still 1.35V, the VCCIO is at 1.312V, and the VCCSA is at 1.152V.
The Orion AMD Edition drops to the same timings on both systems is of no shock to us. 2T command rate does not play much difference in that aspect. 14-18-18-36 2T timings are rock solid, and anything lower with the secondaries resulted in a BSOD. As far as the voltage is concerned, we are using 1.45 VDIMM, and we also increased the VCCSA to 1.252V.
While not a drastic improvement over the AMD results, on our Intel-based system, we could get a few more drops of speed. Overall, we only got to 3300 MHz with the XMP timings, using the same voltages as we did in the previous run. Again, everything is stable, and we are appreciative to get something to test, but it does prove that flexibility is not a guarantee!
Chad's Intel DDR4 Dual-Channel Test System Specifications
Chad's Intel DDR4 Dual-Channel Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus XII Apex - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i7 10700K - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER Gaming OC 8GB - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Intel SSDPEK1W120GA
- Case: Thermaltake Core P3 - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: Corsair RM750 - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
It is hard to say that GeIL won the read performance metric when the DOCP score is roughly 1400 MB/s behind any of the other 3200 MHz kits. Reducing the timings added less than 100 MB/s advantage over the DOCP profile, but that 66 MHz bump made all the difference in the world, as it finally surpasses the other 3200 MHz kits already tested.
Write performance is much better than read, as the Orion shows to be the best kit of 3200 MHz DDR4 in the chart, with just DOCP enabled. This time, reducing the timings offers a double-digit bump in performance, where at 3266 MHz, we saw a boost that puts it to the top of the chart!
Very similar to what we saw with read performance, copy performance is also pretty lackluster. No matter how you want to run the Orion AMD Edition sticks, you will still be at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to bandwidth.
Latency is important to many AMD users, and the GeIL Orion falls into the middle while running under control of the DOCP profile. We could reduce the latency a bit by overclocking the kit, but they are still one of the better 3200 MHz kits when it comes to this aspect.
Our physics testing shows the Orion AMD Edition kit to do fairly well. The Ripjaws V and the TOUGHRAM do slightly better than the Orion, and even though added speed took points away, this is a good instance where CAS14 shines with a chart-topping score.
PCMark 10 does many various tests, covering many aspects of everyday usage on a PC, maybe more oriented towards the professionals and not so much for gamers. Still, we like it for its all-encompassing nature. While the Orion does outperform the Ripjaws V this time, the XLR8 RGB and TOUGHRAM hold higher positions. This time, reducing the CAS latency lost us points, but the additional speed does better, although just seven points better than the XLR8 RGB.
The various testing methods of PCMark 10 hammers the Ripjaws V when used with the DOCP profile. Both of the overclocked results are more along the lines of what we expected to see, and both options fall between the PNY XLR8 and the TOPUGHRAM RGB.
If file compression is something you do regularly, the Orion AMD Edition may not be what you are looking for. To complete the nearly 8GB file, only the 2400 MHz set of Panther Rage performed worse, no matter how we ran the kit!
Cinebench also shows the Orion AMD Edition stick in very dim light. With the DOCP profile offering the worst results in the chart, it is hard to spin on that to help them out. Lowering the CAS to 14 puts it in range of what the other 3200 MHz offerings delivered without any of that messing around!
Even though we have been essentially pooping on the Orion kit for many of these charts, but then it comes in and delivers results that are delightful in Handbrake. If you are likely to be editing videos, most times, you will end up transcoding its format, and there is no denying the second-place finish using the DOCP profile; and if you can lower the CAS to 14 with your kit, you can get the best results in the chart at this time!
Even on our Intel-based system, read performance is still pretty poor. While they can outperform the XLR8 RGB, it is bested by everything else in its class. Huge gains can be had for the overclockers, though. There is a 3500 MB/s boost opting to use a lower CAS, and another 800 MB/s on top of that when running them at 3300 MHz.
Unlike with the AMD system, we see that the write performance does not get better on our Intel rig. All of the 3200 MHz kits beat the Orions with the XMP profile enabled. Even playing around with the speed and timings do not seem to offer the advantage we were expecting, although, at that point, they can compete with the competition.
For the third strike in a row, we look at the copy numbers and find the Orion at the bottom, just above the 2400 MHz Apacer kit! We could eke out another 1000 to 1300 MB/s boost by tinkering, get near the TOUGHRAM, and still be beaten by the Ripjaws V.
Ironically, with the lackluster performance, we saw across the previous three metrics, the latency is quite good! Much closer to the top of the chart than the bottom, the GeIL Orion are strong contenders in this aspect, but sadly it does not translate to other portions of this test suite.
Under the control of the XMP profile, the Orion AMD Edition kit is third from last. Running them at CAS14 gives us a few more points, but the real winner here is running them at 3300 MHz, but it still beat by a pair of 3200 MHz sets of DDR4, and they aren't overclocked in these results!
PCMark 10 shines a slightly brighter light on this kit, with the XMP run delivering the best results of all the 3200 MHz sets. More speed is a killer in this benchmark, but we did shoot up the chart using CAS 14 instead of 16.
As we saw on the AMD rig, the Orion does not help the Intel rig with compression any better! Next to last is a bad place to be, no doubt about that! Even though overclocking results in improvements, there are better performing 3200 MHz options.
Cinebench hammers this kit as well. Next to last again, there is little room to make this seem like a rosy situation. While the points difference is minimal, overclocking does allow the Orion to shine a bit, but neither of those results is guaranteed with all kits!
Paired with the 10700K, the Orion AMD Edition RAM falters once again in the Handbrake results. While they can surpass the Ripjaws V, the XLR8 and TOUGHRAM do slightly better. Overclocking does have merit here, and we see that reducing the CAS timing offers the best results out of this RAM.
Can aesthetics carry a set of RAM far enough to make it into your cart? That is the question we have running through our mind right now! To that point, the Racing Red Orion AMD Edition DDR4 we have in hand is stunning! For a kit of RAM without RGB, it has what it takes to gain attention visually. All of the angles, the mix of shiny black angular bits contrasting against the brilliant looking metal side portion is something we absolutely admire about this memory! The issue is for us. When it comes to buying RAM over your system's SPD value, you expect performance for the added speed, and sadly, we felt that the GeIL Orion fell short in this aspect!
No matter how pretty and fabulous this kit may be to look at, getting hammered by most of the benchmarks and needing to be overclocked to compete with its direct completion makes it tough to rally behind a product! Some chart-topping results were had by overclocking, but to say that the Orion is mostly capable of outperforming a 2400 MHz as its guarantee does not say much at all! With our sentimental love for GeIL, we will say we expected more from this RAM, and we will even go as far as to say we are a bit disappointed.
The one saving grace for the Orion when it comes to performance is that the AMD system did do slightly better in the charts than we saw with the Intel results, which is a first for Ryzen compatible RAM. We typically see the Intel system do better with RAM tightened up for use with AMD systems.
Price is of concern to most potential customers, and we can say that the Orion AMD Edition memory we have is affordable at just $76.99 for the set we have in hand! We could get behind the fact that GeIL does hit two of the three major bullseyes with RAM. It is stunning to look at, and it is affordable, but those two things do come with a substantial hit to the overall performance. If you are throwing together a spare rig with some style or budget dictates choices, we could see opting for something like this, but it would not be our first choice in a set of 3200 MHz 16GB kits.
The Bottom Line
There are a couple of validating aspects to the GeIL Orion AMD Edition memory. At the same time, we are not certain looks and cost can carry the load. Performance being the main reason to buy new RAM, and the poor performance we saw leaves us not able to recommend Orion over the others!