G.Skill Flare F3-16000CL7D-4GBFLS Memory Review

ajmatson - 2010-07-22 17:10:14 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: August 5, 2010
Price: $179.99


In these times, you can never have enough memory. I remember not so long ago when 512MB of RAM was a luxury. Now, with the fast pace and high graphics, having 4GB of RAM is a minimum. Every enthusiast wants to have the latest and greatest, pushing the boundaries of speed and winning benchmarks. To do that, you need the highest quality components with the best features available. When you design a system, there are many components that you spend a lot of time searching and weighing the pros and cons for - processors, motherboards, graphics cards, and, of course, the ever important system memory all come into play during the hardware planning stage.

When you think of G.Skill, you think of high speed, enthusiast-class memory. G.Skill is bringing its expertise out even more by designing a high end kit for the AMD lovers in the crowd. The new G.Skill Flare line is designed with the AMD Athlon II and Phenom II processors in mind by tailoring it to run at blistering speeds right alongside your overclocked CPU. Today, we are going to be looking at the G.Skill Flare F3-16000CL7D-4GBFLS kit, which is 4GB of DDR3 clocked in at a scorching 2000MHz.


Closer Look:

The G.Skill Flare kit comes packaged nicely in a thick cardboard box. This keeps the memory and accessories protected well from damage when being moved around during shipment. On the front of the package, you will see that the Flare line is designed for the Phenom II X6 processor. At the moment, there are not many AMD-based motherboards that will support 2000MHz memory, so they list the compatibility on the front. At the time of this writing, there were four boards certified compatible, which are the ASUS M4A89TD Pro, ASUS M4A89GTD Pro, M4A88TD-V Evo, and, not listed but also supported, is the ASUS Crosshair IV Formula.








The G.Skill Flare is a high end set of memory. They are clocked at 2,000MHz with timings of 7-9-7-24 and a low voltage of 1.65 volts. G.Skill has specified that these modules are for Phenom II X6 processors only. They come with large aluminum heatspreaders for maximum dissipation of the heat generated during operation and overclocking. To go with the Flare name, the heatspreaders have a unique black and red design, which kind of resembles flames shooting from the top. There are tunnels between the heatspreaders which allow the airflow to travel through, grabbing as much heat as it can. It would have been awesome if G.Skill would have included a black PC Board to continue the motif. The heatspreaders stand quite tall, which might cause some problems if you are using a CPU heatsink that crosses over into the RAM area.




G.Skill has included an active cooling solution for the Flare memory. This will keep your RAM running cool and efficient while pushing those top speeds, especially if you overclock them further. There are two 50mm blue LED fans that provide the airflow for cooling the RAM. The fans are manufactured by a company called Young Lin and, after a bit of digging, I found that they run at 3,500RPM and have an airflow of 8.6CFM with a static air pressure of 1.6mmH2O. The noise level on these fans is very low as well at only 22dBA.



Now that we have had a good look at the memory and the cooler, we can get to the testing.


Main Board
AMD (For Phenom II X6 only)
System Type
M/B Chipset
AMD 890 Series
CAS Latency
4GB (2GB x 2)
DDR3-2000 (PC3 16000)
Test Voltage
1.65 Volts
Error Checking
240-pin DIMM




All information courtesy of G.Skill @ http://www.gskill.com/products.php?index=276&c1=&c2=


Now we get to the testing of the G.Skill Flare memory. I will be putting this set through the paces, testing how they perform at stock and overclocked speeds. To get the rated speed of 2000MHz on the memory, you will need to start your system off in an overclocked state. To give you an idea on how the faster speeds increase system performance, I compared the Flare to several other sets of memory on the market running at their stock and overclocked speeds. To keep the tests as fair as possible, I will be lowering the CPU multiplier to keep the CPU speed as close to the 3.2GHz stock speed as I can. All other hardware will remain at the same speeds, timings, and voltages as well, to keep out any variables from interfering with our results.


Testing Setup:


Comparison Modules:


CPU-Z: This application shows us the settings that we have chosen in the BIOS. Items shown in this application include CPU speed and bus settings, motherboard manufacturer, BIOS revisions, memory timings, and SPD chip information.



Task Manager: We use this utility to show physical memory, kernel memory, page file, and processor usage.




Overclocked Settings:

Overclocking the G.Skill Flare memory was a challenge since it is clocked so high at stock speeds already. To push the set further, I had to really play with the voltages and BUS speed little by little. I had to loosen the timings up to get any more and ended up pushing them to 9-10-9-27, which gave me the stability I needed. I was able to get the BUS speed to 267MHz, which yielded a total memory speed of 2134MHz. To make sure I was okay, I ran memtest86+ several times and passed with no errors. Seeing that I could not get any more, I booted into Windows and ran the benchmarks with no stability issues at all. For the overclocked tests, the final settings will be 2134MHz at 9-10-9-27.



The maximum memory speed for each set of modules when overclocked is a measure of how well the modules ran on these particular modules and test system. As such, your results may differ in either a positive or negative way based on the capabilities of your hardware.


The benchmarks used in this review include the following:



PCMark Vantage: With this benchmark, I will be running the system suite, as well as the memory test suite. The measurement for the system suite will be the total score. The measurement for memory performance is the total memory score.
















SiSoftware Sandra 2010: In this program, I will be running the following benchmarks: Cache and Memory, Memory Bandwidth, and Memory Latency. Higher is better in all tests, except for Memory Latency, where lower is better.






The added speed of the G.Skill Flare definitely shows, as it passes the slower comparison modules.


Geekbench 2.1 provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks engineered to quickly and accurately measure processor and memory performance. Designed to make benchmarks easy to run and easy to understand, Geekbench takes the guesswork out of producing robust and reliable benchmark results.
















Super Pi Mod 1.5 is a program designed to calculate Pi up to the 32nd millionth digit after the decimal and is used as both a benchmarking utility and simple stress test to check your overclock before moving forward with more rigorous testing. The world records for this benchmark utility are hotly contested.



In the Geekbench tests, the Flare speed took the top spot. Unfortunately, in Super Pi, it came in second by a hair.


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Again, the added speed for the Flare put it in first place.


The G.Skill Flare series memory really gives your Phenom II X6 processor an edge when it comes to raw numbers. With the higher clock speeds and tight timings, your memory bandwidth increases, which in turn boosts your overall system performance. The full aluminum heatspreaders offer a large amount of surface space for the heat to travel and with the added cooling fans you can keep your blistering modules from overheating. There is little overclocking headroom with the already high clocked Flare set. I tried everything I could to push them further, but they were just not having it, no matter what I threw at them. This set is designed for the six core Phenom II X6 series and is only certified for use with certain 8-series AMD motherboards, such as the Crosshair IV and the M4A890GTD Pro.

While you get what you pay for, this set is going to put you back $179.99 for the modules and cooling fan. It is a price to pay to have the fastest hardware and worth it if you want to squeeze every bit you can get out of your rig. If you have the supporting hardware and want to push those scores as high as you can, then pick up a set of the G.Skill Flare and see what you can do.