G.Skill F2 6400 CL4D-4GBPI-B Reviewccokeman -
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The best way to verify whether one set of memory modules is better than another, is to run a series of benchmarks and put down some basic comparison data. When all things are equal, and the only variable is the module being tested, the results are a great way to compare performance. In order to eliminate the variables, the only settings that will be manipulated are the memory timings, and voltages when overclocking. The comparison modules will be run at the manufacturer specified timings and voltages at 800MHz, the common DDR2 speed. Since this is OCC we can't just let the performance at stock speeds tell the whole story. Stock speeds just won't do for us! After the stock speed comparisons the modules will be pushed as far as they will go to see just what kind of performance can be gained from the modules when overclocked.
- Processor: Intel Core2 Quad Q9450 333x8
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X48-DQ6
- Memory: G.Skill Black Pi 6400 2x2gb 4-4-4-12
- Video Card: Sapphire HD4850 DS
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800w Modular Power Supply
- Hard Drive: Seagate 1TB SATA
- Optical Drive: Lite-on DVD-RW
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate
- Comparison: Geil EvoOne DDR2 800MHz 2x2GB 4-4-4-12
- Comparison: A-DATA G Series DDR2 800 2x2GB 5-5-5-12
- Comparison: Mushkin Redline XP2 8000 2 x 2 GB 5-5-5-12
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 usage, and processor usage (%).
- Processor: Intel Q9450 444x8
- Memory: Gskill Black Pi 2x2GB 5-5-4-12 at 1066MHz
Considering the fact that the modules run at Cas 4 DDR2 800 (400 FSB) at lower than the specified 1.9 volts with no issues, the overclocking potential looked promising. Getting to 900MHz (450FSB) was just a matter of adjusting the voltage to the voltage specified by G.Skill to run the modules at the stock speeds. Looking better! Pushing to 1000MHz (500FSB) required a couple of things from these modules. First was an increase in the vDimm to 1.95 volts and adjusting the Cas latency to 5 was needed to even boot. Still looking good at under 2.0 volts. Now pushing up to 1066MHz (533FSB) was where the drama started for me. I adjusted the timings to 5-5-5-12 to see if the modules would allow a boot at 2.0 volts! No go! 2.1 volts was still a no go, so I had to push 2.2 volts for 1066MHz to become a reality. Pushing higher even with 2.3 volts did not yield any additional increase in memory speed. So with my max speed set at 1066MHz at 2.2 volts, I went for the timings to see if they could be coaxed down any further. 5-5-4-12 at 1066MHz (533FSB) was the best I was able to achieve with the G.Skill Black PI modules. Some things you have to remember here is that this is a 4 gigabyte memory kit that runs Cas 4 at 1.8 volts and retails for 70 dollars. Just because a set of modules has a big heatspreader does not mean that the heatsink is effective. The heatsink on the G.Skill PI modules has a unique heatspreader that seems to effectively remove the heat generated by the modules. They were never hot to the touch even during the 2.3 volt testing phase. While the modules did not give the largest overclock on a set of 4GHz modules for me, they did do an admirable job of making it to 1066MHZ with decent timings and great performance.
The benchmarks that will be used in this review include the following programs:
- CPU-Z Version 1.45
- Windows Task Manager
- PCMark Vantage
- SiSoft Sandra XII
- Company of Heroes