G.Skill Sniper Series PC312800 Cas 7 Reviewccokeman - June 21, 2011
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Purchasing memory for your system oftentimes involves some hard compromises ranging from price to capacity to the latencies of the DRAM. Since the DRAM market is still depressed, the capacity and cost concerns are not as significant for the time being. Purchasing an eight or 12GB set of memory for your system are low-cost economic realities at this point. The tighter latency higher speed binned kits still come with a price premium though. With higher densities you usually have to settle for looser latencies if you want the larger capacities. G.Skill has addressed this issue with one of their latest kits which is targeted straight at the gaming market. This set of G.Skill Sniper series modules are designed to work with systems based on Intel's P67/Z68 chipsets and second generation Core series processors. Even so, earlier chipsets are able to take advantage of the abilities of this series of modules. This set of modules are designed to run at PC3 12800 speeds (1600 MHz) at 7-8-7-24 using just 1.6v to get the job done and comes with a price tag that seems to match its unique heat shield at $149. For this price you do get G.Skill's lifetime warranty in case something should go wrong
The modules come in the classic retail blister pack designed so the product is front and center to capture your imagination. The "Sniper" and company logo are at the top of the ad card and do not take away from the visual appeal of the modules. The rear of the ad card illustrates in words why this set of modules is a great fit for that latest gaming build where the image is part of the build. The bottom right has the part number information and specifications of this set of modules. The "Sniper" series modules are offered with different latencies depending on the kit with this PC3 12800 kit sporting the tightest latencies of the group.
Stripped of the packaging, the allure of the "Sniper" series modules is evident with the most prominent feature being the black gun shaped heat shields. Pointed straight at the FPS gamer and modder, the gun theme and black coloring would look good in just about any of the industrial and military themed products out on the market. One place in particular this set would fit is in ASUS Sabretooth or Gigabyte's G1 lineup of motherboards. This set of modules, part number F3-12800CL7D-8GBSR breaks down to a set of 240 pin DDR3 modules rated for operation at 1600MHz with a CAS latency of seven with an 8GB density for the pair. This set of Sniper modules are designed to operate at 7-8-7-24 2t using 1.6v. This set offers the tightest latencies of the "Sniper" lineup from G.Skill and are designed for use on motherboards that support Intel's second generation Core processors. As with most sets of modules designed for use in an Intel based system, the "Sniper" series come with X.M.P. profiles to make setup easy for even the person who wants to just drop the modules in and go.
The aluminum heat shield is a full cover design with venting along the top to facilitate additional cooling. The stamped design of the sniper rifle breaks up the surface to also help with keeping these modules cool but with only 1.6v required to reach the rated speeds and latencies, the heat generated is really nowhere as severe as it was with early DDR3 modules. It's more about the image that fits the build. As with any large heat shield you can run into clearance problems with some CPU cooling solutions depending on the size and location of the DIMM slots on the motherboard. G.Skill's "Sniper" heat shield equipped modules appear to be the same height as the shield used on the "RipJaws X" modules in a side by side comparison but in reality are slightly taller at 42mm vs. 40mm.
The targeting of the modules is clear enough and what you get for the cost of admission into the ownership club is a set of modules with a unique look and G.Skill's lifetime warranty. Will the tighter latencies these modules run at add up to higher performance or will the latency tolerant P67 system just laugh off the tighter timings?