G.Skill Trident X 2400MHz Review

ccokeman - 2012-05-05 19:56:01 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: May 29, 2012
Price: $99

Introduction:

As memory capacities and speeds increase, the ability of memory controllers to keep up is the challenge facing the enthusiast. Luckily, this set is targeted for use with Intel's latest socket 1155 Third Generation Core series processors and motherboards equipped with Intel's Z77 chipset. One thing proven so far has been that the Ivy Bridge processors seem to be equipped with incredible memory controllers that are allowing new world records for memory clock speed almost daily. To meet this need, G.Skill has put together a full line of modules based on its Trident X design. Starting at 2400MHz and going up to 2800MHz with capacities of up to 32GB, the Trident X line is ready to take advantage of the improved memory controller architecture on the Ivy Bridge processor. The set I will be looking at today is a 2400MHz 2x4GB kit designed to use latencies of 10-12-12-31 with 1.65v. What sets the Trident X line-up apart from the Ripjaws Z and X modules are the extruded heat shields and removable heat sink. The heat sink can be removed by removing two screws and then sliding the assembly off for some extreme cooling — somewhat similar to what Corsair employs with its Dominator GTX modules. Let's look a little deeper at these modules, available from the e-tailers for a modest price of $99 — much lower than one would expect for a 2400MHz-rated set of modules with added features.

Closer Look:

The G.Skill Trident X modules come in a standard blister pack retail package. Inside the package are the Trident X modules, a case badge, and a sales sheet that fits the theme of the modules. The red background is visually appealing, allowing it to stand out in the crowd. The back view of the package has the Trident X logo on top, a brief synopsis of what type of system the modules are designed for, and that the modules are meant for use by "Overclockers and PC Enthusiasts". The G.Skill part number, product description. and SKU are on a tag at the bottom of the sales card.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This set of modules from G.Skill is part of its Trident X line-up, which includes DDR3 modules from 2400MHz to 2800MHz in capacities ranging from 8 to 32GB. The set I am looking at is the F3-2400C10D-8GTX 2x4GB 2400MHz kit. It is designed to run in systems using Intel Third Generation Core series processors and motherboards equipped with an Intel Z77 chipset. This Trident X kit runs at 2400MHz, using latencies of 10-12-12-31 at 1.65v. The label on the modules points out this information if the original packaging is lost or you just don't want to spend the time to look it up on the web. A unique serial number is also on the label for warranty purposes in case you cook the modules. The label serves as the warranty tag, yet there is another warranty device to prevent tampering with the heat shields. The black PCB goes well with the black heat shields, providing a contrast to the red heat sinks on top of the modules.

 

 

 

What really sets the Trident X modules apart, besides the targeting of the Z77 platform, is the unique heat sink design. It's a radical departure from where G.Skill normally is in terms of heat shield design. The heat shield is a large aluminum plate on each side of the module, with a removable red heat sink that slides off the top of the heat shields. The heat sink is held in place by a pair of screws and fiber washers, one on each end of the heat sink. By removing the heat sink, the top of the module can be covered with cooling "pot" for use with LN2 or dry ice, if regular air cooling is not enough. Both methods are used to chill the memory for massive memory clock speeds and are used in tandem with a similar cooling solution for the CPU. That's at the upper end of the enthusiast spectrum, but G.Skill is looking for that top end customer. This time with a rock bottom price.

 

 

 

If looks were the only criteria for a bitchin' set of memory, the Trident X fits the bill. Unfortunately, looks are not all that we need, so we'll have to see if the raw clock speed of a 2400MHz set of memory can deliver excellent performance characteristics to go along with the stunning looks.

Specifications:

Model Number
3-2400C10D-8GTX
Series
Trident X
System
Desktop
System Type
DDR3
Main Board
Intel
M/B Chipset
Z77
Capacity
8GB (4GBx2)
Multi-Channel Kit
Dual-Channel kit
Tested Speed
DDR3-2400 MHz (PC3-19200)
Tested Latency
10-12-12-31 2N
Tested Voltage
1.65V
Registered/Unbuffered
Unbuffered
Error Checking
Non-ECC
Type
240-pin DIMM
SPD Speed
1600 MHz
SPD Voltage
1.5V
Warranty
Lifetime
Height
54 mm / 2.13 inch
Features
Intel XMP (Extreme Momery Profile) Ready Removable Top Fin

 

Features:

Qualified Motherboard List:

ASUS
MAXIMUS V GENE
ASUS
P8Z77-V DELUXE
ASUS
P8Z77-V PRO
ASUS
P8Z77-V LX
ASUS
P8Z77-V LE
ASUS
SABERTOOTH Z77
Gigabyte
G1.Sniper 3
Gigabyte
GA-Z77X-UD5H
Gigabyte
GA-Z77X-D3H
Gigabyte
GA-Z77X-UD3H
Gigabyte
GA-Z77-D3H
MSI
Z77A-GD65
MSI
Z77A-GD55
MSI
Z77A-G45
ASRock
Z77 Professional
ASRock
Z77 Extreme6
Biostar
TZ77XE4

 

 

All information courtesy of G.Skill @  http://www.gskill.com/products.php?index=511&c1=&c2=

Testing:

Memory is often hard to separate from one kit to another in gaming, but when it comes to number crunching and computing, some memory provides an extra boost in comparison. To see just what kind of performance this kit has to offer, I will be running the sticks through a series of benches to see just how they compare. There will be 4GB and 8GB kits ranging in speed from 1600MHz - 2133MHz, tested at native speeds as well as overclocked. Overclocking of course will be dependent on exactly how far the testing rig will allow, but I'll push it as far as I can. The testing setup used for these benchmarks is listed below, where Turbo Boost has been disabled to eliminate uncontrolled clock changes that may offset results. The CPU will be run with default clock speeds for baseline testing and bumped up to 4.5 GHz where possible for OC testing. All current updates and patches are installed for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and the current AMD Catalyst driver of 12.4. 

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Modules:

 

CPU-Z: This application visually shows 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.

CPU-Z

 

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

Task Manager

 

Overclocking:

Getting the Trident X modules in and running at 2400MHz was as simple as point-and-click, with most of the secondary settings on auto. Tweaking them higher than 2400MHz was fairly simple with the timings relaxed. 2500MHz at 11-13-13-35 with the default 1.65 volts was possible, but try as I might, 2600MHz was a no go. Voltages of up to 1.75v would allow the modules to boot and POST, but fail as soon as a load was applied. Since 2600MHz was out, the challenge was to see where the modules could be tweaked and how they would respond. The maximum clock speed for this set was right over 2500MHz using latencies of 10-12-13-35 with an applied 1.72v. Adjusting the memory controller voltage to just under 1.10v was needed, along with the higher applied vdimm. At just over 100MHz, the gains were not huge, but the modules do show potential. With a $99 price tag, you can have modules that reach over 2400MHz — something not seen lately, as higher speed bins usually come with a hefty price premium.

 

 


The maximum memory speed for each set of overclocked modules is indicative of how well the modules ran on this test system. As such, your results may differ in either a positive or negative way based on the capabilities of your hardware. In other words, your mileage may vary!

 

The benchmarks used in this review include the following:

Benchmarks:

Testing:

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

 

PCMark 7 is the latest iteration of Futuremark's popular PCMark system performance tool. This latest version is designed for use on Windows 7 PCs and features a combination of 25 different workloads to accurately measure the performance of all PCs from laptops to desktops.

  

  

Higher is Better

 

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.

   

 

We get a mixed bag of performance results for the Trident X in the Futuremark testing, but the Geekbench and Super Pi testing have the modules performing right on par or better than the GTX8 modules, which run with tigther latencies and cost significantly more than the $99 price tag on the Trident X modules.

Testing:

SiSoftware Sandra 2011: 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

 

AIDA64 Extreme Edition is a software utility designed to be used for hardware diagnosis and benchmarking. I will be using the Cache and Memory benchmark to test each module’s read, write, and copy bandwidth, as well as the latency test.

  

  

  

  

Higher is Better

 

In almost every test in Sandra and AIDA64, the higher memory clock speed delivers increased performance over the rest of the comparison modules. The only time the Trident X modules are outperformed is by the GTX 8 modules running slightly tighter latencies, shown show in the AIDA64 latency testing.

Testing:

Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro 2033 is based on the novel of the same name, written by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. You play as Artyom in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, where you'll spend most of your time traversing the metro system, with occasional trips to the surface. Despite the dark atmosphere and bleak future for mankind, the visuals are anything but bleak. Powered by the 4A Engine, with support for DirectX 11, NVIDIA PhysX, and NVIDIA 3D Vision, the tunnels are extremely varied – in your travels, you'll come across human outposts, bandit settlements, and even half-eaten corpses. Ensuring you feel all the tension, there is no map and no health meter. Get lost without enough gas mask filters and adrenaline shots and you may soon wind up as one of those half-eaten corpses, chewed up by some horrifying manner of irradiated beast that hides in the shadows just waiting for some hapless soul to wander by.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

For the most part, memory speed is not a factor in typical gaming scenarios. However, the Trident X modules seem to show a positive trend of a few FPS higher in the 1920x1080 overclocked testing.

Conclusion:

With the strength of Intel's Ivy Bridge processors' memory controller and architecture, finding memory to take advantage of these attributes usually comes with a fairly hefty price tag. Why you ask? Because of the hand binning processes that are usually needed to find memory ICs that can run the number with the prerequisite voltage and latencies. In this respect, the Trident X modules are competitive with several other kits on the market, including G.Skill's own Ripjaws Z series modules. When you factor in the $99 price tag, these modules become very attractive and competitive.

What makes the Trident X modules different is the use of the new Trident series heat spreaders that feature removable cooling fins — something seen on Corsair's Dominator line-up. This feature is aimed right at the enthusiast sector. By removing the cooling fins, the end user has the ability to use a variety of cooling solutions for some extreme-cooled memory overclocking. When the fins are removed, there is a flat surface that can be used to set an LN2 pot or even a custom liquid cooling solution on the main heat shield with the end goal of keeping the modules cool for improvements in clock speed. The large removable fins provide plenty of cooling potential when used as delivered, with an airstream over the modules from the CPU cooling solution or even the chassis fans.

Performance-wise, the Trident X modules deliver performance indicative of the latencies and clock speed they run at. Against lower rated modules, the Trident X modules deliver higher bandwidth and ultimately a higher level of performance across just about every test run. Overclocking delivered measurable performance increases over the baseline results, as expected. When it came to overclocking, I was able to pull another 100MHz from the already high 2400MHz, to reach just over 2500MHz, while tightening up the TRFC slightly.

G.Skill's Trident X line-up comes with kits that range from the 2400MHz kit we are looking at to a 2800MHz kit for massive memory speeds and the associated bandwidth that is a hallmark of higher speed bins. It seems that G.Skill is most definitely targeting the budget overclocker with this set of Trident X modules. A $99 price tag for 2400MHz-rated modules is a welcome sight after seeing huge price tags just a few months back for cas8 and 9 modules binned above 2133MHz. The Trident X are modules that perform well and deliver some overhead for a little bit more tweaking and come with G.Skill's lifetime warranty. Excellent looks aside, the Trident X would make a good addition to any system and have the flexibility to be cooled in multiple ways.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: