G.Skill TridentX F3-1600C7D-16GTX Review

ccokeman - 2009-07-16 02:03:11 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: October 15, 2013
Price: $169

G.Skill TridentX F3-1600C7D-16GTX Introduction:

Having looked at more than a few 2133MHz to 2666MHz kits here lately, it is interesting to get my hands on a lower speed bin to see just how well they perform not only in the synthetic tests, but in some real world testing. I am curious to see if you really need a big clock speed memory kit to have fun with the latest Haswell-based Core series processors from Intel. G.Skill's TridentX series is the halo modules in its product stack, designed and built for the rigors of the enthusiast and hardcore gamer. We know that tighter latencies usually equate to better performance at a lower memory speed than when you run big clock speeds and loose timings. 16GB has become about the standard size memory for the Z87 platform, but can come in multiple configurations including what I have here today in the G.Skill TridentX F3-1600C7D-16GTX 2x8GB kit. This TridentX kit is rated at 1600MHz using 1.5v and is priced at a middle of the road $169 from the normal sources. Equipped with G.Skill's lifetime warranty, you get some long term piece of mind in case something goes horribly wrong – we all know that happens when pushing the limits of the hardware. Let's see how this kit performs in my test system and see how it compares to the Z87-ready memory kits I have already looked at. This could be fun!

G.Skill TridentX F3-1600C7D-16GTX Closer Look:

The packaging for G.Skill's TridentX F3-1600C7D-16GTX modules is a standard blister pack with the modules displayed on the front of the ad card that shows the company name and series on a dark red and black background. The back side of the package talks about G.Skill holding the current world record frequency at the time (over 3000MHz). Also discussed is the fact that these modules feature a removable heat sink to facilitate usage with extreme cooling methods, such as liquid nitrogen. Inside the packaging is a red case badge with the G.Skill logo used to show your support for the brand. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each of the modules is equipped with a very robust TridentX heat sink package that measures 54mm in height to provide the cooling necessary to let the TridentX modules scream. This set of TridentX modules, part number F3-1600C7D-16GTX, is a 16GB DDR3 kit consisting of two 8GB modules rated for operation at 1600MHz with latencies of 7-8-8-24 using 1.5v. The front side of the modules shows the G.Skill name and TridentX logo, which is partially covered by the serial number/warranty tag. The back side of the modules mirrors the front side minus the warranty label. Looking at the side of the modules, the red section of the heat sink is almost flame-shaped, though is meant to replicate the look of a Trident. The screw seen on the side allows the upper (red) section of the heat sink to be removed for sub zero cooling. The graphic from G.Skill illustrates how this works.

 

 

 

Having seen what G.Skill's products are capable of in the past, I have some high expectations for this set of modules. So let's see what they can do, especially with G.Skill's overclocking-friendly margins!

G.Skill TridentX F3-1600C7D-16GTX Specifications:

Series
TridentX
Memory Type
DDR3
Capacity
16GB (8GBx2)
Multi-Channel Kit
Dual Channel Kit
Tested Speed
1600MHz
Tested Latency
7-8-8-24-2N
Tested Voltage
1.50v
Registered/Unbuffered
Unbuffered
Error Checking
Non-ECC
SPD Speed
1600MHz
SPD Voltage
1.50v
Fan lncluded
No
height
54 mm / 2.13 inch
Warranty
Lifetime
Features
Intel XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) Ready

 

G.Skill TridentX F3-1600C7D-16GTX Features:


 

All information courtesy of G.Skill @ http://www.gskill.com/en/product/f3-1600c7d-16gtx

G.Skill TridentX F3-1600C7D-16GTX 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 modules through a series of benches to see just how they compare. There will be 8GB and 16GB kits ranging in speed from 2133MHz to 2400MHz, 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 skew the results. The CPU will be run with default Boost clock speed of 3.9GHz for baseline testing and bumped up to 4.2GHz for OC testing (or as close as possible to that speed). All current updates and patches are installed for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and the latest driver for the NVIDIA GTX 770 will be used.

 

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:

Overclocking on Intel Haswell processors is quite a bit different from what we are used to in the last few generations, where the CPU clock speeds did not influence the clock speed the memory controller could handle. Entry to Haswell memory overclocking 101 shows that while the CPU may handle a nice overclock of 4.7GHz to 5.0GHz, the memory may not scale up past 1866MHz or 2133MHz at those CPU clock speeds, even though the memory modules are rated much higher. What I found on both of my CPUs was that anything greater than around 4250MHz on the CPU would not run the memory at 2600MHz or higher. That being said, keeping the CPU as close to 4200MHz was imperative for pushing the limits on the memory I am testing.

This TridentX kit from G.Skill is rated at 1600MHz or around 800MHz slower than the rest of the kits I have looked at so far from various manufacturers. The question is how much of that differential can I make up without losing performance. As it turns out, I was able to push these modules up almost another 300MHz while still keeping the timings reasonable at 8-9-9-24. Reaching any higher on the clock speed with voltage or timings resulted in a failure to post on the Max6E. Kind of disappointing, but free speed with good timings is like free money when you look at the costs associated with higher speed bins. To reach 1895MHz, I raised the system agent voltage to 1.20v (up to 1.35v was tested) and the DRAM voltage to 1.65v, and adjusted the timings and bclk to find the best combination of timings and clock speed. In the end, the 1866MHz divider and a bclk of 101.5 was used to reach the 295MHz overclock. On a percentage basis, this amounts to an 18.5% boost in clock speed. During testing, the large TridentX heat sinks do the job expected of them by shedding the thermal load off the memory ICs. Using a large heatsink with four of these modules in an Intel socket 115X board will present some fitting challenges with large CPU cooling solutions just due to the height of the modules. With water cooling or any of the all-in-one liquid cooling solutions, you will want to make sure that you have at least some air flow over the modules when pushing the voltage. At the rated 1.5v, it's a non issue. Overall the modules delivered excellent overclocking for the speed bin on this TridentX kit.

 

 

Maximum Memory Speed:

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:

G.Skill TridentX F3-1600C7D-16GTX Testing:

PCMark 8: With this benchmark, I will be running the Home and Creative suites. The measurement for both test suites will be the total score.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

 

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.

   

   

   

 

Hyper Pi is a multi-threaded 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.

   

 

The 1600MHz-rated TridentX kit is slower than the higher rated kits in just about every one of these synthetic benchmarks. Not wholly unexpected, but the performance margin is measurable.

G.Skill TridentX F3-1600C7D-16GTX Testing:

SiSoftware Sandra 2013: In this program, I will be running the following benchmarks: Memory Bandwidth and Transactional Memory Throughput. Higher scores are better in the bandwidth test, while lower scores are better in the transactional memory test.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

 

X.264 Benchmark: This benchmark is used to measure the time it takes to encode a 1080p video file into the x.264 format. The default benchmark is used with an average of all four tests on each pass taken as the result.

  

  

 

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.

  

  

  

  

 

In each of these tests, the TridentX F3-1600C7D-16GTX performs at a lower level, showing the value of higher memory clock speeds.

G.Skill TridentX F3-1600C7D-16GTX Testing:

Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro: Last Light is the follow-up to the extremely popular game Metro 2033. Developed by 4A games and published by Deep Silver, this game uses the 4A game engine. In this game, set a year after the missile strike on the Dark Ones, you continue on as Artyom as he digs deeper into the bowels of the Metro.

 

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

While the FPS variance ranges within one across the entire comparison, the TridentX 1600MHz kit performs close to the top of the field consistently.

G.Skill TridentX F3-1600C7D-16GTX Conclusion:

I am impressed with what G.Skill brings to the table with the TridentX line-up. G.Skill offers up a fair amount of overclocking margin while still keeping the price points in check. At $169, you may not think that the price is in check, but a quick search on some of the common e-tailers puts the pricing in perspective as it is neither the lowest nor the highest price for a 16GB kit. At most stores it is the only CAS 7 1600MHz 2x8GB kit on hand though, so it bolsters that price point. When it comes to looks and functionality, the TridentX heat sink does an effective job at removing the thermal load from the memory ICs with minimal airflow over the modules. Rated at 1.5v, they do not generate a lot of heat to begin with, but when running them at 1.65v, they still do a great job shedding the thermal load. If you really want to push the modules to that next level and put them under LN2, then G.Skill makes that option easier with a removable upper heat sink assembly. By removing a pair of screws, the red section of the TridentX heat sink comes off, leaving a flat surface to place a LN2 pot onto the modules to chill them down well into the sub zero region. Not everyone will go there, but if you have the means and the desire, you get the capability with this TridentX kit from G.Skill.

When it comes to overclocking the TridentX F3-1600C7D-16GTX modules, I was able to pull close to 300MHz more out of them by increasing the voltage to 1.65v and the timings to 8-9-9-24 for a final speed of 1895MHz. It is seemingly not a massive speed bump, but on a percentage basis it comes out to over 18% for nothing but time and a little testing patience to ensure that the overclock is stable. That is something many of the high speed modules I have tested have been unable to do when you get down to it. As one of the lower speed bins, this kit uses tighter latencies to deliver performance rather than all out speed. If you want higher speed bins, G.Skill is only happy to oblige, offering TridentX modules with speeds up to 3000MHz and capacities up to 32GB to fulfill your memory needs. Equipped with a lifetime warranty to go with the stunning good looks, the G.Skill TridentX F3-1600C7D-16GTX modules can give you the best of both worlds: performance and looks!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: