G.Skill DDR500 F1-4000USU2-2GBHZ 2x1GB RAM Review

Sagittaria - 2007-01-11 21:08:06 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: Sagittaria   
Reviewed on: July 13, 2006
G.Skill
Gfcitycomputers
Price: $220
Introduction
With today’s games and programs becoming more memory hungry, two gigabytes of memory has become a more viable option than ever before. What about performance and price you might ask? This is where the G.Skill HZ steps in with its low price and high bandwidth for overclocking. It currently outclasses anything in its price range! This is no surprise, as G.Skill is known throughout the world for its jaw dropping products, including some 2x512mb kits that were rated for DDR600! G.Skill was first started back in 1989 by a group of enthusiasts and has since then grown into a very well known company still targeting enthusiasts and overclockers at a competitive price. Let’s see if the HZ lives up to the company’s reputation.

Closer Look
The sticks come packaged in the usual hard, clear, plastic booklet with an eye catching background picture. The package is nearly indestructible, which calmed me down on whether it had survived the brutal shipping process. The package comes with, obviously, the dual channel memory and a short folded page about G.Skill and its process to give you, the consumer, the best memory along with the usual support information. Not much needs to come with memory.



The RAM itself comes covered in jet-black, glossy heat spreaders (fingerprints are easily left marked) along with a large 3-D G.Skill logo sticker on the front side of it. Subtle, but still gives it a fantastic look.



The sticks are pretty heavy and fractionally shorter (height-wise) compared to other sticks. The heat spreader is attached to the ICs by thermal pads and two clips to secure the heatspreaders. Thermal Pads are not the best way to transfer heat but it’s not bad either. Thermal pads, you guessed it, are pads that transfer heat, and are usually adhesive. It’s not a good idea to try and take them apart as that may utterly destroy the chips.


The memory is pretty, but is its performance just as good as its looks? Installation
These two sticks can be used in dual channel. So be sure to consult your motherboard’s manual for the correct slots to use dual channel. If your setup is single channel you may still have to consult your manual. My motherboard, an ASUS P4C800-E, requires the memory to be inserted in the black slots. Installation is simple. Simply push the stick in and the clips will snap closed.





Before we dive into testing these babies out, we have to take a look into what they're designed for!

Specifications

Specification
Capacity 2GB (1GB x 2)
Speed 500MHz DDR (PC4000)
CAS Latency CL 3-4-4-8
Test Voltage 2.6~2.8 Volts
PCB 6 Layers PCB
Registered/Unbuffered Unbuffered
Error Checking Non-ECC
Type 184-pin DIMM
Warranty Lifetime

These sticks utilize Samsung UCCC ICs, which have been known to hit the incredible speeds of DDR550+! These are mounted on the Brainpower PCB, which is also one of the choice PCBs of overclockers around the world.

You might be wondering what DDR500 is. Well, think of DDR500 as a rating, similar to DDR400. A CPU, such as an Athlon 64 or Pentium 4, typically requires DDR400. It all depends on your setup basically and I’ll just use DDR400 as an example. What about DDR500? Will it run at that if my CPU only requires DDR400? The answer is no, the RAM will run at DDR400. In order to use DDR500 you will need to overclock. Overclocking your CPU will also overclock your memory since your memory speed also determines your processor speed. Here is a good article to overclocking. Overclocking basics

Testing
Here is a screenshot of two entire gigabytes of RAM! This is enough RAM to tackle almost anything out today! Many memory hogs like Battlefield 2 and video encoding ran without a hiccup. The days of waiting on the hard drive’s page file are no more.

Let’s get on to the real testing now!

I will be using OCZ 2x512mb Enhanced Latency DDR400 as a comparative reference since it is the only high end DDR memory available to me as of now. This will probably give the G.Skill an advantage performance wise. Since both sticks are designed for overclocking, I will be benchmarking every 20 MHz with the tightest possible latencies until I cannot go any further. The programs I will be using to compare are Sandra 07, Cachemem, and PCmark 05.

Sandra 07 is a comprehensive testing suite. It has a numerous number of tests available but for today I will only be using the memory benchmark to measure bandwidth.
Cachemem is a simple program designed to give a more in depth test of memory bandwidth.
PCMark05 is a popular program by Futuremark, who also makes the 3dmark series, designed to test overall computer speed.

Remember, the formula for overclocking is processor multiplier times RAM speed. Also remember that DDR is double data rate, which means you will have to divide the ram speed by two to get the actual speed. I will be using a multiplier of 14 in these tests to give the memory more headroom.

Test Setup

  • Intel Pentium 4 3.4E
  • Asus P4C800-E Deluxe
  • ATI X800XT PE w/ Artic Silencer 4
  • Ultra X-Connect 500w PSU
  • Western Digital 80 GB 8 mb IDE
  • Windows XP Pro SP2

At stock speeds (DDR 400), I was only able to get the HZ timings down to 2.5-3-3-6. This isn’t bad but I was hoping to get a CAS latency of two. It comes as no surprise that the OCZ, which is clocked lower, to beat the G.Skill in all tests except in PCmark 05, which seems to take a liking into the extra gigabyte of memory.

With a twenty-megahertz overclock, the G.Skill shows no signs of giving up. I was able to reach DDR440 with ease without changing any settings at all. The OCZ begins to show signs of weakness, as I had to give it more juice and loosen up the memory timings. I was quite impressed by the G.Skill’s hardiness.

At DDR480 the OCZ refuses to POST no matter what I do. The G.Skill begins to show its limits as it reaches DDR500. I had to loosen up timings and up the voltage by a bit but nevertheless, it has done quite well for a cheap two gigabyte set.

I was very surprised that the G.Skill has actually passed its rating onto DDR520! It allowed for over six gigabits of bandwidth with only 2.7v and totally stable!

The memory actually has more room left for speed and if it weren’t for my CPU, which was holding me back, and it could have probably hit DDR550! Very impressive speeds indeed. A shot of overclocked speeds.

Conclusion
This memory literally blew me away; it hit DDR520 and still had room left for more speed! It’s amazing that my CPU hit a wall before this two-gig set did. All this was done on 2.7v, which makes it a viable option on pretty much all motherboards, unlike other memory which requires a huge amount of voltage that many motherboards cannot supply. Not to mention the fact that it’s a two-gig that can run everything you want today and for years to come. Very impressive, possibly some of the best memory I have used to date.

It was not all happy feelings though. At stock speeds of DDR400, I was only able to tighten the latency down to a mediocre 2.5-3-3-7. This isn’t bad, but it isn’t good either. There are sticks that can hit lower latencies at stock speeds for cheaper or about the same price. I wouldn’t advise you to buy these if you do not plan on overclocking at all.

Pros

  • Overclocking
  • Low voltage
  • Cheap
  • Professional look

Cons

  • Mediocre latencies at stock speeds