G.Skill Trident X DDR3-2400 Memory Review

Author: Chris Ledenican
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Sunday, May 20th, 2012
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/Gskill_Trident_X/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

Over the last year G.Skill has being pushing their memory to new heights, and today we are able to examine a kit of memory from their enthusiast-grade Trident-X series. Memory from this series is new to the market, and was timed to coincide with the launch of Intel's Ivy Bridge processors. The reasoning behind the joint launch is because the Trident-X series is designed for both the 3rd Generation Intel Core processors and the Z77 platform, which supports Intel’s latest XMP 1.3 technology.

In this review we are going to be looking at an 8GB kit of Trident-X memory that is clocked at 2400MHz and has timings of 10-12-12-31-2T. With these frequencies and timings, this kit of course requires the maximum voltage level within the Intel specifications at 1.65V, which is actually not bad considering the specifications. Additionally, the Trident-X series memory has a larger heatspreader design with a removable top fin.

Since the Trident X series has such as high frequency combined with tight timings and a high performance heatspreader, they do come at a premium. In today’s market the traditional 8GB of DDR3 1600 memory kit can be found below $49. The Trident-X 2400 kit on the other hand has an MSRP of $99, making them double the price of a standard 8GB kit. The question is, are they worth it?

Specifications: G.Skill Trident-X DDR3-2400 Dual-Channel Memory Kit
Series Trident-X
System
DesktopEEDSEED
Sytem Type
DDR3
M/B Chipset
Intel Z77
CAS Latency
10-12-12-31-2N
Capacity
8GB (4GB x2)
Speed
DDR3-2400 (PC3 19200)EDSPEED
Test Voltage
1.65 Volts
Height
54mm/2.13 inch
Unbuffed Non-ECC
Type
240-pin DIMM
Warranty
Lifetime
Features
Intel XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) Certified

The G.Skill Trident-X memory modules come packaged in a standard clear plastic enclosure that has two custom formed opening to secure the modules. The memory can be seen through the plastic from the front. The front of the packaging also has the red and black Trident-X coloring, with the product named labelled up top.

The dual-channel memory kit has an 8GB capacity rating and uses a sleek red heatspreader with a finned design at the top. As part of the high-end Trident-X series, the frequency has been greatly increased over traditional 1600MHz memory modules; this kit comes clocked in at DDR3-2400 (PC3 19200). At this speed, the memory can run timings of 10-12-12-31-2N at 1.65V. The Trident-X series also supports Intel's latest XMP 1.3 (Extreme Memory Profile) technology, which is available on Z77 based motherboards..

The Trident-X memory modules have a sleek design with a finned heatsink on the top. The larger heatspreader not only looks nice, but it will also ensure the ICs stay nice and cool. However, with the fin attached to the heatspreader, each stick of memory needs just over  2.13" of clearance to fit under a processor heatsink. To ensure this isn't an issue, G.Skill has made the fin stack at the top modular. This allows the user to remove the fins if there isn't enough clearance, which will allow the Trident-X kits to fit into most any system configuration.

There are two screws on each end of the memory that can be removed. Once those screws are out, the fins can slide off across the top until they have been completely separated from the heatspreader.

8GB G.Skill Trident DDR3-2500MHz (10-12-12-31)

To test the G.Sklll memory kits, I will be using an Intel Z77 based motherboard paired with Intel's Core i7 3770K CPU. The same platform will be used for upcoming products as well. Turbo Boost will be disabled during testing in order to ensure consistent benchmark results and reliable comparisons between the memory kits.

Test Setup:

Benchmarks used

Overclocked Settings:

Since the G.Skill memory modules have a default voltage rating of 1.65v and are already clocked at DDR3 2400, we didn't know what to expect from out of them. Since tweaking the bclock is still only a small part of overclocking Intel Ivy Bridge processors and most boards have the option to run extremely high memory multiplier, we jumped straight to adjusting the memory multiplier first. However, this didn't yield the results we hoped as even after we increased the voltage out of Intel's specification, the system would not boot at 2600MHz.

This course meant all the overclocking had to be done via the bclock after all. After some tweaking we were able to get the memory to run stable at 2486MHz, with timings of 11-13-13-35 at 2N. However in order to remain 100% stable we did have to increase the voltage from 1.65V to 1.75V. So, even while this kit does have some overclocking potential, we found they were best suited to be run at the default speed of 2400MHz. That said, they do have enough headroom to allow overclockers to fine tune their processors clock speeds via the bclock.

Sandra, by SiSoftware, is a tool capable of benchmarking about every component found inside a computer. The memory bandwidth benchmark will be ran as well as the memory latency test.

In our synthetic testing, the G.Skill Trident-X kit feel in the middle of the pack for the bandwidth tests, but shooted straight to the top when it came to latency. Just looking at the memory bandwidth alone, we can see that the difference between 1600MHz and 1866MHz offers a noticeable performance increase. Similarly the memory latency performance was also better than the other 1600MHz kits, but when it came to the cache bandwidth, the scores were more or less equal with the other tested memory kits.

PCMark resembles a lot to the 3DMark suite from FutureMark, except the fact that it includes many other tests like hard drive speed, memory and processor power, so it is considered as a system benchmark and not just a gaming benchmark.

Settings: PCMark Suite at default settings.

Between the two PCMark tests, the G.Skill memory scaled best during the Memory Suite. The difference between the 1600MHz and 1866MHz kits however was not as dramatic when benchmarking outside real-world applications that don't target the memory specifically.

HandBrake is an open-source application used to transcode media files to other formats. It is multi-threaded so it exploits the power of modern quad-cores really well.

HandBrake as a whole is more dependent on the CPU than the memory, so our results were not entirely surprising. Essentially any difference related to the memory is going to be marginal, and the reason we shaved a few seconds off the transcoding time at 2486MHz was due to the processor being overclocked as well.

Using WinRAR, I will compress our custom 100MB, 500MB and 1000MB files using the best compression setting in the ZIP format and time how long it takes to do so.

The Trident-X memory tied with the fastest kits in our testbed when it came to transferring files using WinRAR, but as the graphs clearly show, overclocking only marginally improved the transfer time. As was the case in the previous benchmark, the improved time was more due to the processor speed than the memory.

Far Cry 2 is yet another first person shooter, but this one has been developed by Ubisoft. The story takes place in Africa, where the ultimate goal is to get rid of an arms dealer.

DiRT 3 is the third installment in the DiRT series and like it's predecessor incorporates DX11 features such as tessellation, accelerated high definition ambient occlusion and Full Floating point high dynamic range lighting. This makes it a perfect game to test the latest DX11 hardware.

In both of the games we tested, the memory frequency had little impact on the average and maximum frame rates, but higher memory speeds did appear to boost the minimum frame rate.

G.Skill has always been dedicated to creating exceptional memory for enthusiasts, and the Trident-X series is no exception. This is due to all the kits in the series being designed to take advantage of the improved memory controller in the Ivy Bridge processors, allowing them to run at incredibly high speeds. The kit we examined is set at 2400MHz, but the Trident-X series currently offers memory clocked as high as 2800MHz. Of course at these speeds, the Trident-X series commands a higher premium over competing kits but considering the performance, we believe the pricing is well justified. What's more, the price is actually quite low for a 8GB kit rated at 2400MHz.

The G.Skill Trident-X memory modules also have a sleek modular heatspreader. This design allows the upper portion of the heatsink to be removed from the base, which will come in very handy for users with larger CPU heatsinks. The heatspreader also uses high-quality materials and is thicker than your standard memory heatspreader. The size of this thermal solution helps ensure the ICs are optimally cooled, regardless of whether or not the top fins remain attached.

The only issue we had with the memory is compatibility. During our testing, this kit of memory only worked at 2400MHz in one out of four boards we tried. They didn’t work with ECS, ASRock, or Intel based boards, and we had all but given up on testing them until one the companies released a BIOS file compatible with the memory. Luckily for us though a Gigabyte board showed up in our labs just a few days ago that had no issues running the memory at their default setting. So, if you are going to buy this memory, it is HIGHLY recommended you read through the manufacturer's list of supported motherboards, because multiple manufacturers that have yet to update their BIOS to support the memory at time of writing.

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