G.Skill ARES 1600 MHz & 2133 MHz 8GB DDR3 Memory Kit Review

Posted May 25, 2012
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Reviewing memory is just not it used to be. What was once a fine art of tuning and tinkering has now been reduced to running a few benchmarks quoting a few numbers and calling it a day. Yes it is possible to over-clock memory and yes it is still possible to tinker with timings, but it is not as rewarding as this exercise once was. Since Intel decoupled processor and memory clocks, making it possible to run the processor at multi gigahertz above base clock, the memory could happily chug along it’s default speed without causing any (okay, teeny weeny bit) performance hit. In fact for a very long time (until the 2nd generation core processors) Intel only officially supported 1333MHz speed for its processor’s memory controllers.

The recent demise of Elpida seemingly has had no effect on memory prices.  What was thought to be a spark that would lift memory prices out of doldrums has not even had a whimper of an effect (so far). Maybe I have spoken too soon, but it appears that that no one really cares about memory any more.

But that has not deterred memory manufacturers to (still) market products with exotic names and higher speeds. Perhaps the demon within us that demands absolute best in every component is what keeps these companies going.

G.Skill recently launched a new memory line called “ARES”, named (I assume) after the Greek god of war. Perhaps this is G.Skill fighting back the ghosts of Elpidas’ demise! This product line has a diminutive heat spreader so as to distinguish it from the up-market, up-sized RipJaws Series.

About Ares

The following information is taken from G.Skill’s website:

Stylish Low Profile Heat Spreader

Featured with low profile heat spreader design (3.2cm in height), G.Skill Ares series DDR3 memory modules are the perfect choices for building high performance PCs with large CPU coolers, small form factor desktop computers or any other systems with more restricted space.

The Best Compatibility and Reliability 

Every Ares memory kit is hand-tested with G.Skill rigorous internal validation process to ensure the maximum stability and compatibility with both Intel and AMD platforms.

XMP Ready

Compliant with the latest Intel XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) function, G.Skill Ares series DDR3 memory provides PC enthusiasts and extreme gamers a trouble free overclocking experience on Intel platforms, while enjoying the enhanced memory bandwidth.

Memory Facts

CLASS

Ares

SEGMENT

Enthusiast

TYPE

DDR3

SPEED

DDR3-1600

DDR3-2133

VOLTAGE

1.50

1.65

Timings

9-12-10-29-2T

9-9-9-25-2T

CAS Latency

9

9

Heat Sink

Yes, low profile

Yes, low profile

Tested Config.

2×4 GB

 

Model

F3-2133C9D-8GAB

F3-1600C8D-8GAB

Packaging

The modules come in a clear plastic shell which doubles as a product display package as well. The two Ares modules lie side by side over a black information card. The back of the card says that these modules are designed, especially, to work with the new Z77 and X79 platforms and the new LGA 2011 and LGA 1155 processors.

Memory Modules

The memory modules themselves come in a low profile blue heat sink which is typical of all Ares modules. Ares was designed ground up to work in system with space constraints (either due to over-sized CPU cooler or otherwise). The central area of the heat sink bear what can be described as ‘mini-jaws’ reminiscent of the Ripjaws series. The heat sink is only a little taller as compared to the memory module

 

The front of the heatsink has the Ares & G.Skill logos, while the back has the all-important memory information.

CPU-Z

Ares DDR3-1600

Ares DDR3-2133

Our motherboard (AsRock Z77 Extreme6) defaulted to 1T command rate while setting a CL of 11. This had to be manually adjusted to 9, with the other memory timings.

As before the board booted with 1T command rate but with CL of 9 and most memory timings reflecting the XMP profile.

Testing

As these modules are specifically designed for use with 2nd generation core processors, the usual over-clocking tests are redundant. 

Test Setup

Setup Intel Core i7-3770K (Stock) + AsRock Z77 Extreme6
Memory G.Skill Ares: F3-2133C9D-8GAB (DDR3-2133) 2×4 GBF3-1600C8D-8GAB (DDR3-1600) 2x 4GB
Video ATi 6950 -2GB
Storage Seagate Barracuda 1TB
Test Suite Sandra 2011
  Mafia II

Sandra 2011 – Memory Aggregates

Running faster, the 2133 MHz modules generate more theoretical bandwidth.

 Mafia II

Mafia II is the long awaited sequel to one of the greatest third person shooter –Mafia.  It was selected because of all the games tested this was the one that showed the most “difference” in performance as memory timing were changed.  The built-in benchmark tool as used. Just to make sure that the lack of user generated content does not make a difference, the first level was played while benchmarking with FRAPS. (The difference between the two was not statistically significant).

The game was run at 1900 x1200, with all in game settings turned to their maximum. As the testing was done on an ATi video card equipped system, dedicated Phys-X and APEX effects were disabled.

The game does not prefer higher speed memory, as both produce similar performance.

Conclusion

Ares perform much like their RipJaws counter parts; the difference is more in physical appearance than performance. If you are working in a tight space and must have high quality, low profile memory you can do no better than either of these modules, while you can certainly do much worse!

Which memory module is for you? Either of the modules will not bottleneck processor performance thus both will be happy in a system. However if you over-clock and have the habit (or obsession) of running processor and memory as fast as possible go ahead and select the higher speed modules.

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