High speed memory is not what it once used to be. In the ‘Golden’ era of memory an enthusiast would gun for the highest speed memory that one could find. This was necessary not only for bragging rights but also for the best over-clocking possible. When Intel introduced its Sandy bridge processors it changed the game. Locking base clock and only allowing multiplier manipulation based over-clocking meant that a computer could be running its memory at a leisurely 1333 MHz while processor was at 5 GHz.
This trend continues with the latest Intel platform, the X79. Though Intel has brought back a form of base-clock based over-clocking (in the form of fixed multipliers), memory clock is still delinked from over-clocking.
That has not stopped memory vendors to produce memory that runs faster than what most systems would find use for (unless you are the sort that gloats on synthetic benchmarks). Today we have with us G.Skill’s X79 specific offering the RipJaws-Z running at 2133MHz.
The following information is taken from G.Skill’s website:
Established in 1989 by enthusiasts, G.Skill is a leading memory & Solid State Drive manufacturer based in Taipei, Taiwan. The company's top priority is Quality. All of our products undergo a series of the most rigorous tests and strict quality control processes. In addition to a committed, qualified IC testing house to examine our products, all G.Skill products are 100% tested to ensure the highest yield, reliability and quality.
|Heat Sink||Yes with Jaw fins! (40mm height)|
|Model||F3-17000CL11Q-16GBZL (Intel XMP 1.3)|
The modules come in a clear plastic shell which doubles as a product display package as well. The four Ripjaws modules, grouped in two 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 Sandybridge-E processors (Intel X79 platform). The memory modules also come with a badge to stick on the computer case.
The memory modules themselves come in standard red G.Skill heat-sink. The front of the modules has the RipJaws-Z label while the back has the product information sticker.
The heat sink is made of Aluminum. The top of the heatsink has jaw like fins. These are more of a decorative nature, but do serve as heat dissipaters as well. Though they are not as tall as some heat sink fin implementations, they just might come in the way of exotic after market cooling.
As these modules are specifically designed for use with Sandybridge-E processors, the usual over-clocking tests are redundant as the memory speed has no impact on over-clocking of the processor. As this the first X79 specific memory we have for testing, it won’t be fair to compare the results to non-X79 platforms. The reason is simple enough: The quad channel memory controller on the new processors will outperform anything on the market today.
|Setup||Intel 3960X + Intel DX79SI Motherboard|
|Video||ATi 6950 -2GB|
|Storage||Seagate Barracuda 1TB|
|Test Suite||Sandra 2011|
1. Sandra –Memory Bandwidth
Wow! The bandwidth available to the new 3 series processors is astronomical. For reference a P67 platform paired to a Intel 2500K with a dual channel controller conjures up a number of about 20 GB/Sec bandwidth (for 1600MHz memory). Thus the quad channel controller doubles the performance of its dual channel counterpart.
2. 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.
To see if the higher speed memory would have any impact on real world (gaming) performance we tested the memory at a slower 1600MHz as well. As you can see there is no difference between the two modules.
The quad channel memory controller produces tons of memory bandwidth, more so that can be utilized in real world testing. However the point of today’s exercise was to see if the G.Skill memory was a good pair for the X79 platform and we can definitely say yes. It works as per spec and on our reference platform (with the latest BIOS) we had no problems running the memory at its intended speed.