For a long while Memory was one of those things that you needed a certain amount, but once you passed 4GB there really wasn't a lot to be gained apart from a huge hole in your wallet.
Now as the latest smartphones can provide nearly everybody with HD video capabilities and we're all multi-tasking with a media-player running, a few tabs up in our browser, maybe a casual game, virus killer, the ever increasing amount of drivers running, the need for larger and larger capacity memory has become almost vital.
If you want to convert your smartphone video into a Youtube friendly format you'll definitely need as much as possible, and with this in mind we're taking a look at a whopping 16GB kit from G.Skill. The switch from 2GB density sticks to 4GB has meant that such a mammoth number is now a realistic proposition.
Coming in at about £130 it's surprisingly good value too. I remember paying £70 for a 512KB expansion. Tempora mutantur.
There are a few versions of the RipjawsX 16GB kit around at different speeds. With the 4GB density still being fairly new to the market you have to make a decision between blazing speed at slack timings, or slower MHz but with better timings. Today we're looking at the 1600MHz CAS9 version which is good value and so worthy of attention.
|M/B Chipset|| |
16GB (4GB x4)
|Speed||DDR3-1600 (PC3 12800)|
|Test Voltage||1.5 Volts|
|Height||40 mm / 1.58 inch|
As always it's time to take a gander at the sticks themselves.
The Ripjaws X comes in the standard plastic packaging that most memory arrives in. Two sticks on the front and two on the back.
The heatspreader is the same as we saw previously on a 2133MHz version. The deep metallic red is truly gorgeous, but what takes the breath away even more is the amount we have to play with.
It's tough to properly photograph the lustrous nature of the colour. It's a very high quality finish and the Ripjaws X sticker blends in nicely.
It's surprising to think that a single stick is capable of giving us 4GB of memory capacity. It's also worth noting that although there is a small raised portion in the Ripjaws X heatspreader, it still fits under even the largest CPU coolers. Always a plus point.
The G.Skill Ripjaws X 16GB kit is designed for the LGA1155 format and has a very reasonable 1.5v operating voltage.
G.Skill Ripjaws X 16GB @ 1600MHz 9-9-9-24
Intel Core i5-2500K
Be Quiet Dark Power Pro 1000W
Thermalright Silver Arrow
Windows 7 x64
It's a pleasure to go to the Windows information screen and see such a copious amount of memory awaiting us. Anyone who uses RAW format digital camera media will know how large those can get, and now they can all be handled in your workflow without needing to dip into your pagefile.
Although running at 1.5v allows us a little voltage headroom for overclocking, the timings are fairly tight already and the SandyBridge weakness is the huge steps between each memory speed. Even running at 1.65v we couldn't get the timings down to CAS8, nor the memory speed up to 1866MHz.
However the Ripjaws X could go from the XMP of 2N down to 1 without needing either a voltage tweak nor slackening other timings. So this is the setup we'll use for our tests.
Proving that pure MHz is not always the key to good DDR3 speeds, the CAS9 timings of the Ripjaws X give a good showing in AIDA64. Of course it's not as fast at the best 2133MHz kits we've seen such as the Kingston Genesis or even the speediest Ripjaws X kit, but there also is enough speed here to show that you're not compromising by having such a large capacity available.
Latency speeds are understandably average. The 16GB Ripjaws X is a whole 6 billionths of a second slower than the very best we've tested.
The memory bandwidth test in SiSofts Sandra gives similar results to AIDA (about 20GB/s) but has a clear preference for higher MHz than tight timings.
Cache and Memory Bandwidth
Despite this apparent lack of bandwidth seen above, when taken as a whole across the system the Ripjaws X actually comes out on top. This might be due to all four Dual-Channel slots being filled on our motherboard. How it works 'behind the scenes' isn't clear.
High resolution rendering, such as used by CineBench, is obviously one of the primary uses that benefits from as much memory as possible. The 16GB available and the CAS9 timings allow the G.Skill to edge just ahead of the Kingston Genesis.
wPrime is all about doing huge quantities of calculations as speedily as possible. Although not at the leading edge of the results we have available, the G.Skill Ripjaws X isn't disgraced despite its average 1600MHz speed.
PC Mark Vantage
Finally PC Mark Vantage. The 'Memory Suite' of PC Mark Vantage is a bit of a misnomer as it actually uses the whole system to derive its results. In pure speed terms the G.Skill is a bit of a victim of its 1600MHz speed, despite the CAS9 timings.
So how does this all come together? Time to leap to the conclusion.
If you take the Ripjaws X 16GB kit purely as a speed monster then it's easy to come away a little disappointed. Despite the pretty reasonable timings available, and the 1.5v operating voltage, it's very middling when it comes to actual performance.
Certainly if all you're interested in is gaming then there isn't much here to hold your attention.
But looking solely at the performance is missing the point. Yes the performance is only average, but it's the amount of memory you've got available to you, at a good price, that is the real selling point of the 16GB variant of the Ripjaws X.
If you own a fairly modern digital camera that pops pictures out around the 8MB to 20MB it makes a huge difference if you can process them all in one go. Even having four or five open in Photoshop will quickly suck huge quantities of your available memory and so with 16GB available you can sort through your latest artistic outpourings and flick between them easily to decide the ones you want to keep.
What it really boils down to is that you're getting exactly what you expect.
By and large most of us have a love of computer components and the technical nerdiness behind it all. It's why we here at OC3D are so passionate about bringing you the best content we can without talking down to you all, because we understand that you must share our passion to be here. So when we say "this is a 1600MHz 16GB RAM Kit retailing for around £120" you know exactly what you're going to get. It's not blisteringly fast but what you trade off in speed you gain in capacity. Which is really all there is to say about the G.Skill Ripjaws X 16GB kit. You get an awful lot of memory at average speeds for an average amount of money.
If all you want from your memory is that it's at the leading edge of speeds, and you don't really do much image editing or video encoding, you're better looking elsewhere. If you're in the market for an awful lot of memory but haven't got a huge amount of money to spend, this would be exactly the kit you need to buy.
It, to quote a famous woodstain, does exactly what is says on the tin. No surprises whatsoever. It's not eye-openingly bad, nor is it a secret overclocking monster akin to a E6800. It's a hell of a lot of RAM, for not a lot of money and therefore deserving of our Silver Award.
Thanks to G.Skill for providing the Ripjaws X for review. Discuss in our forums.