G.Skill Trident Extreme Performance F3-16000CL9 DDR3 P55 Kit Page: 1
Introduction
 
We recently reviewed a triple channel kit from GSkill which scored very high thanks to it's great value for money/extreme performance. So then it should come as no surprise that GSkill have now released a very similar kit for Intels latest chipset, the P55. Because we were so impressed by the last kit, GSkill appear to have done little to change the kit rather they have simply taken one module away from the 6GB kit to make a 4GB kit. Why change what isn't broken they say, let's hope the kit performs as well as it did on the X58 chipset.
 
The memory kit has the same specifications as the previous triple channel memory kit in that it is clocked to 2000MHz and has latencies of CAS9-9-9-27. A lot of folk were worried that the P55 chipset would not be able to achieve these kind of speeds but rest assured, I can confirm that these modules and indeed the chipset are fully capable of this blisteringly fast speed. How much further the kit can be pushed remains to be seen and this is something I will be eagerly attempting to do later in the review.
 
Here's what GSkill had to say about their latest memory kit for the P55:
 
We are here to provide superior memory products, with satisfactory services in order to keep pace with our customers' growing needs, and help them by adding value to their purchases. We pledge we will continue to do so and enable both sides to obtain significant competitive advantages in the market segments.
Investing in human resources is just one of the reasons why G. SKILL is able to provide such high levels of efficient and cost effective services.
G. SKILL is managed as a family, providing a dynamic, challenging and harmonious working environment for all employees. With the open-minded management, each individual with potential talent can be fully developed.
With this clear goal of providing satisfactory services for customers, our R&D department is constantly developing the fastest and best performing products; our marketing and sales departments ensure all the information needed is available and presented in a clear and understandable format.
 
 Specifications
 
The following specification was taken directly from the G.Skill website. 
 
 Product name GSkill [TRIDENT] F3-16000CL9T-3GBTD
Main Board
Intel
System
Desktop
Type
DDR3
M/B Chipset
Intel P55
CAS Latency 9-9-9-27
Speed DDR3-2000 (PC3 16000)
Test Voltage
1.65v
Registered/Unbufferd
Unbuffered
Error Checking None - ECC
Type 240-pin DIMM
Warranty Lifetime
 
Perhaps the only difference apart from the obvious missing module is the slight slackening of the timing from 9-9-9-24 to 9-9-9-27. Apart from that the specification of the modules is identical to that of the larger kit.
 
Let's take a look at the modules themselves...


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Packaging & Appearance
 
The packaging is almost identical to the 6GB kit we reviewed previously but there are a few small differences. Thanks to the omission of one module, the packaging is smaller than that of the 6GB kit. There is also a small sticker toward the bottom of the front of the plastic blister style pack signifying that this kit is designed for the P55 chipset. Flipping the package over we see that other than the GSkill company contact information there is another sticker showing the DDR3 speed, size latency and recommended voltage.
 
packet front packet rear
 
The memory heatsinks are of the same design as before and as a wise man once said - don't fix what isn't broken. The heatsinks are almost double the height of the memory PCB which sadly has not been changed. It puzzles me why manufacturers go to all the trouble to make a very good looking heatsink then spoil it all by using 80's style green PCBs. Green matches little these days (unless of course you are a fan of DFI. Green certainly does not compliment the black and red splashed heatsink and this is an area I would like not only GSkill but other memory manufacturers to improve as soon as possible. Stick with black guys - black is the classic colour that will go with everything!
 
module front module rear
 
Aside from the PCB, the memory heatsink is not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional, keeping the memory ICs cool enough to ensure stable operation and protect them from damage. Personally I don't believe for one minute that having large heatsinks such as these add anything other than longevity. During testing I have run modules both with and without heatsinks and found that the heatsinks made didly squat difference when it came to overclocking. I can only assume that manufacturers are so intent on using these oversized heatsinks because more and more often, memory companies are adding lifetime warranties to their products, as is the case with GSkill.
 
module top module side
 
The thick finned heatsinks are an interesting design and it appears GSKill have made every effort to make the surface area as efficient at dissipating heat as possible. As the modules are double height, careful thought should be given to the fact that they may clash with oversized heatsinks. In testing there were no such issues with our test setup but it is something worth considering if you have a large heatsink.
 
module sticker module perspective
 
The rear of the module has a small stick not too dissimilar to the one on the rear of the product package, containing the main specifications of the modules, 2000MHz, CAS 9-9-9-24, 1.65v. That should be enough information to get the modules running at its top speed. P55 motherboards are limited to 1600MHz in stock form so you will need to overclock the memory controller to enable these sticks to run at there stock speed.
 
Let's take a look at our test setup I will be using today and see if I can push the memory overclocks past the stock setting of 2000MHz...


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Test Setup

To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configuration used in this review can be seen below:
 
i7 Rig

CPU: Intel i7-870 @ 4GHz
Motherboard: MSI P55-GD80
Memory: 2x2GB GSkill Trident @2000MHz 9-9-9-24
HD
: Hitachi Deskstar 7k160 7200rpm 160GB
GPU: Asus GTX275
PSU: Gigabyte ODIN 1200w

  
During the testing of the setups above, special care was taken to ensure that the BIOS settings used matched whenever possible. A fresh install of Windows Vista was also used before the benchmarking began, with a full defrag of the hard drive once all the drivers and software were installed, preventing any possible performance issues due to leftover drivers from the previous motherboard installations. For the 3DMark and gaming tests a single card configuration was used.
 
For testing the memory we used a number of synthetic benchmarks and games:
 
Synthetic Benchmarks
  • Lavalys Everest 4.10
  • SuperPI mod_1.5
  • Sisoft Sandra 2009
3D Benchmarks
  • 3DMark Vantage
  • Far Cry 2
 
 
Overclocking
 
To get the stock speed of 1000MHz you will either have to overclock your CPU to up the base clock frequency and thereby enable the memory multipliers to adjust the ram to it's stock speed of 2000MHz or if you are lucky enough and your motherboard supports it, take advantage of the XMP feature which acts pretty much like SPD but alters voltage and frequencies to the same effect as overclocking the ram manually. Our MSI test board the GD-80 did have the XMP feature available and here are the results of enabling it:
 
stock speed SPD
 
Our previous review of the GSkill Trident 6GB kit for the X58 chipset produced poor results in the overclocking department and as such I was not expecting to get much change from this identical kit.
 
max clock latencies
 
Surprisingly the kit overclocked very well, reaching 2150MHz with no voltage increase at all. This speed was however a little unstable so I upped the vDIMM a couple of notches to 1.68v which seemed to stabilise things enough to run our suite of memory benchmarks.
 
To find the tightest latencies at it's rated speed I kept the voltage to the recommended 1.65v and proceeded to lower them. Again, the kit produced a fantastic result of 7-8-7-24 against rated latencies of 9-9-9-24. Again this was rock solid during testing. No doubt the P55 chipset has a lot of influence on the memory being more amiable than the 6GB kit but the performance is still outstanding for a kit that overclocks to this speed and latency.
 
After returning the kit back to it's default speed, I ran our standard set of memory benchmarks at three different speeds, SPD(1600MHz), XMP(2000MHz) and overclocked(2150MHz)... 


G.Skill Trident Extreme Performance F3-16000CL9 DDR3 P55 Kit Page: 4


SiSoftware Sandra
(the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility capable of benchmarking the performance of individual components inside a PC. Each of the benchmarks below were run a total of five times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average being calculated from the remaining three.
 
 
 


Everest
 
Focusing mainly on software and hardware information reporting, Everest also comes with a benchmark utility suitable for testing the read, write and latency performance of the memory subsystem. Each of these benchmarks were performed a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average calculated from the remaining 3.
  
 
 
 
 
Super PI
 
SuperPI is the benchmark of choice for many overclockers. It's lightweight to download and can give a quick indication on how good a system is at number crunching. Once again, testing was performed a total of 5 times, with an average being calculated from the middle three results.
 
 
 
 
 
Results Observations
 
 As expected the overclocked score gives the best results. Special consideration should be given to the SuperPI results as the CPU clockspeed would have had a drastic effect on the results being that PI is primarily a CPU stress/benchmark. Never the less with the XMP value of 2000MHz, the scores were very good and you would do well to bear in mind that 2000MHz is actually the rated speed of this kit.
 
Let's move on to the 3D benchmarks...


G.Skill Trident Extreme Performance F3-16000CL9 DDR3 P55 Kit Page: 5
 
3DMark is a popular synthetic gaming benchmark used by many gamers and overclockers to gauge the performance of their PC's. All 3DMark runs were performed a total of 5 times, with the highest and lowest results being removed and an average calculated from the remaining 3 results.
 
 
 


Ubisoft has developed a new engine specifically for Far Cry 2, called Dunia, meaning "world", "earth" or "living" in Parsi. The engine takes advantage of multi-core processors as well as multiple processors and supports DirectX 9 as well as DirectX 10. Running the Far Cry 2 benchmark tool the test was run 5 times with the highest and lowest scores being omitted and the average calculated from the remaining 3.
 

 
Results conclusions
 
 Again, the CPU clockspeed should be taken into consideration when viewing the results which perhaps have a greater bearing on the results than the memory bandwidth, especially with the 4GHz (2000MHz) and 4.3 GHz (2150MHz) settings when compared to the stock 2.93GHz (1600Mhz).

Let's head over to the conclusion...


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Conclusion
 
When I received the 4GB kit to review I was a little dismayed to see that GSkill appeared to have simply removed one module from the 6GB kit, tweaked the packaging adjusted the price to reflect this change. I would definitely liked to have seen at least a different module sticker, perhaps in blue to distinguish this kit from the 6GB brethren. While the old adage of if it isn't broken why fix it still applies, there is no excuse for being lazy. I would also have liked to have seen a little more attention to details as Green PCBs are so yesteryear and need binning as soon as possible. Black is the new green guys. That said, I do like the aesthetics of the Trident kits which look both classy and cool at the same time; just a few tweaks from being perfect.
 
Where this kit does distinguish itself from the 6GB kit is with the overclocking. I was delighted to see that the GSKill Trident 4GB kit overclocked very easily and surpassed my expectations by a fair margin. Not only did it hit the dizzy heights of 2150MHz but also managed latencies of 7-8-7-24, not bad when you consider this was done with only a very slight bump in voltage. I expected multiple BSOD at these speeds but alas my worries were unfounded as the kit was rock solid stable which was very impressive.
 
 The good news does not stop there though. Priced very competitively at around the £87 mark, it is clear DDR3 prices are now beginning to become very affordable and with DDR2 prices rising day by day, the two formats will soon pass one another on the price index ladder making DDR3 the more attractive choice. When you consider that some comparative kits cost upward of double that of the GSkill Trident, it doesn't take a Astrophysicist to figure out where your money should go. Couple this with the fact this kit also overclocks like a dream, you would have to be a fool not to consider the GSkill Trident 4GB kit.
 
The Good
- Amazing overclocking
- Competitively priced
- Cool running
 
The Mediocre
- Same packaging as the 4GB kit
- Green PCB
 
The Bad
-Nothing
 
 
 
Thanks to GSkill for providing the 4GB DDR3 memory kit for todays review. Discuss in our forums.