DDR3 has long been an area where any improvements come slowly. The pattern is usually that we see an increase in the overall speed of the kit, then later on an advancement in capacity, before we finally have a setup that takes the best of both worlds and then we move on to the next round.
It was only very recently that the first memory modules to pass the 2133MHz barrier were introduced. Indeed we took a look at the 2400MHz, 8GB version of the G.Skill TridentX just a couple of months ago. So imagine our surprise when an extremely beefy package arrived at our offices containing a 2400MHz kit with a whopping 32GB capacity.
8GB density DIMMs at 2400MHz! This is definitely something we have to take a look at.
|Designed for||3rd Generation Intel Core Processors|
|Type||Dual Channel DDR3 Kit|
|Rated Speed||DDR3-2400MHz (PC3-19200)|
Boasting the same excellent TridentX heatspreader we've previously looked at, the G.Skill kit is both gorgeous and practical. The extra red fin portion is removable which allows it to fit under any heatsink you can think of, something which comes in handy with our beefy Silver Arrow covering the first slot.
The weight difference between the 8GB sticks and the 4GB ones is substantial. There is plenty of heft to the TridentX at this capacity.
Demonstrating that the G.Skill kit is at the very high end of current RAM possibilities, we had to upgrade the BIOS on our UD5H before it would even POST at the XMP speed and timings. Thankfully these days Memory is so compatible with almost anything that you no longer need to look at manufacturers compatibility tables before your purchase, but we'd definitely recommend you do so with such a demanding package as this.
32GB G.Skill Trident 2400 @ 9-11-11-28
Gigabyte Z77X UD5H - F14 BIOS
Intel Core i7-3770K @ 4GHz
Cougar CM1000 PSU
Corsair F80 SSD
Thermalright Silver Arrow
Windows 7 x64
One of the things we were hoping to test with today's review, to try and give you something different, was whether there was more overclocking potential available using just two of the sticks instead of the four. It's well documented that populating all of the slots on your motherboard can limit your overclocking, so is that true? Well sadly it doesn't appear to be the case, at least with such high density sticks as we have with the 32GB TridentX. We couldn't get it to boot on our UD5 at 2600MHz regardless of how much we slackened the timings or increased the voltages. After two hugely frustrating days we gave up attempting to increase the speed, and went for the "lower timings" option.
Thankfully this was more successful, and even with all of the slots populated we could still lower the timings from 10-12-12-31 to 9-11-11-28. As our preliminary testing showed that the 32GB TridentX gave the same scores as we saw from the smaller kit, we'll be running all of today's benchmarks at these lower 9-11-11-28 timings.
Dropping the timings certainly has a noticeable effect in AIDA. We thought the original TridentX was quick, and it was, but the combination of huge capacity and fast speeds will make anyone sit up and take note.
Despite having tested other CAS9 kits, the low-timing/fast-speed combination gives us our lowest latency yet.
Such is the similarity between the way that both AIDA64 and Sandra benchmark the memory, the 32GB TridentX at our lowered timings stands atop both the Memory Bandwidth, and the Cache and Memory Bandwidth graphs.
PC Mark Vantage
PC Mark Vantage indicates that these synthetics benchmarks are backed up by real-world performance. Even though the RipjawsX just shades (by 0.3 MB/s) the Video Transcoding results of the TridentX, the CPU Image test is the highest we've seen and the Video Transcode is only just in second place. Excellent results all round.
Finally wPrime95, which is so dependant upon CPU clockspeed as well as the available memory bandwidth, doesn't quite show the same improvements we've seen in our other tests. The 32GB kit just shades the 8GB version, but it's pretty much neck and neck in reality.
It's incredible how far memory technology has come in such a short amount of time.
We know that hardware moves quickly. It's what we do for a living, it's the thing we're passionate about. Even so there often comes a product which shifts the goalposts of expectation. Only a few months ago, as Spring was upon us, a 16GB kit running at 2133MHz was a sight to behold. Now, with the leaves barely starting to turn to Autumn we find ourselves testing a 2400MHz kit, impressive enough in itself, but with a whopping 32GB capacity.
It's that density that really leaves us stunned. 32GB. Thirty-two Gigabytes. Each of the sticks in the G.Skill TridentX package is the same capacity (8GB) as most of us have in our home systems.
The combination of the high capacity and high performance is what really makes us sit up and take notice though. Although we couldn't get the kit to run at above the 2400MHz speed, we could drop the timings down from CAS10 to CAS9, and the performance benefits were clear. In all of our tests the 32GB handily outperformed other memory sets that we have tested here at OC3D, the 8GB version of this exact kit included.
Of course there is a price to pay for this oh-so-desirable combination of performance and capacity. £300. Yes that is a whole hill of cash in anyone's book, but two things need to be understood before you recoil in horror. Firstly that prices each 8GB stick at £75, only a fiver more than the equivalently rated 8GB TridentX kit. Considering how much more expensive these density RAM chips are, it's almost a bargain. So it's not as expensive as it seems at all. Secondly, and we're very aware of this, only a few of you will ever need such a whopping amount of memory in their systems. Although with more and more of us owning cameras that can take enormous photographs or 1080P video, if you're the type of person who regularly works with and edits these then you'll be glad to know you have enough overhead to keep things running smoothly.
So it's huge in capacity, huge in performance, and actually priced more competitively than it would first appear, the 32GB TridentX is outstanding in every regard. We understand that it's not for everybody, but if you need a lot of system memory but don't want to give up those high speeds, this is one of the very few memory kits on the market that ticks all those boxes and for that reason we have to award it our OC3D Performance Award.
Thanks to G.Skill for supplying the 32GB 2400MHz TridentX for review. Discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.