G.Skill Pi Series 17600 4GB Kit
Cooling fans for RAM are nothing new. We've seen offerings from a few companies over the years but all of them have suffered from the same problem. To keep the cooler compact enough to not intrude upon other hardware in the already tight space around the DIMM slots, the fan size has to be kept very small. Anyone who can recall the days of 40mm fans being the standard knows how loud they can be, and with even the rabid enthusiasts requiring a little quiet from their rig I had the ear-plugs ready.
Thankfully however G.Skills designers have really pulled out all the stops. Firstly this is a totally tool-less installation system. No more fiddly brackets and grub screws. Secondly by understanding that the cooling performance is everything and so reducing the extraneous parts to a bare minimum they have managed to install a larger fan, which should hopefully ensure that the noise is kept to a minimum.
The fan itself is 55mm in diameter and has rated specifications of 7.75cfm @ 21.2db. Considering that it spins at 3200RPM and we all know that fans are always over-rated in cfm and under-rated in db, it remains to be seen if this stands up under testing.
The retention mechanism itself is outstandingly simple. In fact I'd go so far as to say it's flawless. You pull the "arms" of the cooler out slightly, place it over the DIMM latches and let go. Couldn't be simpler. It's as easy to remove as it is to install too, and a far cry from all the other methods we've come across.
If there is only slight caveat it's that space is extraordinarily tight on the bottom side of the cooler. You will definitely need to remove your graphics card to install it, and once replaced it's a squeeze indeed.
Finally we all like a little bright and shiny and the LED equipped fan glows a lovely blue, nicely matching the sticks themselves. It's a bit of a contrast to the otherwise subdued nature of the G.Skill Pi, but still a nice touch. Also it's not as bright as this photograph makes it appear, so don't worry that your entire case will glow a soft blue.
Enough of the pre-amble, does the performance live up to the excellent design?