G.Skill Pi Series 17600 4GB Kit
Often getting to a conclusion about something is a balancing act between the four Ps. Price, Performance, and then to a lesser extent Potential and Packaging. Having insane performance is pointless if it costs more than your house. If it is good value but has limited overclock ability it will find a limited audience, and so on.
The G.Skill Pi 17600 4GB Kit is fabulous in that it has undeniable performance. At times the results we obtained just from having faster RAM was quite staggering. Admittedly some of the more comprehensive results were as a result of comparing to much slower RAM, but given the official speed limit for the 1156 platform is much more around the Trident speeds than the Pi it's definitely a big tick in the G.Skill Pi performance box. The single most impressive results we saw were in the gaming tests where the overclocked Pi and standard i7 870 produced a similar performance gain to a 1GHz CPU overclock with the 1333 RAM. Outstanding.
Special mention must be made of the Turbulence cooler than was almost inaudible in operation, rendering any noise concerns we had moot, and also provided good cooling performance. The best dedicated RAM cooler we've tested.
The packaging is very sturdy and aimed squarely towards the performance audience. Items such as memory definitely are all about the product rather than glitzy packaging because even people who would class themselves as average tend to not understand the importance of memory and it's only ahead of CPUs and Motherboards as the item least likely to be changed in a PC.
Potential is a tough one to gauge. 2200MHz is definitely at the extreme edge of RAM performance and so we wouldn't expect much extra performance. As it was we obtained over 100MHz overclock, in excess of pretty much every other site and more than we thought we'd achieve. This is doubly impressive given how new the BIOS for the motherboard is, and our limited time available to find the peak overclock. So it has some potential, but it's not something you'll buy because it's a mental overclocker, but rather because it's already insanely fast.
By now you must be expecting this to be the part where I explain how it's mind-blowingly pricey and only for the wealthy. Well you're wrong. The G.Skill Pi 17600 4GB Kit retails for around an outstanding £150. Much cheaper than many 2000MHz kits and not much more than some quite slow ones. For this you're getting an exceptionally good 4GB RAM kit with an amazing cooler and phenomenal performance.
There really isn't a down side. Often if you want the best you pay through the nose for it, or have to buy something that's good value and spend ages getting good performance out of it.
This is extreme speed for the plug and play generation.