For today's testing we will be using the Gigabyte EX-58 UD5, a mid-range Core i7 motherboard from Gigabyte that will allow us to push the memory on test to its absolute limit. Here's a breakdown of the rest of the components:
Intel Core i7 920 'Nehalem' @ 2.66Ghz
GSkill Trident CL9 2000MHz 9-9-9-24 3x2GB kit (CPU @2711MHz)
OCZ Blade Series CL7 2000MHz 7-8-7-20 3x2GB kit (CPU @ 2711Mhz)
Corsair Dominator GT CL7 1866MHz 7-8-7-20 3x2GB kit
Crucial Ballistix Tracer CL8 1600MHZ 8-8-8-24 3x2GB kit
Mushkin XP CL7 1600MHz 7-8-7-20 3x2GB kit
Patriot Viper CL8 1600MHz 8-8-8-24 3x2GB kit
Corsair Dominator CL8 1600MHz 8-8-8-24 3x2GB kit
Gigabyte Odin 1200w
Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit SP1 + Updates
For testing the memory we used a number of synthetic benchmarks and games:
- Lavalys Everest 4.10
- SuperPI mod_1.5
- Sisoft Sandra 2009
For the run of benchmarks, we will be comparing the G.Skill Trident kit to all the other memory kits we have tested to date for the X58 i7 platform. Consideration needs to be given to the fact that the CPU was mildly overclocked to 2717MHz (see below), 51MHz above stock speed to attain the 2000MHz stock speed when viewing the results overleaf.
Starting from scratch we disabled on the settings that may affect the overclocked settings such as Intel Speed Step as well as disabling the C-State settings which may also affect some of the results in the benchmark testing phase of the review. Here's how the sticks look at stock speed:
Overclocking DDR3 that is already running at an Ultra high speed was never going to be easy as most manufacturers will have already determined what the fastest attainable bandwidth and latency is. Therefore I didn't hold out much hope of the G.Skill kit clocking much higher than the levels already set.
As you can see from the shot above, all I could manage was a miserly 26MHz over stock. While I didn't fully determine stability it passed SuperPI and 3DMark06 at this speed. However when the bandwidth was pushed any higher sporadic BSOD began to appear. Lowering the latency had an even worse effect with anything lower than CAS 9 resulting in the Gigabyte motherboard failing to POST, even lowering the bandwidth down to 1866MHz and raising the Vdimm to 1.7v had no effect and the setup still refused to come to life. While I am disappointed with the overclocking experience of the GSkill Trident kit, one has to remember that when a kit is preset to it's absolute limit, anything extra is a bonus. Sadly this is one area where I would not expect the GSkill to thrill the end user.
Returning the settings back to the advertised 2000MHz with a latency of CAS9-9-9-24 @ 1.65v I began to run our suite of memory benchmarks.
Let's see how I got on...