Packaging & Appearance
The package is presented in blister style packaging but rather than have the edges heat sealed, the product can be opened using the two knobs at the top of the pack instead of having to demolish the packaging to get to the ram inside. The back card is holographic in design and apart from the product title which lays claim to being extreme performance ram designed for Nehalem, no other information is available. It isn't until we flip the package over that G.Skill give an inkling of the DDR3's performance, specifically the heatsinks cooling properties with a thermal image of their heat dissipation. A small sticker in the bottom quarter of the pack gives the prospective buyer the information they will be looking for with timings, voltage and frequency displayed.
The modules themselves are heavy in comparison but that's no bad things as anyone who has seen the movie 'Snatch' will tell you 'Heavy is good. Heavy is reliable!' - who am I to argue. The reason for this weight is the mass of thick set fins each heatsinks has. Couple this with the Matt black surface and it becomes clear G.Skill have done their homework regarding heat dissipation. A sticker reaches across the front of the ram stick displaying the company and Trident logos, which will match any number of black/red themed set-ups very nicely. My only concern is the use of a green PCB for the sticks themselves which just looks odd considering the effort G.Skill have put into designing the heatsinks and spoils the overall aesthetics.
The timings of the GSkill Trident are akin to most other kits which run at 2000MHz being 9-9-9-24. While CAS9 may seem a little slack, previous reviews have shown that latency is not the be all and end all of DDR3 performance. More important is the frequency of the modules and as these sticks run at a blistering 2000MHz you are going to be hard pushed to find a faster kit at the same price point. Because Intel CPU's are prone to suffer irreversible damage at anything over 1.65v, this is the maximum voltage GSkill recommend however if you are feeling brave this can be increased a few notches and we will see later in the review if this makes a difference to the speed of the kit.
The modules are just short of being double the height of the PCB and as such care should be taken to ensure these modules will fit in your motherboard should you make use of an oversized CPU cooler. The modules can be taken apart using 2 screws which are hidden beneath the SPD and warranty VOID sticker, however I found that, even with my best efforts, the modules refused to budge and not wanting to risk damaging the integrated chips I thought better of forcing the issue.
While I appreciate that memory these days can run very hot, heatsinks are becoming so extravagant that the price of DDR3 kits are being artificially increased to off-set this extra manufacturing cost. No doubt the heatsinks will increase the lifespan of memory by keeping them cooler but I have yet to notice any significant increase in overclocks or stability by using them. However, with memory prices as inflated as they are, it's no bad thing to protect your investment with the extra cooling these heatsinks supply. They also look the business which is always a plus point for anyone wishing to show the ram off through a case window.
Apart from the Green PCB, GSkill have created a DDR3 kit that looks very menacing. The fins give the impression that the modules could easily be at home on a medieval battlefield as much as an i7 setup. The blood red logo only adds to this and one can only imagine what this kit would look like in a motherboard with a complementing colour scheme such as Foxconn's Bloodrage or EVGA's Classified.
Looks however are not everything so it's time to put this kit to the test....