G.Skill Ripjaws 4 DDR4-3200 16GB Review
Over the last few months we have had the privilege reviewing a few excellent high performance DDR4 memory kits from the likes of Corsair, Crucial, and G.Skill. However, we are obviously always on the lookout for something better and this had led us to the G.Skill Ripjaws 4 DDR4-3200 16GB memory kit.
With a DDR4 memory lineup that spans from DDR4-2133 to an industry-leading DDR4-3333 , G.Skill's Ripjaws 4 memory kit series is incredibly comprehensive. In fact, not only are most speeds available in both 16GB (4x4GB) and 32GB (4x8GB) capacities but they have begun offering many of their memory kits in a choice of three colours: red, black, and blue. Like all new memory standards, DDR4 is still very pricey compared to its DDR3 predecessor, but prices have started to come down somewhat since their peak in September.
The Ripjaws 4 series features quad-channel models ranging from as low as $240 all the way up to a little over $1,200 for the fastest 64GB kit. Today, we are going to be reviewing the model that is second only the DDR4-3333 flagship, but which comes in at a comparatively modest $430 USD/$499 CAD. The F4-3200C16Q-16GRKD is a quad-channel 16GB (4x4GB) memory kit rated at DDR4-3200 with timings of 16-16-16-36 at 1.35V. While these timings might seem very loose when compared to what we are all familiar with on the DDR3 side, it is important to realize that secondary and tertiary memory timings have arguably become an increasingly more important part of memory performance due to improvements in the memory controller.
Since this is a very high-end memory kit, and G.Skill anticipate that it will be used in a system with other high-end high heat output components, they have bundled two G.Skill Turbulence III memory fans that can help cool the modules. Their use is not at all necessary for the proper functioning of this memory, but it is a nice touch when you're paying this much money for RAM.
In the coming pages we will be taking a close look at this highly clocked memory kit, and we are going to find out how well it overclocks and see what the effect of tighter and looser timings is on overall system performance. Come check it out!
When your memory kit comes in a large box, you know that are receiving something quite special. G.Skill have packaged the F4-3200C16Q-16GRKD in this box not only because it is a high-end product, but also because it's a memory kit that comes with its own accessories bundle, which needless to say is quite rare.
As you can see, once you cut the security seal you can open the packaging and in doing so reveal two smaller boxes. Each of these boxes contains one Turbulence III fan accessory and two of the DDR4 memory modules wrapped in a foam sleeve. As has become the norm, G.Skill have also included a manual and a metallic-looking company sticker that can you affix to your case.
The Ripjaws 4 features a new heat spreader design that shares most of its cues from the previous Ripjaws Z, as you would expect. Unlike the rest of G.Skill's DDR4 lineup, this particular exclusive model only comes with a black heatspreader. More important than the aesthetics is the fact that this is a relatively low profile heat spreader, which should help prevent the numerous clearance issues we have been experiencing over the years with certain large CPU coolers.
We decided to remove the heat spreaders to get a better look at what we are dealing with. These are single-sided modules, which explains how G.Skill is also offering a 32GB DDR4-3000 kit with 8GB modules (although it's nearly impossible to find in-stock). As you can see, this memory kit uses Hynix MFR ICs, which are the best DDR4 memory chips on the market right now when it comes to attaining high clock speeds.
You can expect to find Hynix ICs these on most enthusiast-oriented memory kits, but don't think that you just buy a low-rated and overclock it to high heavens. At the moment, all these ICs are being heavily binned, so there are very few "Diamonds in the Rough" making their way to the lower priced kits. Oddly enough, if you look at the gold pins you will be able to spot the fact that these memory modules are slightly convex towards the middle. This is an attribute that we have see on all other DDR4 sticks, so it is clearly part of the specification.
The aforementioned G.Skill Turbulence III memory fan is an interesting addition.This accessory features two 50mm sleeve bearing fans that spin at 3,500RPM, output a respectable 8.60CFM each, and achieve a low 22dBa noise rating. They each have a white LED that provides a nice little aesthetic touch. The side brackets are adjustable in terms of height and angle of cooling, so that should alleviate must clearance issues that you might encounter with large CPU heatsinks. As we mentioned in the introduction, these memory modules absolutely don't require this additional cooling to run at their rated speed - or even overclocked frankly - but it's a thoughtful addition for those who want to keep their pricey new memory kit as cool as possible.
As previously discussed, this memory kit is rated at DDR4-3200, with 16-16-16-36 timings and a 2T command rate. It requires 1.35V, which is a fair bit above the 1.20V default, but is identical to the voltage requirements of other enthusiast-oriented DDR4 memory kits. All these values are programmed into XMP profile, so they can all be instantly applied by simply enabling XMP in the BIOS. As you can see, G.Skill have also programmed in a 100Mhz frequency bump on the Uncore, which should give a nice little performance boost.
Now one of the other things that is special about this memory kit, or at least its XMP Profile, is the fact that it uses the 100Mhz CPU Strap, which is usually harder to achieve high memory clocks with. Every other DDR4 memory kit that we have reviewed thus far has used the 125Mhz strap. Functionality wise this means absolutely nothing to your average user, but since it's unusual we figured that it was worth pointing out.
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