RRP: £50 (At time of the review)
G.SKILL is a brand which the vast majority of computer enthusiasts are familiar with in some way or another. Today, I am going to be taking a look at one of their kits which derives from the Ares series. This particular sample I have in my hands is rated at 1866MHz with CAS timings of 9-10-8-28 at 1.5 volts. I have owned a number of G.SKILL kits in the past and they have been exceptional, and here’s hoping that this will be another great kit. However, only time will tell. Before we start the review by checking out the specifications of this RAM, here’s a little about the company…
G. SKILL, established in 1989 by enthusiasts, is a leading memory module Manufacturer based in Taipei, Taiwan.With traditional strengths, we have built an excellent reputation by meeting market demand and fostering business competitiveness both locally and internationally with our dedications to provide competitive prices, On-Time Delivery, Assured Quality, Customer-Oriented Services and Diversity of Products.
Straight off the bat, you will see that this packaging is nothing special. It’s a plastic container for the RAM with a bit of cardboard behind it to tell you what product it is and so that the plastic isn’t completely see-through. However, as boring as it may seem, it does serve its purpose and you can clearly see what RAM you’re getting. It tells you that this memory kit supports Intel Core series CPUs on the 1155 and 1156 platforms as well as the AMD AM3+ and APU platforms.
When the packaging is flipped over, there are three things which instantly stand out – extreme performance, solid stability and full compatibility. The text below the three primary features then goes on to explain what each one stands for and it also tells you about the lifetime warranty that G.SKILL offer.
The blue utilised on these modules might make some of you instantly think that they would go great with the earlier range of ASUS motherboards, and you would not be mistaken. The colours match up very well in my eyes. These modules are low profile which means you should not have any clearance issues with coolers.
Black PCB is pretty much one of those “must have” things in terms of components today. I am glad that G.SKILL chose to use black PCBs for these modules, just like they did on the RipJawsX that I tested earlier in the month.
The heatsink design is simple and effective. It features the G.SKILL logo and the ARES branding on the front of the module and when we flip it over, it contains some useful information about the memory module(s). It contains the RAM model number, the rated speed and CAS latencies as well as its operating voltage.
Due to this being a RAM testing system, we have opted to use a low performance graphics card to minimize driver and resource impacts.
CPU: AMD Piledriver FX-8350 @4.4GHz
Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth 990FX
RAM: G.SKILL RipJawsX 2400MHz CAS 11
When we test our RAM samples, we first do all of the benchmarks at stock speeds and timings and we then swiftly move on to seeing how far they can be pushed. We also see how much the RAM can tighten its timings with the stock voltage and speeds to see if there is any additional performance to be gained via that method.
All DDR3 RAM we test has a slightly increased voltage limit from the 1.65v limit to 1.7v to see how much extra performance there can be gained from the modules. By no means should you run on your daily system, it was done purely for benchmarking reasons.
AIDA64 – All memory tests
SiSoftware Sandra 2013 – Memory Bandwidth
Super Pi 32M – stability testing
I was pleasantly surprised with my previous kit of G.SKILL RAM and I was in a mind-set to expect a similar story with these modules. Whilst the timings did need to be slackened a little more than the other kit, these modules still overclocked very well. Granted the timings were down from CAS 9-10-9 to 10-11-11 but the MHz increase was definitely there. In fact, it was almost a 400MHz speed increase which is nothing to be sniffed at. However, it is worth noting that this was done with 1.7 volts instead of 1.65 volts for the maximum and I would hazard a guess that these modules would happily run at 2133MHz with 9-10-9 timings at 1.65 volts.
Usually I test the RAM to see how low the latencies can go on stock voltage and stock speeds but due to there being no improvement with this particular kit, I have not included any results. The RAM cannot tighten up any more than it already is at stock speeds and voltages.
It’s time to draw this review to a close and to give you my final thoughts on this particular RAM kit. So, here they are…
Aesthetically speaking, these modules do look quite nice in my opinion. Although, once they are installed you will most likely barely see them, especially if you’re using a large tower cooler. Blue may not be the preferred colour given that most motherboard vendors have steered away from these colours, but they would still look great in any system.
When we consider that this RAM is 1866MHz, it is a little unfair to pit it against our other kits which come out at 2133MHz and above, but it still managed to overclock quite well and in one of our results, it actually took the top score which is surprising. I can’t give you an explanation for it, that is just the way that it turned out. I did rerun the test multiple times to ensure it was not a glitched run and it returned the same results (within a 0.1% margin of error).
Whilst the RAM could not keep up with the other more expensive and faster kits, it is worth remembering that this kit is roughly 25% cheaper than the others (on average I would say) and the performance differences in terms of real-world usage is absolutely minimal. Also, remember that G.SKILL offer a lifetime warranty with all of their memory kits which is something that I regard highly.
To summarize, I would recommend this kit if you were looking for some great performing RAM that is also backed with a great warranty. Whilst this kit (to me) doesn’t deserve any specific awards today, I would still recommend it to anyone after a great set of RAM for a great price.