By: Jonathan Kwan
June 29, 2012
Can you possibly have too much RAM? Back in the days, plugging in an extra set of memory into your computer is a simple upgrade that will bring you a big boost in performance. Nowadays, unless you are using very specialized applications (Hello, my proud fellow engineers), 8GB is usually than enough for majority of the users out there. Of course, I don't know what holds for the future, but for people like yours truly who classifies "enough" as just the bare minimum, it is all about balling it out on the latest and greatest. Earlier this year, we have reviewed the G.Skill Ares F3-1600C8Q-16GAB 4x4GB memory kit. But really, 4GB modules... that is just the old stuff. With G.Skill's Ares F3-1866C10D-16GAB 2x8GB set sitting in our labs today, is big capacity finally coming together with high frequency for maximum performance? I mean, 8GB DDR3-1866 modules. Slap four in, and you get 32GB. Awesome. We installed them into our usual test platform, and fired it up for the tests to see if it stands up to the moment of truth. Read on to see what we have found!
Our review unit of the G.Skill Ares F3-1866C10D-16GAB 2x8GB dual channel memory kit came in a FedEx bubble envelope from the company's headquarters in Taiwan. Using their International Economy service, it did not take too long for them to get it from the other side of the world to us here in calgary, Alberta. The interesting thing is, for some reason, the package was folded in half and taped together. I did not pay too much attention to it, until I found out it comes with a TridentX F3-2400C10D-8GTX 2x4GB set in there as well. We will cover that in a few weeks from now, but let us not lose focus on the 2x8GB kit, haha.
G.Skill continues to use fairly standard retail packaging for their Ares PC3-14900 2x8GB CL10 dual channel memory kit. The clamshell package is simple and held closed together at the top by two friction buttons; no blister pack techniques were used in this case -- which is, as usual, truly excellent in my opinion. A black colored insert with G.Skill's logo and Ares product line branding are placed at the top, with sharp fire orange streaks to highlight give it a more intense feel, as shown in our photo above. Two memory modules can be seen in front through its clear plastic exterior placed vertically next to each other, where differentiating features of similar memory kits can be found on the warranty and specification label placed on each heatspreader. At the back are miscellaneous company, warranty, and specifications information.
Before we move on, let's take a look at G.Skill Ares F3-1866C10D-16GAB 2x8GB RAM, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:
Model Number: F3-1866C10D-16GAB
System Type: DDR3
Main Board: INTEL
M/B Chipset: Z77 / P67 / Z68 / AMD 9xx Series / FM1
Capacity: 16GB (8GBx2)
Multi-Channel Kit: Dual Channel kit
Tested Speed: DDR3-1866 MHz (PC3-14900)
Tested Latency: 10-11-10 2N
Tested Voltage: 1.5V
Error Checking: Non-ECC
Type: 240-pin DIMM
SPD Speed: 1333 MHz
SPD Voltage: 1.5V
Height: 33 mm / 1.30 inch
Fan lncluded: No
Features: Intel XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) Ready
A screenshot of the memory tab in CPU-Z with G.Skill's Ares F3-1866C10D-16GAB 2x8GB installed. The SPD timings table in CPU-Z reads standard JEDEC specifications programmed into the memory, as well as Intel XMP data for running the memory at DDR3-1866. Using the latest BIOS revision, our ASUS P8P67 PRO motherboard used for testing had no issues detecting and working with the G.Skill RAM, but it seems the programmed XMP settings are a bit off. In our screenshot provided above, this dual channel kit runs at a frequency of 1866MHz (933MHz actual clock), which is correct; but the manufacturer specifies it to run at 10-11-10-30 rather than the detected 10-12-10-31. However, manually setting it to 10-11-10-30 in the BIOS posed absolutely no problem for us. The G.Skill Ares F3-1866C10D-16GAB 2x8GB retails for approximately $140 at press time.