Page 2 - A Closer Look, Installation, Test System
The G.SKILL Sniper F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2 2x4GB -- in which I'll refer to G.SKILL Sniper for short from now on -- carries forward quite a unique heatspreader design. As you can see in our photo above, the gun theme is executed in quite an obvious manner throughout, to say the least. However, I am not sure if the heatsink design actually correspond the name of this product. According to what I have learned in Counter-Strike back in high school (And confirmed by my colleague Preston, who is an avid airsoft fan), the "sniper" engraved on the G.SKILL Sniper is really just a rifle with an iron sight at the top. That said, in conjunction with the rail in the middle, it is still far from looking like your run-of-the-mill RAM; not to mention "G.SKILL Sniper" probably sounds a lot better than "G.SKILL Rifle", haha.
As much as I would like to classify the G.SKILL Sniper as low profile memory, thanks to the iron sight and rail at the top, it probably slots somewhere between 'low profile' and 'medium profile'. The heatsink itself is made out of lightweight aluminum, which serves as a decent heat conductor. The rail at the top is going to help out in air ventilation for faster heat dissipation to a small extent. It also has a lower profile than the company's Pi series, and it actually fits nicely under giganormous heatsinks such as the Noctua NH-D14 we reviewed a while ago. Whether you like to call it marketing gimmick or whatnot, it is almost impossible nowadays to find performance memory without any form of a heatspreader attached, haha. They do undeniably serve a purpose in dissipating heat, but for most memory modules, unless run at a voltage significantly over designed voltages -- which you won't, special thanks to integrated memory controllers on Intel processors -- this feature is certainly not a requirement. But I will admit the G.SKILL Sniper will look pretty cool in any windowed chassis.
The heatspreader design of the G.SKILL Sniper modules is symmetrical, which is fairly logical because memory ICs reside on both sides of the PCB. Besides functional purposes, it also improves the look. A custom shaped label is applied over the flat areas of both sides of the heatspreader where no parts of the gun are present. This is where G.SKILL's logo and 'Sniper' branding prominently displayed. Patterns of red and black gradients can be found across the surface background, as shown in our image above. Meanwhile, a specification label is placed over the rifle's stock on one side of each module. It lists the kit name (G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2), frequency, latencies, bandwidth, voltage, and the module's memory capacity. The serial number underneath the bar consists of a long string of numeric characters; the last digit is consecutive to the value listed on the other module to indicate that they come from the same box. Our particular unit is manufactured in April 2011.
As you can see more clearly in our photo above, the G.SKILL Sniper has a very nice black PCB. Meanwhile, its heatspreader on top is composed of two separate pieces, which are interlinked by the two clips near the edges. The heatspreader is held to the module itself by a strip of thermally conductive adhesive, and each half part of the heatsink is aligned by a reciprocating part of the gun. The adhesive force between the two heatspreader and memory ICs are not particularly strong, so the user can easily take them off with bare hands without risking any damage to their memory modules.
From our above photo, it should also be clearer on how the heatspreaders are designed. The unconventionally shaped aluminum pieces have a clean curvature at the bottom, with each half-part of the rifle meeting at the top to complete the design. In the end, if you're going to be pushing your system to the limits with high memory voltages, the heatspreaders may be beneficial to improve system stability and overclocking potential (But you probably won't, thanks to Intel as aforementioned). But other than that, if you need to remove your RAM sinks to install your CPU heatsink, then the Sniper F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2 would have no problems operating normally either.
A closer look at the memory chips on the G.SKILL Sniper F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2 2x4GB 1.25V dual channel memory kit. The photo above should be quite clear -- it says "RHL073B3G-P" on each IC. Unfortunately, I could not find any information on these chips, so I emailed G.SKILL about my problem. They denied to produce additional information, citing anti-competition measures. Understandable, but that is too bad for the rest of us. The only thing I know is we have eight 256MB chips on each side for a total of 4GB on each DIMM. As mentioned on the previous page, these RAM modules run at a frequency of DDR3-1600 with 9-9-9-24 latencies at 2T command rate. Since these RAM are ultra low voltage units designed for Core i5/i7 processors, they operate at only 1.25V -- the lowest voltage mass market DDR3 memory at press time.
Our test configuration as follows:
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K @ 4.50GHz (Overclocked, Turbo Boost disabled)
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-D14
Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution
Graphics: Gigabyte Radeon HD 6870 1GB SOC
Chassis: Cooler Master 690 II Advanced NVIDIA Edition (Noctua NF-S12B FLX, NZXT Sleeved LED Kit)
Storage OCZ Vertex 2 160GB 25nm; Western Digital Caviar Blue AAKS 500GB
Power: NZXT HALE90 750W
Sound: Auzentech X-Fi HomeTheater HD
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS224-06 24X DVD Writer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64
- G.SKILL Sniper F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2 2x4GB @ DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24 (Stock frequency @ stock latencies)
- G.SKILL Pi Series F3-17600CL7D-4GBPIS 2x2GB @ DDR3-2133 7-10-10-28 (Downclocked 66MHz @ stock latencies)
- G.SKILL Ripjaws F3-12800CL7D-8GBRH 2x4GB @ DDR3-1600 7-8-7-24 (Stock frequency @ stock latencies)
- G.SKILL Ripjaws-X F3-17000CL9D-8GBXLD 2x4GB @ DDR3-2133 9-11-9-28 (Stock frequency @ stock latencies)
- Kingston HyperX KHX1600C9D3X2K2/8GX 2x4GB @ DDR3-1600 9-9-9-27 (Stock frequency @ stock latencies)
- OCZ Platinum XTE PC3-16000 2x2GB @ DDR3-1866 9-9-9-24 (Downclocked 133MHz @ stock latencies)
- Patriot Viper II Sector 5 PC3-12800 2x2GB @ DDR3-1600 8-8-8-24 (Stock frequency @ stock latencies)