G.SKILL Ripjaws-X F3-17000CL9D-8GBXLD 2x4GB Review (Page 2 of 10)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Installation, Test System

Aside from the red aluminum heatspreader and slick black printed circuit board, G.SKILL's Ripjaws-X F3-17000CL9D-8GBXLD 2x4GB RAM -- which I'll refer to G.SKILL Ripjaws-X for short from now on -- is almost physically identical to the G.SKILL Ripjaws. This means the heatsinks carry a medium height profile, thanks to the array of 'teeth' at the top (Although the teeth arrangement is slightly different between the two, the height has not changed). Aluminum is lightweight, and serves as a decent heat conductor, while the toothed heatsink design improves air ventilation for faster heat dissipation. This is especially useful for systems equipped with side mounted CPU heatsink fans adjacent to the memory slots, so the G.SKILL Ripjaws-X headspreaders can piggy-back off its airflow. Fortunately, it has lower profile than the company's Pi series, and it actually fits nicely under giganormous heatsinks such as the Noctua NH-D14 we reviewed last year. 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 they look pretty cool in any windowed chassis.

The heatspreader design of the G.SKILL Ripjaws-X 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 large label is applied over the flat areas of both sides of the heatspreader; with G.SKILL's logo near the western edge, and 'Ripjaws-X' branding on the eastern edge, both printed in black. Streaks of red and black gradients can be found across the surface, as shown in our image above. Meanwhile, a specification label covers over the 'Ripjaws-X' branding on one side of each module. It lists the kit name (G.SKILL F3-17000CL9D-8GBXLD), 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 January 2011.

As you can see more clearly in our photo above, the G.SKILL Ripjaws-X has a very nice black PCB. Meanwhile, its heatspreader on top is composed of two separate pieces, which are interlinked by the two outermost teeth at the top. 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 teeth. 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. Each tooth on the heatspreader is curved inwards, and meets its corresponding tooth from the other half piece at the top for a complete symmetrical design. Since the teeth are made from very thin aluminum, it does not hold a lot of heat, therefore dissipating the heat energy relatively quickly into the surrounding environment. Despite using very thin aluminum, the short and simple design makes it quite ample in resisting bending forces. 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 other than that, if you need to remove your RAM sinks to install your CPU heatsink, then the Ripjaws-X F3-17000CL9D-8GBXLD would have no problems operating normally either.

A closer look at the memory chips on the G.SKILL Ripjaws-X F3-17000CL9D-8GBXLD 2x4GB dual channel memory kit. The photo above should be quite clear -- it says "H5TQ2G83BFR" on each IC. These are Hynix manufactured chips, with 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 DDR3-2133 with 9-11-9-28 latencies at 2T command rate. Since these RAM are designed for Core i5/i7 processors, they operate at a stock voltage of 1.65V.

Our package also includes G.SKILL's Turbulence II fan module in addition to the set of RAM itself. The Turbulence II clips over the RAM -- the fans are generally able to accommodate four modules underneath it -- to improve airflow directly over your memory. The Turbulence II's fans connect to your power supply's 4-pin Molex connector. Each fan is a Young Lin Tech DFS501012l 50mm 12V/0.8W unit with a blue LED light to add some style to your system. If you already have a system with sufficient airflow over the RAM, I would definitely regard it as an optional installation, up to the preference of the end user. The reason why I say that is because while it is quieter than its predecessor, it is still audible during normal operation. As a quiet PC enthusiast, I am quite a picky person on noise, and the loudest component in my entire system is my Western Digital Caviar Blue hard disk. On a scale from 0-10 where 0 is silent and 10 is the loudest, I would rate the Turbulence II to be at 4.0/10 from an acoustical standpoint.

Our test configuration as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K @ 4.50 GHz
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-D14 (Dual fan)
Motherboard: ASUS P8P67-WS Revolution
Graphics: Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850 1GB OC
Chassis: Cooler Master 690 II Advanced NVIDIA Edition (Noctua NF-S12B FLX, NZXT Sleeved LED Kit)
Power: NZXT HALE90 750W
Sound: Auzentech X-Fi HomeTheater HD
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS224-06 24X DVD Writer
Storage: OCZ Vertex 2 60GB; Western Digital Caviar Blue AAKS 500GB
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64

Compared Hardware

- G.SKILL Ripjaws-X F3-17000CL9D-8GBXLD 2x4GB @ DDR3-2133 9-11-9-28 (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)
- 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)

Page Index
1. Introduction and Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Installation, Test System
3. Benchmark: AIDA64 CPU
4. Benchmark: AIDA64 FPU
5. Benchmark: AIDA64 Memory
6. Benchmark: PCMark Vantage
7. Benchmark: 3DMark 11
8. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 7.0
9. Benchmark: SuperPI 1M, Cinebench R11.5
10. Conclusion