G.Skill TridentX F3-2400C10D-8GTX 2x4GB Review (Page 2 of 10)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Installation, Test System

The G.Skill TridentX F3-2400C10D-8GTX 2x4GB, being a part of the high end performance line from the company, utilizes a set of high profile heatspreaders... but with a twist. The sharp red aluminum pieces cover a slick black printed circuit board. Aluminum is lightweight, and serves as a decent heat conductor, while the toothed heatsink design improves air ventilation for faster heat dissipation (Although it is probably more for style in this particular application). Generally speaking, it is quite a bit taller than modules with no heatspreaders at all. But the awesome part is the red toothed portion at the top can actually be slid off to convert the TridentX into regular, low profile RAM. This is extremely useful for systems equipped with side mounted CPU heatsink fans adjacent to the memory slots, as the G.Skill TridentX can piggy-back off the generated airflow. However, in the likely case that it interferes, simply remove two screws, and voila! problem solved. I really wish more manufacturers will do this. The reason is because 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. 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, and G.Skill's solution provides the best of both worlds.

The heatspreader design of the G.Skill TridentX 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 center of both sides of the heatspreader; with G.Skill's logo near the western edge, and 'TridentX' branding on the eastern edge, both over a red and black gradient background. Meanwhile, a specification label covers over the branding label on one side of each module. It lists the kit name (G.Skill TridentX F3-2400C10D-8GTX 2x4GB), 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 May 2012.

As you can see more clearly in our photo above, the G.Skill TridentX has a very nice black PCB. Meanwhile, its heatspreader on top is composed of three separate pieces; two plates on each side of the PCB, plus the detachable top. As aforementioned, the top piece can be removed to improve its heatsink clearance. 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 rail. 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 TridentX heatspreaders are completely flat at the top for a modular low profile design, and for those who have more space, the aggressive top can be retained as attached by two screws. The TridentX carries a complete symmetrical design. Since the heatspreaders pieces are made out of very thin aluminum, it does not hold a lot of heat, therefore dissipates heat energy relatively quickly into the surrounding environment. The removable top is composed of a much thicker block, so it is not prone to bending at all. In the end, if you are 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). On the other hand, since you are allowed detach the top piece without removing the entire assembly in a modular fashion, the fact that the RAM will function just fine without the heatspreaders is certainly not anything of our concern at this point.

A closer look at the memory chips on the G.Skill TridentX F3-2400C10D-8GTX 2x4GB dual channel memory kit. The photo above is not very clear, as the print is sort of light. It says "GSK" repeatedly on every IC, probably short for "G.Skill". Of course, G.Skill is not an OEM chip manufacturer, so it is just a label to hide its true origins. This is probably done to keep competitors away from taking apart their products. We have seen this before in the company's Sniper 1.25V RAM. All we know is there are 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 DDR3-2400 with 10-12-12-31 latencies at 2T command rate. They operate at a stock voltage of 1.65V, which is the maximum safe limit for Core i3/i5/i7 processors.

Our test configuration as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K @ 4.6GHz
CPU Cooling: Cooler Master TPC 812 (Noctua NF-F12 PWM and Noctua NF-P12 PWM)
Motherboard: Intel Desktop Board DZ77GA-70K
Graphics: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 570 1280MB SOC
Chassis: SilverStone Temjin TJ04-E (Noctua NF-P12 PWM)
Storage OCZ Vertex 4 256GB; OCZ Octane 512GB; OCZ Agility 3 240GB
Power: Seasonic Platinum 1000W
Sound: Auzentech X-Fi HomeTheater HD
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS224-06 24X DVD Writer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional

Compared Hardware:
- G.Skill TridentX F3-2400C10D-8GTX 2x4GB @ DDR3-2400 10-12-12-31
- Kingston HyperX Predator KHX18C9T2K2/16X 2x8GB @ DDR3-1866 9-10-9-27
- Patriot Intel Extreme Masters PC3-17000 2x4GB @ DDR3-2133 11-11-11-27

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