Since the advent of the X99 chipset one thing has caught everyone's eyeballs and mesmerized every computer fan or enthusiast alike, the DDR4 memory standards! Many companies today have rolled out their DDR4 RAM kits and the market is flooded to be precise but not every memory is good, if I put it generously.
G.skill has been one such brand that was ready with its DDR4 memory kits since day one and man! what a journey it has been for them not only do they have a wide catalog of memories out there but every single one of them is as impressive as it gets from budget friendly kits starting from as low as $239 to the world's fasted memory clocked at 3333Mhz priced at a whooping $699!
Today I have the pleasure of having their most popular and performance oriented memory kit for review, we have the G.SKILL Ripjaws 4 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz Memory Kit. Its one of those few memories that allow you to sit at the threshold of groundbreaking performance without shelling a fortune out of your pocket. A quick look at the specifications and then we'll see what all this stick has in store for us.
The Ripjaws 4 come at a base frequency of 2133Mhz which is the DDR4 memory standard and is timed at CL 15-15-15-35 at 1.35V which is a bit higher than the standard 1.2V for all the sub 3000Mhz memory kits. The catch over here is that the XMP 2.0 profile once enabled shoots the frequency at a massive 3000Mhz at CL 15-15-15-35 at the same 1.35V which is the highlight of this kit since not many memories out there can give you such high frequencies of 3000Mhz right of the box maintaining tight timings of CL 15!
Closer Look & Layout
The G.Skill Ripjaws 4 comes in the same aggressive styling as all the G.Skill products. The RAM stick looks beautiful and edgy at the same time with a spiked heatspreader covering the entire PCB reminding me of the Trident series RAM by G.skill itself. Its low lined in the center and rises up in a ramp fashion at the edges to facilitate both heat spreading aswell as easy installation when you press the stick in the DIMM slot.
The memory is accentuated by a huge company and product logo in the front the back is covered by a sticker though that enlists the model no, CL timings and a hallmark.
Measuring in at 40mm high the module shouldn't pose any compatibility issue with a CPU cooler no matter how massive it may be. It is also very sleek at just 1.58" ensuring enough room for ventilation for other sticks to breath once they are tightly installed in the DIMM slots especailly of a X99 board where as much as eight sticks work side by side generating immense heat.
The kit we have today has a model no of F4-3000C15Q-16GRK and zooming in we see that the PCB is covered with memory chips only from one side and the other side is bare with just an epoxy tape to hold the PCB and heatspreader together. The eight memory chips on the all black PCB is from SKhynix with memory distribution of 512MBx8 giving a total capacity of 4GB to each stick out of the four.
Overclocking and Benchmarks
Using the G.Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB (4x4) is fairly easy, after installation you can clearly see in the BIOS the memory working at 2133Mhz at the rated voltage and timings but once you enable the XMP 2.0 profile you can see the sudden bump in speed to 3000Mhz at the same voltage and timings. This comes without the cost of any raise in the BCLK numbers making this kit a very impressiveone indeed since most of the RAM kits at 3000Mhz tend to raise the BCLK on processors to almost 125 from the default 100 generating extra heat as a consequence.
I had a tough time in over clocking this memory because of two main reasons, first a memory at 3000Mhz already is very hard to push any further and second I'm using a Z170 chipset instead of the usual X99 for which this memory was optimized for.
After numerous trials and crashes I finally managed to get a stable OC at 3100Mhz at the default timings with a raised voltage of 1.45V anything more than that is unsafe for the DDR4 standard. I had to overclock the Intel i7 6700K at 4.7Ghz with 100 BCLK to achieve this which isn't bad at all.
For the test setup I would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Cooler Master, Gigabyte and Corsair for providing us with various components.
The configuration was as follows:
CPU: Intel i7 6700K quad core 4Ghz LGA 1151
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z170X Gaming G1
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw 16GB (4x4) 3000Mhz DDR4
Graphics Card: Gigabyte R9 290X 4GB DDR5 Windforce 3xOC
Cooler: Corsair H110 280mm
Storage: Corsair Neutron GTX 480GB SSD -- Intel 750 series 400GB NVMe
PSU: Corsair AX860i 860W 80+ Platinum
Case: Cooler Master MasterCase 5
OS: Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit
AIDA64 Extreme EditionWe ran the AIDA64 memory read/write and latency benchmark on the G.Skill Ripjaws 4 3000Mhz memory kit both at 3000Mhz stock frequency aswell as the OC 3100Mhz frequency.
Super Pi 32M mod 1.5Super Pi is a program that intents to put load on both CPU and memory alike to calculate the value of Pi upto a desired decimal point and giving the result in terms of seconds, it also acts as a stability test for the system.
We can see that once over clocked the benchmark completed 47.5 seconds early justifying the effort this memory takes to over clock.
It is the same program with a different iteration hence changing the entire approach of testing and benchmarking, lower score over is still considered better.
You cna see that on stock 3000Mhz the G.Skill Ripjaws 4 comes at 9.969
MaxxMEM PreviewA benchmark that has been around for a while and helps in reading the read/write and latency of any memory.
Upon over clocking you can see improvements in the speeds and decrease in latency. The performance improvement is clearly visible.
SuperPi 1M mod 1.5Its same as the above but the iterations have changed and hence the entire value and timings will differ benchmarking the RAM on a whole different scale.
As you can see from the images clearly that once overclocked the calculations finished 12ms early in contrast to what it took on stock frequency.
CineBench R15 and R10.5 -- X264 BenchmarkCineBench R15 and R10.5 utilizes the CPU to render an image calculating the power and performance expressed in terms of points, higher the number better the performance. Same is with X264 which renders a video instead of a still image.
From the graphs we can clearly see that the G.Skill RipJaws 4 is not holding back the CPU and showing a good increase in numbers once overclocked which is desirable.
Games MiscellaneousRAM has very less to do with game and their performance considering the RAM is working over the 2133Mhz mark and is ample in amount generally 8GB or more. All games are run at 1920x1080 resolution with settings set to Ultra High, frames are recorded using FRAPS.
Nothing has changed in the results and whatever little change we observe can be taken into the margin of error.
My VerdictG.Skill always has something up its sleeve waiting to pop out just when you least expect them to. The RipJaws 4 16GB DDR4 3000Mhz memory kit we looked at today did show some impressive stats on the board and even managed to reach a 100Mhz over the rated speed to 3100Mhz with a lot of effort which is primarily because of two reasons, first G.Skill has kept its catalog tight and sorted and rate their memories at frequencies that they truly work at which is a good thing from a customer point of view but bad from a reviewer's or enthusiast's since it takes away all the over clocking fun. Secondly, the memory is optimized for X99 and I used a Z170 platform which is one important factor since both platforms are worlds apart in terms of architecture & over clocking potential.Its not a bad memory at all since you get what you pay for and with one click of a button bang! you are at 3000Mhz without any effect on the BCLK settings increasing the system performance by manifold. G.Skill has also priced the memory very strategically putting it just below some of the kits out there making it a lucrative deal with a life time warranty along with an all new heatspreader design that's not only beautiful but also does its job well, whats more? It comes in three different colors to match your setup just right!
I give it a 9.5/10