As the demand for fast notebooks, all-in-one and mini-ITX systems is increasing every day, hardware manufacturers are constantly looking for new ways to pack more performance in compact form factors. Although the memory is not they key system component from a performance standpoint, a few years back an item like a high-performance SODIMM simply did not exist. This meant that even the hardcore enthusiasts only had generic products at their disposal.
Things have changed since then. Once Kingston have first explored this rather awkward part of the market, it did not take long for their competitors to follow suit. Eventually, things have ended up in a tense competition, which, of course, is beneficial for the end customers.
Having recently tested both DDR3-2133 models that are currently present on Kingston's SODIMM pricelist, we thought it would be a good idea to also check some of the alternatives. Starting with an obvious choice: G.Skill.
|Capacity||8 GB (2 x 4 GB)|
|Frequency||1066 MHz (DDR3-2133)|
Likewise to all of the opposition, G.Skill's top-of-the-line SODIMM models are rated at DDR3-2133 and CAS latency of 11. This might seem weak compared to the numbers available in the desktop segment, but keep in mind that none of the full-sized 2133C11 kits come as low-voltage (1.35V) models nor are intended to work in extremely hot conditions.
Our journey formally begins with the packaging, which could have been much smaller had G.Skill trimmed the unnecessary plastic. At least there is plenty of room inside for the case sticker.
Similar to its desktop counterparts, the SODIMM version of the Ripjaws is built upon a black PCB. Not that you are ever going to see it, but is still a nice touch.
Because SODIMM modules are primarily designed to work in laptops where every bit of weight and volume counts, the modules are not equipped with any heatsinks. Instead, they are fully covered with stickers that also protect the modules from direct contact with adjacent components.
Peeling the stickers away, we discovered four Samsung K4B4G0846B memory chips on either side of each module. As these are the same chips that G.Skill have frequently used on many versions of Trident-X for years, we have high hopes for the overclocking part of this article.
Each of the modules carries a miniature SPD chip that is flashed with information on its manufacturer and internal part number. The SPD chip also contains several JEDEC setting presets that are intended for backwards compatibility with platforms that do not support DDR3-2133 out of the box.
Contrary to the desktop modules that usually require loading an XMP profile in the BIOS in order to attain specs, with SODIMM the specs are contained in one of the JEDEC presets. This means that getting this memory to do its spec requires no input from the user.
Using exactly that, below are the settings that our platform has defaulted the modules to upon insertion.