Ever since its release back in 2009, G.Skill's Ripjaws series has always been the yardstick, against which all other enthusiast memory kits have had to be measured. A couple of weeks ago, a fifth incarnation of this legendary product has finally hit the market shelves so we could hardly resist from getting it tested.
|Capacity||8GB (2 x 4GB)|
|Frequency||1600 MHz (DDR4-3200)|
Previously an indicator of a high-end model, a clockspeed rating of DDR4-3200 is now a far cry from the speeds you get to see in the news on a daily basis. Mind you, anything that is rated above 3200C16 has a price somewhere up in the stratosphere, which is why this particular speed bin looks very attractive.
An important thing that you need to note about G.Skill's 3200C16-rated models is that they exist in two different combinations of rated timings: 16-16-16-36 and 16-18-18-38. Given that most memory these days is based on chips manufactured by Samsung, some batches of which are not capable of running 1600MHz with tRCD below 17, the first option guarantees a better chip quality and therefore also a better overclockability.
Over the last six years, the packaging of the Ripjaws has barely seen any change.
The same also applies to the appearance, although to a much smaller extent. The link between the model name and the jawlike styling has been dropped by G.Skill more than 3 years ago with the Ripjaws Z. Since then, none of the models on the Ripjaws series have had any visual features that would clearly separate them from the rest of the field.
Although DDR4 is designed to be the most power-efficient type of memory in existence, it can never be a bad idea to improve the cooling and hence the module lifespan by using additional heatsinks.
G.Skill did exactly that by fitting the modules with stamped sheets of thin aluminium, which dissipate heat from the memory chips through a thick layer or sticky thermal tape. This might not be the most advanced of all possible cooling solutions, but it is reasonably cheap and efficient.
The adhesive that holds the heatsinks in place is strong enough to ensure that they stay in place under normal use, but at the same time it is weak enough not to cause any difficulty come the need to pull the heatsinks off.
With the heatsinks detached, we predictably found our modules to be based on Samsung K4A4G085WD memory chips manufactured during the fourth week of 2015. As suggested by the 4G part of their model, each of these memory chips can contain up to 4Gbit or 512MB of data, thus it only takes eight such chips to assemble each 4GB module.
Each module carries a miniature SPD chip that is flashed with information on its manufacturer and part number. The SPD chip also contains several frequency and timing presets (called JEDEC presets) the main purpose of which is providing a safe setting base to ensure that the memory will always boot.
On top of the JEDEC profiles, there is an XMP (Xtreme Memory Profile) which contains the kit's formal specs. Note that most motherboards will set the memory to its highest JEDEC profile unless you go in the BIOS and manually load the XMP.
Doing so on our test platform has resulted in having the following timings and subtimings at DDR4-3200.