In our today's article we pay a visit to an old friend that has recently been given a new set of clothes. The subject in question is G.Skill's famous Trident series that accompanied memory enthusiasts since the DDR2 era. Over time, the lineup was refreshed and expanded with TridentZ being the latest DDR4 incarnation, specs of which go all the way up to DDR4-4266 and beyond.
|Capacity||16GB (4 x 4GB)|
|Frequency||1600 MHz (DDR4-3200)|
As you can probably guess from the part number, the item on our desk is a 16GB quad-channel memory kit with a rated frequency of DDR4-3200 and a rated CAS latency of 16. A couple of months ago, such numbers would directly place this model on a high-end shelf, but with a recent release of Intel's Skylake platform, our kit now falls somewhere in the midrange category. Following modern trends in memory industry, G.Skill have played it overly cautious with the voltage rating sticking to measly 1.35V. This is by no means the maximum that DDR4 modules can take. In fact, certain types of DDR4 will happily work at way above 1.6V with no signs of degradation on both platform nor the memory side. The last thing we would like to discuss before proceeding with our inspection is a sister model, which has a part number of F4-3200C16Q-16GTZB. The only difference between it and our kit lies in weaker primary timings: 16-18-18-38 versus 16-16-16-36.
The TridentZ have landed in our hands packed in a dark paper box that carries the modules inside a dual-sided plastic tray. The front side of the packaging is a typical attention catcher featuring a product image and some fancy graphics. The back shows further information about the manufacturer, the limited lifetime warranty and a brief description of the series and its target audience.
In terms of appearance, the modules follow with the pace set by the packaging. The colour of the PCB (circuit board) is black and the heatsinks are finished in a fancy combination of black, grey and red. Use of the latter can be seen as a minor gamble by G.Skill as not all gaming builds might co-exist with bright red accents.
The heatsinks on the TridentZ are a basic affair of thin stamped aluminium sheets that hold on the modules by the means of thermal adhesive. Their size is slightly larger than normal with three fins extending above the PCB thus giving the Trident an image to match its name.
A quick side glance indicates that our kit is built in a single-rank configuration, using eight 4Gbit (512MB) memory chips per memory module. According to sixth symbol of the serial number, 5, the kit is based on memory chips manufactured by Samsung. Removing the heatsinks we confirmed both of above statements. We found our kit to be based on Samsung K4A4G085WE memory chips manufactured during 37th week of 2015.
Each module carries a miniature SPD chip that is flashed with information on its manufacturer and part number. The SPD chip also contains several setting presets (called JEDEC presets) that guarantee compatibility no matter how weird of a platform you plan to use the kit in. 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.