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G.Skill Ripjaws 4 DDR4-3200 16GB Review

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
13,264
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Montreal
Over the last few months we have had the privilege reviewing a few excellent high performance DDR4 memory kits from the likes of Corsair, Crucial, and G.Skill. However, we are obviously always on the lookout for something better and this had led us to the G.Skill Ripjaws 4 DDR4-3200 16GB memory kit.

With a DDR4 memory lineup that spans from DDR4-2133 to an industry-leading DDR4-3333 , G.Skill's Ripjaws 4 memory kit series is incredibly comprehensive. In fact, not only are most speeds available in both 16GB (4x4GB) and 32GB (4x8GB) capacities but they have begun offering many of their memory kits in a choice of three colours: red, black, and blue. Like all new memory standards, DDR4 is still very pricey compared to its DDR3 predecessor, but prices have started to come down somewhat since their peak in September.

The Ripjaws 4 series features quad-channel models ranging from as low as $240 all the way up to a little over $1,200 for the fastest 64GB kit. Today, we are going to be reviewing the model that is second only the DDR4-3333 flagship, but which comes in at a comparatively modest $430 USD/$499 CAD. The F4-3200C16Q-16GRKD is a quad-channel 16GB (4x4GB) memory kit rated at DDR4-3200 with timings of 16-16-16-36 at 1.35V. While these timings might seem very loose when compared to what we are all familiar with on the DDR3 side, it is important to realize that secondary and tertiary memory timings have arguably become an increasingly more important part of memory performance due to improvements in the memory controller.

Since this is a very high-end memory kit, and G.Skill anticipate that it will be used in a system with other high-end high heat output components, they have bundled two G.Skill Turbulence III memory fans that can help cool the modules. Their use is not at all necessary for the proper functioning of this memory, but it is a nice touch when you're paying this much money for RAM.

In the coming pages we will be taking a close look at this highly clocked memory kit, and we are going to find out how well it overclocks and see what the effect of tighter and looser timings is on overall system performance. Come check it out!


Click on image to enlarge

When your memory kit comes in a large box, you know that are receiving something quite special. G.Skill have packaged the F4-3200C16Q-16GRKD in this box not only because it is a high-end product, but also because it's a memory kit that comes with its own accessories bundle, which needless to say is quite rare.


Click on image to enlarge

As you can see, once you cut the security seal you can open the packaging and in doing so reveal two smaller boxes. Each of these boxes contains one Turbulence III fan accessory and two of the DDR4 memory modules wrapped in a foam sleeve. As has become the norm, G.Skill have also included a manual and a metallic-looking company sticker that can you affix to your case.


Click on image to enlarge

The Ripjaws 4 features a new heat spreader design that shares most of its cues from the previous Ripjaws Z, as you would expect. Unlike the rest of G.Skill's DDR4 lineup, this particular exclusive model only comes with a black heatspreader. More important than the aesthetics is the fact that this is a relatively low profile heat spreader, which should help prevent the numerous clearance issues we have been experiencing over the years with certain large CPU coolers.


Click on image to enlarge

We decided to remove the heat spreaders to get a better look at what we are dealing with. These are single-sided modules, which explains how G.Skill is also offering a 32GB DDR4-3000 kit with 8GB modules (although it's nearly impossible to find in-stock). As you can see, this memory kit uses Hynix MFR ICs, which are the best DDR4 memory chips on the market right now when it comes to attaining high clock speeds.

You can expect to find Hynix ICs these on most enthusiast-oriented memory kits, but don't think that you just buy a low-rated and overclock it to high heavens. At the moment, all these ICs are being heavily binned, so there are very few "Diamonds in the Rough" making their way to the lower priced kits. Oddly enough, if you look at the gold pins you will be able to spot the fact that these memory modules are slightly convex towards the middle. This is an attribute that we have see on all other DDR4 sticks, so it is clearly part of the specification.


Click on image to enlarge

The aforementioned G.Skill Turbulence III memory fan is an interesting addition.This accessory features two 50mm sleeve bearing fans that spin at 3,500RPM, output a respectable 8.60CFM each, and achieve a low 22dBa noise rating. They each have a white LED that provides a nice little aesthetic touch. The side brackets are adjustable in terms of height and angle of cooling, so that should alleviate must clearance issues that you might encounter with large CPU heatsinks. As we mentioned in the introduction, these memory modules absolutely don't require this additional cooling to run at their rated speed - or even overclocked frankly - but it's a thoughtful addition for those who want to keep their pricey new memory kit as cool as possible.



As previously discussed, this memory kit is rated at DDR4-3200, with 16-16-16-36 timings and a 2T command rate. It requires 1.35V, which is a fair bit above the 1.20V default, but is identical to the voltage requirements of other enthusiast-oriented DDR4 memory kits. All these values are programmed into XMP profile, so they can all be instantly applied by simply enabling XMP in the BIOS. As you can see, G.Skill have also programmed in a 100Mhz frequency bump on the Uncore, which should give a nice little performance boost.

Now one of the other things that is special about this memory kit, or at least its XMP Profile, is the fact that it uses the 100Mhz CPU Strap, which is usually harder to achieve high memory clocks with. Every other DDR4 memory kit that we have reviewed thus far has used the 125Mhz strap. Functionality wise this means absolutely nothing to your average user, but since it's unusual we figured that it was worth pointing out.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Test Setups & Methodology

Test Setups & Methodology


For this review, we are going to be testing a variety of different frequency and timing configurations while also attempting to keep the CPU and Uncore clocks are identical as possible across all of those configurations, unless otherwise noted. Aside from manually selecting frequencies, timings, and voltages every option in the BIOS was at its default setting.

Intel Core i7 LGA2011-v3 Haswell-E Test Setup​

For all of the benchmarks, appropriate lengths are taken to ensure an equal comparison through methodical setup, installation, and testing. The following outlines our testing methodology:

A) Windows is installed using a full format.

B) Chipset drivers and accessory hardware drivers (audio, network, GPU) are installed.

C)To ensure consistent results, a few tweaks are applied to Windows 7 and the NVIDIA control panel:
  • UAC – Disabled
  • Indexing – Disabled
  • Superfetch – Disabled
  • System Protection/Restore – Disabled
  • Problem & Error Reporting – Disabled
  • Remote Desktop/Assistance - Disabled
  • Windows Security Center Alerts – Disabled
  • Windows Defender – Disabled
  • Screensaver – Disabled
  • Power Plan – High Performance
  • V-Sync – Off

D) All available Windows updates are then installed.

E) All programs are installed and then updated, followed by a defragment.

F) Benchmarks are each run three to eight times, and unless otherwise stated, the results are then averaged.

Here is a full list of the applications that we utilized in our benchmarking suite:
  • 3DMark Vantage Professional Edition v1.1.0
  • 3DMark11 Professional Edition v1.0.132.0
  • 3DMark 2013 Professional Edition v1.2.362
  • AIDA64 Extreme Edition v3.00.2536 Beta
  • Cinebench R11.529 64-bit
  • SuperPi Mod v1.9 WP
  • MaxxMEM² - PreView v2.01
  • Sisoft Sandra 2014.SP3 20.28
  • Valve Particle Simulation Benchmark v1.0.0.0
  • wPRIME version v2.10
  • X3: Terran Conflict Demo v1.0

That is about all you need to know methodology wise, so let's get to the good stuff!
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Overclocking Results

Overclocking Results


For our memory overclocking tests we are usually interested in two main elements: how well the memory scales with additional voltage and how versatile it is at overclocking with different timings. Much like with our other Hynix-based memory kits, we discovered that this memory kit doesn't really benefit from going much above 1.40V, so for the sake of a more realistic day-to-day overclock we decided to simply increase the voltage from the manufacturer specified 1.35V to 1.40V, and put all our efforts on timings scalability instead.

In order to make sure that there weren't any possible CPU-related bottlenecks, the CPU Cache Voltage was set to 1.35V and the CPU System Agent Voltage set to 1.25V. We focused on four basic timing configurations (12-12-12 / 13-13-13 / 14-14-14 / 15-15-15 / 16-16-16) all with a 1T command rate for optimal performance.

With the pleasantries out of the way, let's get to the fun stuff.


Given how highly clocked it comes from the factory it should come as no surprise that this is the best Hynix MFR-based memory kit that we have tested so far. At nearly every timings level this kit achieved new records for a Hynix-based kit. The exception to is at 14-14-14, where it came in second to the DDR4-2827 frequency achieved by our G.Skill Ripjaws 4 DDR4-3000 kit. We had not previously tested 16-16-16 since it was looser than we prefer,but in doing so we did achieve a pretty remarkable DDR4-3280. We couldn't quite match the flagship DDR4-3333 kit, but then again we are a 1T command rate so performance should be more than comparable.

When you compare the above chart with the one for the Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 or G.Skill Ripjaws 4 DDR4-3000 you will immediately notice that the differences between all these kits is not particularly large at all. As a result, you could theoretically buy a lower clocked kit and achieve very similar clock speeds, but it is not a given. When you buy a product like this G.Skill Ripjaws 4 DDR4-3200 memory kit you are paying a sizeable premium for the guarantee of being able to hit a specific and lofty frequency, even if it's only 1-2% more than many other kits can achieve.


Click on image to enlarge

These screenshots are just to prove that we did indeed achieve the overclocks listed, and that they were stable enough to pass a series of mainstream benchmarking and stress testing applications. If you are doing super critical work, then maybe a little Prime95 stress testing should be done as well, but for gaming and day-to-day tasks our testing is more than sufficient.

Usually, we included a throwaway 15-15-15-2T result just to show off the maximum stable frequency that we achieved while overclocking, but since this particular model had looser stock timings of 16-16-16-2T we decided to see what it was capable of at its default timings but with a more aggressive 1T command rate.


The clock speed increase from DDR4-3136 15-15-15-1T to DDR4-3280 16-16-16-1T is fairly substantial, but it is enough to warrant the looser timings? Check out the next few pages to see our benchmarking results. We kept CPU frequencies as clock to stock as possible, and increased the Uncore frequencies to around 4.2Ghz to eliminate any memory bandwidth bottlenecks, so what you will be seeing are the true performance differences caused by the different memory settings.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
System Benchmarks

System Benchmarks


In the System and Gaming Benchmarks sections, we reveal the results from a number of benchmarks run with the Core i7-5960X and ASUS X99 Deluxe at default clocks, with the G.Skill memory kit's XMP profile applied, and using own our manual overclocks. This will illustrate how much performance can be achieved at various DDR4 memory speeds and timings. For a thorough comparison of the Core i7-5960X versus a number of different CPUs have a look at our Intel Haswell-E Core i7-5960X Review.


SuperPi Mod v1.9 WP


When running the SuperPI 32MB benchmark, we are calculating Pi to 32 million digits and timing the process. Obviously more CPU power helps in this intense calculation, but the memory sub-system also plays an important role, as does the operating system. We are running one instance of SuperPi Mod v1.9 WP. This is therefore a single-thread workload.



wPRIME 2.10


wPrime is a leading multithreaded benchmark for x86 processors that tests your processor performance by calculating square roots with a recursive call of Newton's method for estimating functions, with f(x)=x2-k, where k is the number we're sqrting, until Sgn(f(x)/f'(x)) does not equal that of the previous iteration, starting with an estimation of k/2. It then uses an iterative calling of the estimation method a set amount of times to increase the accuracy of the results. It then confirms that n(k)2=k to ensure the calculation was correct. It repeats this for all numbers from 1 to the requested maximum. This is a highly multi-threaded workload.



Cinebench R11.5


Cinebench R11.5 64-bit
Test1: CPU Image Render
Comparison: Generated Score


The latest benchmark from MAXON, Cinebench R11.5 makes use of all your system's processing power to render a photorealistic 3D scene using various different algorithms to stress all available processor cores. The test scene contains approximately 2,000 objects containing more than 300,000 total polygons and uses sharp and blurred reflections, area lights and shadows, procedural shaders, antialiasing, and much more. This particular benchmarking can measure systems with up to 64 processor threads. The result is given in points (pts). The higher the number, the faster your processor.





AIDA64 Extreme Edition

AIDA64 uses a suite of benchmarks to determine general performance and has quickly become one of the de facto standards among end users for component comparisons. While it may include a great many tests, we used the AIDA64 Cache & Memory Benchmark in order to tests the raw memory performance, combining copy, read, write and latency tests into one global score. This memory benchmark is a classic way to measure bandwidth of a memory subsystem.

 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Gaming Benchmarks

Gaming Benchmarks



Futuremark 3DMark (2013)


3DMark v1.1.0
Graphic Settings: Fire Strike Preset
Rendered Resolution: 1920x1680
Test: Specific Physics Score and Full Run 3DMarks
Comparison: Generated Score


3DMark is the brand new cross-platform benchmark from the gurus over at Futuremark. Designed to test a full range of hardware from smartphones to high-end PCs, it includes three tests for DirectX 9, DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 hardware, and allows users to compare 3DMark scores with other Windows, Android and iOS devices. Most important to us is the new Fire Strike preset, a DirectX 11 showcase that tests tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Like every new 3DMark version, this test is extremely GPU-bound, but it does contain a heavy physics test that can show off the potential of modern multi-core processors.




Futuremark 3DMark 11


3DMark 11 v1.0.5
Graphic Settings: Performance Preset
Resolution: 1280x720
Test: Specific Physics Score and Full Run 3DMarks
Comparison: Generated Score


3DMark 11 is Futuremark's very latest benchmark, designed to tests all of the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. At the moment, it is lot more GPU-bound than past versions are now, but it does contain a terrific physics test which really taxes modern multi-core processors.




Futuremark 3DMark Vantage


3DMark Vantage v1.1.2
Graphic Settings: Performance Preset
Resolution: 1280x1024

Test: Specific CPU Score and Full Run 3DMarks
Comparison: Generated Score

3DMark Vantage is the follow-up to the highly successful 3DMark06. It uses DirectX 10 exclusively so if you are running Windows XP, you can forget about this benchmark. Along with being a very capable graphics card testing application, it also has very heavily multi-threaded CPU tests, such Physics Simulation and Artificial Intelligence (AI), which makes it a good all-around gaming benchmark.



Valve Particle Simulation Benchmark


Valve Particle Simulation Benchmark
Resolution: 1680x1050
Anti-Aliasing: 4X
Anisotropic Filtering: 8X
Graphic Settings: High
Comparison: Particle Performance Metric

Originally intended to demonstrate new processing effects added to Half Life 2: Episode 2 and future projects, the particle benchmark condenses what can be found throughout HL2:EP2 and combines it all into one small but deadly package. This test does not symbolize the performance scale for just Episode Two exclusively, but also for many other games and applications that utilize multi-core processing and particle effects. As you will see the benchmark does not score in FPS but rather in its own "Particle Performance Metric", which is useful for direct CPU comparisons.




X3: Terran Conflict


X3: Terran Conflict 1.2.0.0
Resolution: 1680x1050
Texture & Shader Quality: High
Antialiasing 4X
Anisotropic Mode: 8X
Glow Enabled

Game Benchmark
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

X3: Terran Conflict (X3TC) is the culmination of the X-series of space trading and combat simulator computer games from German developer Egosoft. With its vast space worlds, intricately detailed ships, and excellent multi-threaded game engine, it remains a great test of modern CPU performance.


 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Conclusion

Conclusion


The first DDR4 memory kit that we reviewed was a G.Skill Ripjaws 4 DDR4-3000 model, and we praised its industry-leading clock speed and impressive overclocking capabilities. It was quite pricey, but it was unquestionably one of the very best enthusiast-oriented memory kits available at that time. The fact that you can now buy a DDR4-3200 kit for about the same price as what that kit cost back in September is a definite sign of improvement.

Speaking of price, this G.Skill F4-3200C16Q-16GRKD model is actually the most affordable DDR4-3200 memory kit on the market right now. At $430USD/$499CAD, "affordable" is probably the wrong word, it is in fact a lot of money for any memory kit, but those interested in this type of very high-end product aren't necessarily all that price sensitive. You also have to keep in mind that G.SKill are including two Turbulence III memory coolers, which usually retail for about $18-20 dollars each. Personally, we would like to see a cheaper version of this kit sold without this accessories bundle, but we aren't holding our breaths.


After reviewing a number of other DDR4 memory kits over the last few months our expectations have obviously grown considerably since that initial review. While this kit is without question the best Hynix MFR-based memory that we have tested so far, the overclocking difference between it and lower priced kits like the Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 isn't that large. Maybe we are getting too jaded by the impressive capabilities of Hynix-based kits, but above about DDR4-3100 15-15-15 the law of diminishing returns definitely starts applying and there doesn't seem to be that much overclocking headroom available. Furthermore, if you don't care about sky high clock speeds and are more concerned with tight timings, the Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666 kit is still remarkable. It might "only" max out at about DDR4-3000, but it's low latency prowess is absolutely untouchable.

None of this necessarily diminishes this particular kit though. The G.Skill Ripjaws 4 DDR4-3200 16GB memory is a specialized product. If you're building a day-to-day or a gaming PC, then you don't need memory like this. But if you're building a system that you're planning to tweak and play around with, some DDR4-3200 modules might be worth the investment in order to prevent any overclocking bottlenecks or just for good old bragging rights.

 

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