If you look at the average price for a DDR3 16GiB 2,666MHz set today, it will set you back about $200. In fact G.SKILL’s own Trident X and RipJaws Z 16GiB kits of the same frequency will set you back $199.99 and $204.99 respectively. So it follows that the company is asking you to pay close to $30 more for the same frequency and capacity. An odd thing to request of end users and customers even if you’re talking about the latest and greatest DDR4. If you’re one an X79 system or perhaps even one using Z79 with all your memory banks filled, there’s little to no incentive for you to fork out the additional cash to be right back to where you were before. As such, it’s impossible to evaluate the value of this kit against the previous DDR3 pricing. It just doesn’t make sense and is an unfair comparison.
However, if you’re looking at going forth and venturing into the waters that are the X99 platform, but want to do so within a reasonable budget. Then you may want to pay attention to this kit for many more reasons over and above its rated frequency and its ability to exceed it via overclocking. Price again is very important here because you’re not dealing with an ultra-high end kit. Memory at the 3200 and higher range cost over double the price and the perpetually “out of stock” 3,300 and 3,333MHz SKUs are around $650 and $750 each. Hardly what I would consider economical or sensible for the budget machine at all.
This RipJaws kit may never reach those frequencies, but you must consider as well the following, which is not all X99 motherboards are capable of operating memory above 2,666MHz. In fact I’m aware of a good few that do not even allow you to select frequencies above 2,666MHz despite what may be on the product pages and promotional material. If you happen to have one of these boards (you can’t know until you try a high bin set and find out) then you’re better off with 2,666MHz kits and then trying your luck at reaching higher frequencies. At worst you’ll get what you paid for and if you’re fortunate, you’ll be able to reach frequencies much higher without having to do too much tuning to get there.
This 16GiB kit is what I would consider the minimum required frequency for DDR4 platforms, no perhaps 2,400MHz. The reason is that frequencies lower than this will not yield you much performance gains over the X79 platform at all. If you are the current owner of a 4930K, a semi decent X79 motherboard and 2,400MHz memory. Simply moving to a 5820K, the same memory frequency and a new motherboard will yield you little to no performance gains at all. If anything you’ll just lose out on PCI-Express lanes. As such, if you’re going to make the move it’s best to do it with at least the vastly improved memory overclocking on the X99 platform in mind.
To that end, when I started with this RipJaws4 kit, I had little to no expectations of it. Remember as well that at the time, many of the motherboards that were made available for testing had some teething problems thus, you’ll have to look at this review as a worst case scenario when it comes to performance and frequency scaling. Right now, the same motherboards and this very same kit will produce better performance and I’ve no doubt that the overclocking will have improved immensely as well.
Even with such limitations, right of the bat, 2,666MHZ was as easy as pie, simply loading the XMP profile, saving and restarting the system. No problems there as there shouldn’t be. That isn’t interesting though and what most of us will want to find out is how far the memory can go safely. By safely I mean at voltages set to 1.35V and no higher. You should keep in mind though that most motherboards will apply a little more voltage what you set. So even if you set 1.35V in the BIOS you’re likely to get anything from 1.36 to sometimes 1.38V. This shouldn’t destroy your memory at all, but do be aware that voltages above 1.45V could be closer to 1.5V and could cause rapid deterioration of your memory.
Now with that out the way, I didn’t bother with 1.2V as there’s no fun to be had there, so I went straight to 1.35V and to see what this memory could do with lower timings. At 2,666MHz, CL14 was the best I could do without some serous tuning of the secondary timings. This is simple because not all motherboards will offer these settings that are on this board. Some motherboards will offer even more, so as usual, this is a worst case scenario. The good thing about this though is that CL14 offered sizeable gains in memory bandwidth especially for DRAM reads as measured by AIDA64. The effect on Super Pi 32M is as you would expect, shaving off almost two seconds, which is significant. Nothing wrong with that kind of performance gain at all. Even if the memory had to stop here, I would have been satisfied, but then I tried CL14 again at the next available speed which was 2,750MHz (using the 1.25B clk multiplier),something rather odd happened. The performance should have improved but it didn’t. In fact it got worse in Super Pi. AIDA64 showed minor gains all across as one would expect, but SuperPi behaved contrary to this, while 3DMMark11’s Physics test showed negligible gains that were well within the margin of error.
If I had to decide, I would not bother with this frequency or at the very least this combination of hardware bares no fruit when configured in such a manner, which is a pity, especially if you have some of the flaky motherboards that just may have 2750MHz as the maximum bootable memory speed you can access.
However, not all was lost because lo and behold, while CL14 didn’t work at 3,000MHz, C15 did just fine. With the performance jumping up significantly from 2,666MHz CL14. I was truly not expecting this to be the case given that this is really some of the cheaper RAM from G.SKILL, but there it was doing 3,000MHz as if it was nothing. Needless to say SuperPi32M and 3DMark11 benefited from this and it is certainly the frequency that one will want to be running with this memory, provided your chosen kit and motherboard combination can deliver (I don’t think there’s a CPU out there with an IMC that wouldn’t be able to do this frequency). G.SKILL has a 3000MHz C15 kit, but it is $275 and it too operates at 1.35V by default. Which means with this set you may have just netted yourself a free upgrade to the next SKU without the cash outlay.
Again this isn’t guaranteed, but again, given just how simple and quick this was I can’t fault this kit at all. It is something of a little marvel, and proves to those that doubt, fun can still be had with overclocking even without the best hardware at your disposal.
As usual, with more tuning, more can be had from this kit and for the brave souls perhaps higher speeds can be reached as well, but that is the beauty of it all. Finding out how far the kit will go before it gives in. 3000MHz C15 was more than enough for me and at $230 it sure is a bargain. You may have some great DDRA already and looking for a backup set or looking to make a budget conscious purchase for the first time. Whatever the reason, this is a great place to start and as far as value for money goes, this kit has the minerals for sure.
Not everyone has the resources to spend $500 or more on a set of memory and even if you do you may not want to make such a commitment on 16GiB of memory. With that said, this G.Skill RipJaws4 set is on the right side of affordability (at least where DDR4 is concerned) and it definitely has the overclocking headroom to boot. Most kits should easily make 3,000MHz and that alone makes for a great kit that is under sold perhaps. This kit is certainly worth your time and consideration.