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Written by Bruce Normann   
Friday, 18 December 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
G.Skill RipJaws DDR3-1600 CL7 Memory Kit
Closer Look: G.Skill RIPJAWS DDR3-1600
RAM Testing Methodology
Performance Test Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Closer Look: G.Skill RIPJAWS DDR3-1600

There is no mistaking the design of the G.Skill Ripjaws series for anything else. It has a unique look that evokes the product name in a very graphic manner. I'm very happy with my OCZ Reapers, but do they look like Reapers? Not in the least. These modules look like doubt about it. They are a bright blue, which you might not associate with jaws, but they're just about the same color as high-chromium steel after it's been heated and cooled. So, jaws and blue steel, yeah it gets my attention.


The heat spreaders on the Ripjaws are able to effectively clamp down on the memory chips without the typical spring clips that many DIMMS sport, including many G.Skill products. Unless there are some hidden screws underneath the Ripjaws label, they've come up with an innovative and stylish way to fasten the heat spreaders in place. None of the modules in this series uses any color other than green for the PCBs; I think black PCBs would look nice for the red or black versions, but that's just me.


After we get past the visuals, let's take a look at what else we have here. This is a dual-channel kit, so it's geared towards the LGA1156 (P55) platform instead of the LGA1336 (X58) motherboards that feature a triple-channel RAM interface. What makes it specifically suited for that application is the Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP). This a set of SPD (Serial Presence Detect) settings that work the same way as the NVIDIA EPP scheme, for plug and play memory settings above and beyond the normal JEDEC standards. For an explanation of the benefits, see one of our recent RAM reviews that used an LGA1156 platform for testing.

As I mentioned in the intro, we are going to take a slightly different approach in this review, and see how well these kits perform on the AMD AM3 platform. The standard JEDEC values reported by the memory modules are shown here, along with the single set of XMP values in the right hand column. At the standard voltage of 1.5V, CAS Latency keeps rising as the memory clock goes up. It takes a wee bit of extra voltage to get the timings down to where they need to be for a set of gaming sticks. The i5 and i7 memory controllers can't stand voltages above 1.65V, so memory makers are doing everything they can to get high frequencies and tight timings on a restricted voltage budget. The AMD AM3 platform doesn't have that restriction, and there are plenty of memory modules that will run quite happily at 1.9V and above in this environment. We want to see how the low voltage chips run, though, so let's see what we can get out of these modules at stock voltage, or at most a reasonable overvolt.


The CPU-Z screenshot below shows the best I could do for timings at 1600MHz with a slight overvolt of 1.64V. I actually took the voltage quite a bit higher, trying to achieve the XMP settings, but could not get these modules below CL8 at 1600 MHz or higher clocks. The extra volts didn't seem to help, so I throttled back to 1.64V for the remainder of the testing, and both the 1600MHz and 1744MHz overclock were stable at this voltage. I tried for 1800 MHz, but was not able to reach that, no doubt a direct result of the binning process all the memory manufacturers use to identify higher performing chips, that can be sold at a premium.


So far, I'd say my experiment has been a qualified success. I was not able to hit the XMP profile settings, but I was able to overclock the RAM beyond the stock maximum frequency at timings just one notch above the XMP profile, at 8-8-8-24. I was also able to run tighter timings than stock at lower frequencies, even at the nominal voltage spec of 1.5V. So, now that we have defined some stable configurations. let's move on to the testing portion of our review where we see what sort of gains we have or have not achieved with these various memory profiles.



# Mrphil ede 2010-07-10 08:37
I am awaiting delivery of an Asus P7P55D-E Premium m/b + 1156 i7-860 CPU, and memory chosen from the QVL, but is non compliant with the requirement to keep below 1.65 V on overclocking. Also it does not have XMP. I ahave three options, return the motherboard and prooc for an AMD kit (which I have not researched, or for an Intel 1366 based kit. A third option is to keep the m/b and proc and change for the F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL Ripjaws recommended by G.Skill for the job.
1) It is unclear whether or not the G.Skill F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL has XMP, can you shed any light on this please.This is further complicated that Intel limit the number of memory modules to one per channel for 16000 and/or XMP memory modules. The implications of this are not obvious.
2) Can I run more than one 16000 memory module in each channel if I underclock to 1333 ?
3) The Asus 1366 board QVL for the KHX1600C8D3K3_6GX memory states it can run with 2x 2x3 modules, contravening abovel X58 slot limits.
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# I would swap the memory....BruceBruce 2010-07-10 12:44
The CPU and motherboard you have chosen are great, IMHO, there are very few reasons why anyone would move (up?) from an 1156-based mobo to an 1136 unit. The F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL Ripjaws will indeed work, and that part number referes to an 8GB kit of two DIMMS. Are you planning on 8GB of memory? If so, this is a good choice. Don't worry about the XMP profile, although I suspect they have one, based on the fact that theGSKILL syas it is for an Intel system. Even without it, you can still go into BIOS and get the same performance. Take a look at my recent review of the ASUS P7P55D-E Pro motherboard, where I used the memory from this review in a P55 system.

As for the number of memory sticks per channel, the two DIMM kit you mentioned will give you 8GB and run in Dual-Channel mode on your chosen mobo, so everything is good. If you need more than 8GB of RAM, you are doing something very speciallized, and I need to know what that is before making any recommendations.
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# RE: I would swap the memory....Phil Ede 2010-07-10 15:27
Hi Bruce

I have read your m/b review, thank you for putting so much valuable data in one place, written in clear technical English.

The main reason for needing the memory and performance is for computing the performance of very large broadcast shortwave antennas, including the effects of powerlines. The conducting elements are cut into thousands of segments, and the amount of memory needed goes up as the square of the number of segments. Also, I like to put the "engine" (a legacy FORTRAN program) into an optimisation loop where it may run the model thousands of times making small changes to find the optimum design, less memory needed and more speed, with a heavy load on the processing. Using the Ripjaws I would hope to be able to duble the memory to 16GB later if necessary. In both cases paging to disc takes time. I have run other prgrams (at work) running on Unix machines (the first to operate 64 bit) which can take days to complete.

Thanks for the comments, I get the feeling that with the advent of nanotechnology and scouring the memory specs I am aware of the effect of industrial inertia, with many companies finding it difficult to keep up. The Asus QVL is full of anomalies and I am not sure how far to trust the Taiwanese based G.Skill, high on technology, but what about quality control and reliability?

The alternative board would have been ne of the PX58D boards. One oddity is that every page I read introduces the product as new or latest, which it might have been when it was written, but without a timeline it is not clear what really is the "latest" and whether or not the second latest may not have benefits such as fitting in better with industrial inertia, a point in question being DirectX11 which is supposed to "come with Windows 7"

Have you ever written any reviews with view to servicing the mathematical and scientific community ? I also run other legacy FORTRAN programs for ionospheric and mathematical modelling. I know a Senior University lecturer whose students run TC3D (Systat software) for their PhD projects, that gives equations to fit data representing the state of the ionsphere at any place and time. The result may take the form of 100 order or so polynomial (with 100 sines and cosines in it). This then has to be inserted into the program code, compiled, and run. This is fine for some academic case study (perhaps even using Martian data) but useless for me as I need to model the ionosphere (here on earth) for any place, time, month, and year in an 11 year solar cycle. The sheer thought of putting TC3D plus a command line FORTRAN compiler inside an optimisation loop, within a C++ program, even with the required source data, would be enough to scare the most hardened gaming overclocker out into the garden shed to pot up petunias. Then, as a colleague once put it "memory is cheap and life is short" Put that way, 24GB of ram running with a CPU that clocks bits faster than the carrier frequency of a state of the art defence radar pulse is worth every penny if it gets results required by humble penniless research students struggling under the fundopause (the height above the earth at which space funding stops).

Many thanks

Phil Ede
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# I see now.....BruceBruce 2010-07-10 18:42
Thanks for the explanation, it really helps. If your appplication is using the page file on the HDD, and more memory will eliminate that, then more memory is the biggest bang for the buck. The X58 motherboards certainly offer the simplest way of bulking up on memory. As for AMD vs Intel, Olin did some interetsing benchmarks with CADD applications in his AMD Phenom-II X6-1090T Black Edition Processor review on this site. Look on the "Processor" page, links on the left... Also check put the Everest benchmarks in the same review. They may be the most relevant benchmarks from the ones most review sites commonly use.

Don't worry one bit about GSKILL quality. They are one of the best and have a vey strong and loyal following in the enthusiast community. They are not the cheapest product, in general.
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# RE: G.Skill RipJaws DDR3-1600 CL7 Memory KitRealNeil 2010-09-29 04:24
Hello Bruce,
I have a Gigabyte MA790GPT-UD3H AM3 Mainboard that immediately saw the Intel XMP profile on my 8GB (4-2GB sticks) of G.Skill 1600 RipJaws RAM in BIOS, and set all of the timings properly when I selected it. The X3-720 CPU runs fine setup that way.
Would this compatibility be because of a little extra effort by Gigabyte to use the XMP profiles?
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# RE: RE: G.Skill RipJaws DDR3-1600 CL7 Memory KitOlin Coles 2010-09-29 05:12
XMP is a function added to the BIOS, and firmware updates also update the profile list. I'm a fan of using the latest motherboard firmware, especially on Gigabyte and ASUS motherboards.
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# COMPATIBILITY (G.Skill RipJaws DDR3-1600 CL7 Memory Kit )ash 2010-10-01 09:05
Hi Bruce,

I have an ASUS P7H55-M and a Core I5-760, I want to buy this memory kit (G.Skill RipJaws DDR3-1600 CL7 Memory Kit ), however this is not included in the QVL of my motherboard... does this mean, i cannot use this kit? isn't this compatible with my system?
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# COMPATIBILITY (G.Skill RipJaws DDR3-1600 CL7 Memory Kit )ash 2010-10-01 09:15
also, I had a look at Microsoft's page for the i5 760 and it says-

Memory Specifications
Max Memory Size
(dependent on memory type) 16 GB
Memory Types DDR3-1066/1333
# of Memory Channels 2

It says it only supports 1066 and 1333 RAM. Does that mean I have to get different RAM? or can I still use the 1600 RAM but just at 1333 speeds? or can i still use it for 1600mhz with just a few tweaks on the settings of my mobo?
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# No Guarantees, but...BruceBruce 2010-10-01 11:01
The F3-12800CL7D-4GBECO memory that IS listed on the QVL list means that ASUS qualified that memory at the exact same speeds and timings. The only difference is the voltage that it took to achieve it. The "ECO" series runs at lower voltages (~1.35V) than the older, Ripjaws models, which need ~1.65V.

Yes, it will take some work in the BIOS settings to get the full performance from these DIMMs, but the board will definitely support those speeds and timings. XMP is supposed to make it "easy", but I've only been able to get high performance memory to run at max settings, with Standard BIOS settings about 50% of the time. The other 50% of the time, I have to go in and tweak something to make it run reliably at those speeds and timings.

Bottom line: don't be afraid to buy them, but be prepared for the possibility of having to do some work.
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# guide.ash 2010-10-04 02:52
thanks for the help. one more thing... do you have tutorials or guide on how to work on this? i really need help on this, i'm kinda new at this.. thanks..
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# RE: guide.Olin Coles 2010-10-04 06:46
We have two guides that can help:
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# Wrong Test Timingspswfps 2010-12-10 08:47
Hi, I think you've set the tRC too low. Try setting it to 40 clocks instead of 32. I have found these sticks perfectly stable on my AMD rig @ 1600MHz 7-8-7-24-40 1T using 1.615V.
Great sticks for the price.
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# They're in a better place now....BruceBruce 2010-12-10 09:56
I'm now using these sticks on an Intel P55 Express system, and they are running fine at 7-8-7-24. My long-term opinion is the same, they're very nice, and a good price.
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# Correct Test Timings...pswfps 2010-12-10 11:59
Cool. Your P55 board has probably just picked up the correct tRC of 40 from the SPD settings on the DIMMS, as per your CPU-Z screenie. I had to set it manually on my 890GX board.
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