So they are giving us as much, and as fast, as we could possibly handle. GSkill has announced their latest Ripjaw-Z kits specifically aimed at the latest Intel Socket 2011 chips on the X79 platform. These kits range from 4 x 8GB @ 2100 speeds with 1.5 v up to 8 x 8GB at 2400 speeds at 1.65 v. For those wishing to push clock speeds up higher, they offer a 4 x 4GB kit at 2500 speeds at 1.65v as well.
Red is the new black. This is what 32 GB of memory looks like now.
The past few months I have been using a few sets of GSkill memory with the latest Llano based chips from AMD. These are 4 x 4 GB 1866 products that run at 1.5v, and they have been pretty phenomenal for me. Now that we are moving into new CPU architectures from both manufacturers, memory speeds have become important again. For quite some time people could easily get by with DDR-3 1333 modules and not experience any kind of performance bottleneck. The reasons for this were due to CPU designs (quad core CPUs rarely required more than 12 GB/sec of bandwidth in most applications) as well as the non-integrated nature of graphics for the most part.
Things have obviously changed. Intel’s latest processors with the Sandy Bridge cores can utilize memory much more effectively, and when HyperThreading is utilized we see a pretty healthy uptick in memory utilization. On the AMD side we see a big jump in performance with the Llano based CPUs featuring the integrated HD 6000 GPUs. Due to how AMD designed the integrated graphics, every increase in memory speed translates into a significant jump in graphics performance.
The basic kits that are being offered under the Ripjaw-Z brand from GSkill.
Now with the latest Sandy Bridge E series of processors from Intel with the quad channel memory, we are pushing memory speeds much higher than before. I’m not entirely sure that 2400 and 2500 speeds are necessarily required for SB-E platforms, but they are certainly available. GSkill is hoping users will fill their stockings with lots of memory, as the latest 64 bit operating systems can handle as much as can be thrown at it in these cases. Memory prices are at an all time low, and it might be a good idea to purchase while things are absolutely dirt cheap. I say this now due to many memory chip manufacturers are cutting back on production to try to stabilize pricing. It has not helped that prices are staying low for memory due to the hard drive shortage cutting into PC sales.
The 8 x 8GB 2133 kit runs at a nice and low 1.5 volts. 64GB of memory is overkill for the vast majority of users, but happily excess is never enough. We never know what kind of fun quirks game designers will throw into their latest masterpieces, like Battlefield 3, which could eat up large portions of that. Another distinct possibility is partitioning off some of that memory to make a functional RAM disk. The speed of this unit will make even SSDs cry. Other kits include the 4 x 8GB 2400 @ 1.65, and the above mentioned 4 x 4GB 2500 @ 1.65.
This shot shows what 64GB of memory looks like running at DDR-3 2400 speeds.
These DIMMs feature the latest XMP 1.3 specification for the Intel platform, but there is no reason why these could not be used for AMD Bulldozer based systems. I know in the case of Asus they have implemented the ability to read XMP profiles on their AMD AM3+ motherboards. Basically this provides memory profiles for different speeds which maximize performance by using optimal timings for these DIMMs.
I personally have been using GSkill memory for some time now, and my issues have been few. At my work we did have a set of DIMMs go bad, but getting them replaced was shockingly simple. I filled out a web based form, I received an email with the necessary RMA info, and I sent the DIMMS in. About a week later I received back the replaced units, and they have been humming along without issue for over a year now. Memory will eventually go bad, but the warranty is solid and their replacement service has been excellent in my experience.