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Closer Look at Our Kit of Choice: G.Skill [TridentX] F3-2600C10D-8GTXD

Our tests suggest that you should use high-frequency memory to achieve maximum performance on a platform with an overclocked Ivy Bridge processor. And when you go shopping for such memory, you will find that there are but few makers who offer products rated for a clock rate above 2400 MHz. Among them is G.Skill which was one of the first to provide dual-channel DDR3-2600 kits. That’s why we use their product for this test session. It’s the G.Skill [TridentX] F3-2600C10D-8GTXD kit consisting of two 4-gigabyte sticks. This memory is rated for 2600 MHz with default timings of 10-12-12-31-2N but, as we could make sure during our tests, it can do even better than specified.

Here is a summary of the product specs:

  • Dual-channel kit consists of two memory modules, 4 GB each;
  • Nominal frequency: 2600 MHz;
  • Timings: 10-12-12-31-2N;
  • Voltage: 1.65 V.

The memory modules are covered from both sides with red-and-black aluminum heatsinks called TridentX. Included into the kit is a frame with two 50mm fans you can install on the DIMM slots to cool this memory.

The active cooling is rather a marketing feature because, as our experience suggests, there is no real need for it. The modules do not get very hot at work.

What we want to make a special mention of is the shape of the heatsinks. As opposed to many other makers, G.Skill has addressed users’ complaints that tall heatsinks make memory modules incompatible with large CPU coolers. Therefore the new TridentX heatsinks are composite. The top (red) part can be easily detached after unfastening two screws to reduce the height of the module to a mere 39 millimeters.

The G.Skill [TridentX] F3-2600C10D-8GTXD kit supports XMP 1.3 for easy installation and configuring. The single predefined XMP profile, which is written into the modules in two copies, contains the specified clock rate and timings. Considering how easy it is to configure the Ivy Bridge memory controller, there's no difficulty in making this memory run at 2600 MHz. Just plug them in and get to work. There’s also a DDR3-1600 configuration with timings of 11-11-11-28 written into the modules’ SPD for the sake of compatibility.

The modules are based on Samsung’s popular K4B2G0846D-HCH9 chips manufactured on 30nm tech process.

These chips enjoy a good reputation thanks to their excellent overclocking potential and low heat dissipation. It is quite natural for them to be used in high-speed modules.

Makers of overclocker-friendly memory do not like to reveal the origin of their chips,
so the markings of off-the-shelf G.Skill TridenX series are going to look like this.

Our G.Skill [TridentX] F3-2600C10D-8GTXD kit could work not only at its default 2600 but also at 2666 MHz. We didn’t even have to change its timings for that.

Unfortunately, the next frequency of 2800 MHz could not be conquered at any settings.

The G.Skill TridentX series is designed for Ivy Bridge processors and Z77-based mainboards as such platforms can clock system memory at 2600 MHz and higher. There is a compatibility list for the G.Skill [TridentX] F3-2600C10D-8GTXD kit compiled by the manufacturer. So, this kit is guaranteed to work at 2600 MHz on the following mainboards: ASUS Maximus V GENE, ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE, ASUS P8Z77-V PRO, Gigabyte GA-Z77A-UD5H, Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3, MSI Z77A-GD65 and MSI Z77A-G45. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t try using this memory with other mainboards.

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