G.Skill Sniper X 2x8GB DDR4-3600 CL19 Memory Kit Review

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G.Skill has recently released Sniper X DDR4 memory series. As with any new memory kit, we are interested to test it and see how it performs. G.Skill sent us a 16GB dual channel kit specified to run at DDR4-3600. It’s also the highest current speed of the Sniper X memory kits. The Sniper X is designed for gamers and computer enthusiasts so DDR4-3600 speed lands in the higher end of the sweet spot. Let’s take a look at specifications, features, and performance of the tested kit.

Specifications and Features

The memory kit has relaxed timings for its speed as does the whole Sniper X line. Of course, it won’t stop us from tightening the timings down, more on that a bit later. For typical users or even gamers, memory speed and timings won’t change much while those who are into competitive overclocking will probably decide on other, faster memory kits.

The Sniper X runs at a standard voltage of 1.35V and is based on single rank modules, which is typical for this memory speed. The memory kit has only one XMP profile but that seems to be the standard and few manufacturers add more profiles. Those who wish to run this memory on motherboards with limited memory frequency or without XMP support (it’s hard to believe but there are motherboards like that) will have to use SPD profile which is compatible with JEDEC at DDR4-2133 15-15-15 1.20V settings.

The Sniper X does not have RGB LED illumination so if that is on the wish list, take a look at the Trident Z RGB memory series. Many users don’t want LEDs on memory modules so for some, it could be a plus. One big advantage of the Sniper X series is its price. DDR4-3600 CL19 memory kit costs about $200 on Newegg. There are also DDR4-3600 CL19-20-20 kits which are actually replacing the 19-19-19 version and they are cheaper at around $185.

Available in a wide range of frequency speeds, the Sniper X series brings out the style of FPS games to your upcoming memory upgrade or next PC build.

As the spiritual successor to the DDR3 Sniper series, the next-gen Sniper X is designed with a distinctive military camouflage top bar to compliment a wide variety of gaming system aesthetics with three color pattern offerings. In addition to the minimalistic aluminum heatspreaders, these modules would be kept nice and cool so your system will always be ready for a fight and not flight!

Packaging and Product Photos

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The memory arrived in a transparent blister pack made out of plastic. It’s the most popular package type for DDR4 memory and protects memory well during transport. Inside the package, we find two memory modules and a small case badge with the G.Skill logo. Pretty much the same sticker as we’ve seen for a couple of years. I think it’s time to modify it a bit but I will leave it to G.Skill. On the back, we find a general description of Sniper X memory series and product numbers. Not much more but we don’t really need anything else to install memory modules. Additional info can always be found on the G.Skill website.

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The tested Sniper X memory kit is in the classic camo version, the same as all Sniper X memory kits. It also has an aluminum heat spreader with a silver stripe and camo top. Exceptional design is what makes them special as there are no other memory modules on the market in camo version. The modules are quite tall and they were clearly designed for their looks as even small heatsinks handle DDR4 cooling without issues. Heatsinks aren’t really needed as RAM, in general, doesn’t put out a lot of heat, however, it does protect memory IC from physical damage. Each module has a small sticker with its product and serial number. There is also information about general specification (rated speed and main timings) which is what is typically found on DRAM modules.

Stability at Rated Speed

Working closely with motherboard vendors, the Sniper X memory kits are rigorously tested for stability and compatibility across multiple platforms, and like all G.SKILL memory offerings, comes with a frequently updated QVL to easily pick out a suitable motherboard for your build.

Even though this memory kit was designed for Intel, it also works well on AMD using XMP profiles. It’s still better to check QVL list for a motherboard compatibility. As you can see in the attached screenshot from the AIDA64 stability test, there are no issues with our memory kit on the Supermicro C7Z370-CG-IW motherboard which was used for most tests. Since all is fine then we can move to performance tests.

Performance

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All results in the comparison were performed on the Sniper X DDR4-3600 memory so these are also possible options if we wish to set lower frequency or our motherboard couldn’t handle DDR4-3600 settings. All settings are comparable to other memory kits at similar specification. We have to remember that most memory kits have relaxed sub-timings which doesn’t change much in various brands. All results are also easy to achieve on many popular memory kits. Presented results were made at the standard voltage of 1.35V and auto VCCSA/VCCIO voltages. The last result shows maximum overclocking settings which were stable during all tests and at the same time, it was the maximum frequency at which this memory could run.

Synthetic Memory Bandwidth and Calculation Tests

The first test is the AIDA64 so probably the most popular memory benchmark and also probably the best memory and cache benchmark on the market. As we can see, memory bandwidth is scaling well with frequency. Regardless if we look at memory read, write or copy, higher frequency gives higher bandwidth what usually means higher performance.

HyperPi 32M reacts really well on memory settings so it is perfect for comparisons. The best result is at DDR4-3333 16-18-18. This result was a couple of seconds faster than the XMP profile which tells us that the highest frequency is not always the best. Sometimes balance counts more.

Rendering and Tests Based on Daily Usage

I’ve decided to use Futuremark/UL VRMark to compare performance in 3D graphics as it’s one of the most demanding benchmarks. As we can see below, regardless of memory settings, scores are almost the same. There are some differences but it won’t affect our experience in games on an Intel platform. Perhaps if we test the same on AMD then we will see a bit different situation.

Cinebench R15 shows about the same but we can clearly see that DDR4-3333 at tighter timings or DDR4-3600 at more relaxed timings are the best. Once again balance counts. I think that DDR4-3466 at tighter timings will be optimal in this case.

In 7-Zip we are able to notice a larger difference in results. Compression and decompression are passing much faster on higher frequency memory. The only weird result is decompression using DDR4-2133 settings. All these results are repeatable.

Performance of the Sniper X DDR4-3600 memory kit is high but I would like to see the same memory at tighter timings which would help in some tests. It doesn’t change the fact that most users would be satisfied with its performance. Those users who are expecting more should take a look at the Trident Z product line.

Overclocking

Overclocking is never guaranteed, so the presented results may vary from results on other memory kits. I am not recommending overclocking if you do not know what are you doing. High voltages may damage hardware and it will not be covered by warranty.

In the first test, I was trying to set tight timings at the declared frequency of 1800MHz (DDR4-3600). My luck was limited and I was able to set CL16 while all other timings were without changes. Final settings were DDR4-3600 CL16-19-19 at 1,35V. Higher voltage wasn’t helping much and was affecting almost only CL. CL15 was possible at about 1.5V. Below are screenshots showing expected performance at stable settings of DDR4-3600 CL16-19-19 1.35V on Supermicro Z370 motherboard.

AIDA64 – DDR4-3600 CL16-19-19-38 1.35V

Mentioned settings are passing all benchmarks and stability tests. One of the hardest to pass is HyperPi 32M.

HyperPi 32M – DDR4-3600 CL16-19-19-38 1.35V

Maximum possible frequency was DDR4-3866 at CL20-20-20-40 1.35V. Again higher voltage wasn’t helping much but in this case, even at 1.5V, I couldn’t set tighter timings.

It’s still a nice result but of course, we wish to see tighter timings. On the G.Skill website you can see that tested this memory kit is no longer on the list and it was replaced by CL19-20-20.

AIDA64 – DDR4-3866 CL20-20-20-40 1.35V

Results at DDR4-3866 are also in the comparison in the Performance section of this review, so you can check how much gives overclocking of the Sniper X DDR4-3600.

AIDA64 – DDR4-3866 CL20-20-20-40 1.35V

Conclusion

The Sniper X 16GB DDR4-3600 memory kit is clearly designed for gamers and all other users who still need higher performance but can live with memory at more relaxed timings. The memory is on the inexpensive side and we can find it under $200 in popular online stores. There were no issues during all tests. Even quick tests on AMD platform confirmed stability and compatibility.

I have already mentioned a couple of times in the review and will repeat it again. If you are looking for the top performing memory kit then better pick one of the G.Skill Trident Z memory kits which are also available in RGB version. If you simply need memory kit which looks good,  performs well, but is also inexpensive, then I can recommend the Sniper X memory series as it meets gamers needs and does exactly for what it was designed.

Overclockers_clear_approvedClick the stamp for an explanation of what this means

~ Bartosz Waluk (Woomack)

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Discussion
  1. Another great review. Seems like a good kit for almost everything, with the ability to mess around a little with overclocking it for fun. Nice! :thup: