G.Skill TridentX 16GB DDR3-2133 CL9 Memory Kit Review

G.Skill is clearly one of the most popular memory manufacturers, especially among computer enthusiasts, gamers and overclockers. The TridentX memory series is designed for the most demanding users like extreme overclockers, so there is no place for cheap parts. You can expect to receive a high end product which you paid for. At Overclockers.com we once again have a chance to check how much G.Skill has to offer as we test the TridentX 16GB  DDR3-2133 CL9 memory kit.  Let’s not make this introduction any longer and move on to find out if the TridentX DDR3-2133 CL9 kit is really worth paying a premium for. We’ll see it meets our (already high) expectations.

Specification and Photo Gallery

 Specification

  • Product Number:  F3-2133C9D-16GTX
  • Rated Speed:  DDR3-2133 / PC3-17000
  • Density:  2×8 GB ( Dual Channel )
  • SPD Profile:  1333 9-9-9-24 1.50 V
  • XMP Profile #1 : 2133 9-11-11-31 1.60V
  • XMP Profile #2 : 2133 9-11-11-31 1.60V

As we can see on the attached screenshots, G.Skill TridentX has two XMP profiles. Both profiles are nearly the same but there are some differences in sub-timings that may help with stability. If for some reason one of the profiles isn’t working then we can try second one and it will probably work. In about the same way, XMP profiles are programmed into most G.Skill memory kits, which is a really good idea as we can be sure that memory is prepared for nearly every motherboard on the market. Actually, it’s working and I’ve never had issues with G.Skill memory. Even if one profile didn’t work then other one was perfectly stable.

Below we can see three SPD/XMP windows from ASRock Z87M OC Formula (the test board), AIDA64, and CPU-Z.

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - ASRock Z87M OCF UEFI

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – ASRock Z87M OCF UEFI

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - AIDA64 SPD/XMP

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – AIDA64 SPD/XMP

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - CPU-Z SPD/XMP

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – CPU-Z SPD/XMP

All diagnostic tools are showing us about the same info regarding programmed profiles. So, as I already mentioned, SPD is 666MHz (DDR3-1333) 9-9-9-24 1.50V while XMP profiles are 1066MHz (DDR3-2133) 9-11-11-31 1.60V.

Package

TridentX 16GB DDR3-2133 came to our redaction in a retail package so most common used blister type package. It’s good enough to protect memory and we see what is inside.

Inside except two memory sticks we can also find G.Skill logo sticker.

G.Skill guarantees compatibility with latest Intel Haswell motherboards but it should be also compatible with older chipsets. Actual list of tested motherboards we can find on the G.Skill website.

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - package

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – package

On the back of the package we can find the sign “It’s Not The Fastest, Until It’s TridentX.” There is a lot of truth in these words looking at all TridentX memory series. We will also check how much that slogan fits the 16GB DDR3-2133 kit, but that’s a bit later.

On the back there is also info about technical support via online forums, Facebook, telephone and email. G.Skill memory has lifetime warranty.

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - package

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – package

Closer Look

Now let’s take a closer look at memory itself.

TridentX 16GB kit contains two 8GB memory modules. Serial numbers suggest that inside we can find Samsung memory while SPD specification and voltage tell us we can expect ICs from the HCH9 series. After all most important is how it works, not how it’s called.

Memory kit presented in this review was manufactured in March 2014.

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9

Now let’s take a look at the G.Skill TridentX 16GB DDR3-2133 gallery.

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The TridentX cooling is aided by tall heatsinks, but if it’s causing any issues with large CPU coolers then we can remove the top fin. With the fin removed it won’t be much higher than any other regular memory sticks.

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - Top Fin

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – Top Fin

Stability Testing on Declared Settings

Stability testing on the declared settings has been performed on a well known diagnostic software, which is latest 5.01 version of Memtest86+. There were no errors after about five hours of Memtest86+ on each profile. Screen photo below is showing only one of the XMP profiles as both would be exactly the same since Memtest is not showing timing details.

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - Memtest86+

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – Memtest86+

To be sure that everything runs perfectly, I also performed six hours of tests using AIDA64 System Stability Test in a multi-threaded environment.

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - AIDA64 Stability

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – AIDA64 Stability

All tests passed flawlessly. At this time we are sure there are no issues with our memory and we can move forward to the other tests!

Performance Testing

Test System

  • Intel Core i7 4670K @ 4.2 GHz
  • ASRock Z87M OC Formula, BIOS/UEFI 1.60
  • ASUS Radeon R9 270X DC2 TOP
  • PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk. III , 1200 W 80+ Platinum PSU
  • Crucial M4 256 GB AHCI SSD
  • Windows 7 Ultimate

Comparison Memory Kits

  • AVEXIR Blitz 1.1, 2×4 GB DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24
  • G.Skill TridentX 2x8GB DDR3-1866 8-9-9-24
  • Patriot Viper III 2x8GB DDR3-2400 10-12-12-31
  • AVEXIR Core Gold 2x4GB DDR3-2666 11-13-13-35

AIDA64

AIDA64 contains one of the most popular memory benchmarks, so I will also use it to compare maximum bandwidth of the memory kits. We’ll use the latest AIDA64 version baseed on multi-threaded tests.

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - AIDA64 Performance

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – AIDA64 Performance

Intel’s Haswell memory controller loves high memory clock, so we can see that bandwidth is scaling with frequency. Even though higher memory clock wins with access time in this case, the TridentX 2133 memory is still showing good performance compared to higher clocked kits.

MaxxMem Preview v1.99

MaxxMem Preview is a single threaded benchmark, but is also shows us memory read, write and copy bandwidth.

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - MaxxMem Preview Performance

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – MaxxMem Preview Performance

In this test we see that all memory kits above DDR3-1866 are presenting similar performance. Results are clearly limited by the memory controller’s bandwidth. Higher frequency is not helping much in this case, and the only category where there are big differences is memory copy bandwidth.

HyperPi 32M

HyperPi is most popular among overclockers. This multi-threaded version of SuperPi simply loves high memory performance, so it’s really good for comparing memory kits.

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - HyperPi 32M Performance

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – HyperPi 32M Performance

In four thread HyperPi 32M, TridentX 2133 is nearly as fast as DDR3-2400 CL10 and is beating DDR3-2666 CL11 by couple of ms. The difference between fastest kits in this test isn’t big and we wouldn’t notice it in daily work, but it counts for overclockers.

3DMark Fire Strike R9 270X

3DMark Fire Strike was been run on dedicated and integrated graphics card to show how memory speed affects new games performance. I will start from results based on the ASUS R9 270X graphics card.

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - 3DMark Fire Strike, R9 270X Performance

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – 3DMark Fire Strike, R9 270X Performance

As expected differences in results aren’t big, but the TridentX 2133 won this test. The mix of higher frequency and low latency works best in this benchmark.

3DMark Fire Strike IGP

Now let’s check how our memory kits are performing using the CPU’s integrated HD4600 graphics. Integrated graphics like Intel’s HD4600 use system memory to store and perform calculations on all graphics data, so RAM speed affects graphics performance much more than what we see when a discrete graphics card is used.

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - 3DMark Fire Strike, HD4600 Performance

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – 3DMark Fire Strike, HD4600 Performance

Once again TridentX 2133 is showing high performance. DDR3-2400 memory was slightly faster in this test, but second place for DDR3-2133 kit isn’t bad. Especially considering the results are better than memory at DDR3-2666 CL11.

PCMark 8 Home Conventional 3.0

PCMark 8 is a mix of everything you can find in your home PC. Tests are checking performance in daily work based on web browsing, gaming, photo editing and video chat.

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - PCMark 8 Performance

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – PCMark 8 Performance

Once again we see similar performance compared to the highest clocked memory kits. Results of DDR3-2133 and higher memory are about the same. At the same time we can see the high performance of the TridentX 2133, which isn’t worse than memory at higher frequency.

Performance of G.Skill TridentX DDR3-2133 is really good and has no problems to compete with other memory kits set to higher clock.

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.

I guess I didn’t have much luck with my review sample as maximum clock achieved was 1100MHz ( DDR3-2200 ) 9-11-11-26 1.6V. Raising voltage or relaxing timings didn’t help to make it stable at DDR3-2400 clock. However, I know that TridentX DDR3-1600 and 1866 are overclocking up to the 2400 mark and they’re based on similar ICs. So, I assume there is a high chance that other DDR3-2133 kits will also run stable at DDR3-2400 without raising voltage much above stock values ( 1.60-1.65V ).

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - OC 1866 CL8

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – OC 1866 CL8

Above we can see result at DDR3-1866 8-9-9-26 1.60V, so about the same as we can get when buying TridentX 16GB DDR3-1866 CL8 memory.

Below is maximum stable result at DDR3-2200 9-11-11-26 1.60V. As I already mentioned, tested memory didn’t want to run at the 2400 speed that was possible on some other TridentX kits. It doesn’t change fact that memory is already one of the fastest options on the market, so overclocking is not really necessary to achieve good results.

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 - OC 2200 CL9

TridentX 16GB 2133 CL9 – OC 2200 CL9

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

As expected, G.Skill TridentX offers high performance and stability. Memory passed every test flawlessly and I can’t really complain about anything related to declared specification or performance.

The only “but” is overclocking. I’m not going to base my final score on the overclocking as it’s never guaranteed, especially when I had a chance to test more 16GB TridentX kits and I know average clocks that they can make. It doesn’t change fact that I was expecting better overclocking results from the DDR3-2133 kit. Earlier this year I was testing TridentX 16GB DDR3-1866 CL8 and hokiealumnus made a review of TridentX 16GB DDR3-1600 CL7 kit that I believe are on similar ICs, but just prepared to work at different frequency. In both cases memory was overclocking up to DDR3-2400 mark, so I’m expecting to see about the same from most TridentX kits between 1600 and 2133 clock.

Also price of all TridentX kits between 1600 and 2133 is similar, but it’s always better to pick memory at higher frequency than count on luck in overclocking. Price of nearly $180 isn’t low but we know why we pay that premium price. It’s not memory designed for an average user, and if you want to receive a “best of the best” product then you have to pay more. There are still more expensive memory series from other manufacturers that offer lower performance, so pricing of TridentX memory isn’t that bad.

I can also add that TridentX is probably the only memory series on the market where we are sure to find Samsung memory ICs (at least up to the DDR3-2400 mark as higher clocked kits are based on Hynix ICs). Overclockers like Samsung chips especially because of a chance of getting tighter timings, which improves performance. Even on standard settings, memory based on Samsung ICs has usually slightly higher performance than the competition. Probably that’s why G.Skill sticks to Samsung ICs in their fastest memory series.

At the end, it really doesn’t matter what brand memory chips are used to build memory a module, but what a manufacturer did to provide optimal performance. In this case, G.Skill combined good ICs with well prepared XMP profiles and high quality PCB. G.Skill did a great job designing TridentX memory, and we can be sure that we receive top of the line memory. When we add good support with lifetime warranty, it’s hard to find any competition on the memory market.

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~ Bartosz Waluk ( Woomack )

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9 Comments:

GaldedRaw's Avatar
Great review. Pretty sweet looking RAM.
kamran's Avatar
good looks great but the top heat sink attaches without thermpaste !
ATMINSIDE's Avatar
Not sure why this is an issue...
The top of the heatsink is a purely aesthetic piece.
Woomack's Avatar
Thanks
Memory is not running hot so there is no need of any TIM under the top fin. At least I don't remember any TridentX series running at high temps. On the other hand you don't really wish to clean any TIM ( especially thermal grease ) after removing top fin. It would simply look bad
Draven25's Avatar
Been awhile since I have OC'd. I mean were are talking days of a Pentium 133 so please bare with me.
Maybe it's just me but I can't get this ram to OC at all. Every time I try I can't post and if I do I can't load into the OS. I hope some one can help me figure this out.
I have this RAM of course with a Crosshair V Formula Z and a FX 9590BE.

Edit:
I should clarify I actually just want something better than the 1338 I am at now. No really looking to OC but if it can happen...

Here is what CPUZ shows
Mandrake4565's Avatar

You're much better off starting your own post in the memory or AMD cpu section, Draven.
Mandrake4565's Avatar
No apologies necessary, you just get more help in either of those sections.
Woomack's Avatar
Memory should work enabling memory profiles or simply setting it manually to 2000/2133 9-11-11 Command Rate 2N and voltage 1.60V.All other options should work at auto.
If you can enable XMP profiles then check both of them.
You may also need to raise CPU-NB voltage by +0.1V to keep it stable above 1866.

TridentX 2133 C9 will probably work without issues at 1866 8-9-9 1.60V on AMD platform and performance is nearly the same.
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