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Is TridentZ worth its premium over RipJaws?

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Nov 14, 2006
Hi, guys. I know TridentZ can't be bad, it obviously must be a very good chip, and I'd presume it to be in fact at least a little better binned that RipJaws as being one notch higher in G.Skill's lineup than RipJaws — the direct contender. And with that kind of marketing focusing on removing OC barriers, it should probably have a bit more OC headroom than RJ. However, there could be little more to it than the slightly better timings that TridentZ has in comparison to equally clocked RipJaws.

So if you've been lucky enough to have experience with both, I'm game for a tale.


And the whole background if — and only if — you have more time and don't mind going through some frequency vs CL vs voltage chatter and window shopping:

The reason I'm asking about TridentZ here is because my mobo's (QVL (Asrock Fatality K6) focuses on them while largely ignoring fast RipJaws with similar rated parameters, which would be my normal first choice.

The fastest 2x8=16GB from that QVL that doesn't charge a huge premium is:

3200MHz seems to be the sweet spot 8x2 (sometimes cheaper than 3000 or 2800 etc.), while 3400 commands a 33% premium for 6% frequency gain.

  • Non-QVL top pick: G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4, 2x8GB, 3200MHz, CL16 (16-18-18-38-2N), 1.35V (F4-3200C16D-16GVGB) — $93

The difference is:
  • circa $16 in pure money
  • latencies lower by 2 on each number after CAS latency (16/36 vs 16/18/36)
  • vague promise of even better stability and performance than Ripjaws, vague implied promise of more OC headroom too
  • subjective: uglier heatsink, worse aesthetic match for the mobo (just look at how RipJaws' shapes and colours to see why I think they're a better fit for Fatality's look)

Just for comparison, an all-round decent 2x8 Ripjaws from the QVL:

  • G.Skill Ripjaws V, 2400MHz, CL15 (15-15-15-35-2N), 1.2V (F4-2400C15D-16GVR) — $77

Regarding QVL or not (yeah, I know the basics/standard info):

  • On the one hand, I would normally presume RipJaws — a tried and true top line from a very solid company — to have a very high chance of avoiding WTF problems in a popular gaming board. The fact that similar sticks have passed mobo maker's testing and a higher-end mobo of the same vendor passed memory maker's testing (Asrock OC Formula) would raise the hopes a bit too. And I know QVL first of all doesn't matter as much these days as it used to. Nothing has changed in that QVL isn't and can't be an exhaustive list of what will work, nor is it even a 100% guarantee that what's on it will actually work, and tends to be updated only rarely.
  • On the other hand, 'it's not on the QVL,' is the prime excuse for helpdesk to show you the middle finger if something goes wrong. And we aren't talking about DDR3/1333, these are XMP2 & 1.35V toys supposed to run pretty high above their SPD (2133/1.2V), so there's much to iron out on the individual-computer basis with plenty of room for for finger-pointing among the manufacturers (CPU, PSU, Windows, whatever). Once the interplay with CPU OC starts, I could be in for a couple of sleepless nights. Plus, this computer is used for work too. It has to be available.

Bottom line: I would gladly fork out something like $15 just to avoid overnalysing and move on with life, but there are other factors. Namely: (i) aesthetics; and (ii) a second look at other products that I originally meant only as price reference (examples below, not exhaustive).

In my understanding of the arcane lore of frequencies, CLs and voltages (sorry, this is long, feel free to skip):

  • SPD for all DDR4 for 6 gen is 1.2V and 2133 MHz. Anything better is promised but not really guaranteed. It's basically factory OC. You might get a replacement, but I wouldn't hold my breath for tech assistance.
  • This said, future CPUs on 1151 will probably go above 2133 by default, and future DDR4-compatible generations on different sockets certainly will.
  • Hence, hi-speed sticks bought today at a bit of a premium are likely to have a future… 6 years? 8? 10? 12? There are premiums to pay, sure, but the premium is often a bargain when it allows you to hold off with with replacement.
  • CL isn't everything, it still has to be multiplied by cycle length ((1/(clockspeed))*(CAS latency)). Differences between CL15 vs CL16 come out within error margin, but 12 vs 16 would reduce the CL part of the equation — and thus the total result — by 1/4, in theory. In real-life gaming tests, however, the difference comes out at like 0.5 fps. Does anybody have experience with CL12 sticks?
  • Usually, real life tests show no fps gain from frequency (or this). However, exceptions happen up to a point where 33% more frequency translates to 33% more fps in some titles, all other parts and settings being equal. So I'd rather not be taking chances with 2133/2400 chips, especially considering that out-of-the-box rated 2800, 3000, even 3200 can be had for just a little more money. But I'm a bit worried about the $110-$140 price segment for 16GB.
  • Heatsinks are largely for show, as are high parameters to an extent, but those high-rated chips must have been higher-binned. There's probably a lot of sorting going on given the multitude of frequency, CL and voltage options and combitions available. I wouldn't count on silicone lottery with value-segment chips too much.
  • Default voltage of 1.2V runs cooler than the already pretty cool 1.35V. It stresses mem controller on CPU less, which some people claim claim helps CPU overclocking; others say it doesn't matter. I can't know either way, but I'd rather spend a little premium just to avoid a potential problem several years down the road and get more stability. 99% vs 100% stability matters more than 99 vs 100 fps.
  • This said, I suppose any 'special' stick could alternate between high frequency, low CL and low voltage to an extent, but those profiles aren't readily available, and different chips have different channels, so I'd just stick with official rating in the absence of certainty, to be safe.

For the record, CPU is i5-6600 — locked, but mobo has an external clock chip. This is not meant to be the last CPU on the mobo, it simply was a bargain buy. With Z170, I will naturally be favouring K processors in future. Cooling is going to start from air (repurposed Thermalrigh Ultra), but my next case, when I get around to it, is going to be something that supports water (e.g. Phanteks Enthoo Pro, Fractal R4/R5, Carbide 300R etc.). Hence, if my wallet allows it, I might go water just to avoid one more round of air supplies and try something new.

Broader reference:

Fastest 2x8 (@ 1.35V) from what's on the QVL and within budget — but it obviously makes a bad bargain vs $109/93 for the 3200MHz version, so I'm including it just for reference:
  • G.Skill Trident Z DDR4, 2x8GB, 3400MHz, CL16 (F4-3400C16D-16GTZ) — $146
  • for comparison non-QVL Ripjaws: (2x8GB) RipjawsV 3400MHz CL16 (F4-3400C16D-16GVK) — $134

cheaper 2x8, mostly just for reference unless someone can convince me to put my (so called sorry excuse of a) premium budget elsewhere:
  • Crucial DDR4, 2x8GB, 2133MHz, CL15, 1.2V, no heatsink (CT2K8G4DFS8213) — $60
  • at +$9: HyperX Fury 2133, CL14 w/heatsink: HyperX Fury DDR4, 2x8GB, 2133MHz, CL14 (HX421C14FB2K2/16) — $69 (this is looking quite reasonable)
  • HyperX Savage DDR4, 16GB(2x8GB), 2133MHz, CL13 (HX421C13SBK2/16) — $82 (this is not)
  • used HyperX 2800, CL14, 1.35V, HX428C14SBK2/16 — $77 (QVL!) (no VAT invoice here, no warranty, no nothing, just my luck mailing Kingston or private seller in case something is already wrong with the chip… I think I'll pass, at least on my first round of RAM)

Now 4x4:

(Given as quad-channel 4x4 will be resellable if I eventually decide I need 32 or 64, and if I don't, then 4-channel may even be more practical; hence, this doesn't mean much either way.)

hi-speed @ 1.2V, but not on QVL
  • G.Skill Ripjaws4 4x4GB 3000MHz DDR4 CL15 (F4-3000C15Q-16GRBB) — $105
  • G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4, 16GB(4x4GB), 3466MHz (@ 1.2V!), CL16 (F4-3466C16Q-16GVK) — $149, and this one is tempting me hard, though the difference in effective speed should be like no more than 0.3ns.

It seems there are no good 1.35 >3K deals on 4x4 in my range at the moment, however, so I focused on the benefit of 1.2V.

low-frequency, low-CL:
  • QVL: HyperX Predator 4x4GB 2400MHz DDR4 CL12 1.35V (HX424C12PB2K4/16) — $135 (looks meh, unless the CL12 really is a huge game-changer)
  • non-QVL: ADATA 2133MHz, CL13, XPG Z1 Quad 1.2V (AX4U2133W4G13-QRZ) — $98 (kinda meh, I'd rather be taking a higher-clocked 2x16 CL14/15/16 for obvious reasons).

For comparison: cheapest reasonable 32GB (non-QVL):
  • G.Skill RipJaws 4, DDR4 4x8GB 2666MHz CL16 1.2V (F4-2666C16Q-32GRB) — $143 (not the parameters I'd normally look for, though, nor a capacity I need, just to show a decent 32GB setup could be had for some of these 16's)

(16x2 isn't looking good at the moment.)

Hi-speed 2x4=8GB (1.35V):
  • G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4, 8GB(2x4GB), 3600MHz, CL17 (F4-3600C17D-8GVK) (non-QVL) — $70
  • Patriot Viper 4 DDR4, 2x4GB, 3400MHz, CL16 (non-QVL) — $62 (for 4x4…)
  • G.Skill Trident Z DDR4, 2x4GB, 3466MHz, CL16 (F4-3466C16D-8GTZ) — $86 & QVL! (but $20 worse deal than getting quad from the get go)
  • G.Skill Trident Z DDR4, 2x4GB, 3600MHz, CL17 (F4-3600C17D-8GTZ) — $85 & QVL!
  • Patriot Viper 4 DDR4, 2x4GB, 3600MHz, CL17 (PV48G360C7K) — $67 & QVL!
  • Patriot Viper 4 DDR4, 2x4GB, 3400MHz, CL16 (PV48G340C6K) — $62 & QVL!

Eight seems short but still manageable. I could get another 2x4 later if judged necessary on the basis of current usage. This said, I wouldn't count on the prices falling by more than 10–15% over 2 years, so a bit meh about this. More inclined to get a 4x4 setup from the get go (QVL-tested for quad channel).

Single sticks (non-QVL):
Fastest 1x8: GoodRam PLAY DDR4, 8GB, 3000MHz, 1.35v CL15 (GY3000D464L15S/8G) — $42 ($100 in GPU/CPU upgrade piggy bank…)
Cheapest 1x16: Crucial DDR4, 16GB, 2133MHz, 1.2v, CL15 (CT16G4DFD8213) — $63 (+$3 for Corsair Value; obvious $/GB lead)
G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4, 16GB, 3200MHz, 1.35v CL16 (F4-3200C16S-16GVK) — $118 (meh)


I could probably manage a half-decent purchase on my own, but I'm curious as to what those of you guys who already have practical experience with DDR4 & Skylake would advise. Thanks.
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Jebus.. that post over $15!! I wouldn't have gone that much into it!!! :p

It really is going to be 6 of one half dozen of the other. For the pittance difference, I would get Trident Z. I mean you are likely going to set XMP and leave it anyway... but if not, many can overclock well, for what little that yields for the average person.
I was wondering the same thing but in the end chose Ripjaws because of the color. After reading reviews and endless info pages I saw little difference between the two. Woomack will probably chime in here soon with the correct info but I didn't see any difference other than the heatspreader.
Gigabyte's QVL for my board lists the RAM with Samsung chips. I'm not sure if they're Trident Z or not. It's easy enough to download the QVL from Gigabyte and check the part numbers on GSkill's site.
Trident Z and Ripjaws V can be on the same IC. All new G.Skills ( like these 2 series ) are on Samsung IC. If you want 2x8GB kit then there is high chance you will get the same IC in both series at similar timings so both can overclock the same.
It's worth to look at:
3000 14-14-14 / 15-15-15
3200 13-13-13 / 14-14-14 / 15-15-15
These kits will probably have about the same IC as 3600 16-16-16, 3733 17-17-17 or some higher kits.

In lower ASRock series - I mean not OCF or high Extreme, max recommended memory is DDR4-3200 just because all these boards are optimized for maximum stability instead of additonal overclocking capabilities. The same is in other brands where under the tested memory list there is info that nothing above DDR4-3200 is guaranteed.
Simply best is to get something at 3000-3200 and tight timings.

Thanks Woomack.

Argh. I've been looking at that shop's RAM department since Sunday night, and the prices for F4-3200C16D-16GTZ have gone up from 420 to 460. Still, I'll be focusing on lower CLs as you suggested. The way I see it: 1 / 3200 * 16 = 0.0005, just like 2800 & 14, 3000 & 15, 3400 & 17 etc., so need a lower CL than that for a tighter ratio.

I've noticed that QVL for Fatality K6 rarely goes above 3200 MHz, and rather dual channel than quad. Above 3600, it seems to favour single channel. G.Skill's RAM Configurator is a bit more forgiving, though they didn't put the board on the QVL for the memories.
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I've noticed that QVL for Fatality K6 rarely goes above 3200 MHz, and rather dual channel than quad. Above 3600, it seems to favour single channel. G.Skill's RAM Configurator is a bit more forgiving, though they didn't put the board on the QVL for the memories.
That is because Z170 is a dual channel platform. If you have four sticks, its still dual channel. X99 is the quad channel platform. ;)

Really, unless you are benchmarking, just grab some DDR4 3200MHz CL14 and call it a day. Sifting through the minutia isn't worth the time or hassle unless you are competitively benchmarking.
That is because Z170 is a dual channel platform. If you have four sticks, its still dual channel. X99 is the quad channel platform. ;)

Yeah. What I mean is that in the language of Asrock QVL 'dual channel tested OK' means both 2 and 4 banks tested successfully. This is the norm until like 3200MHz, maybe 3400. Above, it is 'dual channel tested 2pcs', which means they only tested 2 banks… or 2 banks passed & 4 banks failed. Obviously, not knowing which is pain in the arse. ;)

Really, unless you are benchmarking, just grab some DDR4 3200MHz CL14 and call it a day. Sifting through the minutia isn't worth the time or hassle unless you are competitively benchmarking.

Probably gonna do just that. For 3200, would you say the difference between CL14 and CL16 is worth $50?

Man, 3200/Cl14 is already quite fast!

Same question. ;)
I will tell you in short what is the difference between these two IC series and available G.Skill memory kits
- Trident Z / Ripjaws V 2x8GB at 3000 CL14 / 3200 CL13/14/15 / 3600 CL15/16 / 3733 CL17 = single sided Samsung = all are overclocking the same and it's currently the best IC on the market for overclocking. You can find it in memory kits up to 4200+.
- Trident Z / Ripjaws V 2x8GB at 3000 15+ / 3200 16+ / 3333 16+ / 3466 16+ / 3600 CL18+ = double sided Samsung = it overclocks worse, older IC which in general can't make much more than ~3466 ( with some exceptions up to 3733 but ~CL18).
You can find new IC in kits with more relaxed timings too but there is no guarantee what will you get.

What difference does it make when you are not overclocking for rankings ? Simply there is no difference and there is no point to pay $30-50 for 1FPS more in games.

Non-OC boards with 4 memory slots can usually run at:
~3200 - 4 memory sticks
~3600 - 2 memory sticks
~4000 - 1 memory stick
Thank you, Woomack. Now I got it, and obviously see the difference. Back to my hunt. Happy benching to ya!

EDIT: Just for the record, not going to recklessly overspend, but 3200/15 shouldn't be too expensive. What doesn't matter now can matter several years down the road with a different CPU and more taxing games/applications, so better headrom is something I'd consider a good investment not only for the kicks of playing with the numbers (which is already tempting enough anyway). I realize the mobo isn't an $500 Asus Croesus, but G.Skill have tested it with four sticks @ 3600, so it's not a weenie either.
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Unless you want it just for the looks. You can see how well it schemes with certain boards from their computex booth.
But I was never a fan a oversized ram heatsinks to begin with.
For looks I'm pretty sure we're all in agreement that any sort of Ripjaws V is going to look better than any sort of TridentZ on Fatality K6, because of shape and colour etc. This is still making it difficult for me to go with TridentZ, even if they're far easier to find than the highest-clocked lowest-CL Ripjaws out there.

Right now I can have these two for the same price of about $150:

F4-3600C17D-16GTZ) (3600, 17-18-18 etc.)
F4-3200C14D-16GTZ (3200, full 14)

And F4-3200C16D-16GVK costs a little under $100 (3200, full 16) and looks better for the mobo, but may be the worse IC

I suppose I'm not going to feel much difference in game fps for some 2 years ahead, or ever, as I don't think the 2 CL difference is ever going to matter but, but what about the 3600 bus in the future? (Or whatever frequency the 3200/14 would OC to.) I guess I could still upgrade the RAM when the time comes that those differences actually matter, as opposed to putting $50 in some sort of future proofing of doubtful utility?

Unless you want it just for the looks. You can see how well it schemes with certain boards from their computex booth.
But I was never a fan a oversized ram heatsinks to begin with.

I really like the look of Ripjaws V, especially they dark grey or black & red combos. TridentZ… it's hard to say but not really, it looks like a product of furniture industry.