G.Skill Flare F3-16000CL7D DDR3 AMD Memory Kit Review

Memory by leeghoofd @ 2010-09-07

The launch of AMD´s hexacore Thuban CPU was combined with their new 890FX chipset. The old RAM wall was history. All over the net we saw screenshots of benchmark-stable rigs with ram speeds way over what was imaginable a few weeks before... Let us pop in Gskill´s latest AMD X6 compatible high speed ram: the 4Gb Flare 2000 CL7 kit. Can these do better than our Corsair Hyper GTX2 kit ?

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Verdict Time

Verdict Time

I was pleasantly surprised by this kit. To be honest I had no big hopes to stabilize any ram kit over 2000mhz on the AMD platform. This G.Skill Flare kit even makes it pretty easy as I got the system up and running in no time. Putting back my Corsair Dominator TX2 “Hyper” kit for the tests showed that this G.Skill kit is perfectly matched for my Crosshair setup. It's indeed no secret that Asus and G.Skill have been working closely together to push the envelope to new levels.

For the enthusiast gamers this is a very cost effective alternative. If you want to push the last frame per second out of it, this kit is a must have. It's so flexible in use, regarding timings and speeds. But, and this is a big but; the kit only works flat out on the Asus lineup, mentioned on the packaging (including the Crosshair IV). Testing the G.Skill on a few other boards (also new generation chipsets) revealed loads of issues. I couldn't reach the same speeds/ timings that the Asus boards do. Not even Gigabyte's latest 890FX UD7 was able to boot at 1600mhz Cas 6. Cas 7 was no problem though. Same limitation for 2000mhz action.

Reaching close to 2000mhz was also a big no. I talked to Frank from G.Skill, relating the lesser compatibility and he confirmed me they are working on it. The competitor’s boards need Powerchip friendly biosses. The hardware isn't the limitation, the biosses just need to be overhauled to maximize compatibility.

Madshrimps (c)

Benching wise, these rams gave me a nice surprise. The powerchips limitation is the higher TRCD setting. Pushing at 1600mhz allowed me to run 6-7-6-21 without much hassle. Though I needed to add a bit more voltage, 1.67 to stabilize things. For the 1800mhz runs 6-8-6-21 was no biggie at all, even at stock Vdimm. With the TRCD setting at 7 the encoding and SuperPi test would error out. Clock for clock they can't compete with a decent Hyper kit. But Powerchips make up with amazing clockspeeds. 2200mhz Cas 7 action on air, isn't anything to overlook.

Okay you need a decent board and CPU to accomplish this, but it's bench stable for sure. We've already seen 3000mhz lately (though on 1Gb sticks) but that was on another platform (P55). I'll be testing these rams soon on an Intel SB board. This too tests compatibility with I5/7 setups and to see how high these dimms can go on those platforms.

Madshrimps (c)
(click to zoom)

Madshrimps (c)
(click to zoom)

Finally a HyperPi 6 instances 32m run, successfully completed! These rams rock ! Right hand side a prime95 blend run, wasted 4 hours of my life ..

So there you have it. In case you are building an Asus AMD motherboard based setup, this G.Skill 4gb kit is the perfect match. Even though it might be a bit overkill as the 2000mhz tests have shown to be not so efficient as the lower clock speeds. But when you tighten up, the performance is stellar. A daily user won't benefit much from these sticks and are probably better off with the lower specced Flares kit. Though at 180 euro's, the flexibility you get is amazing. I really hope G.Skill can get the motherboard manufacturers quickly in their camp to get the bios sorted out. Hypers RAMs are slowly disappearing, powerchips will be the new king soon.

+ Great performance/price ratio.
+ Very flexible in use
+ Included RAM cooler

- AMD Asus board requirement!
- RAM cooler needs a molex connector.

A big thanks goes out to Frank and Mia from G.Skill for being patient with me and allowing to test their latest products.

Also thanks to Manu from Tones.be PC shop for lending me a retail Thuban 1090T. The latter is far superior to the press sample I had.



Thank you for reading.

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Comment from Teemto @ 2010/09/07
Finally. Been waiting on that review for ages
One more negative point though. Availability.
G.Skill site quotes a couple of shops in Belgium and the Netherlands.
But that info seems very outdated. So basically no go in those 2 countries.
G.SKill rep gave me 2 shops in France and one in Germany which have em.

I'll definately order one of these kits next month. This months budget has already been blown