Mid-Range DDR2-800 from G.Skill

Many readers have been looking for DDR2-800 as memory prices sky-rocketed over the last couple of months. Now that memory prices are dropping, there is less pressure to save money with DDR2-800 instead of top-line DDR2-1000 or DDR2-1066. However, the question still remains whether a step down to DDR2-800 will save a few bucks while delivering performance about as good as the top DDR2 memory.

Almost every major memory manufacturer has DDR2-800 parts, but the ones of greatest interest to hobbyists are those from well-known high-end memory makers. G.Skill seemed to come out of nowhere a couple of years ago to establish themselves as a manufacturer of enthusiast memory. They got exposure and won credibility with Forum targeting and a sharply focused advertising campaign. G.Skill distributes a full line of desktop and notebook memory products, and the line includes a 2GB DDR2-800 4-4-4 kit at a mid-level price in the $300 range.

G.Skill DDR2-800 Specifications

Since it has only recently appeared on the US and European scene, it was a little surprising to find that G.Skill has been producing memory products since 1989. Manufacturing is based in Taipei, Taiwan and G.Skill serves memory markets in most of the world. The G.Skill website provides English, German, Chinese, and Korean versions - typical of the Taiwanese websites that cater to world markets.

As you will see on the website G.Skill targets the computer enthusiast, with a strong emphasis on overclocking and extreme performance. The DDR2 product line includes kits rated from DDR2-533 to DDR2-1067. DDR2-800 kits include both 1GB (2x512MB) and 2GB (2x1GB) kits rated at 5-5-5-15, 4-4-4-12, and 3-4-3-8.

Competitive with other high-end memory makers, G.Skill provides a Lifetime Warranty with their memory products. The RMA form can be accessed at the web site. Technical support and a Users Forum are also available at the website.


To satisfy readers' requests for a mainstream DDR2-800 memory product we selected the DDR2-800 2GB kit rated at 4-4-4-12. You can also buy cheaper DDR2-800 G.Skill kits at e-tailers like www.newegg.com. A 2GB G.Skill 5-5-5-15 kit sells for $210 to $260, some $40 to $90 less than the faster 4-4-4-12.


The G.Skill F2-6400PHU2-2GBHZ 2GB kit is supplied with attractive gloss black heatspreaders with a G.Skill logo in brushed metal. Many G.Skill DIMMs do not even have heat-spreaders, and G.Skill seems to reserve the heatspreaders for their top memory.

G.Skill builds their DIMMs with Micron D9 memory chips - the same chips we have described as top performers in every recent high-end memory review. However, the binning for these chips is a bit different. G.Skill uses Micron D9GMH chips rated at 333, 3ns in this 4-4-4-12 DDR2-800 kit. Most top-end DIMMs use D9GKX chips which are binned for higher specs. Still, with Micron D9 chips, we expect excellent overclocking with these G.Skill DIMMs.

G.Skill F2-6400PHU2-2GBHZ Memory Specifications
Number of DIMMs & Banks 2 DS
DIMM Size 1GB
Total Memory 2 GB
Rated Timings 4-4-4-12 at DDR2-800
Rated Voltage 2.0V to 2.1V


While top-end Micron memory chips have easily delivered 3-3-3 timings at DDR2-800, G.Skill rates this memory kit at slower 4-4-4 timings. The good news, however, is the more modest 2.0V-2.1V specification for memory voltage. This is much lower than the 2.2V-2.3V that is normally required for DDR2-800 at 3-3-3 timings. It also represents memory voltages that are normally available even on more basic Core 2 Duo and AM2 motherboards.

The memory chips are slower bins from the best chips available. Timings are a bit slower and voltage specs are more reasonable. The question remains whether the G.Skill DDR2-800 4-4-4-12 kits are a top-of-the-line memory in disguise, or whether there are compromises to top performance? Does the cost/performance of these DDR2-800 modules represent real value to buyers?

Memory Test Configuration
POST A COMMENT

30 Comments

View All Comments

  • MxChris - Sunday, November 05, 2006 - link

    Thanks for the reply I'll try to get ahold of a G Skill rep and find out. Reply
  • Icepick - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    I'd like to know this too. I purchased from the same product line only my memory is rated at 5-5-5-15 -> F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ. I haven't been able to build my PC yet so I couldn't test them out. Are these micron chips too? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    The 5-5-5 is the low-end G. Skill DDR2-800, selling for around $200 now, and most likely does not use Micron chips. There is also a higher-end DDR2-800 than we tested in this review rated at 3-4-3-8 timings. The highest rated dimms are likely the Micron D9GKX chips, but since we haven't tested that particular memory we cannot say that with authority. Reply
  • Doormat - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    And it performs just fine a 4-4-4-10 at 800MHz. It matches nicely with my E6400 running a 400MHz (1.6GT) FSB at 3.2Ghz. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    "The practical performance of GeIL GX22GB6400UDC memory modules wasn’t too impressive although we ran all tests at 2.1V Vdimm."

    If they never went above 2.1V on the RAM, that's going to hurt. I don't know about the RAM type, but I know some places will just guess at times, and sometimes manufacturers use multiple types of RAM. Given Wes hit DDR2-1066 I'd say it's pretty clear his RAM has Micron chips.
    Reply
  • Madellga - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    Apples 2 Apples - all memories were tested at 2.1V Reply
  • Madellga - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/memory/display/dd...">http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/memory/display/dd...

    There is a gap between the 2 reviews. It mentions also that the chips are Elpida, not Micron.

    Who has the "right" samples?

    If G.Skill is selling both types under the hood, it is a delicate matter to recommend it.

    PS: Xbitlabs recommended Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400?4 and Mushkin 996523 XP2-6400 DDR2 over it.
    Reply
  • Xajel - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    we may all know the problem with DDR2-800 and AM2 platform, not every ram you can use, it's some how hard to find a compatible one especially from OCZ...

    I hope to find a compatibility test for AM2 and DDR2-800 from several manufactures...
    Reply
  • amdrockshard - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    This memory looks like a good choice. Did you test it on a AM2 board? How high will it clock on the Foxconn 590SLI? It was nice to see something other than ddr2-1000 tested. Do you have results on the Crucial 10th anniversary ddr2-667 yet? Everyone in the forums is recommending that or the Team ddr2-800. Just wondering how they compare. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, November 03, 2006 - link

    From the sounds of it, they are simular, albiet pricier than my Cosair 6400 XMS sticks. This memory is SUPOSED to be 5-5-5-18, but the systems I've put them in detect them as 4-4-4-12 almost always. Also, I've had these sticks up to DDR 990, without being able to adjust the voltage in the BIOS (cheap Asrock Mobo, in my current system).

    Personaly, I think I'll stick to Crucial. Cosair, and let the rest pass, especialy since they cost just as much, or more than the two brands I preffer.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now