G.Skill Eco DDR3 £90

25th Oct 2010 | 10:38

G.Skill Eco DDR3

Should the Eco branding lure you into parting with your green?

TechRadar rating:

3.5 stars

Like:

Promise of high efficiency; Clocks up well;

Dislike:

Mediocre performance at default settings
; Not sure about the eco pitch;

G.Skill Eco 1.35V CL7 review: overview

Spare a thought for memory makers. In this age of integrated controllers and copious BIOS options, the need for high-end RAM is increasingly questionable. Then again, the G.Skill Eco 1.35V CL7 memory kit doesn't suffer from too many high falutin' performance pretensions. Instead, the emphasis here is on sustainable, efficient performance. That's right, this is a memory kit for tree huggers.

That's not to say the specifications are poor. On the contrary, the G.Skill Eco 1.35V CL7 is a dual-channel DDR3 memory kit suitable for Core i3, i5 and i7 systems based on the LGA1,156 socket and comes with some speedy specs. The official frequency of 1,600MHz qualifies as quick, if not warp speed, while the 7-8-7-24 timings are hardly tardy.

However, it's the supported operating voltage of 1.35V that really sets this kit apart. It's significantly lower than the 1.65V specification of most DDR3 kits and translates into what G.Skill claims can be improved efficiency and environmental friendliness. Note the use of the conditional here – it will be interesting to see whether G.Skill can really deliver.

G.Skill Eco 1.35V CL7 review: benchmarks

Modern CPUs with integrated memory controllers are increasingly insensitive to memory performance. Put simply, when you have bandwidth to burn, a gigabyte here or there isn't going to hurt. Nevertheless, fast memory can help you get the most out of your CPU when overclocking. Moreover, stable memory makes for a happier system when performing all manner of tweaks.

Bandwidth
SiSoft Sandra: Gigabytes per second, bigger is better
G.Skill Eco 1.35V 1,600MHz 4GB @ 1,333MHz 16.76GB/s
OCZ Platinum 1,600MHz @ 1,333MHz 17.65GB/s
AData Extreme 2,000MHz @ 1,333MHz 17.23GB/s

Latency
SiSoft Sandra: Nanoseconds, lower is better
G.Skill Eco 1.35V 1,600MHz 4GB @ 1,333MHz 78ns
OCZ Platinum 1,600MHz @ 1,333MHz 69ns
AData Extreme 2,000MHz @ 1,333MHz 59ns

3D rendering
Cinebench R10: Time in seconds, lower is better
G.Skill Eco 1.35V 1,600MHz 4GB @ 1,333MHz 50s
OCZ Platinum 1,600MHz @ 1,333MHz 50s
AData Extreme 2,000MHz @ 1,333MHz 49s

Gaming
World in Conflict: Frames per second, lower is better
G.Skill Eco 1.35V 1,600MHz 4GB @ 1,333MHz 58fps
OCZ Platinum 1,600MHz @ 1,333MHz 61fps
AData Extreme 2,000MHz @ 1,333MHz 59fps

Peak power consumption
Total system power: Watts, lower is better
G.Skill Eco 1.35V 1,600MHz 4GB @ 1,333MHz 200W
OCZ Platinum 1,600MHz @ 1,333MHz 200W
AData Extreme 2,000MHz @ 1,333MHz 200W

Overclocking
Maximum overclock: MHz, higher is better
G.Skill Eco 1.35V 1,600MHz 4GB @ 1,333MHz 2,000MHz
OCZ Platinum 1,600MHz @ 1,333MHz 2,000MHz
AData Extreme 2,000MHz @ 1,333MHz 2,133MHz

G.Skill Eco 1.35V CL7 review: verdict


Wheeling out the eco-friendly narrative may seem like a winner in this environmentally-aware age. But if you don't deliver, the result is an undesirable combination of gimmickery and cynicism. Which way does it go for the G.Skill Eco 1.35V CL7 1,600MHz low voltage DDR3 memory kit?

Unfortunately, the jury is out. We ran this kit at both the lower 1.35V and default 1.65V settings and found overall peak power consumption is unchanged at 200W. That's on a par with other 4GB dual-channel DDR3 kits running at 1.65V.

Given that power consumption can go up markedly when using higher memory voltages during overclocking, that's surprising. Ultimately, we're not entirely confident that our test motherboard was correctly applying the voltages, so we'll give G.Skill the benefit of the doubt other than to note that running low voltages may cause compatibility problems.

Moreover, we doubt the lower voltage will deliver more than 10W of power savings under full load. During idle or low load scenarios, it'll be more like one or two Watts. Not exactly planet-saving proportions.

As for conventional metrics of performance, the G.Skill kit didn't blow our doors off. But again, minor platform variations in our testing compared to other kits can skew the results, especially when the margins are this tight.

What we can say with confidence is that this kit clocks up very nicely indeed. A maximum overclock of 2,000MHz is good enough for starters. But it's the total absence of nasties in the performance numbers, including everything from bandwidth to latency and application performance, that most impresses.

We liked

They say every little helps and, with our planet on an apparent precipice, the promise of reduced power consumption is always welcome. That said, performance enthusiasts will appreciate this kit's ability to hit high clocks while maintaining decent latencies and delivering nice, clean performance. Few people will need more than this kit can deliver.

We disliked

We have a nose for gimmicks and we're not entirely convinced by the eco-friendly sales pitch. Our testing was inconclusive, but we doubt the upside in terms of low voltages are terribly spectacular. The G.Skill Eco 1.35V CL7 kit was also a little underwhelming in terms of performance at the default 1,333MHz setting.

Verdict

A solid 4GB kit at this price point, but we're not convinced by the eco credentials.

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