The Flare X: Built for the AMD Ryzen Systems
AMD has been on the roll lately with the release of the much awaited Ryzen CPUs. Our benchmarks suggests that the Ryzen series are rather disruptive; enabling consumers to reconsider their future builds. While the general performance of the Ryzen CPUs are great, there are areas where it could be improved upon. That includes the memory performance at lower frequencies and the compatibility issues at higher frequencies. Cue in the G.SKILL Flare X memory kits.
The G.SKILL Flare X is a dedicated series of DDR4 DIMMs built specifically for the AMD Ryzen systems. It is made to tackle the requirements of AMD’s latest AM4 platforms, with support of up to 3200MHz. What we’ve got is a dual channel kit in 2x8GB configuration.
The memory kit we got is a part of the vast Flare X family of high performance DIMMs from G.Skill. The Flare X family has frequencies ranging from 2133MHz up to 3200MHz; with 14 to 16 CAS Latency. It is also available in Red and Black color schemes. The Flare X also comes in dual and quad channel kits. Refer to THIS LINK for more details.
|SERIES||Flare X (AMD)|
|MULTI-CHANNEL KIT||Dual Channel Kit|
|FEATURES||Intel XMP 2.0 (Extreme Memory Profile) Ready|
Our kit is definitely the top of the pack, with 3200 MHz of tested frequency and 14-14-14-34 timings. It is Intel XMP 2.0 certified but is intended to fully support AMD’s latest AM4 chipsets. The kit is already available at Amazon for ~$200 as of this review.
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
The G.SKILL Flare X comes in a blister packaging, which is not really my type of packaging for a variety of reasons. For a $200 kit, I expected a bit more around the lines of the Trident Z.
Bundled accessories are non existent, unless we’ll count the G.SKILL case badge and the internal carton padding. Nothing to complain here, really.
DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY:
The G.SKILL Flare X kit we got is shrouded in Black anodized aluminum shell. It is exactly made to look on par with most gaming oriented AM4 motherboards and we ain’t even complaining.
With a height of around 40mm, the Flare X should be compatible with most tower and top down coolers. Each Flare X stick is a single rank module, with 8 banks of memory at 1GB each.
There isn’t much to tell about the DIMMs. They are well made, having the expected quality assurance from G.SKILL.
TEST SETUP AND METHODOLOGY:
The performance of the system shall be evaluated by various benchmarking tools and applications. We are testing this system with the high-performance settings enabled at the OS, with the default UEFI configuration. Background processes such as anti-virus and third-party applications are disabled as well. Outlined below are the applications and benchmark tools for reference:
|TEST SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS|
|PROCESSOR||AMD Ryzen 5 1600X|
|MOTHERBOARD||MSI B350 Gaming Pro Carbon + ASRock X370 Gaming K4|
|CPU COOLER||FSP Windale 6|
|MEMORY KIT||G.SKILL Flare X 3200MHz 8x2GB Kit|
|GRAPHICS CARD||ASUS GTX 1060 STRIX OC 6GB|
|INTERNAL STORAGE||Crucial BX200 480GB|
|POWER SUPPLY||CORSAIR RM850X 850W|
|DISPLAY||27″ DELL U2715H + LG 43UF680T 4K UHD TV|
|OPERATING SYSTEM||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro|
CPU AND MEMORY PERFORMANCE:
- Super PI – 32M Calculations
- wPrime – 32M and 1024M Calculations
- AIDA64 Extreme Edition – Memory Benchmark
- GIMP – 7 MB worth of image processing
- HandBrake – 150 MB MP4 to H.264 video encoding
- WinRAR – Internal benchmark tool
The Flare X memory kit has a JEDEC standard of 2400MHz with default timings at 15-15-15-35 under 1.20v. At its XMP 2.0 settings, the Flare X features a 3200 MHz frequency, together with a 14-14-14-34 timings under 1.35v.
We never had any problems with the Flare X on our ASRock X370 Gaming K4. Requiring us just to set the XMP settings and off we go on a good start. But, on our MSI B350 Gaming Pro Carbon, we had to up the voltage to 1.38v to keep it stable at 3200MHz.
CPU AND MEMORY PERFORMANCE:
Super PI is a single-threaded program that calculates pi to a specified number of digits after the decimal point. It is a widely used benchmark within the industry.
WPrime is a multi-threaded program that calculates a set number of square roots. It verifies the results by squaring them, then compares it with the original numbers.
The AIDA64 Memory Benchmark measure the data transfer bandwidth and latency of the system memory.
At 3200MHz, we could see a great memory latency performance from the Flare X. The same goes with exceptional read, write and copy data rates from AIDA64. SuperPI performance on the other hand, is not exactly the best; which is bested by Crucial’s 2666MHz kit. At WPrime, the Flare X is the fastest, but I can’t say much even from multiple re-runs since the results we got are marginal. Great performance nonetheless.
GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a free and open-source image editing tool. A 7 MB worth of images is be processed and converted to gauge the system performance.
HandBrake is a free video encoding tool that supports a wide variety of media codecs. A 150MB worth MP4 video is converted using the H.264 codec to gauge the system performance.
WinRAR is a file archive utility that can create, view and unpack numerous archive file formats. The software’s built in benchmark tool is utilized to gauge the system performance.
On our 3 benchmarks, the Flare X at 3200MHz enabled our AMD R5 1600X to output the fastest results on t he charts. Although I have to say that HandBrake and GIMP performance at 3200MHz are almost marginal. That is unless, if you are expecting to edit / post-process videos and images so a second of difference matters over the course of time. WinRAR on the other hand, really loves multi-core CPUs and high frequency kits which are expected.
WRAPPING IT UP:
AMD officially stated that the Ryzen family of processors should perform better at higher frequencies and they are truly right. Displaying exceptional data rates on our benchmarks, while providing tangible results on some of our real world applications. While some gains are small on that front, there’s no denying that the G.SKILL Flare X is one proper higher frequency kit made to maximize the Ryzen CPU’s potential.
Gaming performance at 1440P also showed that 3200MHz delivers. That’s an effective 49% performance increase on The Witcher 3 at 1440P vs 2666MHz, mind you. We are not fond of testing memory kits with games but it looks like we’re going to bring them back on the memory benchmarks with these results.
I’ve been reading consumer reviews from the community when it comes to the compatibility of these kits and general perception is good. While we had to up the voltage on the MSI B350 Gaming Pro Carbon, our X370 ASRock board never required any. I would love to see G.SKILL to add precautions or notes on boards that couldn’t get this memory running at expected speeds with XMP enabled alone. Sometimes, you really need to work your way with high frequency kits.
Over all, the G.SKILL Flare X at 3200MHz is one blazing fast memory kit. It really showed what the AMD Ryzen CPUs could do although you have to take the pricing into account which is still good at $200. That’s considering the latest price trends in the DDR4 memory space. Truly a proper high performance kit from G.SKILL.