DDR5 has come a long way in the year or so since its launch. It’s now widely available, prices have come down, and early BIOS glitches have been overcome. And then there’s the speed. When 12th Gen (opens in new tab) Launched Alder Lake CPUs, DDR5-6400 was about the maximum speed you could get, but forget that: DDR5-8000 kits (opens in new tab) are now on the market. Not a bad improvement in just over a year!
Here for review I have the Trident Z5 RGB DDR5-7200 kit from G.Skill. It’s still very fast indeed, but it’s not so fast as to be a problem for anyone but the highest spec overclocking boards. Still, it’s worth checking the QVL lists to make sure your board can handle the XMP setting. As for AMD, you should be looking at an EXPO kit around the DDR5-6000 mark for maximum compatibility.
In the end, this kit can be considered second-generation DDR5. It comes with Hynix A die chips, which seem to be used by all the highest spec modules currently available. They operate at higher frequencies than Hynix M dies found in most first wave DDR5-6000+ kits.
You’d expect memory at this speed to cost a bundle, and at $299 / £319 / AU$519 it certainly comes at a higher price point, but actually it’s not such a bad price. At the time of writing, a 6000MHz kit costs around $150, while 6400MHz kits start at $190, so the price G.Skill is asking for 7200MHz isn’t unreasonable. In fact, it’s a downright bargain compared to the cost of premium DDR5 a year ago (opens in new tab)where prices of $500 / £500 / AU$1,000 or higher were common.
The G.Skill Trident Z5 DDR5-7200 kit has 34-45-45-115 timings. It’s nice to see CAS latencies stay relatively low as speeds increase, though secondary timings are certainly quite a bit higher than slower kits. The best DDR4 kits are still perfectly viable, but the early complaints about DDR5’s high latency compared to DDR4 are quickly being called into question.
Trident Z5 specs
Model Name: G. Skill F5-7200J3445G16GX2-TZ5RK
Memory type: Unbuffered DDR5
Capacity: 32GB (2x 16GB)
Estimated Speed: 7200MHz
Nominal latency: 34-45-45-115
Tested voltage: 1.40v
Guarantee: limited lifespan
XMP: Ready for Intel XMP 3.0
Price: $299| £319| €519
The kit has a capacity of 2x16GB with XMP 3.0 support and an operating voltage of 1.40V. Our test sample is black, but it is also available in silver. The black version will carry over into a wider variety of builds if I’m being honest.
G.Skill hasn’t changed the look of its Trident Z5 kits, and why should they? It looks great and the RGB implementation looks beautiful. It has a more opaque look than many kits, giving it a classy and understated look. Personally, I prefer that to bright, retina-scorching individual LEDs.
The RGB lighting can be controlled by the usual motherboard vendor apps, or via G.Skill’s own simply named Lighting Control app. It is a simple and lightweight app, weighing only 5.7 MB. There’s no unnecessary bloatware there. Well done G. Skill.
So, how does it perform? Is it worth dropping the cash on a top-spec memory kit? It’s an enduring question for PC gamers, and one that’s especially interesting given the dramatic increase in gaming performance offered by a card like the NVIDIA RTX 4090 (opens in new tab).
Starting with a look at the system benchmarks, we see that the traditionally memory-sensitive apps are doing well, especially the file compression and video encoding tests. However, the AIDA64 results are purely synthetic and are more about comparative testing than actual real-world performance.
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i9 13900K
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z790 Aorus Master
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition
Cooler: Cooler Master PL360 Flux
SSD: Seagate FireCuda 530 2TB
PSU: Corsair AX1000
Gaming is where things get interesting and this is an area I was personally very curious to explore given the performance jump the RTX 4090 offers. Frankly, I would have expected the faster memory to benefit more than it actually did, although there are some obvious benefits.
A traditionally CPU-limited game like Far Cry 6 saw an advantage, but the bigger surprise was the effect it had on Cyberpunk 2077, which is notable for being very GPU intensive. Average FPS nicely scaled with higher memory speeds. Metro Exodus is another example of GPU-intensive game scaling with memory, albeit to a lesser extent.
But not all games benefit. Total War: Warhammer III and Ghost Recon: Breakpoint are two that show no real gains even compared to DDR5-4800.
In short, the status quo hasn’t really changed. Buying top-shelf DDR5 only makes sense if you have an equally high-spec system. Think one Core i9 13900K (opens in new tab) and RTX 4080 (opens in new tab) or higher. Otherwise, you’re better off spending the extra cash on a faster CPU or GPU that will yield more tangible performance gains.
Overclocking turned out to be difficult, although that is certainly not due to the memory itself. DDR5-7600 was bootable at 1.45 V with our Z790 Aorus Master, but increasing the memory voltage didn’t help, only the IMC voltage did. If you’re lucky enough to have a good memory controller, 8000 MHz or higher is possible if you don’t mind pushing and fiddling with the timing on an overclocking-focused motherboard. Make sure you have a 13th gen processor and Z790 motherboard, otherwise this kind of kit is a waste.
Relying on XMP at 7000 MHz or higher isn’t really recommended in case your motherboard is struggling or trying to apply crazy voltage. Do-it-yourself tweaking is definitely the way to go.
G.Skill rarely disappoints when it comes to fast memory. If you want fast memory, G.Skill is usually at the top of the list. The Trident Z5 RGB DDR5-7200 kit is a highly desirable kit, but as is always the case with fast memory, it’s not for everyone.
This is a kit for those with high end systems. However, at $299 / £319 / AU$519, it’s pretty good value for money compared to the cost of the other components of a high-end gaming system. In that case it’s a no brainer. But if your system is a bit more worldly and you’re just looking for something with a simple kit and forget about the XMP configuration, then something in the DDR5-6000 range is much more suitable, both in terms of price and performance.
But hell, I love fast memory kits. It’s actually for sale, it delivers some performance gains in more than a few game situations, it’s a great tweaker’s kit, it looks good, and it doesn’t come with an exorbitant premium. If you buy this kit, you can enjoy it for years to come.
If you have an equally high-quality system to match a kit of this calibre, then I say go for it!