When we reviewed Intel’ NUC6i5SYC NUC Kit there were two things that became apparent: it’s good but expensive, and we had to buy the other parts to make it work. This normally wouldn’t be a problem but the NUC threw us a curve ball by requiring the latest components relative to its size and the latest Skylake CPU.
In the case of RAM, Intel’s latest NUC series needs laptop SODIMM and won’t accept anything less than DDR4, making the common DDR3L stick obsolete. The market is small so the pickings are slim, easily making the Ripjaws DDR4-2400 Laptop SODIMM from G.SKILL easily stand out as a good, if not, one of the few choices for my build.
Depending on your budget, there really isn’t much to RAM with the popular variants coming in a multitude of spreader designs for aggressive flair. The Ripjaws series is no exception to the flamboyant rule, but since this is downsized for notebooks, a glossy sticker is all that’s needed to cover the black PCB. There really isn’t much more to it, besides another sticker denoting the model number and build date on the opposite side and an included badge sticker you can place on your machine with pride.
After an installation that literally took 34 seconds (from opening the package to fitting it into the NUC spacer) we went into the BIOS menu to check the Ripjaws credentials. And as promised by G.SKILL there was nothing out of place with a default speed of 2400MHz, 1.20 voltage rating, and CAS latency timing of 16-16-16-39. There’s also auto-overclocking detection for qualified builds.
Another (and seemingly inevitable) thing we observed is that while we did have the Ripjaws working at its advertised figures, however, our NUC was very finicky and made everything really unstable to the point blank screen anomalies and trial-and-error troubleshooting. For the duration of our testing we actually had to scale back the clock speed to 2133MHz through the XMP profile manually in the boot menu. In the Ripjaws defense, this isn’t a fault with the physical memory as much as it is the rigid standards of the system itself.
Fortunately, our benchmarks remained fairly consistent despite the compromises of being bound to 2133MHz. With AIDA64 we had very good numbers at 26467 MB/s read, 28010 MB/s Write, and 26103 MB/s copy, which is definitely a marked improvement over conventional DDR3L modules.
I found the DDR4/Intel Iris 540 setup ideal for Capcom’s Street Fighter V without having to dumb down most of the graphic options, leaving most presets alone at medium except lowering shadow and texture details at 1920 x 1080 with 100% resolution scaling. The resulting gameplay was relatively smooth between 57-60fps, and was immediately the second best game we had running – behind Ultra Street Fighter IV.
The only problem with the G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR4-2400 Laptop SODIMM is that it was simply overqualified for my Intel NUC6i5SYK mini PC. We know the memory works but it was a damn shame it had to be put on a short leash to operate properly, considering the untapped potential on hand for not that much money. That said, the Ripjaws SODIMM is a great value but would be happier nestled in gaming notebooks — the handful that currently exist from Alienware, Acer, and MSi.