What was once a part of your system that you only cared about pure storage of, has rapidly become something of vital importance.
The difference between 4GB and 8GB is much less than the difference between a 2000MHz or greater kit, and one that's still down in the 1600, or even worse 1333, MHz bracket.
Similarly to how DirectX solved a swathe of compatibility issues between varying hardware types, so the XMP profiles forced manufacturers to focus their energies upon creating consistent timings and fairly universal specifications. By and large memory now comes at 9-9-9-27, with only the expensive or slow models giving tighter timings, and the anything worse than 9-9-9-27 giving pause for thought.
This does lead to the inevitible question of; "How different can one memory kit be from another?". After all, a dual channel kit is exactly that, surely?
Today, thanks to the Kingston Genesis 2133MHz Hyper-X X2 Grey Series we shall find out if there is a need to buy new memory for your LGA1155 board, or if your old P55-based kit will still cut the mustard.
Taking the specifications from the excellent Kingston website we see that the Genesis is on a par with many other available modules.
Let's have a quick look before we get down to brass tacks.
Firstly the combination between very shiny X logo, metallic heatsink and smooth nature made for one of the hardest photoshoots we've done. To light it without making one or other element overly bright was a hell of a challenge.
As you can see though the Genesis is a very attractive combination between the Hyper-X logo and gun metal. Naturally with so many issues the beauty of this really doesn't come across in photos.
Memory is quickly dividing into two categories, the insane heatsink that could cool a battleship and, as here, one that actually fits under the modern tower heatsinks. Given our preference for a cool CPU and the popularity of "twin tower" style coolers it's nice to see a company unafraid to be subtle.
Especially as even highly overclocked RAM never gets hot enough to warrant the plethora of points and fins that adorn some kits.
For our testing today we'll be using our standard P67 test rig, and comparing against our venerable P55 test bench. Firstly today's system :
4GB Kingston Genesis 2133MHz Hyper-X X2 Grey Edition
Intel Core i5-2500K
Cougar CM1000 PSU
Windows 7 64 Bit
The P55 rig is identical excepting a Gigabyte P55 UD4 and Intel Core i7-870 in place of the LGA1155 parts.
For the memory we'll be running against an identically spec'd Hyper-X T1 kit, running at 2133MHz, 9-11-9-27-1T and the G.Skill Trident at a whopping 2400MHz, 9-11-9-28-2T.
Playing about with the memory on the current Intel boards is both easy and frustrating depending upon your desired outcome. With the BCLK/FSB locked to 100MHz we no longer need to worry about multipliers and such, but can just pick our memory speed from a selection and it's all done behind the scenes.
This is fine if you just want to plug and play, but when we're seeking to extract further performance it becomes somewhat of an impossibility. Our MSI tops out at 2133MHz, which is this Kingston's rated speed. So we can't push it further via pure overclocking methods, but have to look at reducing timings.
Tightening the timings is always more touch and go than a slight increase in speed. If these chips were capable of CAS8 you can bet Kingston would be selling them as such.
It's especially problematic that they are set to 1.65v by default, so we haven't got any voltage tweaks available to us to eke that extra little performance out.
As it was, there isn't any. 2133MHz @ 9-11-9-27 is the best that this kit will do. Even trying for 9-10-9-27 resulted in a failed POST and so, with a heavy heart tempered by the knowledge the Genesis is already rated very well for a £80 kit, we moved on to testing.
The difference in Write speeds is easily the biggest improvement from the LGA1155, although all told the improvement in speeds is very impressive. The Trident is, as stated, slightly faster on paper, but the Hyper X T1 and Genesis are identically set.
When it comes to latency the Trident takes an obvious lead thanks to its faster clock speed but the Genesis nicely straddles the middle ground.
The SiSoft memory bandwidth test really shows how much improvement exists in the P67 chipset and the Genesis RAM. 2GB/s more than the higher clocked G.Skill and 4GB/s better than the already excellent Kingston T1 at identical speeds.
Kingston have an unerring ability to keep pulling it out the bag.
The combined Cache and Memory bandwidth test was such a surprising result we almost couldn't believe it. It's one thing to see an improvement in various tests, but once you see nearly a 30% increase in bandwidth you really have to take a step backwards.
Rendering always takes an improvement from every bit of power available and the improved bandwidth provided by the combination of the 2500K and the Kingston Genesis give us .4 pts improvement. Remember that the Hyper-X and Trident were tested on a hyper-threaded CPU and this is a pure Quad Core.
Similarly to CineBench wPrime is all about performing calculations as quickly as possible. The Genesis gives us a whole seconds worth of improvement which is mighty. This continues into the 1 billion place test where we might expect the hyper-threaded i7-870 to win in the long-distance, but the Genesis just keeps on rocking.
PC Mark Vantage
PC Mark has a plethora of "real-life" tests and the memory suite is largely based around media manipulation and encoding. The video editing clearly has a benefit from the extra threads available on the P55 system, but in the importing and exporting tests that huge bandwidth pays dividends.
In the introduction we postulated as to whether the Genesis truly was something that heralded a new dawn, and a vital purchase for your shiny new system, or if it's merely the same as a P55 kit, but with a different branding for the sales benefits therein.
Straight away it's clear that there are a lot of benefits to be had from matching the right part to the right job. Looking through our graphs, even with the full Core i7-870 pushing the T1 and Trident along they were no match for the Genesis.
Memory and CPUs are so closely related these days that one would expect the more powerful i7 CPU to overcome any tiny performance benefits the P67 system has, but this was nowhere near the case. Perhaps the two best demonstrations of this were :
The CineBench test where we were convinced the extra four virtual cores would romp home ahead of the i5-2500K but in fact the opposite occurred. .4 PTS might not seem much, but it's a hell of a difference in the rigorous CineBench.
Secondly the SiSoft Sandra Cache and Memory benchmark. My heavens it's one thing to grab a few extra edges of bandwidth, but the Genesis/2500K combination annihilated our Core i7-870 dual-channel setups.
The only down-side, if it can be called such, is the lack of overclock capability. This is far more of an issue with the new way Intel control the speed of their boards and the RAM though, than any limitation of the Kingston product.
So it is pretty as anything, fits under even the largest heatsink, is very very fast out of the box with no tweaking required, and comes with the excellent backup from the Kingston warranty. You'd expect it to be pricey but this 4GB kit clocks in just below £80.
Once again Kingston prove themselves the memory Kings. The Genesis has to win our Gold Award. We can't find a fault with it at all.
Thanks to Kingston for providing the Genesis for review. Discuss in our forums.