The memory market has certainly changed rapidly in recent times.
Around the launch of P4 and AMD Bartons your choice for top end RAM was pretty much something from either Crucial or Corsair. With the Socket 775 and AM2 platform the market became swamped with manufacturers all providing different solutions to the same thing. To the regular Crucial and Corsair we also saw OCZ, Geil etc., all gaining a foothold in enthusiast rigs.
With the move to triple-channel on the LGA1366 platform Corsair pretty much became the de facto manufacturer with the XMS RAM for the average user and Dominator for the enthusiast.
However, thanks to some laurel resting there has been a gap for someone else, and Kingston quickly took up the challenge. Putting their decades of Memory experience to work in covering all areas with faster, cheaper, solutions.
So successful have they become at this that the Kingston Hyper-X memory has rightfully become the default kit for everybody from those wanting lots of capacity at little cost, to those who want some insane over-clocking.
We recently saw some LN2 cooling put to work to over-clock a dual-channel Hyper-X T1 kit to a new World Record, and so with dreams of high speeds in our minds we take a look at a Hyper-X T1 4GB kit and see if it's as easy to over-clock with some simple BIOS tweaks as it was with sub-zero cooling.
Kingston always produce PDF files for their technical specifications. Given that most of this doesn't mean anything to me either, rather than decide what you might, or might not, be interested in here is a grab of the PDF.
The main points of interest are the good latency of CL7 @ 1333, which only goes up to CL9 @ 2133 (XMP1). But let's take a look at the heat-spreader before we get into the timings and suchlike.
Packaging and Heat-Spreader
Unlike many of the products that pass through our offices here at OC3D, RAM is always a bit short on things to discuss. It's blatantly obvious what it looks like and without any dip-switches or cooling to talk about it's more for the fun of looking.
Thankfully the Kingston Hyper-X T1 is definitely fun to look at. It's just gorgeous. The quality of the milling on the heat-spreader is exceptional. The whole thing is anodised in a lovely electric blue with a clear and crisp Kingston logo and Hyper-X branding underneath the main fins.
At 55mm high these are very tall and so if you've got an absolute beast of a cooler that's also strangely designed, you might need to double check. We've tested with the truly enormous Noctua NH-D14 and only needed to mount the front fan higher than normal. Standard 120mm tower coolers present no problem at all.
CPU : Intel i7 870 @ 3.7GHz
GPU : ASUS HD5850 Top
RAM : Kingston Hyper-X T1 2250C9 4GB
PSU : Cougar 1000CM
HDD : Samsung Spinpoint 1TB
Motherboard : Gigabyte P55 UD4
OS : Windows 7 64
Cooling : Thermalright MUX-120 with Arctic Cooling MX-3
Thanks to our unlocked i7 870 and the available memory dividers we kept our i7-870 at 3.7GHz at both XM1 speeds and when we overclocked the Hyper-X. Speaking of which.
The Hyper-X comes with the main XMP profile at 9-11-9-27 @ 1066MHz (2133 effective). The Hyper-X T1 isn't built for tight timings, but for extreme speed. That's where we come in. Firstly here is the memory at the standard XMP1 profile which will be our "stock" setting in our benchmarks.
Overclocking this most definitely is an easy thing. We always make sure to get results that you can try at home and without exotic methods purely to obtain large e-peen numbers, so with the voltage kept at 1.65v, and standard air cooling, we set about seeing how high we could push.
1230MHz for an effective DDR3-2460! In fact we're pretty convinced that with water-cooling and a motherboard stable at higher BCLKs this will just run and run. We did need to slacken the timings further to obtain this result, so this will also be a great test of the eternal MHz vs CAS debate.
Lavalys Everest Memory Suite
Starting off with the latest build of the ever faithful Everest from Lavalys, we find the Copy speeds are up there with the best. 20000+ is always a great score. Demonstrating the balance between latency and speed our 327MHz overclock only gives us 1000 extra result.
Write speed is an entirely different story. Here absolute bandwidth is King and the Hyper-X gives a respectable 14000 with the XMP settings and a blinding 18105 when overclocked. We've tested kits that don't give 18000 as a copy speed, much less the always slower write.
Read speeds equally favour the extra bandwidth, busting through the 20k barrier. When we tested the triple-channel Hyper-X we got 20798 @ 2000MHz, so it really shows how insanely good this dual-channel kit is.
One test we expected to go the way of the CAS9 2133MHz over the CAS10 2460MHz was the latency test, and yet using XMP1 the Hyper-X was 2.4ns slower in the random access test than when overclocked.
PC Mark Vantage
Moving on to PC Mark Vantage, we're ensuring that as much as possible we're only testing the Hyper-X, and therefore we're running the Memory Test Suite. The demonstration of the difference between Latency and Bandwidth really only shows in the video trans-coding and editing tests. Otherwise they neatly balance each other out. Regardless of what measure you use, the Hyper-X is fast.
CineBench is very much a CPU intensive benchmark, so seeing a .4 CPU pts increase purely from overclocking the Hyper-X, is very impressive.
In OpenGL testing we have the highest stock, and highest overclock, results we've yet seen from our P55 test rig. That's breathtaking enough for us.
Consistency is definitely the watchword here. Both the float and integer tests returned identical results at Kingston's settings and even with our overclock there was only a little variance to be seen.
Cache and Memory Bandwidth
If there is one thing that we expected to see from our overclock it's huge bandwidth. Sure enough despite dual-channel kits having less bandwidth than triple-channels, the Hyper-X T1 has incredible amounts. Nearly 90GB/s.
Oddly enough that isn't the most impressive thing. After all we'd expect memory running just shy of 2.5GHz to have enormous bandwidth. What makes us stop and take notice is how much is available at stock settings.
Finally a little wPrime. Given that the CPU is the same speed in both runs (bar the odd MHz here and there), to get an improvement purely from memory is great stuff.
Ah the joy of a piece of hardware that doesn't really come with a but.
Sometimes conclusions can be long because it's a constant battle between the things that are pros, and the things that are cons. We like to explain them all fully so that you can decide which are the elements important to you. Occasionally we have a product that has a list of a cons so long that you'd struggle to sensibly consider it. Other times we have products that are nearly brilliant but for a few things, normally a price that is beyond most of us.
So what about the Kingston Hyper-X T1? We know from our news article and the press coverage that it's the fastest dual-channel kit on the planet when overclocked by the best in the business. But unless you've all got stashes of liquid nitrogen and world-class skill at overclocking, then it's nice to know but not really important to us mortals.
Thankfully Kingston have managed to bring to the table a product that really is as good as advertised. 2133MHz out of the box is blinding, and throughout all of our testing it consistently gave us scores in the top bracket of our all-time dual-channel DDR3 results.
Overclocking though. Oh boy the overclocking. As mentioned on page 3 when we overclock we always try to keep within specifications and stay on air so that the results you see, you can then achieve yourself. Within no time at all we were at 2300 and after only a small while we hit 2460MHz. 327MHz overclock with only a small slackening of timings.
One thing is certain. With a BLCK happy motherboard and a willingness to break the voltage specifications, this "off the shelf" kit wouldn't be far from the hand-picked World Record kit we discussed earlier. If you're willing to dedicate the time there is no question that you could achieve serious speeds with reasonably tight timings too.
And the price for this? £133. A gorgeous looking, extreme performance 4GB kit from a leading manufacturer for under £135.
The short-list of kits to buy your P55 rig is now one item long. The Kingston Hyper-X T1. It's good enough for our OC3D Gold Award.
- Good Value
- Great looking
- Great stock performance
- Insane overclocking
- Oh come on. Did you read the review? Zip. Zilch. Nada.
Thanks to Kingston for providing the Hyper-X T1 for todays review. Discuss in our forums.