Kingston HyperX DDR3 CL9 2000mhz 3GB Triple channel kit Page: 1
Introduction

Founded in 1987, Kingston Technology have been at the forefront of memory manufacture, today supplying over 2000 memory products to anything that requires memory, from mobile phones to printers and servers to PC's. The chances are you have made use of a Kingston product and not even known about it. Thanks to the severe shortage of surface-mount memory chips in the 1980's, 2 engineers got their heads together and created the first ever single in-line memory module (SIMM) and the memory market boom was born along with Kingston Technology.

Over the next 20 years Kingston dominated the market being among the first to introduce new innovations and technologies to the memory market. The latest of these advancements being the product we have for review today, the first 2000MHz triple channel kit: Kingston HyperX 2000MHz Triple channel kit which at the time of writing this review is the fastest kit available for i7.

Here's what Kingston have to say:
HyperX DDR3 memory; the next generation of DDR memory technology. Like all Kingston HyperX products, DDR3 modules are specifically engineered and designed to meet the rigorous requirements of PC enthusiasts. DDR3 memory offers faster speeds, lower latencies, higher data bandwidths and lower power consumption than DDR2. HyperX DDR3 modules are available in single, dual and triple-channel memory kits.

HyperX DDR3 features:
* 1.7 Volts operation
* Memory signal termination inside the memory chip (On-Die Termination) to prevent reflected signal transmission errors
* Operational enhancements to increase memory performance, efficiency and timing margins
* CAS Latencies: 5 (Ultra Low Latency) and 7 (Low Latency)
* Currently available in speeds up to 2GHz and capacities of 2GB, 3GB, and 4GB kits
* DDR3 memory modules are not backward compatible to DDR2 and DDR based motherboards, due to incompatible module connections (number of pins), voltage and DRAM technology. DDR3 memory modules have a different key or notch than the same-sized DDR and DDR2 modules to prevent their insertion into an incompatible memory socket. HyperX modules are available in single, dual and triple-channel memory kits.

In todays review, we will be comparing this kit to a 6GB Dominator kit from Corsair that will cost approximately the same price. This should give you, the reader a valuable insight as to whether your money should go on bandwidth (Kingston) or size and timings (Corsair).

Specification

The specifications below is taken directly from the Kingston technology website.

Manufacturer: Kingston

Model Number: KHX16000D3K3/3GX

Capacity: 3GB (3x1GB)

Type: DRAM

Technology: DDR3 SDRAM

Form Factor: DIMM -240 pin

Memory Speed: 2000Mhz

Latency Timings: 9-9-9

Voltage: 1.65v

RAM Features: Matched triple kit for X58 based motherboards with an Intel Core i7 CPU

Requirements: Compatible X58 Motherboard - 3x 240pin DDR3 slots

Service and Support: Lifetime Warranty
 

Let's move on to the packaging and appearance section of the review to see how Kingston have presented this premium product...


Kingston HyperX DDR3 CL9 2000mhz 3GB Triple channel kit Page: 2
Packaging & Appearance

Arriving in an understated plastic pack, the HyperX kit was moderately well packaged and should reach you in good condition provided it is adequately packed. A tamper proof seal is stuck over the outer shell ensuring you don't end up with someone else's RMA. Printed on the seal is the model number, CAS setting (9), and the PC3 speed (16000), not to be confused with 1600MHz.

DDR3 box open
 
Hidden underneath the centre stick is the warranty leaflet which doesn't really offer any valuable information other than the kit carries a lifetime warranty. This warranty is rapidly becoming the standard now albeit a welcome one and should provide piece of mind to the end user.

bits and bobs module front
 
The modules themselves are nothing special on the outside. While the blue satin, anodised finish to the aluminium heat spreaders are attractive they are a far cry from the over sized heat spreaders used on modules such as the Corsair Dominator and Patriot Viper kits we have previously reviewed. That said, they are attractive and Kingston obviously have faith in the heat spreaders as these modules are rated up to a maximum 1.65v and running at 2000MHz they are sure to get a little toasty. In view of this there is a separate kit available with extended memory heatsinks.

module rear reflective
 
As you can see below, the heat spreaders do not add very much to the size of the modules and certainly will not interfere with the fitment of over sized CPU coolers, no more than a standard module would in any case.

top bottom
 
 
Below right we see the same info printed on the module sticker as is printed on the package seal. Again, no specific information is provided such as the ram timings but the stock voltage of 1.65v is clearly printed. On the Kingston website, more information is available with rated speeds of 9-9-9. Notice I didn't mention a RAS Active delay timing? Kingston didn't either! So I will leave that setting to AUTO when testing and see what we come up with.

side part number
 
Removing the heat spreader was easily done with just thermal tape attaching the spreader to the integrated chips. Here we see that the HiperX 2000MHz modules make use of Samsung 843 HCF0 chips which are quality IC's and can no doubt run at the rated speed with ease. I would have liked to seen a different colour PCB than the standard Green as this colour looks dated by today's standards. I feel a matching blue PCB would have added to the aesthetics of the kit but as long as it performs who cares right?

Memory closeup
 
So there you have it. A good looking kit that while not exactly setting new standards in design, does the job and ticks all the right boxes, except one. Let's take a look at our run of benchmarks to see if it can make a clean sweep...



Kingston HyperX DDR3 CL9 2000mhz 3GB Triple channel kit Page: 3
Test Setup

For todays testing we will be using the Asus P6T Deluxe, a mid range i7 motherboard from Asus that we hope to use for all of our memory testing.
Here's a breakdown of the rest of the components:
 
Processor
Intel Core i7 920 'Nehalem' @ 2.66Ghz

Motherboard
Asus P6T Deluxe

Memory
Kingston Technology HyperX DDR3 CL9 2000MHz 9-9-9-27 3x1GB Kit
Corsair CL8 1600MHz 8-8-8-24 3x2GB kit

Graphics Card
Nvidia 280GTX

Drivers
GeForce 180.60

PSU
Gigabyte Odin 1200w

Operating System
Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit SP1 + Updates
 
For testing the memory we used a number of synthetic benchmarks and games:
 
Synthetic Benchmarks
  • Lavalys Everest 4.10
  • SuperPI mod_1.5
  • Sisoft Sandra 2009
3D Benchmarks
  • 3DMark Vantage
  • Far Cry 2
 
For the run of benchmarks, we will be comparing the 2000MHz HyperX kit to the 1600MHz 6GB Corsair Dominator kit which costs around the same price to see if there is any real benefit in sacrificing timings and size for bandwidth.

 
Overclocking
 
Starting from scratch we disabled on the settings that may affect the overclocked settings such as Intel Speed Step as well as disabling the C-State settings which may also affect some of the results in the benchmark testing phase of the review. Here's how the sticks look at stock speed:
 
cpu memory

JEDEC
 
Now we see the missing tRAS setting. At its rated speed its JEDEC setting is 27 but as we see above we did manage to lower this ever so slightly to 24 which is a little more respectable.

Overclocking the ram was a painstaking affair. No matter what settings I used I couldn't obtain any more performance from the kit. On the surface this was disappointing but when you consider that Kingston have achieved the 'golden' 2000MHz setting with just 1.65v it's not at all bad. The kit was clearly already at it's limit so I wasn't going to force the issue to much even though I did nudge the voltage up to 1.7v as well as lowering the settings to no avail.

Let's see how the memory performs with our suite of memory benchmarks...



Kingston HyperX DDR3 CL9 2000mhz 3GB Triple channel kit Page: 4


SiSoftware Sandra
(the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility capable of benchmarking the performance of individual components inside a PC. Each of the benchmarks below were run a total of five times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average being calculated from the remaining three.

 




Everest
 
Focusing mainly on software and hardware information reporting, Everest also comes with a benchmark utility suitable for testing the read, write and latency performance of the memory subsystem. Each of these benchmarks were performed a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average calculated from the remaining 3.
 




 
Super PI
 
SuperPI is the benchmark of choice for many overclockers. It's lightweight to download and can give a quick indication on how good a system is at number crunching. Once again, testing was performed a total of 5 times, with an average being calculated from the middle three results.
 
 



 
 Results Observations
 
Quite obviously, from the results above it is not the Corsair that 'dominates' but the Kingston modules. A 400MHz advantage as well as a 200MHz overclock on the CPU have clearly had an impact on the scores in the benchmarks above.

Let's see how we got on with the run of 3D Benchmarks...


Kingston HyperX DDR3 CL9 2000mhz 3GB Triple channel kit Page: 5
 
3DMark is a popular synthetic gaming benchmark used by many gamers and overclockers to gauge the performance of their PC's. All 3DMark runs were performed a total of 5 times, with the highest and lowest results being removed and an average calculated from the remaining 3 results.





 
 


Ubisoft has developed a new engine specifically for Far Cry 2, called Dunia, meaning "world", "earth" or "living" in Parsi. The engine takes advantage of multi-core processors as well as multiple processors and supports DirectX 9 as well as DirectX 10. Running the Far Cry 2 benchmark tool the test was run 5 times with the highest and lowest scores being omitted and the average calculated from the remaining 3.
 

 
Results conclusions

Again the faster Kingston took the advantage and beat the Corsair throughout the tests. Despite the Corsair having lower timings, the higher bandwidth of the Kingston HyperX showed it is not worth the 6GB if it means sacrificing speed.

Let's head over to the conclusion...


Kingston HyperX DDR3 CL9 2000mhz 3GB Triple channel kit Page: 6
Conclusion

When I was first passed the Kingston HyperX kit to review, I was eager to see if the kit could indeed achieve 2000MHz  Previous Intel chipsets struggled to hit anything above 1800MHz and sometimes they couldn't even surpass the 1600mhz mark so the dizzy heights of 2000MHz were exclusively for Nvidia chipsets. This has now changed with the advent of the X58 chipset. The HyperX can 'just' hit 2000MHz but struggles to go any further, testament to the extreme levels Kingston have programmed this kit.

Personally I would have liked to see 2000MHz in a 6GB kit as I felt that 3GB is 'not enough' after being spoilt with 6GB.  Vista just felt snappier with 6GB, Photoshop also appeared to adjust images quicker but that could just be the placebo effect of having so much capacity. However, as the benchmarks showed, 6GB kits come second place to extreme bandwidth when it comes down to the numbers game. I will concede that the CPU speed would have had a small bearing on the scores but as there were no dividers near to the maximum 'stock' speed of the HyperX, this was unavoidable.

The price for such performance is costly though with an rrp of £249.99 (but available for £214.99 @ Play.com) . For that you could double the capacity and have better timings at the sacrifice of bandwidth. Whether you actually 'need' 6GB will be investigated in a future review but on this showing if performance means everything and you don't mind paying the price for it,  the HyperX comes highly recommended.


The Good
- Scorching stock performance
- Samsung IC's

The Mediocre
- Unimaginative Green PCB
- No Overclocking headroom
- Little timing information on the package

The Bad
- Price




Thanks to Kingston for supply the memory kit for todays review. Please discuss in our Forum.