Kingston HyperX PC2-8500 DDR2 1GB Kit Page: 1
Introduction

With the event of ground-breaking processors such as Intel's Conroe, the need for high quality DDR2 is on the rise. Traditional PC2-5300 and PC2-6400 modules are proving too underpowered to satisfy the modern DDR2 overclocker's needs, as bus speeds of 450mhz+ are becoming easily obtainable.

Today I'll be taking a look at one of Kingston's top-of-the-range HyperX DDR2 kits rated at PC2-8500 (DDR1066 to the rest of us), to see just how it shapes up when pushed to the limits.

About Kingston

"Kingston Technology Company, Inc. is the world’s independent memory leader.

Founded in 1987 with a single product offering, Kingston® now offers more than 2,000 memory products that support nearly every device that uses memory, from computers, servers and printers to MP3 players, digital cameras and cell phones. In 2005, the company's sales exceeded $3.0 billion.

With global headquarters in Fountain Valley, California, Kingston employs almost 2,900 people worldwide. Regarded as one of the “Best Companies to Work for in America” by Fortune magazine, Kingston’s tenets of respect, loyalty, flexibility and integrity create an exemplary corporate culture. Kingston believes that investing in its people is essential, and each employee is a vital part of Kingston’s success."



Packaging

When it comes to memory, most manufacturers like the heatspreaders on the modules do all the advertising. As a result of this it's very rare to see memory that doesn't come in a clear packaging..

Kingston HyperX PC2-8500 Kingston HyperX PC2-8500

The Kingston HyperX PC2-8500 follows the trend, packaging their memory in a moulded plastic box with clear plastic front. It's good to see that Kingston have gone to the trouble of manufacturing the packaging out of anti-static plastic - a safety feature neglected by many other memory manufacturers.



Kingston HyperX PC2-8500 DDR2 1GB Kit Page: 2
Specifications

The following specifications have been taken directly from Kingston's website:

"KHX:DDR2 - It's Here - HyperX DDR2 memory, the next-generation evolution of DDR memory technology. Like all Kingston HyperX products, HyperX DDR2 modules were specifically engineered and designed to meet the rigorous requirements of PC enthusiasts. HyperX DDR2 offers faster speeds, lower latencies, higher data bandwidths and lower power consumption. HyperX is available in single and dual channel memory kits. "


Kingston HyperX PC2-8500

• Power supply : Vdd: 1.8V ± 0.1V, Vddq: 1.8V ± 0.1V
• Double-data-rate architecture; two data transfers per clock cycle
• Bidirectional data strobe(DQS)
• Differential clock inputs(CK and CK)
• DLL aligns DQ and DQS transition with CK transition
• Programmable Read latency 5 (clock)
• Burst Length: 4, 8 (Interleave/nibble sequential)
• Programmable Burst type (sequential & interleave)
• Timing Reference: 5-5-5-15 at +1.8V / 5-5-5-15 at +2.2V
• Edge aligned data output, center aligned data input
• Auto & Self refresh, 7.8us refresh interval (8K/64ms refresh)
• Serial presence detect with EEPROM
• High Performance Heat Spreader
• PCB : Height 1.180” (30.00mm), single sided component

To summarise (as the above will probably mean very little to most of us), the HyperX PC2-8500 runs at a stock speed of DDR-1066 with timings of 5-5-5-15 and requires 2.2v. Those of us with budget motherboards should check that they have the ability to provide the memory slots with 2.2v as during this review I found that the Abit board we used had a maximum of 2.3v selectable, which ended up being 2.25v effective.



Kingston HyperX PC2-8500 DDR2 1GB Kit Page: 3
Appearance

It wasn't that long ago when memory was by far the most visually boring component in the average PC. Since then memory manufacturers have spent a lot of time and money turning that around to the point where memory sticks are possibly the most visually attractive component, with heatspreaders in a multitude of designs and varying levels of cooling performance.

Kingston HyperX PC2-8500 Front Kingston HyperX PC2-8500 Back

Since the release of the HyperX series, Kingston has always made use of distinct blue aluminium heatspreaders. I'm please to say that nothing has changed with the recently released PC2-8500 series, meaning you'll always be able to tell what systems are running HyperX at a glance!

Kingston have chosen to use both double sided heat transfer pads and retention clips to hold the heatspreders in place which should offer a lifetime of trouble-free cooling, but unfortunately gave me great problems trying to find what memory chips were on-board.

Kingston HyperX PC2-8500 Top Kingston HyperX PC2-8500 Side

The HyperX PC2-8500 modules are single sided and make use of D9GKX IC's (memory chips), which are fast becoming well respected amongst the overclocking communities for their ability to do low timings at high speeds.



Kingston HyperX PC2-8500 DDR2 1GB Kit Page: 4
Test Setup

Processor: Intel P4 630 3.0ghz Prescott 2mb Cache 800mhz FSB
Motherboard: Abit AW8D (Intel 975X Chipset)
Graphics Card: XFX 6600GT PCI-E
Hard Disk: Hitachi Deskstar 80gb SATA-II 8mb Cache
Power Supply: Silverstone Strider 560w
Software: Windows XP SP2


Benchmarks

When benchmarking the HyperX PC2-8500 I wanted to be sure to cover all angles. Some people like to run their memory at low latencies, some like to run their memory at high frequencies, whilst others prefer a mixture of both settings. Below is some information regarding the testing procedures and their results:

Stock Settings (5-5-5-15 / 533mhz)
A problem often seen with memory modules is their inability to run at stock timings, an issue we've often encountered here at OC3D. However, I'm pleased to say that the Kingston HyperX PC2-8500 overcome this first hurdle without any problems, successfully running at DDR-1066 with timings of 5-5-5-15 on a stock voltage of 2.2v.

Lowest Timings at Stock Frequency (4-4-4-8 / 533mhz)
Not everybody will be able to make full use of the extremely high frequencies that this memory is capable of, and for that reason it's always good to know you can reduce the timings of the memory to obtain a healthy performance increase.
For this test I ran the memory at stock speeds, but increased the voltage slightly to 2.3v to allow for a bit of extra headroom. After many resets of my system to find the optimal settings the HyperX PC2-8500 showed it was capable of an amazing 4-4-4-8 whilst running at DDR-1066 (PC2-8500).

Highest Frequency at Stock Timings (5-5-5-15 / 566mhz)
Increasing timings in exchange for higher frequencies is not something that everybody is comfortable with. For this reason, I left the HyperX at its stock timings of 5-5-5-15, applied 2.3v and proceeded to see how high I could push the memory on the MHZ scale before it topped out.
The maximum achievable overclock was DDR2-1132, not bad at all considering the board only allowed me to increase the voltage up to 2.3v. With a little more voltage I am confident that the memory could have been pushed quite a bit higher.

Highest Frequency Overall (5-6-6-15 / 575mhz)
In this test I proceeded to find the maximum MHZ speed at the cost of slightly looser timings (5-6-6-15). The maximum stable overclock came in at DDR2-1150 which is very impressive considering I was unable to increase the memory voltage past 2.3v on the test motherboard. I also believe that the overclock was slightly hindered by the capabilities of the AW8D motherboard at high FSB speeds.

Everest Read Everest Write

Everest Latency Sisoft Sandra

SuperPI 1m Counter Strike: Source FPS



Kingston HyperX PC2-8500 DDR2 1GB Kit Page: 5
Conclusion

Being one of the very first manufacturers to break the DDR2-1000 barrier on the DDR2 platform, Kingston are certainly on to a winner with their HyperX PC2-8500 range.

Capable of speed up to DDR2-1150 on a motherboard with limited voltage options, the HyperX provides the modern DDR2 overclocker with oodles of headroom for high-FSB applications such as Intel's latest chip - the Conroe. In addition to this, the ability to run at tight timings of 4-4-4-8 whilst still maintaining PC2-8500 speeds is a result not to be sniffed at.

Availability of the HyperX PC2-8500 is extremely sparse at present in the UK, however after a little searching I was able to find the kit over at PCUpgrader.Com for a rather eye watering £195 when you take into consideration that this is only a 1gb kit. Hopefully prices will fall as this memory becomes more mainstream.

A reason for the slightly above average pricing of these modules could well be down to the overheads involved in the level of support that Kingston provide with their products. Kingston have their own 24/7 multi-lingual helpdesks based in both London and the USA, with fully trained staff capable of assisting with all technical issues. Kingston also rigorously test every module that leaves the factory to ensure reliability and top performance.


Pro's
+ Ability to run at tight timings at stock frequencies.
+ Overclocks all the way up to DDR2-1150 on relaxed timings.
+ Based on well respected D9GKX IC's.
+ Good looking blue heatspreaders.

Con's
- Limited availability at present.
- High price for a 1gb kit.


Editors Choice

Thanks to Kingston for providing this product for review.
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