Kingston Value PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz CL9 12GB (6x2GB) kit Page: 1
Introduction
 
 
Ah, the age old question of 'How much memory do I need' crops up time and again on many enthusiast forums from users seeking advice. This simple question cannot be answered in a 'one for all' scenario as a lot depends on the type of programs you run. If you are an avid photo shopper or indeed work with audio and video then the old adage of 'too much is never enough' applies. However for the average household, we have previously proven 6GB to be more than ample for an everyday setup. With prices of DDR3 dropping however, 12GB is now becoming within reach of every ones budgets and here is where Kingston step in. They are now providing 12GB kits that are cost effective no nonsense kits which should eradicate the headache of the user looking to future proof their setup.
 
12GB kits are fairly thin on the ground at present due in part to the high prices DDR3 demand. Those prices however are beginning to drop and to further the attraction of 12GB, Kingston have released a value kit which comprises of (2x) 3x2GB totalling 12GB. The price of such a kit is sketchy at present but I did manage to find a 6GB kit on Sale in the US at $113. Multiply that by 2 and  using the present currency conversion rate equals a price of £141.42 for a 12GB kit. Not too shabby but perhaps not as big a bargain as one would have hoped for. Still, when you consider many were paying that much a couple of years ago for a high performance 2GB kit of DDR2 then this puts the price into some form of perspective.
 
Here's what Kingston had to say about their kit:
 
ValueRAM's KVR1333D3N9K3/6G is a triple-channel kit of three 256M x 64-bit 2GB (2048MB) DDR3-1333 CL9 SDRAM (Synchronous DRAM) memory modules, based on sixteen 128M x 8-bit DDR3-1333 FBGA components per module. Total kit capacity is 6GB (6144MB). The SPDs are programmed to JEDEC standard latency 1333Mhz timing of 9-9-9 at 1.5V. Each 240-pin DIMM uses gold contact fingers and requires +1.5V.
 
Specification
 
The following specification was taken directly from the Kingston product page:
 
 
SPECIFICATION:
JEDEC standard 1.5V ± 0.075V Power Supply
667MHz fCK for 1333Mb/sec/pin
8 independent internal bank
Programmable CAS Latency: 6,7,8,9
Posted CAS
Programmable Additive Latency: 0, CL - 2, or CL - 1 clock
Programmable CAS Write Latency(CWL) = 9(DDR3-1333)
8-bit pre-fetch
Burst Length: 8 (Interleave without any limit, sequential with starting address “000” only), 4 with tCCD = 4 which does not allow seamless read or write [either on the fly using A12 or MRS]
Bi-directional Differential Data Strobe
Internal(self) calibration : Internal self calibration through ZQ pin (RZQ : 240 ohm ± 1%)
On Die Termination using ODT pin
Average Refresh Period 7.8us at lower then TCASE 85°C, 3.9us at 85°C < TCASE . 95°C
Asynchronous Reset
PCB : Height 1.180” (30.00mm), double sided component
PERFORMANCE:
CL(IDD) 9 cycles
Row Cycle Time (tRCmin) 49.5ns (min.)
Refresh to Active/Refresh Command Time (tRFCmin) 110ns
Row Active Time (tRASmin) 36ns (min.)
Power 2.160 W (operating per module)
UL Rating 94 V - 0
Operating Temperature 0o C to 85o C
 
So on the outset, nothing too outstanding other than the massive total storage of 12GB. I do however wonder how much life a product such as this has left when you consider 3 and 4 GB modules are now available to buy.
 
Let's take a look at the packaging and appearance of the product...


Kingston Value PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz CL9 12GB (6x2GB) kit Page: 2
Packaging & Appearance
 
The box the kit arrived in is nothing spectacular, in fact one might go so far as saying that it is just a plain cardboard box and quite rightly so. Despite this, the box is strong enough to withstand anything but deliberate, intentional damage. Opening the box up we find that each kit is packaged in the standard Kingston plastic memory module holder. These packets are in turn prevented from slipping around in the box by mean of thick bubble packing material.
 
box open box
 
The kit itself arrives in two separate packs of 6GB. Each kit is exactly the same to ensure compatibility but could quite easily be used as a 6GB kit, in fact finding a price for a single 6GB kit was much easier than finding a price for the full 12GB. The packets are held together by the means of a security seal which displays the product identification number and the product type, in the case CL9. Sadly, there were no other markings to inform the user the SPD settings of the kit other than this kit runs at the CAS9 setting.
 
x2 x6
 
The modules themselves are very basic and as they are aimed primarily at the system builder. Enthusiasts looking for fancy copper heatsinks or coloured PCB's will be left disappointed with the Kingston Value range that's for sure but then this kit is not aimed at that market. This is a budget kit, plain and simple and cost outweighs aesthetics as it is doubt full such a kit would appeal to those looking to show off their hardware in a case with cold cathodes and a plexiglass window.
 
x1 back
 
Each module has a small sticker attached informing the end user of the recommended voltage to run the sticks at, in the Kingston Values case, this is 1.5v. Again, no hint of the actual timings this kit runs at is displayed and apart from the product code, no bandwidth indication is displayed either.The integrated chips used on this kit are Elpida BABG-DJ-E's which are budget IC's that Elpida themselves use for their own range of system builder kits. How far these kits overclock is a bit of a mystery among the overclocking forums so I guess that is something I will have to put to the test later in the review. One thing is for sure though, these IC's are not what one would call high end.  The possibilities, compared to IC's such as Elpida MNH-E Hyper chips used in Kingstons own Hyper-X modules, will obviously be diminished but then you are getting a 12GB kit for 3GB Hyper-X money.
 
timings Elpida
 
There is not a great deal more to examine with regard to the packaging and presentation I'm afraid. Being that this kit is aimed towards the system builder and budget builder, costs have obviously been cut from the packaging of the product which normally I would severely criticise a company for doing but on this occasion, in view of the above, Kingston can be forgiven as long as the price is indeed kept to a minimum.
 
Let's take a look at the test setup I will be using to put this kit through it's paces today...


Kingston Value PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz CL9 12GB (6x2GB) kit Page: 3
Test Setup

For today's testing we will be using the Gigabyte EX-58 UD5, a mid-range Core i7 motherboard from Gigabyte that will allow us to push the memory on test to its absolute limit. Here's a breakdown of the rest of the components:
 
Processor
Intel Core i7 920 'Nehalem' @ 2.66Ghz

Motherboard
DFI Lanparty T3eH6 DK

Memory
Kingston Value CL9 1333MHz 9-9-9-24 6x2GB kit
Kingston Value CL9 1333MHz 9-9-9-24 6x2GB kit (Overclocked to 8-8-8-24 @ 1600MHz)


Graphics Card
Nvidia 280GTX

Drivers
GeForce 182.50

PSU
Gigabyte Odin 1200w

Operating System
Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit SP2 + 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
  • Passmark (Memory)
3D Benchmarks
  • 3DMark 05
  • 3DMark 06
  • 3DMark Vantange
  • Crysis
  • Call of Duty 4
  • Far Cry 2
 
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:

stock memory SPD
 
I did not expect an significant overclock from the Kingston kit being that they are aimed at the OEM system builder and not designed nor marketed towards the overclocking sector but I did manage to squeeze a little extra out of the kit:
 
CPU stock overclocked
 
First I tried to overclock the kit with everything set to there stock settings and just decreasing the memory divider. This resulted in a non boot scenario so I had a play with the voltages and settled for 1.6v Vdimm, 1.36Vtt and 1.35Vcore on the CPU. This not only allowed a break through to 1600MHz but also allowed the timings to be lowered to 8-8-8-24 from 9-9-9-27. I also managed to run the kit at 1T rather than the stock 2T. The Elpida chips certainly seemed to respond well to this small bout of voltage increases. Sadly, any further increases seemed to decrease stability so this was pretty much the maximum speed I could get out of the kit without enduring the dreaded BSOD's so often associated with over exuberant memory overclocks.
 
Returning the kit back to stock, I also tried to lower the timings but again I ran into stability issues unless I increased the voltages managing the same latencies as I did with the memory clocked to 1600MHz. Regardless, this is a great result for what is in effect budget memory, especially when you consider that the kit on test was run in a 12GB configuration.
 
Let's see how the memory performs in our suite of benchmarks...


Kingston Value PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz CL9 12GB (6x2GB) 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.
 
 
 
 
 
PassMark is a popular benchmarking suite which test all aspect of PC hardware.The Memory benchmarks both read (cached and un cached), small bock allocation and write speeds. Each memory test was performed a total of 5 times, with an average being calculated from the middle three results.
 
Results Observations
 
As expected, the stock clock runs were mediocre at best with the 12GB having minimal effect on the overall results. However, when the 12GB kit was overclocked the results increased significantly to warrant the extra time put into tweaking the kit.
 
Let's see if the same benefits were to be had with the synthetic run of 3D benchmarks...
 


Kingston Value PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz CL9 12GB (6x2GB) 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.
 
 
 
 

 
Results conclusions
 
Both 3DMark 05 and 06 showed good gains all round when the kit was overclocked but Vantage didn't really seem to take ad 'vantage' (excuse the pun) of the extra bandwidth and tighter timings.

Let's take a look at some 'real world' gaming benchmarks...


Kingston Value PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz CL9 12GB (6x2GB) kit Page: 6
 
Crysis is without doubt one of the most visually stunning and hardware-challenging games to date. By using CrysisBench - a tool developed independently of Crysis - we performed a total of 5 timedemo benchmarks using a GPU-intensive pre-recorded demo. To ensure the most accurate results, the highest and lowest benchmark scores were then removed and an average calculated from the remaining three.
 


 
Call of Duty 4 is a stunning DirectX 9.0c based game that really looks awesome and has a very full feature set. With lots of advanced lighting, smoke and water effects, the game has excellent explosions along with fast game play. Using the in-built Call Of Duty features, a 10-minute long game play demo was recorded and replayed on each of the GPU's using the /timedemo command a total of 5 times. The highest and lowest FPS results were then removed, with an average being 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 Analysis
 
Both Crysis and Far Cry 2 failed to show any meaning full advantage of overclocking the 12GB kit with only a very minor increase in frames per second. Call of Duty four however was a different kettle of fish showing a decent improvement over the 5 runs I tested.
 
Let's head over to the conclusion.... 


Kingston Value PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz CL9 12GB (6x2GB) kit Page: 7
Conclusion
 
With prices of DDR3 dropping like a stone, budget kits are becoming less and less appealing. Who in the right mind is going to buy a budget kit when for a similar price a high end kit can be had for more or less the same price? Throughout this review I kept asking myself that very question and even now I am struggling for an answer.
 
Those looking for overclocking prowess, ultimate benchmarking scores,aesthetically pleasing memory modules and bragging rights might want to look elsewhere as the Kingston Value kits offer nothing that could please the tastes of such enthusiasts. Sure the kit is not a bad overclocker by any stretch of the imagination but I do wonder about the longetivity of such modules running them 0.15v above there rated voltage. Heat would also be a compounding factor in the memory's mortality as there is nothing to wick the excess heat away from the kit bar the ambient air. Overclockers, benchmarkers and e-peen hunters are simply not what this kit is designed for though.
 
Some people, in fact the vast majority of people do not have exotic tastes in PC hardware. I would hazard a guess that the majority of people who own a PC still have it housed in a beige steal case with just a dust clogged 80mm fan for ventilation. Such is the minute appeal for high end hardware.These kits are for people who want plenty of memory and care little for looks let alone have any interest in overclocking. Almost everyone knows someone be it an uncle or a friend of a friend who is, to coin a phrase, 'good with computers'. Kit's such as this will appeal to the system builder as they are nothing fancy, cheap and easy to setup. There is just no need for ultra fast, high end modules for Auntie Pat to design a birthday card or for Uncle Bob to check out his 'exotic art'. One might even say that core i7 and indeed 12GB is not needed for that. Everyone however, wants a little future proofing and for a 12GB i7 kit designed for the OEM market, Kingston it seems have the answer.
 
The Good
- Good overclocking for a budget kit.
 
The Mediocre
- Does exactly what it says on the tin (if you can find where it says it)
- Simple but effective no nonsense packaging
 
The Bad
- Followers of fashion should look elsewhere
 
 
 
Thanks to Kingston who provided the 12GB Value kit for today's review. Discuss in our forums.