Kingston HyperX KHX1600C9D3K2/4G Memory Review

jlqrb - 2009-10-20 00:42:11 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: jlqrb   
Reviewed on: November 5, 2009
Price: $103.49

Introduction:

High performance memory has taken many important technological steps over the years, which has lead to huge performance increases for users. There are a few that come to mind, such as the move from single to double or even triple channel memory, and the switch from DDR to today’s DDR3 standard. We all know that each new innovation released to the market comes with a premium price tag that can make it unaffordable for many users, but we also know that as technology ages, the prices come down and the masses finally get their turn. We are now luckily in the latter situation. Prices for DDR3 memory have come down a significant amount over the last year and now some DDR3 high performance kits can be bought for roughly the same price as a kit of DDR2. The switch over to DDR3 might be easy for some, but with no shortage of brands and models to choose from, it can be a daunting task to decide which set of memory will best fit your needs. If your needs are as demanding as mine, you will want memory that is fast and can perform at peak performance even under the most extreme situations. That is where the Kingston HyperX series fits in.

Kingston unleashed the HyperX line of memory to the world in 2002, with an emphasis on a high level of performance for gamers and PC enthusiasts. With that in mind, Kingston has stayed true to the HyperX line with each new kit put on the market. Since its release, Kingston’s HyperX memory has received good reviews and found its way into many enthusiasts’ computers (including a few of my builds over the years). Kingston factory tests each kit of memory before it leaves its facility to ensure stability, but if the kit happens to be faulty, it carries a limited lifetime warranty and 24/7 tech support, which should give the user confidence in its products. The memory I am going to be looking at today is Kingston’s HyperX KHX1600C9D3K2/4G kit, which is a 4GB Dual Channel kit of DDR3 memory rated to run at 1600MHz with timings of 9-9-9-27. These settings are achieved between 1.7 to 1.9 volts. The timings on this kit of memory are not as tight as some other similar sets in the same price range. This could lead to a drop in performance, but we will have to run some benchmarks before any real conclusions can be drawn.

Closer Look:

The Kingston HyperX memory comes in a retail package that shows you all the basic information about the memory and also gives you a good look at the memory itself. All the information is listed on the label, which also happens to be the security seal for the packaging. The label lists information such as model number, size of memory, speed, and timings. The rear side of the package is solid black in color and doesn’t contain any information about the memory. So there's nothing overly flashy here, but there is more than enough information listed to give you a good understanding of the memory. Inside the packaging there is a folded pamphlet that contains some information about the warranty in multiple languages, as well as installation instructions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kingston HyperX KHX1600C9D3K2/4G set of memory comes with a blue and silver color scheme that has been in effect since my first kit of HyperX back in 2003. Even though the color has remained the same, Kingston has refined and updated the appearance, giving the kit a modern feel while staying true to the classic HyperX theme. The silver runs across the top, with the blue portion directly below. The HyperX logo is in the middle of the modules, with DDR3 on the right and on the left you will either have the information label or Kingston Logo, depending on what side you are looking at. The memory uses a more basic heatspreader design, but still manages to look extremely appealing even without the use of heatpipes or fins. Also, with a low profile design, you should not run into any clearance issues with after-market CPU coolers.

 

 

The Kingston HyerpX KHX1600C9D3K2/4G kit of memory has a lot going for them, but will the loose timings hold them back from greatness?

Specifications:

Brand
Kingston
Model
KHX1600C9D3K2/4G
Type
240-pin DDR3 SDRAM
Capacity
4GB
Speed
1600MHz
Latency
CAS 9
Timings
9-9-9-27
Voltage
1.7 – 1.9
Multi-channel kit
Dual-channel kit
Heatspreaders
Yes

Testing:

Memory can often be an overlooked part of a computer, with many users buying the more cost effective memory instead of the most effective memory. For the average consumer, this usually works, but for the enthusiast market, being held back due to memory can be a major hindrance in achieving optimal system performance. This sadly is the case with many promising sets of memory on the market today. So far, I have been impressed with the build quality and design of The HyperX KHX1600C9D3K2/4G kit of memory, but now we get to put them through some stress testing and see how well they hold up against the competition. I will be using a series of benchmarking programs to test the performance of the memory both at stock and overclocked speeds. In the comparison, I will be matching the HyperX kit against a set of Corsair XMS3 and OCZ Spec Ops memory.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Modules:

 

 

 

 

CPU-Z: This application shows us the settings that we have chosen in the BIOS. Items shown in this application include CPU speed and bus settings, motherboard manufacturer, BIOS revisions, memory timings, and SPD chip information.

 

Task Manager: We use this utility to show physical memory, kernel memory, page file, and processor usage.

 

Testing:

Overclocked settings:

When it came to overclocking this set of memory, I was able to achieve a stable overclock of 1744MHz. I was able to reach the max clock speed with only a small adjustment to the timings, and by raising the voltage to 2.0v. I was able to get the memory to boot into Windows at higher rated frequencies than 1744MHz, but it was not stable and would crash almost instantly after a benchmark was started. After the system crashed, I tried raising the voltage, lowering the timings, and adjusting the Northbridge frequencies, but they simply could not manage anything over 1744MHz and remain stable. Just for fun, I tried to reach the 1800MHz mark, but once there, my system could not boot at all. Even though they could not reach 1800MHz, they still performed well with the 144MHz overclock. The kit of memory I received required 1.9v to run stable at 9-9-9-27. This does fall into the voltage specifications listed by Kingston, but the fact that they can not run at lower voltages could hold their overclocking potential back, as they require a lot of power just to run stock timings.

 

The benchmarks used in this review include the following:

Benchmarks:

Testing:

PCMark Vantage: With this benchmark, I will be running the system suite, as well as the memory test suite. The measurement for the system suite will be the total score. The measurement for memory performance is the total memory score.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP2: In this program, I will be running the following benchmarks: Cache and Memory, Memory Latency, and Memory Bandwidth. Higher is better in all tests, except for Memory Latency, where lower is better.

 

 

 

In PCMark Vantage, the HyperX kit out performed both the Corsair and OCZ memory at stock settings and really shined once overclocked. In Sandra, the HyperX kit came out on top of three of the four benchmarks, only falling behind in the latency score.

Testing:

Left 4 Dead is a new release from Valve that leaves you as part of a group of survivors in a world where an infection has rapidly turned the populace into a zombie horde. Your goal is to make it to a rescue point, all while fighting what seems like overwhelming odds. Along the way there are safe houses where you can replenish your weapons and health. The movie "I Am Legend" comes to mind to set the stage for this game. But unlike the movie, there are four characters and not just a lone gun and his faithful companion. The horde is not at all like the typical slow walking, foot shuffling zombies. These zombies are quick and work with pack mentality. You have but one job; survival!

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The HyperX kit performed very well against the other two sets in the Left 4 Dead benchmark, able to average a few more frames per second at most resolutions. Overclocking the HyperX kit did not do much to increase the FPS and only netted an extra 4 frames per second more at the lowest resolution, with the higher resolutions not seeing any increase.

Conclusion:

The Kingston HyperX KHX1600C9D3K2/4G kit of memory impressed me with its performance and quality, but one issue I did run into was stability. I had to set the voltage to the maximum required setting of 1.9v at all times to run them at the listed stock timings of 9-9-9-27. I manually set the voltage at 1.7v when I first installed the memory and raised the voltage slowly until stability was achieved. However, before the 1.9v mark, my computer would crash during any program that stressed the system, such as gaming or benchmarking. I assume that some kits can run stable below 1.9v, but the set I received could not. With the voltage aside, the HyperX kit ended up on par with or ahead of both the Corsair and OCZ kits in most of the benchmarks and was also able to average a few more frames per second in Left 4 Dead across most resolutions.

Along with the great performance, Kingston also offers a lifetime warranty, and 24/7 tech support, which adds some extra buying incentive. Also, for those who have clearance issues with large after-market coolers, the low profile heatsinks are a nice feature over the finned versions found on other modules. The price on this kit is set a bit higher than some other similar DDR3 memory on the market, but at just over $100 dollars, they are still at a competitive price point. All of this combined really makes them a good option for anyone looking to set up a new, or upgrade an existing, AM3 system. If you are looking to build an i5 system though, this memory will unfortunately not work due to the high voltage requirement.

When it came to overclocking, I was able to reach 1744MHz with only a small adjustment to the timings, which required the voltage to be set at 2.0v. Once at this speed, I thought I would have a lot of room left before I hit the ceiling, but any setting I ran over 1744MHz would result in a system crash or boot failures. I tried raising the voltage, adjusting the timings, changing the command rate and the Northbridge frequencies, but in the end the result was always the same. At the overclocked level, the HyperX kit performed very well and benchmarked at times close to the i5, but I still would have liked to see this kit overclock higher. As stated before, I believe this was largely due to the excessive memory voltage requirement.

The KHX1600C9D3K2/4G kit of memory might not come with all the bells and whistles that some other kits include, but they are solid performers that I would recommend to all but the most demanding overclockers.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: