Kingston HyperX H2O PC3 16000 3x2GB Cas 9 Review

ccokeman - 2010-01-14 00:21:54 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: September 28, 2010
Price: $197


Finding the right system memory for your needs is akin to finding that proverbial needle in the haystack if you are looking within a very narrow niche. The Kingston HyperX H20 line is a set of memory that does fit in the minority niche of users who are water cooled enthusiasts. However, this segment has been growing by leaps and bounds, as the amount of equipment and parts to get into this traditionally high end enthusiast arena become more numerous. Water or liquid cooling has never been an inexpensive proposition, but you could get by with some ingenuity and mechanical aptitude. Now all you really need is some time to sit down and read about how to make it happen so you have a good idea of what works and what doesn't and then fill your shopping cart with the required parts. At this point, you can liquid cool just about anything inside your computer from the obvious CPU and GPU to the motherboard components, power supply, hard drives, and even the memory. Water cooling equipped memory straight from the manufacturer has been very limited. However, Kingston has gotten into this game with the introduction of its HyperX H20 series of modules to compete with the likes of OCZ's Flex series modules. Kingston has introduced three sets of memory in this line up that range from a 3x2GB 2000MHz set that is rated for operation with latencies of 9-10-9-27 at 1.65v on the Intel socket 1366 platform, up to a 2x2GB set designed to run at 2133MHz with latencies of 9-11-9-27 with 1.65vs as well. Each of these modules comes equipped with an XMP (Extreme Memory Profile), if reaching memory speeds of 2000MHz plus seems like a daunting task. If water cooling is your thing then this set of modules is right up your alley, so let's see how this set from Kingston performs.

Closer Look:

The Kingston HyperX H20 comes in a traditional blister pack that houses three 2GB DDR3 modules. The ribbon across the front of the package features the Kingston and HyperX logo with the label below having the part number and technical details. The rear of the packaging has nothing of interest to mention — most of the attention is focused on the unique looking memory modules.










This set of modules from Kingston is part of its new HyperX H20 line that features a cooling tube attached to the heat spreaders to increase the thermal load that the heat spreaders can remove, giving you added piece of mind when bumping the voltages up above the 1.65 volts that Intel suggests as a maximum applied voltage. This set of modules carries part number KHX2000C9AD3W1K3/6GX. This part number is for a 3x2GB set of DDR3 modules rated to run at 2000MHz with latencies of 9-10-9-27 using just 1.65 volts. There is an XMP programmed into the SPD chip to make reaching the designed settings a breeze. Traditionally, the HyperX line has had a blue heat shield and has come in a number of varieties, including the large finned T1 design that is all the rage with memory modules now. With this series, Kingston goes one step further and integrates a method to cool these modules down with a water tube that makes contact across the tops of the heat shields.




Curiosity got the better of me when I saw the screws that hold the outer heat shield to the memory modules. By removing these two screws, you can get a good look at how this cooling solution works. The black outer shield clamps onto the main heat shield and draws the heat into the water tube to be carried away and dispersed to the atmosphere by the radiator in a water cooled system. Mixing metals has always been one of those things that you are not supposed to do in a water cooling loop to prevent galvanic corrosion. The water tubes are chrome plated, but eventually you will wear through to the base metal. In this case, the base metal looks to be aluminum after a quick hit with a file, even though it seems to weigh more than an aluminum piece of this size should weigh. The water tube has a radiused inlet that directs the flow of water into the tube rather than a harsh squared off opening.



With rated speeds of 2000MHz, this set of modules should do well by comparison, but will the looser latencies have an effect on performance? Let's find out — but what review is complete without the obligatory beauty shot?




All information courtesy of Kingston @


Testing this 6GB set of water cooled modules from Kingston, the HyperX H20 PC3 16000 will require the use of a small overclock to get the rated speeds. To keep the CPU close to its 2.66GHz clock speed, I will be reducing the clock multiplier and raising the bclock to get the 2000MHz rated speed with latencies of 9-11-9-27. The testing will include both stock and overclocked settings to see just how much headroom this set of modules has. Each set of modules is tested in this method to keep the CPU as close to the 2.66GHz default speed as possible while maximizing the memory speed. The voltages used will be all the available options in the BIOS to reach the maximum clock speed, while using the default 1.65v for the stock testing.


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.

Task Manager



Overclocked settings:


These modules from Kingston come from the factory with latencies of 9-10-9-27 - already pretty high up on the latency chart, so I was a little suspect as to the amount of headroom left on these modules. Those fears were unfounded as there was almost 200MHz left in the bank that ran right up on the limits of my poor Core i7 920's memory controller at 2190MHz. At the limit I would start losing a single module in this triple channel group of modules so any higher was out of the question, regardless of timings and voltages. To reach the 2190MHz limit, I had to increase the QPI voltage and bump the IOH voltage up a few notches to get the memory stable as well as bumping the vdimm up to 1.70 volts. However, 9-10-9-27 are not latencies that beckon the enthusiast to come hither. These modules do have the ability to run 7-9-7-27 at the 2000MHz level with a bump in the memory voltage to above that which Intel specifies as unsafe at 1.72v. With the ability to liquid cool these modules, heat due to voltage increases becomes a non issue.



The maximum memory speed for each set of modules when overclocked is a measure of how well the modules ran on these particular modules and test system. As such, your results may differ in either a positive or negative way based on the capabilities of your hardware.



The benchmarks used in this review include the following:



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 Bandwidth, and Memory Latency. Higher is better in all tests, except for Memory Latency, where lower is better.








The HyperX H20 modules deliver the highest memory score in the PCMark Vantage testing, as well as the highest bandwidth numbers in the Sandra testing. The closest modules to the Kingston HyperX H20 modules are the 1866MHz rated Mushkin Blackline modules that run tighter latencies at 8-9-8-24.


Geekbench 2.1 provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks engineered to quickly and accurately measure processor and memory performance. Designed to make benchmarks easy to run and easy to understand, Geekbench takes the guesswork out of producing robust and reliable benchmark results.





















Super PI Mod 1.5 is a program designed to calculate Pi up to the 32nd millionth digit after the decimal and is used as both a benchmarking utility and simple stress test to check your overclock before moving forward with more rigorous testing. The world records for this benchmark utility are hotly contested.



The looser timings on the HyperX H20 modules show that this set of latencies deliver slightly lower performance when compared to the Muskin Blackline and its tighter timings.


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The Kingston HyperX H20 modules deliver a performance around the average of the rest of the comparison modules. When overclocked, they are still not the top performer, but fall in line based on the latencies used to reach the highest clock speed.


The Kingston HyperX line has long been synonymous with overclocking and the enthusiast community. By creating a set of modules to work for a niche market just drives that commitment home. This set of modules is rated to run at latencies of 9-10-9-27 at 2000MHz right out of the box. Not the best latencies, but most of the modules you can find on line for a reasonable price come with a cas latency of 9. Any lower and the cost for the modules goes up exponentially, it seems. Although the latencies are a little loose, they allowed the modules to reach almost 2200MHz with some QPI and vdimm voltage tweaking. This seems to be where the uncore limit is reached (4400MHz) on my core i7 920, so I was not able to push any further. This makes this set of Kingston modules the highest clocking 6GB set I have tested. Step number two in the overclocking adventures was to find out what the tightest latencies I could run at the HyperX H20's rated 2000MHz. After some trial and error, I ended up with timings of 7-9-7-27. Not too bad for a set of cas 9 rated modules at 2000MHz.

Sure, Kingston is not the first to come up a water cooling set, but it has come up with a design that is simple to adopt and offers the lowest chance of a leak by using a straight through design. In other words, no seals to leak or worry about when you are liquid cooling your modules. Integrating this set of modules into your system will require some work on your part. If you are running a cooling loop with 1/4 inch lines, then all you need to do is loop the modules in and be on your merry way. However, with a 3/8 or larger tubing size, you will need to use an adapter to connect to the modules' 1/4 inch tubing size, creating another opportunity for a leak. Much like with any liquid cooling endeavor, leak check before you power up.

The pricing on these modules comes in at just shy of two Benjimans at $197. For cas 9 rated modules on Newegg, this puts the pricing on this set in the upper middle range of the pricing structure. The suggested retail was $235, so it's nice to see these modules come in under that level so they are competitive on price. This set will allow you to reach your overclocking goals while running cool and looking great. These modules offer enough overhead to give you added performance and the ability to decrease the timings. If liquid cooling is in your future, it's worth considering the Kingston HyperX H20 as an addition to your water cooling setup.