Kingston HyperX KHX1600C8D3K2/4GX 2x2GB Review

ccokeman - 2009-08-12 22:49:41 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: September 9, 2009
Price: $103


Intel's Nehalem cores launched last year to much fanfare and striking levels of performance over past generation processors. One new feature was the use of a tri-channel memory configuration that offered huge memory bandwidth and excellent memory performance. Now that the latest iteration of the Nehalam architecture has been released to the masses, the fact is that this new generation is meant for the mainstream users and not simply the uber elite, high end user. To keep the costs in line with the mainstream mantra, Intel chose to go back to a dual-channel memory configuration. This, of course, presents the opportunity to bring out new sets of memory designed to work with the Intel Corei5/i7 Lynnfied processors and P55 chipset motherboards. If the performance delivered by the last set of Kingston HyperX modules is indicative of what I can expect from this set of modules, then I can't wait to get to testing them out to see just where they perform.

This set of Kingston HyperX modules includes two 2GB modules rated to run at latencies of 8-8-8-24 at 1600MHz, using no more than the Intel specified 1.65 volts. Why only 1.65v? So you do not cause irreparable harm to your new Core i5 baby as it is based on the same architecture as the 9 series Core i7 processors. If you have been around long enough to remember the early Athlon 64 chips suddenly dying because of running the vdimm brutally high while keeping the CPU core voltage low, Intel is giving guidance so that they do not have the same issue. Since the memory specification on the i5 caps out at 1333MHz, how do you run these modules at 1600MHz? Well, since we are an enthusiast community, you have to overclock the Corei5 processor to reach the 1600MHz mark; something that is easily achievable with a moderate clock increase. This set of modules does not carry the T1 heatspreader design, so will heat be an issue for this kit? Only one way to tell! Now let's look at the modules and see just what they are made of and if they deliver on the promise of performance.

Closer Look:

The Kingston HyperX modules come in a retail blister pack. Information on the label includes the kit model number KHX1600C8D3K2/4GX, the size of the modules and the top level memory specifications on the bottom of the label. This label serves a dual purpose; to provide the consumer information about the memory, as well as serving as a security seal for the modules, proving they have not been tampered with. The rear of the package does not provide any information and merely shows the knockouts where the modules are locked in to prevent damage.








The HyperX KHX1600C8D3K2/4GX set of modules consists of a set of modules 2x2GB in size, rated to run at 1600MHz using the Intel specified 1.65volts. These modules contain an XMP (Extreme Memory Performance) profile to make overclocking a no fuss proposition... if you believe the hype. Manually tuning the memory seems to offer the most benefit. The modules are the traditional HyperX blue and silver color scheme that has been so popular. The HyperX logo is in the center of the modules and appears to be die-cut rather than simply painted on. The specifications for the modules are contained on the label that is attached to only one side of the modules. One thing you will note is that this set of modules do not carry the T1 heatspreader design, but rather the standard, non-finned, clamshell-type spreader. Without the T1 style heatspreader, will cooling be compromised? We'll have to find out.




I can't wait to get these modules installed on the p55 platform to see if they can hang with the T1-equipped modules I looked at for the i7.



Kingston HyperX
240-pin DDR3 SDRAM
Cas 8
Yes - Standard design



To find out just how well a product performs, you have to test it in a real world environment so that you don't just blindly believe what the manufacturer says the product will do. Some are right on the money, while others fall somewhat short. On the other hand, there are products that exceed the manufacturer's specifications and will perform at a higher level than what the specifications lead you to believe. To find out what kind of performance these Kingston HyperX modules deliver, I will be running them through the OverclockersClub suite of benchmarks to see how the performance compares to that of modules that are rated both lower and higher than the rated speed and timings of 8-8-8-20. The CPU is run at a clock speed of 160 x 20 with the memory multiplier increased to the 1600MHz mark to reach the rated speed of each set of modules. For the overclocking test, I will use a combination of increasing the clock on the CPU to increase the clock speed of the Kingston HyperX modules.

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.



Overclocked settings:

Overclocking these modules was actually fun. The rated timings at 1600MHz are 8-8-8-24. What I found was that at 1600MHz, they could be tightened up to 6-7-6-18 with no increase in voltage above the rated 1.65 volts. After seeing how tight the timings would go, I was anticipating big things and was not disappointed. How does 2180MHz with a small bump in voltage and a bump in cas latency and TRCD to 9 sound? Really, at this point, my jaw had hit the keyboard because it took all of about an hours worth of wrangling to get to the 2180MHz level. That's what I call overclocking headroom - 580MHz worth, to be exact. Since the i5 750 has the memory multiplier locked, I feel there is more left on the table with this set. Even so, I left the latencies at what would be considered usable and still ended up with the highest memory overclock I have had to date, by far. By increasing the latencies there may be some more low hanging fruit. But keeping close to the Intel specified 1.65v max on the memory at 1.68 volts, you really cannot go wrong with this set when looking to max out your system. Did I say 580MHz of headroom? Kind of makes me feel like I won the lottery! I just hope that the ballot box was not stuffed and that this kit is indicative of the retail sampling!



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.






In PCMark Vantage, the system and memory scores delivered by the Kingstons fell a bit below the performance delivered by the competition. In the Sandra testing, the Kingston modules held the lead by the slimmest of margins. When the modules were pushed, they continued to deliver exceptional capability.


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!
















In this test, the Kingston modules deliver performance within 3 FPS at the top end. When you let the modules fly, they just keep going and going, but do not show any difference above 1280x1024.



Shocking! I think this has to be the one set of memory that has overclocked furthest above its rated speed that I have ever tested. After making sure there was no typo on the modules and/or packaging, I was simply stunned. This set of HyperX memory from Kingston is rated to operate at DDR3-1600MHz speeds with a cas latency of 8. No problem, right? Well no, it's not, and it should run right at its rated specifications of 8-8-8-20 with ease. Not only did they do this, but they also did 6-7-6-18 at 1600MHz. Pretty nice in its own right from a set of modules that are currently selling for just $103! As Billy Mays always said, "but wait... there's more!" Much more in fact. At the rated timings and voltage, these modules scale all the way to 2000MHz without so much as an increase in voltage. To get above 2030MHz, I had to bump the cas latency and TRCD to 9. This took me all the way to 2180MHz, 580MHz (290MHz) over the rated speeds, all without the help of massive voltage increases. At this point, I was left speechless! Kingston has come a long way from the times when I could do no better than 2MHz over the rated speed on some DDR 400 HyperX modules that currently reside in a system build for a family member years ago. If this sounds like gushing, it really isn't; Its just appreciation for a set of modules that exceeded my expectations on all counts. When you look to move to a Lynnfield-based system, these modules rock and should be on your short list, regardless of what your favorite brand of memory is. If all these sets perform like this one did, you won't be disappointed!