Kingston's HyperX 2400 MHz 8GB X79 DDR3 RAM Dominates
2/1/2012 by: Anshel Sag
We've done a lot of X79 platform DRAM testing in the past few months and one kit that we've been itching to test was one that ran at 2.4 GHz or 2400 MHz. After working closely with Kingston on our X79 RAM Roundup, we were happy to hear from them that they had a 2400 MHz kit for the X79 platform to test. We initially planned to include this kit in our RAM roundup but ran into motherboard issues which we will detail later.
We want to start this review off by saying that not all motherboards will be able to run 2400 MHz DDR3 in quad-channel and that we recommend checking with your motherboard vendor before actually buying this kit of RAM for your system. In our case, the Gigabyte X79-UD7 did support the 2400 MHz kit of RAM with XMP 2.0 settings, but only after a few BIOS updates. So keep that in mind.
In our testing, we will be comparing Kingston's 8GB (4x2GB) CAS11 2400 MHz 1.65v (KHX2400C11D3K4/8GX) kit against other X79 DDR3 kits of RAM. Keeping in mind that most of those kits are actually 16GB (4x4GB). We want to explore the benefits of going beyond 2133 MHz and see how much performance is really gained and whether or not its really worth the price.
The Kingston KHX2400C11D3K4/8GX kit is a CAS 11 kit which runs at 1.65v and is XMP 2.0 compatible. Meaning that you can run it on an Intel X79 motherboard with an Intel Sandy Bridge-E processor. This kit is comprised of four 2GB modules running in quad-channel. We were able to use the profile settings which meant a very simple and easy overclocked memory performance level. The actual latencies were a little different than what were were used to seeing as it was 11-13-13-30 rather than 11-13-11-30 which we've seen before. Perhaps, though, this slight tweak in latency will enable better and more stable clocks.
This kit of RAM actually has two different XMP profile settings, which we've never seen on a kit for X79 before. One setting is for 2400 MHz and the other is for 2133 MHz, indicating that perhaps Kingston recognizes that not all motherboards will be capable of supporting 2400 MHz and that perhaps users may want to use this kit in more than just one motherboard. Both these presets, though, run the kit of RAM at 1.64v which is already an overclocked voltage from the Sandy Bridge platform's standard of 1.5v.
If you'd like even more details regarding this kit, we managed to pull the full PDF spec sheet off of Kingston's website indicating the exact timings, voltages and dimensions.
For our setup, we ran a Gigabyte X79-UD7 with all four sticks of 2GB running in quad-channel mode at 2400 MHz. We also had an Intel 3960X processor running at 3.7 GHz with Turbo mode and all other clock speed tweaks turned off. For our RAM testing we also made sure that the motherboard was getting as much power as possible so we plugged in both +12v CPU power connectors in addition to the 24-pin motherboard power connector. We did this primarily because we knew that the CPU IMC voltage and VTT would likely require more voltage for stable 2400MHz clock speeds. This was accomplished by our Coolermaster UCP 1100W PSU which we've been using for all our testing.
In AIDA64, we combine three different tests into one graph. We combine the read speed, write speed, and copy speed for each kit of RAM which is running at its XMP 2.0 certified profile settings. Note: All measurements below are in MB/s.
If you take a look at the graph above, you'll notice that the performance winner in the AIDA64 benchmarks was without a doubt the 2400 MHz Kingston kit. This kit beat out all others by around 10% in all three tests and is quite visible. Interestingly, this kit was the only one that really gave us a much higher write speed than all the others which remained relatively flat at around 14,300 MB/s. The 19,639 read speed also gave us the highest result we've ever seen on this platform to date beating the nearest competitor (2133 MHz) by 1.6 GB/s. These two results were once again mirrored by the copy test as well where the board attained 17,270 MB/s compared to the nearest 16,383, admittedly a much smaller margin than the other two tests but still quite beyond our margin of error.
SiSoft Sandra 2012 - Memory Bandwidth
In this test, we run a series of two tests to measure both the integer and floating memory bandwidth of the memory while the CPU is running at 3.7 GHz and the memory is running at XMP certified profile settings. Below you can find the results of our tests. This test is measured in GB/s
In this test, the Kingston HyperX 2400 MHz kit once again out shone the competition by a fair margin. The kit we reviewed came in at just above 48 GB/s in both tests (48.23 GB/s and 48.19 GB/s) compared to the nearest 45.67 GB/s and 45.6 GB/s from the 2133 MHz Kingston kit. This gives us a pretty good representation of what kind of performance improvements one can expect by going from 1600 to 1866 to 2133 and finally up to 2400MHz.
SuperPi XS Mod 1.5 - 32M Benchmark
In this test we are running Xtreme Systems' SuperPi Mod 1.5 benchmark which allows you to calculate millions of digits of Pi and is a great measurement of aggregate memory performance taking into account both memory clockspeed and latency. For this test, we have the system calculate 32 Million digits of pi over 20 times until it finishes and once it finishes we get a time result. Note: These times are in minutes, we used to measure in seconds over 9 minutes, but the Kingston 2400 MHz ram changed that metric for us. Note: Lower is better.
In this test we were extremely surprised to see such a big difference between the Kingston 2400 MHz kit and the rest of the kits. So much so, that we actually had to change the metric by which we measured the test. Our old metric was seconds over 9 minutes, but we had to change to simple measurements of minutes (converted appropriately to decimals). In our findings, though, the Kingston HyperX 2400 MHz kit pretty much crushed everything in sight, even the 2400 MHz overclocked settings we managed to get out of the 2133 MHz kit. Admittedly, though, we did have to run at kit at 12-13-12-33 instead of CL11 in order to get it to take 2400 MHz. Clearly in this case, latency does impact this test quite a bit considering the performance difference between them.
When it came to overclocking, it was a pretty interesting story. Initially attaining 2400 MHz was a problem on our Gigabyte X79 motherboard primarily because the BIOS was not mature when we first started testing and had to wait for subsequent BIOS to resolve those issues. Only once we flashed with the F7 bios for the Gigabyte X79-UD7 were we able to attain 2400 MHz in a stable manner via XMP 2.0 profile settings. Considering that this board officially only supports 2133 MHz and that the X79 platform only really states that it supports 1600 MHz, we're quite happy with our results.
We made many attempts to pass 2400 MHz in our overclocking sessions, but simply could not obtain a stable result whatsoever. We may continue to try testing with this kit and will try on other X79 boards. As it stands, for the X79-UD7 we do not recommend upgrading to the F8 BIOS as it actually made the XMP 2.0 setting for 2400 MHz unstable. Even though, the initial purpose of the F8 BIOS in the release notes specifically stated improved 2400 MHz compatibility.
When it comes to the Kingston HyperX Genesis 2400 MHz DDR3 kit of RAM, this kit is surprisingly not that overpriced. Granted, it is only 8GB, rather than the 16GB that most of the other X79 RAM we tested. But, at $208 (on Kingston's site only) this RAM really isn't that much more overpriced than its competition. There is a caveat, though, since many 8GB kits that are made up of only 2 sticks cost less than this kit does, but those are retail prices and the retail price of this kit will likely be closer to Kingston's competition. Most of those kits come in at around $170 and the 16GB 2400 MHz kits are going for around $300. There is a difference, though, since there is no guarantee that those 2-stick configurations will actually work in a 4-stick X79 board at full speed.
Another factor that you have to consider is that this RAM does work extremely well for the X79 platform and gave the best performance of all the kits we tested, including the 16GB kit of Kingston DDR 2133 MHz which we overclocked to 2400 MHz. Our findings and the ease of getting 2400 MHz to work with the right BIOS do indicate to us that the $208 sticker price is well worth the memory bandwidth and performance. But, there is competition out there that does offer an XMP 2.0 X79 certified 16GB kit for $299. So, we expect Kingston to possibly release something similar in the near future to compete with them.
The real problem with this kit, and many like it is that they are simply unavailable. At the given moment, only 4 kits are available, and the Kingston kit is not one of them (not even listed). We did find it somewhere else for $182, but they also don't have it in stock either, so we're not sure whether their price is valid.
From our findings in all of our benchmarks and reviews, there is no doubt that the 8GB Kingston HyperX 2400 MHz DD3 kit for Intel's X79 platform is the fastest we've tested. Also, taking into consideration the price and the fact that this kit is 8GB, this kit is only for those that really intend to go for maximum memory bandwidth without spending $300.
Considering that the platform appears to be the limiting factor in getting memory overclocked past 2400 MHz, we really won't hold it against Kingston or any memory manufacturer for having a kit of RAM that doesn't overclock well. Since 2400 MHz is already quite heavily overclocked for the X79 platform and that we nearly touched 50 GB/s of memory bandwidth, we can say that this kit of RAM enables users to extremely easily enable very highly overclocked RAM without having to worry much about instability.
As such, we would like to award the Kingston HyperX Genesis 2400 MHz DDR3 kit our Editor's Choice Prosumer Award for being the fastest kit we've tested to date by a fair margin.
Kingston, HyperX, Genesis, XMP, X79, RAM, DDR3, 2400 MHz, 2.4 GHz, PC 19200, XMP, XMP 2.0, Gigabyte, Patriot, Corsair, Intel, RAM, DRAM, DDR
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