Articles: Memory

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System memory is one type of computer components that users don’t take the trouble of choosing carefully. They are willing to spend money to buy more memory, but often neglect such parameters as timings or clock rate. Indeed, as we could see in our numerous tests with different platforms, it was true that all DDR3 SDRAM available was in fact the same when it came to key consumer properties.

The arrival of the Ivy Bridge generation of Intel CPUs has brought about certain changes, though. They feature a revised memory controller that provides more flexibility in choosing memory subsystem settings. Particularly, the clock rate of DDR3 SDRAM on LGA1155 platforms can range from 1067 to 2800 MHz. The difference between the lowest and highest limits and, consequently, in the bandwidth of the CPU-memory thoroughfare just cannot help showing up in practical applications. However, memory modules rated for high clock rates are generally much more expensive than ordinary DDR3-1333/1600 and it is not easy to say whether they are really worth the extra money.

Whether investing into memory subsystem improvements on the Ivy Bridge platform is worthwhile depends on how greatly the timings and clock rate of DDR3 SDRAM can influence the performance of typical applications. The manufacturers can also affect the end-user’s choice of system memory for LGA1155 platforms. High-speed and expensive DDR3 SDRAM kits becomes the main source of profits for them considering the low memory prices we have today, yet it is important not to raise the price too high because not all users are willing to pay much more for the extra speed.

Every memory maker has his own way of striking the balance. Someone tries to ensure an attractive price while others endow their products with extreme specs so that the price factor was but of secondary importance. So, it is against this background that we begin our tests of specific high-speed memory kits. Today, we'll be talking about products from Kingston, one of the leading suppliers of DDR3 SDRAM modules for PCs.

Kingston’s product range includes both ordinary solutions of the ValueRam series as well as products for experienced users marketed under the HyperX brand. It is about dual-channel HyperX kits of the most popular 8GB capacity that we are going to talk in this review. The HyperX series has earned a very good reputation over the last years by offering rather advanced specs at a reasonable price.

Kingston was kind to offer us five dual-channel memory kits from the HyperX series which is optimized for today’s LGA1155 platforms with Ivy Bridge CPUs. You can see their specs in the following table:

Kingston’s nomenclature may seem confusing at first, yet each part number actually contains all the key parameters. You can easily decipher them by referring to this guide:

As you can see, the dual-channel DDR3 SDRAM kits we’ve got to test have the same capacity of 8 gigabytes but come from different product categories and differ greatly in their specs. That’s going to make this test session the more interesting as we will be able to see the benefits, if any, of high-speed memory rated for clock rates of 2133 and 2400 MHz.

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