Kingston Hyper X DDR3

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Kingston Hyper X DDR3
  • Kingston Hyper X DDR3
  • Kingston Hyper X DDR3
  • Kingston Hyper X DDR3

Pros

  • 1375MHz speed rating

Cons

  • Performance tests didn't show a significant improvement over DDR2 800MHz RAM, very expensive

Bottom Line

The HyperX kit is very expensive and won't provide a noticeable performance boost over a similarly configured DDR2 800MHz-based configuration. Go for it only if you want to be a very early adopter, or if you're keen to do some serious overclocking. For the rest of us, DDR2 is still the best option.

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DDR3 is the new memory standard for desktop PCs and it's currently supported by Intel's new P35 chipset for Intel CPUs. Kingston's 2GB HyperX DDR3 kit (KHX11000D3LLK2/2G) is aimed at enthusiast users.

It contains two 1GB modules that have a rated speed of 1375MHz and latency timings of 7-7-7-20. This timing refers to the amount of clock cycles that go by before the controller can retrieve data from the memory chips, and this is not as low as the latency on most current DDR2 modules, which can be as low as 2.5 cycles on high-end modules (as opposed to seven in these HyperX modules).

However, DDR3 modules move more data per clock cycle (8-bits as opposed to four for DDR2), so the timings between DDR2 and DDR3 aren't really comparable, and they can work with much higher front side bus speeds. While our HyperX modules are rated at 1375MHz, modules up to 1600MHz and as low as 1066MHz will also be released.

The rated speed of 1375MHz for these HyperX modules is much faster than the highest official speed rating of DDR2 memory (800MHz) and this means that motherboards using DDR3 will be able to match the 1066MHz front side bus of today's Intel Core 2 CPUs. They will also be able to match the front side bus speed of Intel's upcoming CPUs (codenamed Penryn) which will have a front side bus speed of 1333MHz. AMD CPUs will only be able to use DDR2 until a version of the company's Phenom CPU is released with a built-in DDR3 controller, but that is likely to be next year.

You'll need a new motherboard in order to use DDR3 memory modules. The new HyperX DDR3 memory modules cannot be placed in DDR2 memory slots, nor can they be placed in DDR3 slots, as the location of their centre keys are different. Furthermore, the new DDR3 modules run at a lower voltage, 1.7V, compared to the1.8V DDR2 modules - however when mainstream DDR3 modules are released, they will run at 1.5V. This will be more of an advantage in the notebook market, as it should help improve battery life.

While the specs of DDR3 modules are exciting, in our tests this HyperX kit wasn't impressive. We ran it at 1066MHz with our Core 2 Extreme QX6700 CPU on an ASUS P5K3 Deluxe motherboard, and it returned a score of 106 in WorldBench 6, which is slightly faster than a similar DDR2 800MHz configuration (103). When we ran it at 1333MHz, it actually slowed down, producing a score of 101. However, it was great for overclocking, as it enabled us to run a stable 3.3GHz CPU speed with a 1333MHz front side bus, scoring 111 in the process. Based on our tests, we believe DDR3 should come into its own once CPUs with 1333MHz front bus speeds are released. Until then, there is no real reason to upgrade to DDR3, especially considering the price of this kit.

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