Date: August 30, 2007
Author(s): Rob Williams
Last Friday, we took a look at one of the first DDR3 kits on the market, OCZ’s DDR3-1333 Platinum. This week, we are continuing that theme with Kingston’s DDR3-1375 CL7, also one of the first kits available. How does this one compare to our OCZ kit? Read on to find out.
If you happened to have read our OCZ review last week, then you are probably aware that I am not huge on DDR3… at least yet. At this point in time, the performance gains are in no way worthy of the serious premium that these kits are asking. That said, until DDR3 goes down in price and becomes more a more viable solution to the masses, we will not be giving any DDR3 kit an overall rating, simply because it would be dragged down due to the price, which is unfair.
Instead, we are taking a look at each DDR3 kit as they are, and for those who do want to live on the bleeding edge of computing. While DDR3 isn’t groundbreaking, it is technically faster than DDR2, so diehard computing enthusiasts might want to make the move.
Like our kit last week, Kingston’s DDR3-1375 was one of the first kits on the market, and is the first one we received in our labs back in May. Compared to OCZ’s kit, Kingston’s has a few advantages. First, it’s DDR3-1375 instead of DDR3-1333, although we will be testing at DDR3-1333 for the sake of simplicity and since the kit was able to overclock beyond that stock speed.
Second, Kingston must’ve found a great batch of chips, because their kit not only had higher speeds, but higher speeds at lower voltages, 1.7v to be exact. Because of this, apples to apples, Kingston should have the overall advantage. That is yet to be seen though. For now, let’s look at the modules themselves, before moving onto our testing methodology and ultimately, our testing results.
Like all of Kingston’s HyperX modules, these ones arrive in a tight plastic blister pack, which keeps the modules safe during shipment and also shows the modules off. It’s a solid package design, because even if it’s dropped, the modules will remain safe.
One thing to note, is that the DDR3 heat spreader design has been ended, and replaced with a new one. However, I have yet to see these available on the market, but I assume all future models will incorporate them.
With that, there is no reason to delve into these specific spreaders that we have, since they are being replaced, but overall their efficiency is good and they look sharp overall. I’ve always loved the color Kingston has used and am glad that the future modules will retain that.
Testing methodology and overclocking is up next, followed by our testing results.
Although overclocking any type of memory generally involves the same process, moving from DDR2 up to DDR3 can throw you for a loop. The main reason is that we are dealing with absolutely huge speeds, and it’s a little daunting at first, and requires a little time to fully grasp what to expect from such modules. As I mentioned on the last page, DDR3-2000 speeds have been achieved by eager overclockers, while DDR2-1200 was once considered amazing.
That said, neither of the launch kits I received had such overclocking potential, but were still able to be pushed a fair bit. However when compared to our DDR2 reviews, we are left with a far smaller overclocked settings list, simply because there is no sense of getting intimate with minor frequency jumps.
Similar to our OCZ kit, this kit topped out at around DDR3-1500 with 8-8-8 timings, although this kit managed to retain stability at 2.0v, while OCZ’s required 2.1v. Our DDR3-1333 setting on this kit used 0.1v less than the OCZ as well.
As I found out, these modules could care less about voltage after a certain point. Up to DDR3-1500, it will take what you got and stay there. I tested the modules all the way up to 2.5v and it didn’t inch the overclock any further. I should mention also that these settings are completely stable, meaning you could run it in your machine 24/7, although that’s not generally recommended when using voltages far beyond stock. You might be alright, you might not be. It’s all luck of the draw and depends on how great the chips are.
Regardless of what performance-related part we are evaluating, there are a few conditions that are first met, prior to testing.
Below is all of the information regarding our testing machine. Links lead to our review of said product.
Because each one of our overclocked settings hit the “right” number as far as dividers are concerned, we were able to run each with a CPU speed of exactly 3.0GHz and not a MHz over. At stock speeds of 333FSB and 9x Multi, both DDR3-1066 and DDR3-1333 speeds can be chosen. At DDR3-1500 speeds, a 375FSB was required, but lowering to an 8x Multi kept us at our 3.0GHz clock setting.
With overclocking and a look at our methodology out of the way, let’s check out some benchmarks.
If there is one benchmarking tool that we at Techgage know well, it’s SiSoftware’s Sandra. It’s proven to be a great tool simply because it has so many uses, including diagnostics, information reporting and of course, benchmarking. The company released their latest version, XII (2008) last week, and we have begun using it in all of our performance reviews that require it.
As far as raw bandwidth goes, the benefit is clearly with our DDR3-1500 overclock. It gave us close to a 1,000MB/s boost over our DDR3-1066 underclock, despite the much more loose timings.
DDR3-1066 may seem fast, but the differences are quite large with the bigger tests, such as 16MB and 64MB. The latencies at both our “stock” and top overclock are slightly in the top overclock’s favor.
Super Pi is a great benchmarkers tool, but it serves no real purpose except to help you brag about your overclocks. It’s a very CPU-intensive tool, but faster ram can help out greatly as well.
As seen in our Sandra latency report, the top overclock once again delivered slower results thanks to the lower timings. Now, if 7-7-7 was stable at 750MHz, the differences would be far greater.
Like SiSoftware, Canuck company Lavalys also recently released an updated version of their benchmark, Everest 4.0. We will be using it for all of our future memory reviews, until Everest 5.0 hits.
Results seen here are interesting, because though the same settings are used as the OCZ kit last week, the top two results are different. Here, both are near identical performance-wise, minus the CPU-driven write speed of course. Our OCZ kit proved better overall, which might have been due to the extra voltage that was required. Both the 533MHz and 667MHz settings were far faster on the Kingston kit, however.
Compared to the OCZ kit here, the Kingston came out on top big time. By comparison, OCZ had 58.2ns at DDR3-1333, while Kingston’s had 54.7ns. The lower voltage could have helped out here. Sometimes voltage can help, sometimes it can hurt, apparently.
As far as DDR3 goes, these modules impressed for their stock speeds and modest overclocks. Since these were released, updated kits have made their way into the market, which have been far more lenient towards overclocking. Compared to our OCZ kit though, these proved to be better overall thanks to their lower voltage requirement at each setting. That helped us achieve lower latencies overall.
We normally give a product an overall rating at the end of each review, but at this point in time, I have no desire to haul out a rating of any sort for DDR3, simply because it’s too difficult, as mentioned in the introduction. There are too many factors that come into play, such as overall speed, price and so forth. After we accrue more DDR3 kits and publish more reviews, we may begin giving them overall ratings.
This is a great kit overall, especially since it surpassed our OCZ kit on hand. Both kits cost near-identical, so given the choice, the Kingstons will treat you right, at stock speed or not. It’s a great kit overall.
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