Just before the easter holiday weekend, we reviewed a 1600 MHz quad channel kit from Corsair. So if you missed that, be sure to check out our review of the Corsair Vengeance 1600 MHz Quad Channel Memory first, before moving on with our Kingston HyperX Review below.
Even if you don’t own a quad-channel system, you should be paying attention to these reviews, because these quad kits are useful for anyone who wants to run 16 GB of memory, even in dual channel mode. For some brands, this is the only way to get 16 GB of high speed DDR3. For others, it is much cheaper to go this route than the 2 x 8 GB option.
So let’s get started with our Kingston HyperX Review, of their kit labeled KHX1600C9D3K4/16GX
The HyperX kit carries similar specs to the Corsair Vengeance kit we reviewed recently. It comes with an Intel XMP profile for 9-9-9-27 timings, at 1600 MHz. Unlike Corsair, this kit doesn’t come with a vague promise of higher speeds – but that won’t stop us from trying. One potential roadblock is that at stock XMP speeds, it is already running at a voltage of 1.65v. This is about as high as you will want to run memory on an Intel system these days, so overclocking may be limited…
Kingston HyperX Genesis Quad Packaging
I really didn’t like the way the Corsair kit was packaged, with each module getting its own clamshell package. I mentioned that Kingston has the best quad channel packaging in the business, and here’s why:
It may not be the prettiest packaging out there (that is what Corsair aimed for) but function wise, it doesn’t get much better than this. You can simply cut through one seal, and you have yourself a handy RAM tray that actually has room for eight modules. This makes installation a breeze, and I wish everyone did this.
The Kingston HyperX Genesis quad kit comes in any colour you want, as long as it’s blue. This is great if you have one of those black/blue motherboards that is all the rage these days (seriously, it’s by far the most common colourway for Intel boards), but if you happen to be installing these in a more colourful board, they may stand out in a weird way. Still, due to the popularity of the black colour scheme, this kit will look good most of the time. Here’s hoping they offer the fantastic looking grey kits we saw in our Best Memory for Sandy Bridge review…
Unlike the Corsair Vengeance, the HyperX Genesis uses low profile heatsinks that will not get in the way of large heatsinks. This is a HUGE advantage, and in my opinion, anything more than what Kingston is doing here should be considered overkill. At the relatively low voltages you’ll be using for these, there really is no need for extra large heatsinks or active cooling, so anything that would get in the way of a big silent CPU heatsink is just a waste of space.
Kingston HyperX Review – Overclocking
When it comes to memory overclocking, the first thing I like to do is see if I can run its default speed with lower timings. Sometimes this requires a bump in voltage, but not always. This doesn’t really do much for performance to be honest, although it can show up in some tests such as gaming.
Secondly, we like to bump up the memory’s speed by increasing the ratio on the CPU’s memory controller. This allows for more peak bandwidth which will show up on some benchmarks, and can help performance in some tasks.
As this kit is already at the ceiling of where you’d want to run memory voltage on an Intel CPU on a daily basis, we had to leave it at 1.65. Unfortunately, this meant that lowering timings was not going to happen – there was no way to get this kit to boot at CAS 8 while running at 1600 MHz.
This didn’t bode well for the memory clock, but actually we were able to bump it up to 1866 MHz, with timings set to 10-10-10-34. This is actually a bit tighter than the Corsair kit at 1866, so that is pretty impressive!
Kingston HyperX Genesis Quad Performance
Since it’s tough to squeeze out any performance from a kit already running in quad channel, performance results are kept to a minimum here at HCW. We’ll get some synthetic testing out of the way, to show what kind of peak bandwidth we’re getting by overclocking. Real world performance is handled by PCMark 7, which uses the apps built into Windows 7.
Our test bench is the same for all quad channel memory reviews:
Intel X79 Chipset
|CPU||Intel Core i7 Extreme 3960X|
|Video Card||MSI Hawk|
ATI Radeon HD6870 1GB
|Hard Drive||Intel SSD 520 Series 240GB|
|Software Versions||Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1|
Intel INF 188.8.131.522
We’ll be testing the default XMP settings compared to our best overclock at 10-10-10-34. Starting with SiSoft Sandra 2012:
As expected, the bump in speed granted us about 5 GB/s. Whether this shows up in real world applications, we’ll find out soon enough.
And the higher speed gave a very slight latency benefit.
Next we’ll look at PCMark 7, which has various built-in tests which use real world applications (all programs found within Windows 7 itself). The “Entertainment” test is very GPU heavy, with a lot of gaming tests. There is some video playback/encoding though, and even some web browsing. The “Creativity” test is mostly image manipulation and video transcoding. The “PCMark” score has a little bit of everything.
Just as we saw before, scores are pretty much within 1% of each other, even after all the overclocking.
Kingston HyperX Review – Conclusions
This kid can be found online for around $104.99 online, which is actually $5 cheaper than the Corsair Vengeance quad kit. While the Vengeance had a lower default voltage, the HyperX Genesis outperformed it in our lab. Keep in mind that overclocking results will vary from product to product, but the fact remains that this kit was not held back by its high default voltage.
The major thing this kit has going for it is the use of low profile heatsinks. I think tall heatsink have to go, at least on low voltage kits. They do nothing but get in the way of larger CPU heatsinks. Literally, that’s it. They don’t do anything else. So why use them? Because they make your product look expensive?
If you are in the market for a quad channel 1600 MHz kit for around $100, you won’t go wrong with the HyperX Genesis kit from Kingston. It is backed by a lifetime warranty too, so you’ll never have to worry about buying a replacement for it.