[ad#review955-top]About a month ago I reviewed Kingston’s HyperX DDR3-2000 3GB Triple Channel kit with their new HTX heatspreaders. The review was incomplete, as I was unable to run the memory even as high as DDR3-1600 due to my Engineering Sample i7 processor, and the memory clock configuration of the three motherboards I had to work with. It was embarrassing because I was unaware of the problems I would have until the review was already rather late. Dave, our Kingston rep, was really cool about it, so I promised him that I would perform a “revisited” review of the memory as soon as I was able. He was so nice about it that he didn’t even ask for it. But it definitely is owed. Here ya go, Dave.
Today, armed with a retail i7 920, and a shiny new BIOS from Gigabyte, I will have another go at this memory. Will I be successful, or will I once again end up with egg on my face? Read on to see!
A quick recap, the memory runs at DDR3-2000 9-9-9-27, at Intel’s mandatory 1.65v. The modules sport some really nice pin-fin styled heatspreaders in Kingston’s traditional HyperX blue. The memory supports Intel’s XMP with a pair of preset configurations, DDR3-2000 and DDR3-1866, in case the motherboard won’t make the trip to a full 2000mHz.
As all high-performance triple-channel memory modules, the HyperX DDR3-2000 modules default at DDR3-1066, to allow any motherboard to POST with the memory, in case for some reason the motherboard won’t support DDR3-2000. Many complain about this, but imagine what would have happened to me with this memory earlier. Advertised speeds and timings are set in the BIOS.
Intel i7 920 (retail version)
Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P X58 motherboard (F6 BIOS)
Sparkle Calibre P980X+ geForce 9800GTX+ video card
OCZ EliteXStream 800 Watt power supply
Zalman CNPS 9900 LED CPU Cooler
NZXT Tempest extended midtower
Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
I went into the BIOS, set the XMP to Default 2 (DDR3-2000), pushed F10 and held my breath. Paydirt! The rig easily POSTed, and Vista launched just fine. I ran some benchmarks just to make sure it was stable. I couldn’t make it crash, even with my favorite memory-killers.
So I immediately went to work overclocking the HyperX DDR3-2000 Triple Channel. Keep in mind that with the i7 you are limited to a VDIMM of 1.65v, Intel warns against clocking memory any higher due to the danger of damaging the CPU’s memory controller. I was able to attain a DDR3-2036 overclock at CAS 7. Running some performance benchmarks, I saw that I had actually taken a hit in performance over DDR3-2000, so there really isn’t any use in trying to run the memory any higher at CAS 7.
After spending a considerable amount of time experimenting, I got a rock-solid stable overclock of DDR3-2142 10-9-9-30. That is probably a little higher than I expected to get. I tried hard trying to get a really respectable overclock at CAS 9, but I just couldn’t pass the DDR3-2100 mark. Keep in mind that you really affect benchmark scores when loosening the timings, so when trying to get a max overclock, you will likely lower at least some of your scores.