The technology launch of Intel's new G35 chipset - the first to support DDR3 - occurred just 3 days ago. At launch most reviewers were intrigued by the potential of DDR3 but less than excited about the high latencies and high prices that were available at launch. As you saw in Intel P35: Intel's Mainstream Chipset Grows Up and Intel P35 Memory Performance: A Closer Look our first two samples of DDR3 were rated at DDR3-1066 and 7-7-7-20 timings. These DIMMs would also run at DDR3-1333 with 9-9-9-25 timings. While performance at both speeds was promising, we were left to wonder when lower latency DDR3 might become available.

The higher latency DDR3 at launch certainly gave the top DDR2 a run for the money, but it generally took much higher speeds to match or surpass current DDR2 with low latency timings. It was clear lower latency would bring DDR3 much improved performance and make it even more attractive to buyers, but we assumed it would likely be months until we saw lower latency DDR3 - as it was in the launch of DDR2.

With this scenario, imagine our surprise when Kingston asked us if we would like to review their first low-latency DDR3. Where the competition was 9-9-9 at DDR3-1333 and 7-7-7- at DDR3 1066, Kingston specified their new DDR3 memory at 7-7-7 at 1333 and 6-6-6 at 1066. These were definitely some memory sticks we wanted to review.

If these numbers still seem high to you, you need to back up a bit for a larger perspective. While lower speed DDR2 can have latencies as fast as 3, DDR3 starts at 800 and the boards we have seen only allow CAS latencies as low as 5. The CAS range on better P35 boards is normally 5 to 10. Given this range of available latencies at higher speeds than DDR2, it is clear the new Kingston KHX11000D3llK2/2G has found ways to provide the lowest latencies so far in DDR3.

Keep in mind that the actual latency in nanoseconds is what really matters, so while the number of memory cycles from DDR2-533 CL3 through DD2-667 CL4, DDR2/3-800 CL5, DDR3-1067 CL7, and DDR3-1333 CL9 increases, the actual latency in ns only ranges from 11.25ns (DDR2-533 CL3) to a maximum of 13.5ns (DDR3-1333 CL9). While CL7 may sound like a high latency, achieving that with 1333 MHz memory is actually results in a time latency of 10.5ns, and of course that's with much higher bandwidth than some of the other memory speeds.

We presented detailed comparisons of memory performance on the current P965, DDR2 on the P35, and DDR3 on the P35 just last week. This allowed us to run a full suite of comparison tests using the same configurations used in Intel P35 Memory Performance: A Closer Look. Those wondering whether DDR3 can compete with low-latency DDR2, and when that might happen will get some answers to their questions in this comparison.

Kingston KHX11000D3LLK2
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  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, May 24, 2007 - link

    The Asus P5K3 Deluxe motherboard allows DDR3 to be adjusted to 2.2V in .05V increments from the stock voltage of 1.5V. We ran voltages as high as 1.8V in this review, as Kingston specifies the memory at 1.7V. We gained nothing at voltages higher than 1.8V so we did not use them for testing.

    You seem to forget that enthusiast memory makers often specify higher than stock voltage for modules and they warrant the memory running at those higher specified voltages.

    We do agree you should be careful with higher voltages on memory, but when manufacturers warrant products at higher voltage we are a bit less concerned.
    Reply
  • TA152H - Friday, May 25, 2007 - link

    Wesley,

    You can warrant something all you want, but that doesn't mean running over spec doesn't shorten the lifespan of a product. It will, without a doubt. The only question is, will it lower it significantly enough to matter, meaning during the useful lifespan of the product. Probably not, if they warrant it, but it depends on how long you keep it. Since only the kiddies will buy this junk, and they will replace the machine when the next alien invasion comes from Zargon, in higher resolution, it's probably OK. I doubt any serious machines like servers will have this sub-standard memory.

    But, do they warrant it against additional power use? Do they pay for the electricity it takes? I don't think so. Do they warrant your motherboard against the additional heat? Do they give you additional fans to cool them? Do they pay for the electricity for those fans? Heat and electricity is a big problem, and even if they warranty their part, it stresses other parts too. And just because they'll warranty something doesn't really help that much if it breaks; the big loss isn't the part, but the down time. Do you really think they KNOW how long this part will last anyway? It's not like they can test it for 5 years and say it lasted that long. It's a best guess. The only certainty is they are shortening the life span.

    So, a warranty doesn't cover everything, and there is always a price for running overspec, but that's not even my real point. I remember buying some memory from Kingston, and they had specs listed on it. It was for a mini-ITX, and it didn't have the crazy voltages available (why would it, the whole point was to save power and noise?). Of course, I see 2-2-2-5 and assume, naturally, that this is the timing for it will run at, at spec. Except the voltage you need for this is higher, and it's entirely misleading. I returned it of course, after yelling at them, and am still annoyed that these companies help make a standard, and then disregard it. I mean, if you want to run memory at 2.2 or 2.3 volts, put that into the standard. And it's not like you can say they find out quite a bit later that the standard wasn't realistic. Kingston is breaking it right after it's been made! So why didn't they say in the meeting, let's create the spec for 1.7 volts? Or, create a range. It's absurd they create a spec and the first memory out breaks it. Of course, the other memory makers will do this too, but one of the points of the memory was low power use, so it's a bit conflicting. Also, as they go to PC-1600, and it naturally sucks more juice, how high can you really go with the voltage without creating an enormous amount of heat that can't be ignored? Naturally, they'll be going beyond PC-1600 at some point even though that's the spec, and it'll just get worse. So, being able to make memory with proper voltages will become more and more important.
    Reply
  • bldckstark - Friday, May 25, 2007 - link

    Ummm.. HyperX memory is not marketed to businesses. It is marketed to enthusiasts. Businesses keep using the standard parts, and enthusiasts keep using high performance parts. This would be the same reason that companies don't buy Corvettes for their salesmen to drive. It is not a reasonable business decision for several reasons, some of those being initial cost, maintenance costs, and normal usage costs like gas.

    How come you don't buy servers from Alienware for your company? Do you buy EE processors for your companies desktops? Your argument is similar to that of not having a space program, because we can't use rocket engines on jets.
    Reply
  • TA152H - Friday, May 25, 2007 - link

    Do you have a reading comprehension problem?

    I was saying the same thing. I guess most people are too simple to realize that even though, in a general sense, you are against something, you can make a point for why it exists. I pointed out that only kiddies will buy this memory, and it won't be used for servers, so it's not that bad. You couldn't understand that?

    But the main thing is, why make a standard when you're going to break it.

    Your remark about rocket engines on jets is purely idiotic. It's a terrible analogy, and makes no point at all. But, just so you know, there were in fact rocket propelled airplanes (German ME-163), but jets are a competing technology, you have one or the other. But again, you missed my point, because you naturally assumed everything I was saying was against this over-voltaged memory, but I was giving both sides. I still don't like it though. They should have made the spec 1.7volts, or whatever, if they fully intended to make it at that voltage, which clearly they did.
    Reply
  • menting - Friday, May 25, 2007 - link

    "But the main thing is, why make a standard when you're going to break it. "
    is same as why set a speed limit when people are going to speed.

    standards are there just for a standard. It doesn't say if they are prohibited from doing more. If they sell memory and say it conforms to JEDEC standards, then it means they can run at specced speeds at the specced voltages. They could go faster at higher voltages if they want. If they dont even say they conform to JEDEC standards, they can spec whatever they want and it's up to the user to decide if they want to buy memory that runs at the manufacturer's settings.
    Reply
  • TA152H - Friday, May 25, 2007 - link

    Another bad analogy.

    You can get a ticket for going over the speed limit and get fined. It's proscribed. You do it at your own risk and it's illegal. That's good?

    If they intended to go at higher voltages, why not spec it at that? Or create a range? Why create a spec if everyone breaks it? My big problem is how it's advertised, it's not so clear that the timings are for grossly inflated voltages. You have to look, and unless you know to and not make an assumption that memory is made according the specification, you can be fooled. You don't make a standard to break it, that's just plain asinine. You make a standard for conformity, that's the point of standards.
    Reply
  • rjm55 - Friday, May 25, 2007 - link

    You seem obsessed that Kingston sold you some memory sticks in the past that were rated at higher than JEDEC voltage. You learned that pretty much everyone in the memory industry does this and most people think nothing of it. You really need to get on with your life or seek professional help. Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Sunday, May 27, 2007 - link

    He may perhaps have a point in that the DDR3 standard has only just arrived, and already modules are arriving which are intended to be used well above the rated voltage.

    I run my memory above voltage like most of us, but when a new standard arrives and the recommended voltage has already been exceeded by over 13% almost immediately, it makes a mockery of it.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, May 25, 2007 - link

    Well, I kind of agree both ways here, but would err on the side of staying with the specification. Just like companies like Asrock releasing a motherboard with supposed SATAII ports, but they do not support NCQ, which is part of the SATAII spec!

    Granted this situation here is a bit different, they added to the spec, but not only did they add voltage capability, they added potetnial heat/overvoltage as well. This has impact on more than just the memory, this could adversely effect a motherbaord as well, and possibly even a PSU(over time).
    Reply
  • bobsmith1492 - Thursday, May 24, 2007 - link

    Why did you not put up some numbers at this speed for comparison? Granted the CPU may be running 35MHz slower, but might the RAM be enough to make up for it? At the very least, the bandwidth numbers would be impressive... assuming the latency affects the bandwidth? Reply

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