Kingston KVR400X64C3AK2/1G

Kingston's second Value RAM was the most reasonable RAM in our roundup. We found KVR400X64C3AK2/1G available at several Internet dealers for around $100. While we were testing for this roundup, we also saw this Kingston CAS3 Value RAM on sale at one web retailer for $91 for a Gigabyte of memory. This is a high volume, readily available Kingston product that also performs much better than you might expect from the price and specifications.

Kingston KVR400X64C3AK2/1G is supplied as a 1GB kit consisting of 2 512MB double-sided DIMMs. It is designed as a low-cost dual-channel memory kit.

Like the Kingston CAS 2.5 Value RAM, there are no heatspreaders on the DIMM modules. The memory chips are Elpida, which we have seen used in a few other DDR400 memory products.

Specifications

The KVR400X64C3AK2/1G is rated by Kingston at CAS 3 and we found the automatic SPD timings to be 3-3-3-8 at stock voltage. These are not particularly exciting timings - even for a Value RAM.

 Kingston KVR400X64C3AK2/1G (DDR400) Memory Specifications
Number of DIMMs & Banks 2 DS
DIMM Size
Total Memory
512 MB
1GB
Rated Timings 3-3-3 at DDR400
SPD (Auto) Timings 3-3-3-8
Rated Voltage 2.6V

As you will see in our timings below, however, it is definitely worth your effort to set timings manually for this low-priced Kingston Value RAM, as it is capable of decent performance and overclocking, especially considering its value price.

Test Results

Kingston KVR400X64C3AK2/1G (DDR400) - 2 x 512Mb Double-Bank
CPU Ratio at 2.4GHz Memory
Speed
Memory Timings
& Voltage
Quake3
fps
Sandra UNBuffered Sandra Standard
Buffered
Super PI 2M places
(time in sec)
Wolfenstein - Radar - Enemy Territory fps
12x200 400 DDR 2.5-3-3-6
2.6V 1T
530.2 INT 2586
FLT 2748
INT 6057
FLT 6023
83 111.7
11x218 436 DDR 3-3-3-6
2.7V 1T
531.6 INT 2706
FLT 3927
INT 6425
FLT 6354
82 112.0
12x225
(2.83GHz)
Highest CPU/Mem Performance 3-3-3-7
2.9V 1T
580.8 INT 2831
FLT 3023
INT 6772
FLT 6719
74 124.0
To be considered stable for test purposes, Quake3 benchmark, UT2003 Demo, Super PI, Aquamark 3, and Comanche 4 had to complete without incident. Any of these, and in particular Super PI, will crash a less-than stable memory configuration.

The Kingston CAS 3 is significantly cheaper than the CAS 2.5, but it also performed fine at CAS 2.5 at the stock DDR400 at standard voltage. Even more important for some, the KVR400X64C3AK2/1G had excellent head room, as it was able to reach DDR450 at voltages available on many motherboards. At $91 to $100 for a matched pair of 512MB DIMMs, this Kingston kit is an outstanding value.

Aida 32 has been useful in the past in examining read/write performance and memory latency. Aida 32 is now available as Everest Home Edition, a free download from www.lavalys.com.

Kingston KVR400X64C25/512 (DDR400) 2x512Mb Double-Bank
Everest 1.51
CPU Ratio at 2.4GHz Memory Speed Memory Timings
& Voltage
Everest READ
MB/s
Everest WRITE
MB/s
Everest Latency
ns
12x200 400 DDR 2.5-3-3-6
2.6V 1T
5750 1872 47.2
11x218 436 DDR 3-3-3-6
2.7V 1T
6030 1974 48.7
12x225
(2.7GHz)
Highest CPU/Mem Performance 3-3-3-6
2.9V 1T
6370 2083 47.2

With the somewhat limited range of DDR400 to DDR450 you will not see the kinds of memory read and write increases that we see in top-end memory. However, DDR450 represents a CPU clock of 225, or 12.5% over the base 200 speed. This is often fast enough on the Athlon 64 to allow you to reach the highest speed that your A64 CPU might reach at stock multiplier. In this case, we were able to take our 4000+ from a stock 2.4GHz to 2.7GHz with the memory keeping up. If you need to go even higher, memory multipliers can be lowered, but there is a memory performance penalty when dropping from 1:1 to a lower base memory speed.

All-in-all, the Kingston KVR400X64C3AK2/1G is a surprisingly good performer for memory that you can buy for about $100 per Gigabyte. The timings are not the fastest, but gaming performance at DDR400 is just 8% faster with the fastest 2-2-2 that we have tested at DDR400 (Quake 3 at 530.2 to 572.8, RTCW at 111.7 to 120.2). The real difference between this Value RAM and the expensive memory is at the top, where OCZ VX at top memory speeds can outperform this Kingston at top speed by 10% to as much as 21% in Gaming frame rates.

Kingston KVR400X64C25/512 Mushkin EM Series PC3200
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  • ChineseDemocracyGNR - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    #39,
    "2) RAM multipliers are usually limited. If you have a standard set of 400, 320, and 266 speeds, you could only achieve DDR400 speed at a CPU frequency of 250. Anything lower than that would be running the RAM at less than 400. Most A64 CPUs can't do 250 on air at stock multipliers (the low end ones can) so they will be running less than optimum ram speed. That's where you could lower CPU multipliers or use a board like the DFI with lots of intermediate RAM ratios. "

    I'm not sure I'm following.

    With a 9x CPU multiplier, DDR266 memory divider and 312MHz reference clock the memory would be running at DDR400.
    With a DDR200 option you could go up to 400MHz on the reference clock. That means that no DDR400 memory will limit the overclock of a CPU with a 9x multiplier.

    "1) There is an Asynchronous Latency penalty, which can be tweaked somewhat on boards with better BIOS options like the DFI. It is not, hoever, the kind of asynchronous penalty you see on a FSB board like Intel. "

    In my own tests there's no real-world penalty at all. I compared an Athlon 64 running at:
    REFCLOCK: 200MHz
    Memory Divider: DDR400
    CPU multiplier: 9x
    LDT: 5x

    with:
    REFCLOCK: 300MHz
    Memory Divider: DDR266 (DDR400 effective)
    CPU multiplier: 6x
    LDT: 3x

    The results where near identical.

    "In other words, the easiest way to consistently improve memory performance is 1:1 memory speed."

    There's no memory fast enough to run at 1:1 with an Athlon 64. ;)
    An Athlon 64 at 9*200 is on a 1800/9 ratio with DDR400 memory.

    I'm sorry but I stand by what I said before, there's no reason to invest in memory if you want to overclock your Athlon 64, only if you want to overclock the memory as well.

    Kind of on the subject, I hope the round up of AMD PCI-E boards (there is one coming right?) tests the best reference clock the motherboards can achieve without memory as a limiting factor, unlike the reviews before.
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Excellent review, both for the modules it covered and what it didn't.

    One small point- there is no such thing as 1:1 memory timings with A64 processors. The reduced latency and higher performance that a 1:1 ration gave when the processor to chipset FSB was running synchronously with the chipset memory-controller, is irrelevant with the Athlon 64 as there is no intermediate bus operating at a differnt speed to the memory controller to cause overheads. Selecting a lower memory speed just changes the CPU:Memory ratio in the processor.

    The memory on an Athlon 64 system works just as efficiently (though ay a lower bandwidth of course) if set to DDR333 as it does at DDR400, which means there is no real penalty when overclocking in choosing a lower memory speed to compensate for the increasing bus speed.
    Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    http://anandtech.com/memory/showdoc.aspx?i=2392&am...

    > Transcend is another memory that costs just $100 for a Gigabyte and yet manages to nearly reach DDR550 in overclocking.

    550?
    The table claims 510 (2 x 223), but 2 x 223 = 446.
    Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Is Lavalys sponsoring this article? Why is that paragraph repeated on every page? Reply
  • JustAnAverageGuy - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    I would have liked to see Mushkin Blue

    ($147 per GB)
    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewproductdesc.asp?desc...

    and Corsair VS 2.5

    ($174 per gb)
    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?desc...

    I won't whine about the voltage, that's been done before :)
    Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    - Reply
  • LX - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Why isn't the OCZ4001024WV3DC-K on the OCZ site???
    Reply
  • CobraT1 - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    If you are interested in the OCZ Value VX, note the differences in the two part numbers, one with a "W" and one without.
    Value VX = OCZ4001024WV3DC-K
    2.5-3-3-7 (picture) Supports EVP (Extended Voltage Protection)

    Value = OCZ4001024V3DC-K
    3-4-4-8 Does not Support EVP

    See this link for both.

    http://www.newegg.com/app/searchProductResult.asp?...

    Hope this clears up the confusion.


    Reply
  • segagenesis - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    Wesley - Fair enough. But when that ATACOM link posted in #44 shows 3-4-4 even on the label in the picture its hard to tell who to believe (and its hard to read the part # on it). If its all the same chip then fine... but why label it differently then? Buyer beware?

    Maybe I am off base...
    Reply
  • Turin39789 - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    I get real tired pushing ferrari's out of my driveway. There isnt any racing alcohol available to me, sometimes I have my neghbor tow me to work in his chevrolet cobalt Reply

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