The pace of innovation in the computer market is sometimes astounding. Just four days ago we posted a performance review of the new Intel P35 chipset that introduced DDR3 memory. Our DDR3 test DIMMs for the launch were rated DDR3-1066 7-7-7-21. They would overclock to the new DDR3-1333 speed at 9-9-9-25 timings. We expected the quick introduction of DDR3-1333 modules at 9-9-9 timings, since that is one of the reasons for owning a P35 board. However, we did not expect true lower latency DDR3 for several weeks or months.

Kingston has certainly surprised us with the launch of low-latency DDR3 rated at DDR3-1375 even before the P35 boards officially launch at Computex on June 4th. Not only is this Kingston rated at the higher 1375 speed, but it has rated timings at 1333 that equal the best timings available at 1066 with our launch DDR3 memory. That is certainly rapid development, but it is easy to understand when put in perspective. At the high launch prices only early adopters will be tempted by DDR3. This is particularly true when you consider that fast, cheap DDR2 in the P35 motherboards actually performs better in the overlap speeds than the launch DDR3.

Memory makers introduce new products to sell them, and they are keenly aware that potential buyers need a real reason to buy DDR3, and that reason has to be more than just getting a new technology. The reasons people upgrade are faster speeds and better performance than any available on DDR2, and lower latency that allows performance just as good as or better than DDR2 in areas where speeds overlap.

Kingston has hit a home run in both areas, and Kingston KHX11000D3LLK2 achieves timings as low as 5-4-3-10 at DDR3-800 and 6-5-5-12 at 1066 - both at a very modest 1.7V to 1.75V. Performance at these overlap speeds is now roughly on par with the fastest DDR2 running in a new P35 board supporting DDR2. The P965 running the same low latency DDR2 is outperformed by any of the new Intel P35 chipsets running DDR2 or DDR3 memory. At the upper end the new Kingston can reach DDR3-1520 with stability and a magic DDR3-1500 at the tight timings (considering the speed) of 7-7-7.

This low-latency memory manages timings close to the theoretical limits of 5-3-3 at DDR3-800, and it is clear from the performance of this early low-latency DDR3 that buyers will not have to give up any performance in their migration to DDR3. Timings at other speeds are also the best seen to date with DDR3, but there will undoubtedly be even lower latency DDR2-1066 and DDR2-1333 in the future.

Kingston's DDR3-1333 with lower latency timings has given early adopters who will buy new and future technology at any price a reason to buy Kingston KHX11000D3LLK2. Lower latency and higher speeds are required for DDR3 to stand out, and Kingston delivers both.The caveat, of course, is "at any price". However, DDR3 won't really take hold in the market until prices for DDR3 are no longer a 2 to 3 times DDR2 premium. Until they drop to near parity with DDR2 there is no reason to buy a DDR3 P35 motherboard when you can buy a DDR2 P35 motherboard that performs just as well and memory that costs significantly less.

Intel themselves have created this dilemma by supporting both DDR3 or/and DDR2 on the P35 chipset. The P35 is faster than the current P965 and 975X and buyers would move to it for that reason. However, the ability to keep current fast DDR2 which will perform very well on the P35 gives reason to carefully consider whether to buy a P35 with DDR2 support or a P35 supporting DDR3. If that option were not available you might buy DDR3 for the higher P35 performance as well as the future memory technology.

It's refreshing, though, to have Intel consider the pricing and desirability of DDR3 on the new P35, if that is indeed what happened. We suspect though that a market driven by OEMs demanded DDR2 support for price, with DDR3 support ready for a switchover when the prices drop. Whatever the reason the dual support has the advantage of choice for best value or best future-proofing. Unfortunately there is also the downside of higher chipset power consumption since both DDR3 and DDR2 memory interfaces are active whether they are used or not. Hopefully Intel and manufacturers can find ways to correct this undesirable side effect with something as simple and universal as a future BIOS update.

Kingston deserves congratulations for being the first to market with low-latency high speed DDR3. Kingston KHX11000D3LLK2 does exactly what it promises and then some. It gives buyers not so concerned about price the DDR3 performance and higher speeds to choose DDR3 for the future. However, most buyers will wait a while for DDR3 prices to drop, as they surely will. Kingston is the first low-latency high-speed DDR3, but it is certainly not the last. It is good, however, to be first to market with a quality DDR3 product.



View All Comments

  • Kozusnik - Thursday, December 6, 2007 - link

    Kingstone ram is some of the best ram you can put into your computer by asking me i use it in every computer i build! Reply
  • begsh - Saturday, June 23, 2007 - link

    are you really achieved this??
    i have same modules and they cant get even 1400 at 7-7-7, with mobo asus p5k3 and 0403 bios.
    any tips?
  • Night201 - Friday, May 25, 2007 - link">Seems pretty Expensive: ~ $500 Reply
  • MadBoris - Saturday, May 26, 2007 - link

    P.S. Some of the recent reviews almost seem a bit minimalistic. Hope it's not a trend of things to come. Not to be critical, but I would like to see anandtech provide fresh content, perspectives and methodologies like I've grown accustomed to. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, May 28, 2007 - link

    We would appreciate it if you could share specifics of what would constitute a non-minimalist memory review. What tests and procedures would you add? Reply
  • MadBoris - Saturday, May 26, 2007 - link

    You know the more i think about it, the results aren't that tangible. Sure Sandra shows benefits. But if I am running a game at 40 fps, is DDR3 going to give me 41, 42?
    It won't be noticeable.

    Spend less on reliable decent RAM, get a faster CPU or GPU, seriously.

    Same with the P35, just not too tangible with speed tests. Mobo's should be about reliability, features sets, testing devices(USB, SATA, RAID) on them and how well they work.

    Speed testing with RAM or Mobo's isn't tangible enough. When a new chipset or RAM increases things 15 - 20% then I'll be interested. I'm not really interested in shaving .5 seconds off a compile or an encode.
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, May 25, 2007 - link

    We have updated ALL charts in the review to make it easier to compare performance. Bandwidth Standard, Bandwidth Buffered, Super Pi, and the 3 games now included 1520 (380x7) results in the last column. This means all four rows are now running at 2.66GHz, with just a change in the memory bandwidth. *00, 1066, and 1333 are running 8x333, and 1520 is 7x380 - all 2.66GHz as stated at the top of the chart.

    We have added an Overclocking Chart to p.5 that includes 7x380 (2.66GHz)- 8-8-8-22, 8x380 (same multiplier as 800/1066/1333 but pushed ot highest OC at 3.04GHz)- 8-8-8-20, and 8x275 (3.0GHz - highest speed at 7-7-7 timings) - 7-7-7-15. so you cna see the impact of timings at the very top overclocks. It should be no surprise that 1500 7-7-7-15 results are the fastest.

    With these changes we think we have addressed your suggestions on making the performance charts more useful for readers.
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, May 25, 2007 - link

    For those who requested them, these are the results for the higheest memory speed at slower timings. After further testing, we managed 1520 8-8-8-22 timings at 1.8V.

    The first result is 7x380, which is the same 2.66GHz run at all other memory speeds, and the second is 8x380, which is the same ratio but the highest OC we could reach from the base memory setting of 1333. The sequence is test, 7x380 (2.66), 8x380 (3,04):

    Sandra XI-Standard Buffered - 7329, 7462
    Sandra XI-Standard UNBuffered - 5172, 5263
    Super Pi 1.5 - 45.31, 40.40
    Far Cry River - 107.46, 117.82
    Quake 4 - 116.0, 123.5
    Half Life 2-Lost Coast - 109.5, 111.5

    We will add a chart with these results to the bottom of the overclocking section later today.
  • Googer - Friday, May 25, 2007 - link

    2GB of DDR3 will cost you close to $385!">
  • TA152H - Thursday, May 24, 2007 - link

    A lot is being made of DDR3 latency and such, and performance, but hasn't anyone considered the impact of voltages? I see these grossly inflated voltages for DDR2 memory, and I can't help but wonder if they would have so much better performance, even clock speed normalized, if they were both run at stock voltages.

    A lot of places aren't stupid enough to run DDR2 at 2.2 or 2.3 volts, it creates a lot of heat and lowers the lifespan of the device. Sure, the kiddies will, but the business world isn't that crazy about running things out of spec. Now we have the jackasses at Kingston already producing 1.7v DDR3. Why even bother having a spec if no one pays attention to it???? The memory is just out, and they can't stay to spec.

    But anyway, it might be interesting to compare memory at spec, which, last I remember, was 1.5v for DDR3 and 1.8v for DDR2. Or even at the same voltage, to see what is intrinsic to DDR3 and DDR2. It might be the voltage difference accounts for a lot of the higher timings, and not the standard. Not that I'm advocating running DDR3 at 1.8v, but for testing, it would be informative. Certainly if these nitwits are running DDR2 at 2.2-2.3v, DDR3 at 1.8v can't be too far behind. Good grief.

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