The Kingston HyperX 1GB PC2-9600 DDR2 Memory Kit was installed in a system with the following components for this review:
» Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 dual core processor
» ASUS P5K Pro P35 ATX motherboard
» Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS 750GB hard drive
» Tuniq Miniplant 950W power supply
» Visiontek 256MB Radeon HD3850 PCI Express graphics card
» Ultra Products m998 Mid-Tower ATX case
» Windows Vista Home Premium
The published specifications have these Kingston modules rated for timings of 5-5-5-15 at 1200MHz, with a voltage of 2.3V. The screenshot below was taken from CPU-Z Version 1.44.1 in order to check what was programmed to SPD. I have to say I was a bit surprised and concerned to see that the highest rated profile was for 800MHz, and that one timing components (tRAS) was actually looser than specified for 1200MHz. While I suppose that profiles don't really mean much, it is reassuring to see the rated speeds and timings programmed into the modules.
The initial boot was at PC2-6400 speeds, thanks to having the BIOS completely in automatic mode. I then rebooted, and instead of going straight to 1200MHz, I tried things out at 1066MHz and 5-5-5-15 timings. Everything worked like a charm, so then I rebooted and went straight for 1200MHz at 5-5-5-15MHz. The screenshot below shows the system up and running at the rated speed and timings, which took minimal effort. After seeing that this was effectively a 800MHz kit in the first SPD tab, I didn't think this would be so easy, but was glad that it was!
The one thing to consider with these elevated speeds is that it requires 2.3V in order to make it happen. While many enthusiast grade boards should be able to do this, not all motherboard manufacturers allow you to go this high. Please check your board's BIOS to see how high the memory voltage can be set before purchasing a kit like this!
Overclocking and Optimizing:
After a bit of benchmarking and a successful session of OCCT were executed at default speed/timings, I started overclocking. Taking baby steps from 1200MHz was easy, even with the timings locked in at 5-5-5-15. I quickly arrived at 1250MHz, before extensive testing showed that something wasn't quite right. I then went into the BIOS and set the timings to auto and rebooted. All that was changed was the tRAS, and everything was now fine at 5-5-5-16. Not a big deal to me at all. I kept climbing to 1280MHz at 5-5-5-16, and everything remained stable... and lightning quick.
1280MHz seemed like quite a feat to me, as this was not only a high speed for the memory, but the processor as well. With a FSB:DRAM ratio of 5:8, this meant that the 333MHz default FSB on the E6850 was now at 400MHz. I have been able to overclock a bit above 400MHz before, but not by much. While this review will consider 1280MHz the top overclocked speed for testing purposes, I am still working on going higher. Just over 1300MHz seems good so far (FSB 407MHz), and I would love to get it stable at 1333MHz. That would have this kit running at the equivalent of DDR3 PC3-10600 speeds, and the timings would be tighter than DDR3 could handle, too! I'll post in the forum if I can make this happen sometime soon.