Kingston Predator 16GB (2x8GB) 1866 MHz DDR3 RAM/Memory Kit Review (KHX18C9T2K2/16X)

product

Serving as a replacement for the aging HyperX T1 while complimenting the current Blu and Genesis lineup of HyperX memory, the Kingston HyperX T2 Predator boasts the fastest speeds, lowest latencies, and highest capacities in the family. The fresh heat spreader design is another welcome change, being a better match to the appearance and layout of modern systems than the larger and less dramatic shell of the T1. It's an impressive facelift, but how are the performance gains?

 

Overview

Kingston HyperX Predator

CAUTION: Users may experience extreme motion sickness and/or complete disorientation from the extreme speeds typically reached with HyperX® Predator. It is not intended for small children, the faint-at-heart, people with a lot of time to complete a creative project or anyone who settles for less. Featuring frequencies up to 2666MHz and a new heat spreader for greater heat dissipation, it’s Intel XMP ready, compatible with all popular brands of motherboards and backed by legendary Kingston® reliability. We might even recommend a helmet.

  • Capacities 4GB-32GB (with 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB kits)
  • Speeds up to 2666MHz
  • 1.5V & 1.65V operating voltages enable stable overclocking
  • Intel XMP Ready; optimized performance settings handpicked and tested by Kingston engineers
  • Dual Channel kit tailored for P55, H67, P67, Z68, H61 (AG), and Z77 Intel chipsets; as well as A75, A87, A88, A89, A78, and E35 (Fusion) AMD chipsets.
  • Exceptional clock and latency timing specifications to enhance overall system performance
  • Heat sink design acheives effective maintenance of speed while prolonging the memory lifecycle
  • 100% factory installed 
  • All Kingston memory modules are backed by a lifetime warranty, 

Courtesy of Kingston

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Specifications

Capacity

8GB-32GB (with 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB kits)

Frequency Speed

1600MHz-2666MHZ

Operating Temperature

0°C to 85°C

Storage Temperature

-55°C to 100°C

Dimensions

125.8mm x 47.9mm

DRAM

DDR3 Only

CAS Latency

Variable

Voltage

1.5V & 1.65V

Courtesy of Kingston

 

Packaging

Kingston Predator Packaging

The HyperX Predator kit may contain a set of premium DIMMs, but their packaging is no different than the minimalist containers that Kingston uses to stock the low end RAM. A transparent plastic shell bonded with a Kingston sticker to a black plastic rear is all you're going to get. Short of any noticeable tampering, they should be just fine. At least you're only one slice away from unpacking and installation. The sticks share their packaging with a warranty and installation guide.


Design


Kingston Predator 1866 16GB Kit

 

Kingston Predator Side ProfileKingston Predator DIMM Heatsink

 

Despite the Predator moniker, the Kingston HyperX Predators are far from being invisible and even further from being called 'ugly'. Like the rest of Kingston's memory lineup, the HyperX Predator makes its presence known with dramatic use of color. The anodized aluminum heat spreaders sport a very bright shade of blue along with a large black Kingston X and white lettering for a nice contrast. The front edge is heavily notched with upturned ends, as if the heat spreader is fraying as a result of the DIMM trying to escape its protective shell. Seen from the side, the fins form a v-shaped channel with increased surface area for better heat dissapation. Compared to the design of its predecessor the HyperX T1, the T2 Predator is slightly shorter, but still stands an impressive 47.9mm in height due to the massive heat spreaders that nearly double the size of the DIMM. The size of the spreaders and their visually-arresting color means that the relatively small amount of exposed green PCB goes easily unnoticed (although for a higher-end gamer kit, we'd love to see a black PCB), however their size could spell trouble for someone with a cramped motherboard or particularly large CPU cooler.

 

Kingston Predator Clearance on Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H

 

Our kits barely fit alongside our Cooler Master TPC 812 heatsink and fan in the Channel B slots furthest from the CPU socket, and also partially blocks the fan's incoming airflow, although this is great for the RAM itself.  The only sure best that these will fit in any circumstance is an all-in-one watercooling setup or a relatively small HSF, so choose wisely based upon your motherboard and cooler choice.

 


Test Setup

Test System:

CPU: Intel i5-3570K

CPU Cooling:  Cooler Master TPC 812

Motherboard: Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H

GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660

OS HDD: OCZ Agility 3 120GB SSD

Secondary HDD: Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD

OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit

 

 

Overclocking

We took several approaches to overclocking the Kingston HyperX Predator kit.  Since overclocking can be accmoplished by lowering timings and/or clock speed, it can be a tricky business to find the perfect clock so there's no simple formula.  Think of it as a race, where one racer is twice as fast as the other.  The slower one gets to go first (lower latency, less wait time) but runs less fast.  The faster runner (higher clock speed), has to wait a little bit longer to start running (higher latency) but catches up and passes with greater speed (higher clock).  Now lets, for simplicity's sake, assume they arrive at the hypothetical finish line at the same time, both racers have the same relative speed.  So with this analogy we can see that overall RAM speed isn't remarkably simple, and is a "tango" between clock speed and latency.  Generally speaking, the faster runner will finish first, but often to increase that speed, he must take longer "rests," which somewhat offsets his gains.  This is what we see by the diminishing return in memory overclocking by increasing the clock speed.

 

First, we wanted to see how low the timings could be set at the Profile 1 XMP setting, which runs at 1866 MHz and 9-11-9-27 timings .  I was a little surprised to see little flexibility for lowering the timings lower than the rated spec without failed POSTs and BSOD immediately upon boot, even as high as 1.65-1.70V.  The rated timings (9-11-9-27) seemed to be about as low as they would go at the XMP 1866 MHz setting.  Next, we tried for the best overall OC combination of timings and increase in clock speed.  The kit seemed a bit more sensitive to timing reduction, which I wasn't surprised about from out failed attempts to lower the Profile 1 XMP timings.  We were able to achieve the next step up at 2133 Mhz and had to drop the timings to CL11, at 11-11-11-32.  This is pretty good for breaching the 2000 MHz mark and making it stably at 1.65V all to way to 2133 Mhz, so we're very happy with that result.

 

Originally I planned to compare these benchmark results against those from Patriot's Intel Extreme Memory kit, but the numbers were virtually identical. Since there was no statistically significant difference, I decided to stick with just analyzing how these modules performed under different clock conditions and it's maximum clock speed.

 


AIDA64

AIDA64 is a 64-bit benchmarking, monitoring, and diagnostic suite which proves useful for a large number of applications.  The benchmarking side of the suite allows testing a wide range of CPU performance, disk performance, and for this particular review, memory benchmarking.  For more information on the AIDA64 Extreme Edition we're using for our tests, see Finalware's Website.

 

aida641

aida64lat

 

The results are as expected: overclocking shows an increase in performance, but it isn't a big one. The biggest increase is seen in memory latency at a solid 20%, but the other tests don't show much of a speed increase.  The XMP gives a nice no-hassle boost out of the box, and gets you a nice boost for a simple setting change.  It gets you to about 2/3 of the way to the best clock we could find and at the safety and reliability of the tested ratings.

 


SiSoft Sandra

SiSoftware's Sandra is another enthusiast utility suite which features a wide array of benchmarking capabilities, hardware monitoring, hardware information, diagnostics, and reporting capabilities for stability and configuration testing.  Its benchmarking capabilities extend to nearly every component of your computer, including the entire system, the exception being dedicated graphics benchmarking.  It also generates graphics which compare products for their aggregated performances including efficiency and price, which can be a powerful tool in itself and gives you an idea of where your system falls.  We'll be using its memory benchmarking tools to verify our AIDA64 results, and provide a separate basis of comparison with a different piece of testing software.

 

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Sandra's results point toward the same trends as AIDA's: nearly-linear speed increases with clock speed (with a hit taken for reduced timings).  Memory bandwidth saw a healthy 20% increase, again at rated specs with only a single change needed in the BIOS, which is really what you're paying for in the 1866 MHz version of the kit.   Maxxing out the sticks yields an additional 6.5% increase over XMP settings, which is certainly going to make a smaller difference, especially considering the voltage/heat increase needed to get there.

 

While the typical user probably won't see much of a performance gain between the rated XMP setting and the overclocked 2133 MHz clock speed, certain calculation-intensive programs might see minutes shaved off an operation time, which can add up to be a pretty significant difference, which is where specialty kits like the Predator will find their best homes.


PCMark7

PCMark7 is a "real-world" benchmark which runs an array of real-world tasks, such as multiple-tab web browsing, file copying, reading, and writing, gaming, and a large variety of other tasks which are meant to give your system a rating as it pertains to actual usage, and not engineered synthetic benchmarks.  This benchmark will give us a good idea of the actual difference we're likely to see at these different settings. One thing to keep in mind is PCMark is highly CPU-based, and memory speed is directly related to processor speed, so take these results with a grain of salt.

 

pcmark

A very small performance increase is shown in the PCMark results chart.  This is not unexpected, because in the standard user environemnt, which consists of opening files (mostly HDD-related), gaming, editing documents, and while memory speeds help along the processor, intensive tasks for the average user like gaming is very GPU-intensive and doesn't put alot of stress on the CPU.  Of course, as previously mentioned, if calculation intensive programs are being run, like stitching together pictures or rendering images, the small boost in clock speed can have an impact in the minutes for long operations.


RAM Disk/Cache

The benefit of having affordable kits up to 16GB capacicites is that more likely than not, you're going to have plenty of RAM to spare.  RAM read and write speeds put those of even SSDs to shame, and being able to utilize those extra Gigabytes of RAM as a super-fast storage device is pretty awesome.  The downside?  When power is removed from a DIMM, all of the information it held is now gone.  So what happens is the software writes the data on the RAM designated as cache or storage to the boot drive (or storage drive if you configure it that way).  And depending how you have it setup, it will then reload that data to the RAM when the operating system starts without any user intervention.

 

We used Dataram's RAMDisk to setup 8GB of memory to act as a separate system disk.  RAMDisk sets up in a couple minutes of looking over the User Guide and deciphering what the different options mean to the operation of your RAM Disk.  It includes an array of options to load disk images you have saved, and how it handles system shutdowns.  It's a great piece of software if you'd like to use those extra gobs of RAM you have in your system, and more information may be found on DataRam's Webpage.  We installed some programs, including a game on it, and it's absurdly fast, there's no way around it.

 

The other option to use your RAM as a disk is to use it as a system cache drive.  What the cache drive does is take frequently accessed files and places them into the system cache where it may be quickly accessed later.  When using a RAM cache alongside an SSD, we see speeds similar to the RAMDisk speeds shown below, and it runs completely invisibly in the background.  So programs and games you frequently access will be cached into the RAM, and just like that you'll be experience a serious boost in your system performance.  The cache may then also be written to a disk and reloaded on shutdown as opposed to re-caching each time your computer starts.  Several programs exist for this purpose, one such popular one being SuperCache, created by SuperSpeed, who also has RAMDisk software.

 

RAMDisk-AS-SSD

RAMDisk-CDM

 

These speeds speak for themselves, with read speeds over 10 times as fast as an SSD, and the write times about 14 times faster.  The only drawback to RAMDisks are capacity and the potential volatility of the data, so make sure you have plenty of extra memory to work with before diving in.  Keep in mind that data stored in the RAM is lost when the DIMM loses power, and the data image is saved on asystem hard drive.  Because of the volatility of RAM, we wouldn't recommend putting any valuable or critical data of any kind on them.


Final Thoughts


Kingston's Predator series held its own in the benchmarks, was easy to OC, and stable up to 2133 MHz without applying over the spec'd 1.65V. The design is sleek with a blue accent, following several other Kingston HyperX product lines.  The most prominent potential drawback is the large-profile heatsink, and you need to watch out for large CPU coolers or smaller motherboards as the heatsink may get in the way, at least blocking the innermost DIMM slot.

 

Kingston Predator 1886 Memory Kit

The overclock process took some time, as overclocking RAM usually does, and the sticks were not as willing to secede much in the timing department. In the end, we were able to acheive our 2133 MHz overclock by dropping the timings to CL11 and a conservative 1.65V, which is more than fine for an everyday overclock. The XMP profile did a good job of a quick overclock, with low timings and high stability without having to fiddle with anything, and gets you about 2/3 of the way to the best overclock we could achieve, which is convenient and ultimately what you pay for in the 1866 MHz kit. The high capacity of this 16GB kit allows for plenty of flexibilty in multitasking and RAMDisk/cache use if you want that extra speed boost.

 

The sticks go for about $145 (Newegg) so they are by far not the cheapest option.  By comparison, the Patriot Viper 3 Intel Extreme Master's 16GB kit has very similar specs, is also hand-picked and tested, but with a lighter and lower profile design, and overclocked almost as well, at a price of about $100 (and even has a similar blue/black color scheme).  The edgy and very nice heatspreader really has to sell you for the extra $50 out of pocket, but Kingston's proven reliability and customer support alongside the kit's high performance may justify the extra bucks for your rig.

 

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Comments   

 
# Sabishii Hito 2012-10-26 08:21
These sticks are based on Hynix CFR 2Gb ICs and should have way more headroom, at least DDR3-2400 11-13-12.
 
 
# Evan 2012-10-26 08:28
Quoting Sabishii Hito:
These sticks are based on Hynix CFR 2Gb ICs and should have way more headroom, at least DDR3-2400 11-13-12.


Even the best chips down have some "down-binned" parts come off the line for the lower frequency kits. But appreciate the feedback, and I'll give it another shot for you (we were unsuccessful through several hours of trial-and-error through seemingly endless timing combinations at 2400 MHz). It is very possible we have one unlucky DIMM holding the kit back. Appreciate it and we will report back if we get something to stick this time! These also deserve a discussion of the Hynix chips, so thanks for that as well.
 
 
# Sabishii Hito 2012-10-26 11:04
Hmm, those buggers might need some more volts slapped in 'em! Although Hynix doesn't seem to scale much over 1.75v
 
 
# Sabishii Hito 2012-10-26 12:21
Yeah these ICs, when going for clocks over 2000 like the timings to be tRCD=tRP+1=CAS+ 2
 
 
# Evan 2012-10-26 12:28
Quoting Sabishii Hito:
Yeah these ICs, when going for clocks over 2000 like the timings to be tRCD=tRP+1=CAS+2


Great feedback and a good rule of thumb! Our mentality for the max OC was a "safe" 24/7 OC for a more typical enthusiast who likes to push without much added risk of damage, so we limited the voltage to 1.7V, I'll try a bit higher and see where it takes us!

Have a great day/weekend!
 
 
# Sabishii Hito 2012-10-27 08:14
My mistake, these actually use Hynix MFR 4Gb ICs, but they like the same kind of timings as their smaller-density siblings the 2Gb CFR chips.
 
 
# gene396302 2012-10-28 08:27
Can you put this on a laptop, it looks like a laptop memory.
 
 
# Evan 2012-10-28 17:13
Quoting gene396302:
Can you put this on a laptop, it looks like a laptop memory.


These are full-sized DIMMs, so they will not fit in a laptop. They appear more square because of the large-profile heatsinks.