|Kingston HyperX Genesis 16GB DDR3-1600|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Memory|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Thursday, 29 December 2011|
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HyperX Genesis Final Thoughts
A common mistake for enthusiasts to make is to concentrate on only a single aspect of system performance: a fast CPU can be hobbled by a low-end video card, or too little memory or hard drive space. Hard drive prices have skyrocketed in recent months due to the flooding in Thailand, which makes SSDs more attractive (although there's still a huge price differential).
But while hard disk prices are up, memory has become absurdly cheap in the last couple of years, with prices as much as 80% lower than prices just two years ago. This is good news for computer users: 16GB of memory for under $100 from top-tier vendors like Corsair and Kingston! It's hard not to like that. But the profit margins in the memory business are razor-thin, and vendors are (understandably) trying to pad their bottom lines with expensive, high-performance memory aimed at overclockers and other enthusiasts who must have the "fastest" and are willing to pay the price. But as our tests at Benchmark Reviews have shown, all this faster memory is really good for is turning in marginally better benchmark scores, with real-world performance improvements that are almost impossible to discern.
Even today, very few consumers will have real need for 16GB of memory. While those editing huge videos or running virtual machines may benefit, right now this much RAM represents "room to grow" more than anything else. Still, at just $89.99 from Newegg or Amazon, there's little reason to go with a smaller kit unless your budget is tight...and if it is, Kingston sells these same memory modules in a two-DIMM, 8GB package for about half this price
Modern processors contain megabytes of cache memory. While the Core i7-3960X I used in this test has 15MB of internal cache, even lower-end CPUs will have 2-4M or more. This means that most memory accesses are handled from the processor cache, and continuous accessing of system memory rarely happens except in synthetic benchmarks designed to do just that...which is why you see memory performance differences in these benchmarks, and not in applications.
The whole point behind paying more for high-performance components, be they fast CPUs, killer graphics cards, SSDs, or performance memory, is to see this better performance in your system. While the Kingston HyperX DDR3-2133 memory showed its mettle in benchmark tests, application tests show that there's virtually no real-world benefit to be had from this very expensive memory. For less than one-third the price, you can get the same 16GB capacity, physical appearance, and Kingston lifetime warranty and support with this DDR3-1600 memory kit.
HyperX is Kingston's enthusiast memory brand, and all HyperX memory is dressed with heat spreaders. The low-profile anodized aluminum spreaders on this kit look good, but won't be visible installed in anything other than an open-air test chassis.
Construction quality was good; there were no obvious physical flaws on the DIMMs and the performance was reliable.
Functionality is excellent:the user can choose to run at the default 1333MHz or the XMP-profile 1600Mhz by selecting the desired profile in their computer's BIOS, with no overclocking or guesswork needed. While the 1600MHz speed won't provide much performance improvement over 1333MHz, you're paying for it, so you might as well use it. The low profile heat spreaders eliminate the possibility of heat sink interference, which I expect to be a significant problem as Intel X79 Express systems become more popular.
This memory hits the sweet spot for price vs. performance: it's faster than DDR3-1066 and DDR3-1333 (besides, there's some subtle enthusiast stigma attached to memory slower than 1600MHz), and provides virtually the same performance as much more expensive "high performance" memory. You get Kingston's lifetime warranty and support in a 16GB kit that's less than $100. Grab this while you can: you never know when some natural disaster will force component prices up!
+ Low-profile heat spreaders won't present cooler clearance problems
Final Score: 9.1 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
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