iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Memory Module Analysis. Part 27:
Kingston HyperX DDR2-800 Memory Modules (PC2-6400) - High Capacity and Low Latencies

We proceed with the analysis of the most important characteristics of high-performance DDR2 memory modules using our RightMark Memory Analyzer. Today we are going to review a new interesting solution from Kingston (considering the new tendency to raise memory capacity for operating systems and applications) — a dual-channel kit of DDR2-800 high-end HyperX memory modules (4 GB in total) with relatively low latencies (4-4-4-12-2T).

Manufacturer Information

Module manufacturer: Kingston Technology
Manufacturer of module chips: unknown
Web site of the module manufacturer: http://www.kingston.com/hyperx/products/khx_ddr2.asp

Module Exterior

Module Part Number

The manufacturer's web site does not publish the DDR2 Part Number expansion. Datasheet on the modules with Part Number KHX6400D2LLK2/4G runs that this product is a kit of two modules with low latencies (Low Latency, "LL"), 2 GB each, 256M × 64 configuration, based on sixteen 128M x8 chips. The manufacturer guarantees stable operation of the modules in DDR2-800 mode with 4-4-4-12 timings at relatively low 1.9 V. But the default mode in the SPD chip is DDR2-667 with 5-5-5-15 timings at 1.8 V.

SPD chip data

Description of the general SPD standard:

Description of the specific SPD standard for DDR2:

Parameter Byte Value Expansion
Fundamental Memory Type 2 08h DDR2 SDRAM
Number of Row Addresses on this assembly 3 0Eh 14 (RA0-RA13)
Number of Column Addresses on this assembly 4 0Ah 10 (CA0-CA9)
Number of DIMM Banks 5 61h 2 physical banks
Data Width of this assembly 6 40h 64 bit
Voltage Level 8 05h SSTL 1.8V
SDRAM Cycle time (tCK) at maximum supported CAS# latency (CL X) 9 30h 3.00 ns (333.3 MHz)
DIMM configuration type 11 00h Non-ECC
Refresh Rate/Type 12 82h 7.8125 ms — 0.5x reduced self-refresh
Primary SDRAM Width (organization type) of the memory module chips 13 08h x8
Error Checking SDRAM Width (organization type) of the memory chips in the ECC module 14 00h Not defined
Burst Lengths Supported (BL) 16 0Ch BL = 4, 8
Number of Banks on SDRAM Device 17 08h 8
CAS Latency (CL) 18 38h CL = 5, 4, 3
Minimum clock cycle (tCK) at reduced CAS# latency (CL X-1) 23 3Dh 3.75 ns (266.7 MHz)
Minimum clock cycle (tCK) at reduced CAS# latency (CL X-2) 25 50h 5.00 ns (200.0 MHz)
Minimum Row Precharge Time (tRP) 27 3Ch 15.0 ns
5, CL = 5
4, CL = 4
3, CL = 3
Minimum Row Active to Row Active delay (tRRD) 28 1Eh 7.5 ns
2.5, CL = 5
2.0, CL = 4
1.5, CL = 3
Minimum RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 29 3Ch 15.0 ns
5, CL = 5
4, CL = 4
3, CL = 3
Minimum Active to Precharge Time (tRAS) 30 2Dh 45.0 ns
15, CL = 5
12, CL = 4
9, CL = 3
Module Bank Density 31 01h 1024 MB
Write recovery time (tWR) 36 3Ch 15.0 ns
5, CL = 5
4, CL = 4
3, CL = 3
Internal write to read command delay (tWTR) 37 1Eh 7.5 ns
2.5, CL = 5
2.0, CL = 4
1.5, CL = 3
Internal read to precharge command delay (tRTP) 38 1Eh 7.5 ns
2.5, CL = 5
2.0, CL = 4
1.5, CL = 3
SDRAM Device Minimum Active to Active/Auto Refresh Time (tRC) 41, 40 3Ch, 06h 60.0 ns
20, CL = 5
16, CL = 4
12, CL = 3
SDRAM Device Minimum Auto-Refresh to Active/Auto-Refresh Command Period (tRFC) 42, 40 7Fh, 06h 127.5 ns
42.5, CL = 5
34.0, CL = 4
25.5, CL = 3
Maximum device cycle time (tCKmax) 43 80h 8.0 ns
SPD Revision 62 12h Revision 1.2
Checksum for Bytes 0-62 63 13h 19 (true)
Manufacturer’s JEDEC ID Code 64-71 7Fh, 98h Kingston
Module Part Number 73-90 - 2G-UDIMM
Module Manufacturing Date 93-94 07h, 02h Year 2007, Week 2
Module Serial Number 95-98 66h, 26h,
BEh, 72h

SPD contents look quite standard. All three CAS latencies are supported — 5, 4, and 3. The first value (CL X = 5) corresponds to DDR2-667 (3.0 ns cycle time, 333.3 MHz) with 5-5-5-15 timings (sharp), which matches the official values, specified in the documentation. The second CAS latency value (CL X-1 = 4) corresponds to DDR2-533 (3.75 ns cycle time, 266.7 MHz) with 4-4-4-12 timings. And finally, the last CAS latency value (CL X-2 = 3) corresponds to DDR2-400 with integer 3-3-3-9 timings.

What concerns SPD peculiarities, we can mention a very high (that's probably the first time we have seen it in a DDR2 memory module) tRFC value (127.5 ns). To all appearances, it has to do with using memory chips with 8 logical banks (most DDR2 chips typically use 4 logical banks) to reach high memory capacity (2 physical banks, 1024 MB each).

SPD revision number, manufacturer's JEDEC ID Code, manufacturing date, and serial number of the module are specified correctly. Information about Part Number of the module is available ("2G-UDIMM"), but it does not match the Part Number printed on the modules (KHX6400D2LLK2/4G).

These modules do not support SPD extensions of the EPP standard.

Testbed configuration

Testbed 1

  • CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ (Socket AM2), 2.4 GHz (200 x12)
  • Chipset: NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI
  • Motherboard: ASUS CROSSHAIR, BIOS 0502 dated 01/02/2007

Test results

The modules were tested on the AMD platform (Athlon 64 X2 4800+) based on the ASUS CROSSHAIR motherboard (Testbed 1). The modules were tested in two modes: "by default" (automatic memory configuration by SPD) and in the "optimal" mode (memory was configured manually by manufacturer's recommendations).

Parameter Testbed 1
CPU clock, MHz
(FSB clock x FID)
Memory frequency, MHz
(DDR2 MHz)
Default memory timings, voltage
1.8 V
1.9 V
Minimal memory timings, voltage
(not tested)
up to 2.3 V
Average memory read bandwidth (GB/sec),
1 core
Average memory write bandwidth (GB/sec),
1 core
Max. memory read bandwidth (GB/sec),
1 core
Max. memory write bandwidth (GB/sec),
1 core
Average memory read bandwidth (GB/sec),
2 cores
Average memory write bandwidth (GB/sec),
2 cores
Max. memory read bandwidth (GB/sec),
2 cores
Max. memory write bandwidth (GB/sec),
2 cores
Minimum pseudo-random access latency, ns
Minimum random access latency*, ns

*32 MB block size

In the first case, memory frequency was 300 MHz ("DDR2-600") owing to limitations of the CPU memory controller (integer frequency divider, in this case it was 2400/8 = 300 MHz). Timings, set by BIOS automatically, match SPD values - 5-5-5-15-2T. Memory demonstrates mediocre performance in this mode, which is a typical situation for AMD AM2 processors at low memory frequencies.

These modules are stable in DDR2-800 mode with 4-4-4-12(-2T) timings, recommended by the manufacturer, and at a minimal voltage increase to 1.9 V. At the same time, the recommended timings turned out to be the lowest possible values — any attempts to set lower timings (except for tRAS, which value is usually ignored by the memory system) resulted in immediate failures, even when memory voltage was raised to 2.3 V. Memory demonstrates very high performance in this case, despite its large volume.

Bottom line

Kingston HyperX DDR2-800 KHX6400D2LLK2/4G memory modules with high capacity and low latencies proved to be reliable in conditions recommended by the manufacturer (DDR2-800, 1.9 V, 4-4-4-12-2T). That's our first review of the offer in the new category of memory modules (4 GB in total), which can operate in such a fast mode at only slightly raised voltage. Although we failed to reduce timings any further (even when we raised memory voltage), this product is a great achievement of Kingston and DDR2 memory industry in general.

Dmitri Besedin (dmitri_b@ixbt.com)
April 17, 2007

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