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Kingston HyperX PC3500 2x256MB

Author: Antti Valkeinen
Published: 27.10.2003
Manufacturer: Kingston
Product group: Memory

Kingston has quite a reputation in memory markets. Its lifetime warranty, very large range of memory products and stunning quality are the things, which Kingston is used to be associated. End of the last year Kingston introduced its HyperX series, which provides very fast timings and fast memory speeds ranging from PC3000 to PC4000. And now, just under year, Kingston has made very good impression at enthusiast markets too. Kingston sent us samples of their HyperX PC3500 memory modules and now we are about to look how well these modules fit for modern high-end PC and what we can get out of them.


Kingston HyperX PC3500

PC3500 modules are rated for 217MHz, which is somewhat less than for example PC4200 (267MHz) modules from OCZ. But as we know memory speed isn't everything and low latencies combined to quite high memory speed can catch even big speed difference measured just in megahertz. In this review I'm going to find out how much low latencies really make difference.

Memory Modules:


Packet

Kingston uses same nice memory package for all its memory products. Labels of course vary and two stick memory kits come in their own bigger packet but the bottom line is that I find KingstonĀ’s style very handy. You can use packets over and over again and they really are protective, small and very easy to open and close. All features that just kicks ass and this is just package! Of course if you just don't have to carry memories from place to another, send them somewhere or just store them for later use this isn't going to blow your mind.


Kingston HyperX PC3500

Kingston uses blue Heat-Spreader on their HyperX series. I personally think that almost all Heat-Spreaders are more likely going to prevent heat dissipation than improve it. But there are other things that defend their use like external appearance, protection against static electricity shocks and so on. You can't say that Heat-Spreaders are useless but the name is somewhat misleading.

I have pair of Kingston HyperX PC3000 256Mb modules too and compared to them these PC3500 modules are a little bit higher. Label at the Heat-Spreader tells us memory type (KHX3500); it's capacity (256) and operating voltage (2.5V). One interesting thing is that Kingston has changed operating voltage recommendation few months ago from 2.5V to 2.6V. I have theory to this and it is that Kingston had to change memory chip type since Winbond stopped to manufacture BH-5 chips, which were originally used and started to produce CH-5 chips. Newer CH-5 chips seems to need a little bit higher voltage than older BH-5 chips.

Memory Module Specifications:


Label

Speed:PC3500, 217MHz, 4.6ns
Timing Reference:2-3-3-7-1
Power Supply:Vdd: 2.6V +-0.2V, Vddq: 2.6V +-0.2V
Heat Spreader:Blue
Power:2.2W
Operating Temperature:0-70C

These are specifications, which Kingston provides. Modules are supposedly tested to work at these setting so stick within them if you don't want any troubles. Latencies are low but not as low as some competing products have. This is hardcore review so we are not going to obey these specifications but trying to get everything out of the modules. You however should, if you value life time warranty at all. One interesting note is that memory chips are located both sides of green PCB although these 256MB sticks are really single sided (one bank).


Kingston HyperX PC3500

I removed Heat-Spreader to check which memory chips Kingston has used at these modules. And there were Winbond W942508BH-5. There are many reports that KHXPC3500 sticks are nowadays more likely going to be filled with CH-5 chips than older BH-5 chips. It is unfortunately that I don't have any CH-5 sticks so I cannot test is there any significant differences between BH-5 and CH-5 chips. So I have to trust what I have heard. So remember that sticks at this review are using BH-5 chips and sticks using CH-5 chips are most likely going to be very different (there is even differences between BH-5 sticks). Let's look what Winbond has to say about BH-5 and CH-5 chips.

Memory Chip Specifications:

Speed:5ns
Absolute maximum Voltages:-0.3-3.6V
Power Supply:Vdd: 2.3V-2.7V, Vddq: 2.3V-2.7V
Process Technology:BH-5: 0.175um, CH-5: 0.13um

BH-5 and CH-5 chips are 5ns chips, which is slower than 4.6ns reported by Kingston. It however doesn't matter since Kingston has tested them at 4.6ns. Absolute maximum voltage is quite high 3.6V, you shouldn't however get too excited since it is absolute maximum and not meant for 24/7 use. Even if chips could take 3.6V, PCB is not designed for voltages over 2.8V so beware. Most interesting thing is that BH-5 chips are 0.175um and CH-5 0.13um, how this affect overclockability and performance is still uncertain.

Compatibility:

Only compatibility problem that I encountered was instability with Albatron PX865PE ProII motherboard. Generally memory modules with BH-5 chips are quite compatible, but I have *heard* that memory modules equipped with CH-5 chips have many compatibility problems mainly with motherboard using Intel 865PE/875P chipsets. So I recommend that, if possible, try to test modules before buying.



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