Skylake Memory Scaling with Kingston Predator DDR4-3000

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Skylake Memory Scaling with Kingston Predator DDR4-3000

October 13, 2015 by Lawrence Lee

Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4-3000 32GB (4x8GB)
Desktop DDR4 Memory
Street Price

One interesting aspect of Intel's new Skylake processor microarchitecture is its support for DDR4 memory, making it the first mainstream desktop platform to utilize the new standard. DDR4 was required by Haswell-E but the high cost of LGA2011-v3 hardware meant a limited adoption rate. Being considerably more affordable, LGA1151 should bring about a substantial increase in DDR4 sales, marking the beginning of the end for DDR3. AMD's next generation of CPUs (slated for late 2016) also supports DDR4 and its release will undoubtedly accelerate DDR3's descent to obsolescence.

Like previous iterations of DDR memory, the new standard brings significantly higher operating frequencies but this is coupled with high memory timings. For example, a typical stick of DDR3 1600 MHz will operate with 9-9-9-24 timings compared to a stick of DDR4 2666 MHz which may run at 15-15-15-35. These latency figures are the timing delays for specific memory operations measured in nanoseconds, so the higher the timing, the slower the performance. The voltage required to power the DIMMs has also decreased by about 0.3V (from a standard 1.5V to 1.2V). As a result, Skylake's memory controller can also handle low voltage DDR3L as long as the motherboard manufacturer implements it.

If you're in the market for a custom Skylake desktop, you may be tempted to buy the most expensive memory available to get the most of out of your new brand new hardware, but that may not be a wise investment. In years past, utilizing higher speed or lower latency RAM generally didn't offer much of a performance gain. Today we're going to investigate how much these factors affect a Core i7-6700K powered system in real world applications.

4 x 8GB Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4-3000.

The memory we'll be using is a massive 32GB (4 x 8GB) kit from Kingston, which is packaged in pairs. HyperX Predator is Kingston's highest grade of DDR4 memory, with this particular set specified to run at 3000 MHz with 15-16-16 timings at 1.35V. A top-shelf SKU like this is necessary for this kind of testing as it is qualified to operate at both high and low frequencies/timings. As this line of memory was originally marketed for X99 motherboards, Kingston only offers it in sets of 4/8 for quad channel operation but it works just as well in a dual channel Skylake setup. Like all the memory Kingston offers, it's backed by a lifetime warranty.

Height comparison with a stick of HyperX Fury.

Installed on our test board.

As an enthusiast product, its outfitted with big heatspreaders making it significantly taller than most DIMMs. According to our measurements, they stand 55 mm (31 mm bare) tall and are 8 mm thick. We used a Scythe Kabuto top-down cooler on our test machine and the memory fit underneath with a couple of millimeters to spare.

CPU-Z, SPD information.
Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4-3000 32GB: Specifications
(from the product data sheet)
Model Number HX430C15PBK4/32
Configuration 32GB (8GB 1G x 64-Bit x 4 pcs.)
Standard DDR4-3000 CL15 288-pin DIMM
XMP Timing Parameters •JEDEC: DDR4-2133 CL15-15-15 @1.2V
•XMP Profile #1: DDR4-3000 CL15-16-16 @1.35V
•XMP Profile #2: DDR4-2666 CL14-14-14 @1.35V
CL(IDD) 15 cycles
Row Cycle Time 46.5ns(min.)
Refresh to Active/Refresh Command Time 260ns(min.)
Row Active Time 33ns(min.)
Maximum Operating Power TBD W*
UL Rating 94 V - 0
Operating Temperature 0°C to +85°C
Storage Temperature 55°C to +100°C
*Power will vary depending on the SDRAM used.

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