A few months ago, we received a 16GB kit of Kingston “Beast” 2133MHz DDR3 HyperX memory (KHX21C11T3K2/16X), and we feel we can give our impressions and especially gaming benchmarks of its performance compared with 8GB of Kington 1866MHz DDR3 HyperX Blue.
For nearly two years, we have been running 8GB of Kingston Blue HyperX memory at speeds of 1866MHz on a Z77 EVGA FTW motherboard which is higher than the default 1333MHz that Intel has specified for the Ivy Bridge platform.
Our upgrade from 8GB to 16GB is a somewhat expensive upgrade as the Kingston HyperX Beast 16GB kit that we are evaluating today is $155 at Newegg whereas the 8GB (4x2GB) kit of Kingston HyperX Blue (KHX1866C9D3K2/4GX) costs much less at $46.99. However, 16GB kits do demand a premium over the 8GB kits as a corresponding 16GB kit of 1866MHz HyperX Blue costs about the same as the faster 16GB 2133MHz Beast HyperX RAM.
More system memory is great for many things, but we have already shown that a gamer needs no more than 4GB of RAM for 32-bit PC gaming. We also found that 1866MHz is only slightly faster than 1333MHz in gaming and performance increases are game engine dependent. The one very positive thing we found is that higher-rated and high-quality RAM is very useful and sometimes essential for stable high CPU overclocks.
4GB versus 8GB system RAM in Gaming
Although the following charts are slightly dated, we see that even with a relatively large sampling of games, that there is no difference in frame rates (fps) between using 4GB or 8GB system RAM for 32-bit gaming. There will also be no framerate difference between 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, or more, for 32-bit gaming.
Although the amount of system RAM over 4GB makes no practical difference to the framerates, there are subjective observations made which assert that using greater amounts of RAM makes an improvement to the overall gaming experience. And of course with a lot of system memory, it is even possible to create a RAM drive which will load levels as fast as the game engine will allow. There are many reasons to upgrade your PC’s RAM from 4GB to 8GB, or to 16GB or more, but PC gaming is not one of them.
What about now? And especially, what does faster RAM have to do with performance?
Effect of RAM overclocking on gaming performance
We have compared RAM overclocking once before using our entire game suite of the day with Core i7-920 at 4.2GHz and also with Core i7-3770K at 4.8GHz by using a GTX 690 – the only differences being the speeds of the 4GB of DDR3.
In many cases, there is a performance increase just from clocking the system memory higher which appears to be dependent on the individual game engine. So what we are going to do now, is to find out if even higher clocked memory at 2133MHz makes any practical difference to a gamer over using system RAM clocked at 1600MHz or even at 1333MHz.
Most Ivy Bridge motherboards clock their RAM at default 1333MHz and the end user actually has to enter the BIOS to increase the frequency. Recently, XMP profiles have become popular and it has become very easy to set optimal RAM speeds automatically.
Kingston’s Beast HyperX RAM has two separate XMP profiles that can be set in the BIOS besides the default 1333MHz. The first XMP profile automatically sets it to run at 2133MHz with CL11 timings at 1.6V. The second XMP profile runs at 1600MHz with CL9 timings at 1.5v.
To their credit, EVGA regularly updates their BIOSes for their FTW Z77 motherboard. Although an older beta BIOS that we prefer for performance did not have an XMP profile for the Kingston Beast RAM, a recent EVGA FTW BIOS update took care of that issue.
Before we look at system memory speeds and gaming performance, please head to the next page where we will unbox the Kingston 16GB HyperX Beast 2133MHz RAM. Afterward, we will give our impressions of the differences noted with faster RAM – 16GB HyperX “Beast” at 2133MHz versus 8GB HyperX “Blue” at 1866MHz. After that, we will detail the system specs, offer the gaming charts, and finally reach a conclusion.