Back when I started overclocking my RAM with a few sets of DDR, the voltage those old TCCD chips could take was insane by today's standards and the heat they produced was sometimes unbearable. Then there weren't too many commercially available options to give the memory its own dedicated airflow. I do remember something referred to as the "crab cooler", but my efforts to find it now ended up with not being able to locate it. The need for memory specific cooling lead me to end up using 80mm and 120mm fans, rigged in my PC in ways I'd rather not discuss, due to their "ghetto mod" nature. Let's just say there was some picture hanging wire and a few zip ties involved and it really wasn't so appealing to the eye.
Today, the retail market has a few of these memory coolers on the market and I personally got the Corsair CMXAF1 when it was released as a standalone cooler from Newegg. There have been many others to pop up during this time, such as a second revision fan from Corsair and of course the XTC cooler from OCZ. We now have a new entry to this segment of cooling, this time from Kingston. They have been a long time producer of quality memory since the late 80's and it only seems logical that they add a device to keep their products cooler, hopefully leading to longer life of said products.
What Kingston has come up with is the Kingston HyperX Fan or KHX-FAN as it's labeled on the package. The KHX-FAN is a memory cooler that uses the power of a motherboard header or any 3-pin fan connection to spin the dual fan designed arrangement. I'm no stranger to what these types of coolers are capable of doing for memory cooling and first impressions of the KHX-Fan lead me to believe they have built something very capable of the task at hand. Impressions can only get me so far, I need the numbers to tell me what's what with cooling, so let's get to it and see what Kingston has to offer.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Kingston delivers an all aluminum RAM cooler with a blue anodized finish that matches their memory heat spreaders to a tee. The KHX-FAN ships in three pieces with a bag containing four thumbscrews and washers for easy assembly. The main body of the cooler is also milled with exposed aluminum features to mimic the likeness of their products. This body also contains two 60mm, blue LED light, nine bladed fans. These fans are rated at a maximum noise level of 28 dBA which is lower than most CPU cooler fans are rated, so audible noise in a gaming or overclocked air cooled PC sound should not be an issue. The other two pieces are the sides of the KHX-FAN that not only give the cooler its height, but act as the clamp to hold the KHX-FAN in place.
Kingston plans to include the KHX-FAN into a couple of retail memory kits. These include the KHX16000D3T1FK3/6GX 2000MHz and KHX14400D3T1FK3/6GX 1800MHz kits, both offering CAS9 timings and are optimized for XMP. Don't worry, Kingston is planning to release the KHX-FAN as a standalone item as well. So, even if you don't own a set of Kingston's RAM, you can still benefit from their cooling technology.
Google shopping oddly shows one e-tailer selling the KHX-FAN, but shows no image and the link didn't function properly. As I expected, it's most likely an e-tailer prepping for stock of the fan. I do not have the official date of when this cooler will make it to store shelves, but it will be soon. The KHX-FAN is projected to retail at around $23 U.S. dollars, which is fair and competitively priced in the memory cooling selections already abound.
Kingston's HyperX Fan comes in a plain brown box, but the top is adorned with a very nice assembled image of the cooler.
The only other sticker to help discern what's inside the box, this one shows that it is a KHX-FAN inside which has been assembled in China.
Looking to open the box, I found this sticker, assuring the end user that nothing has been done to the product once it leaves Kingston's facilities.
After knifing open the "Void" sticker and lifting up the front of the box, I was looking at this. Kingston wraps the body of the KHX-FAN in plastic for extra protection of the finish and is surrounded by a combination of egg crate foam and bubble wrap. The side pieces are shipped in a separate layer of foam underneath with a bag of thumbscrews and washers.
The Kingston HyperX Fan or KHX-FAN Memory Cooler
As I mentioned in the specs section, the body is anodized blue and milled with exposed aluminium highlights. The KHX-FAN supports two 60mm fans that have nine blades and each fan contains four blue LED's for illumination. To each side are the "legs" of the KHX-FAN. They are in fact the same color of blue, it's just the lighting and angle here appear to make them slightly different.
The "legs" of the KHX-FAN are slipped into grooves in the extruded body and you simply align the screw holes in the top of the cooler with these below and use the thumbscrews provided to tighten them into place.
Getting closer to the anodized body of the KHX-FAN, you can easily see the four holes at the corners for assembling the body to the legs. Kingston took the extra step and sheathed the 3-pin power connector wires from end to end, and very cleanly I should add.
With all the screws and washers in place and tightened, we now have the fully assembled KHX-FAN memory cooler. The sides of the KHX grip the tabs on your memory slots, using the tension of the stamped legs to keep it in place during operation. By gently stretching the legs, the cooler can be placed over the clips and released to grip in its fully assembled state.
The sides of the Kingston HyperX fan have cut-away "X" logos that add a bit of flash to the overall appeal of the cooler. If you look closely, you can see that the sides simply slip into the extruded groove in the top edge of the body. Just slide them in, align the hole and screw in the screws and you are ready to cool your memory.
Fully assembled and looking at this fan from the top, the KHX-FAN stands pretty tall, taller than my Corsair version. This fact will allow for the T1 series of heatspreaders and will allow for many other makers taller RAM heatspreaders such as the Pi's or Dominators, too.
Looking at the undercarriage of the KHX-FAN, there are two 60mm fan that are wired together and into one header to power the fans and the LED's. These fans are rated for 12 V and draw up to 0.16 Amps a piece. With everything so big and open, maintenance cleaning should be a breeze to accomplish.
Setup &Testing Results
Setup & Test Results
Kingston was nice enough to send along this rockin' set of DDR3 to use for my testing and images. This is a 12 GB tri-channel kit. Unfortunately I'm not a current owner of an i7 rig, so I will be testing in dual channel mode, as we are after temps and not performance of the memory.
See what I mean about the KHX-FAN being tall? The RAM provided has no issues with clearance, but Kingston's offerings that they plan to package this cooler with are tall like most other high end RAM these days.
The height of the KHX-FAN may have its drawbacks as well. While the 92mm Noctua fan exaggerates it a bit, the KHX-FAN does block a fair amount of the CPU coolers intake. This is also a good look at the clamping tips of the sides, you can see where they line up to grab onto the actual clip ends of the slots.
Putting things into better perspective, I stepped back a bit here to give an overall image for the size of the KHX-FAN. It's a bit wider than the Corsair, but close to the OCZ, while taller than both. The length of wire is sufficient to reach even across the motherboard if needed. I had to loop it up to keep the length at bay.
Once I got everything wired up, I took the fan for a test run. Here is the KHX-FAN in action.
I didn't think the amount of light that the KHX-FAN emits was easy to see when it was on the red motherboard, so I took these last two images to try to help show this. The KHX-FAN is sitting about 9" from the back of the box in this image; even with the lighting on you can see the glow it puts on the back wall.
One last one to leave you with the positive image of this sexy blue cooler with a flood of blue LED's to illuminate your motherboard with light.
Testing was done in dual channel mode on my X38A motherboard, both with and without the use of the KHX-FAN. All rounds of testing were done with an ambient temperature of 26.5 degrees Celsius to keep things on a level playing field. Numbers for testing were generated by allowing the PC to get into Windows and allowed to idle for fifteen minutes prior to taking a reading of the temperature on my Accurite LED thermometer that I taped under the spreader next to an IC. Once my idle number was attained, I rebooted the PC to allow Memtest 86+ Version 2.01 to boot via CD for load testing.
Watching the temperatures closely for three passes of testing, I reported the highest number I saw, usually during test #6. Our testing shows that the KHX-Fan does in fact do the job it's intended for and dropped the temperatures of the DDR3 seven full degrees under load testing.
Kingston came to the market with the KHX-FAN with hopes of adding additional cooling to their memory lineup. While the design borrows some ideas, it incorporates a few of its own. The huge flood of blue LED's is one thing, I have seen others in action and the Kingston memory cooler has by far the brightest LED's. While the KHX-FAN isn't black as most on the market would probably prefer, blue is my personal second choice and Kingston's blue is a fine shade to use.
This cooler not only offers what to me is a sexy looking cooler, with bold lighting, it also offers a seven degree drop in temperatures in a critical and usually overlooked component in the PC. I have been cooling my RAM since the DDR PC3200 days, due to a propensity to overclocking, and have continued to cool them ever since as I tend to punish my memory pretty hard. Kingston seems to offer the total package of lighting, cooling, sexiness and a competitive price of just $23 dollars and I'm having a real hard time finding reasons not to buy the KHX-FAN from Kingston.
I did run into one snag; the height of the KHX-FAN blocking the CPU coolers intake. Now this isn't such a problem with 120mm coolers, as they tend to sit a bit higher off the motherboard than my Noctua cooler, so the issue isn't as pronounced then. Secondly, a lot of us who tend to abuse our hardware a bit more than most, we have the option to water cool the CPU and then the fan has all the real estate it needs with no effect to the CPU. As I mentioned before, this height issue plays to your favor if your RAM has the taller spreaders, as the KHX-FAN will allow for most of the tallest heatspreaders.
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