Headquartered in Fountain Valley, California, Kingston is by far the world's largest independent memory manufacturer. From its beginnings in 1987, Kingston has grown to a 27% market share in 2004 and almost $2.5 Billion in sales - which is more than 3 times larger than #2. Perhaps even more important was the 35% growth in revenue for Kingston from 2003 to 2004.

Kingston today manufactures memory at four manufacturing locations: US, Malaysia, China, and Taiwan. The four manufacturing plants have more than 35 Surface Mount Technology (SMT) lines for producing virtually every kind of memory available in the world. This includes the DIMMs, So-DIMMs, and flash memory that are of most interest in the Computer and Digital Imaging markets. Within these product categories, Kingston manufactures a full range of products, from OEM parts to their popular Value RAM series to Enthusiast-oriented Hyper X products.

Since we were in Taiwan for Computex, Kingston kindly invited AnandTech to take a closer look at their Taiwan manufacturing facility.

The Kingston Taiwan manufacturing plant is about an hour southwest of Taipei, in a huge technology park in Hsin-Chu, a city of about 350,000 near Taiwan's west coast. Hsin-Chu is the home to facilities for many familiar names in Computers and Technology.

The Hsin-Chu manufacturing plant was opened in 1997 and this is also the location of Kingston's Taiwan business offices.

Kingston Taiwan is a memory assembler, which means that finished memory chips are shipped to the plant where they assemble the memory using SMT technology. There are no wafer manufacturing capabilities in the Taiwan plant.

The Hsin-Chu plant has 4 floors of SMT lines producing DDR, DDR2, and flash memory during our plant visit.

Raw materials


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  • MrMuk7 - Friday, June 17, 2005 - link

    I also don't believe you test all modules. My only experience with Kingston was terrible. Bought 2x512MB Hyper X. It would not even work Cas2 at 400Mhz (rated speed), even with the voltage at 2.8V. On top of that, when I asked for an RMA, the tech support said it was not compatible with my Asus motherboard, which was just B.S. They said it would only work at CAS3, but I've run tons of other cas2 memory on this board, and similar models (p4C800E) without a problem. Anyways, since the stick wouldnt work I couldn't sell it so I just threw this crap memory in the trash. I am not lying. My roommate saw me.

    I bought some 2x512MB Corsair XMS and it worked perfectly straight out of the box. Much happier with them. Never buying Kingston again and all of my friends know about their "great" support.

    Don't buy Kingston - they can't compete with other memory manufacturers like Corsair or Mushkin.
  • xsilver - Friday, June 17, 2005 - link

    "Interesting thread on the ICs. We don't offer this type of information."
    that's the thing -- corsair do (on their forums, they have people providing exact IC's based on serial number and people willing to speculate on the amount of headroom)

    If you work for kingston and want to capture more of the enthusiast market, then you may want to take a look at what corsair are doing

    also being able to offer "free" headroom is what the enthusiast value market is all about and the rave thing right now is winbond UTT's which kingston dont currently offer...

    I guess people just want some highly overclockable ram, as cpu's can nearly do 50% but most of your ram line cant nearly even approach that (or that of some other memory makers)

    oh - forgot to ask, are your chips speed binned by hand or by machine?

    sorry if this sounds like a big diss for you guys - I like kingston, its just not cutting it in the enthusiast market........
  • unclebud - Friday, June 17, 2005 - link

    hmmm! some good discussion going on here. thanks for the fortrightness... it will be remembered
  • KTCSkins - Friday, June 17, 2005 - link

    Interesting thread on the ICs. We don't offer this type of information. We qualify different components depending on which line they are for. that is what is great about Kingston. We have a flexible model. We have relationshipos with allt he top DRAM suppliers, not just one. We don't specify ICs because they often can go dicontinued or we may use a different IC based on qualification or supply.

    Our ValueRAM line uses different components that our HyperX line. We only promise the memory at the qualified speed (this goes for HyperX as well). We don't promise particular ICs.

    ValueRAM is based on JEDEC spec, while HyperX are usually outside of JEDEC standards. Because of the different types of motherboards, etc. we can't promise what type of headroom a module will offer. It is based upon bios, overclockability etc. We only promise it at a particular speed that HyperX is tested at. There is a limit for sure. Users of ValueRAM aren't the overclockers, but those that are looking for industry standard modules. HyperX is used for those that are enthusiast. ValueRAM is not designed for that. HyperX is also designed for enthusiasts, but there is a point to where that obviously goes out of warranty like any product. If a product doesn't have the highest of headroom that doesn't make it a bad module. It depends on how much someone wants to push a module. Is there ever enough headroom?

  • quidpro - Friday, June 17, 2005 - link

    Hey how cool is that? Get invited on more tours please! Kinda like ol' Mr. Rogers showing us how crayons are made. (I mean this in a respectful way.)

    Videos would have been a treat.
  • xsilver - Thursday, June 16, 2005 - link

    HyperX PC 3200K2 (2-2-2-6-1T) (KHX 3200K2) --chip--> Winbond BH-5
    HyperX PC 3200AK2 (2-3-2-6-1T) (KHX 3200AK2) --chip--> Winbond CH-5
    HyperX PC 3200ULK2 (2-2-2-5-1T) (KHX 3200ULK2) --chip--> Samsung TCCD
    HyperX PC 3500 (rated 2-3-3-7 @ 433Mhz, 2-2-2-6 @ 400Mhz, old revision) (KHX 3500) --chip--> Winbond BH-5 (maybe relabeled)
    HyperX PC 3500K2 (2-3-3-7) (KHX 3500K2) --chip--> Winbond CH-5
    HyperX PC 3500A (2-3-3-7) (KHX 3500A) --chip--> Winbond CH-5
    HyperX PC 4000K2 (3-4-4-8) (KHX 4000K2) --chip--> Samsung TCCC, Hynix D43, D5
    HyperX PC 4300K2 (3-4-4-8) (KHX 4300K2) --chip--> Hynix D5

    I got this list from a forum of ram IC listings (http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php...
    just shows that there are not many products available where there is much headroom left other than what is speed rated.... eg. when u buy 3200, dont expect to get much beyond that (exceptions:TCCD + BH5)
    Many tests show that the value ram line also has little to no headroom at all either..
    Its not a bad thing - but dont expect to get something for nothing :)
  • KTCSkins - Thursday, June 16, 2005 - link

    Sorry, I don't understand your question. Reply
  • scott967 - Thursday, June 16, 2005 - link

    I'm wondering if the receipt QA inspection on the chips include any sort of speed testing?

    scott s.
  • KTCSkins - Thursday, June 16, 2005 - link

    Well, I can answer some of your questions. We purchase only the top premium components for our modules. During any SMT process there can be always be potential issues no matter what company you buy from.

    We don't have a high failure rate, and we would like to keep it that way. Having our modules are 100% tested ensures we have done everything we can to make sure our product is reliable. With things outside of our control, like shipping, user error, static, etc. things do happen. We aren't perfect, but we strive to always provide consumers with a quality product.

    Lots of people may be skeptical in our testing processes. We also visually inspect 100% of our modules as they go through the process. People are skeptical because most company's don't do this. I can only prove it to you with our word. It is up to you to decide. Some don't mind buying a cheaper, less quality product. It may work. But it may not... You take your chances. Some consumers don't care. The ones that purchase Kingston know that if there ever is a problem, we are 1.) financially strong with zero debt 2.) we have a lifetime warranty and 3.) free technical support and have the service to support our customers.

    Remember, you have the freedom to choose. But we hope you choose Kingston.
  • fishbits - Thursday, June 16, 2005 - link

    Does the RAM fresh off the assembly lines taste better than the RAM we buy in stores? I always thought it would. So jealous. Reply

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