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Corsair Dominator DDR3 1800MHz Intel XMP Memory Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Memory
Manufacturer: Corsair Components
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Performance and Conclusions

For our basic memory performance testing needs, we lean on SiSoft Sandra, the latest SP1 revision of version XI.  Again, our testing system included the Asus P5E3 Deluxe motherboard and the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 processor.  I tested the modules at 1200 MHz, 1600 MHz and 1800 MHz speeds, though the 1800 MHz mark was only reached by upping the FSB and thus increasing the overall clock speeds.  Both 1200 MHz and 1600 MHz memory speeds were tested simply by adjusting the memory multipliers in the BIOS, without interference from XMP settings.



1200 MHz Memory - Memory Bandwidth Test

At 1200 MHz, the Corsair Dominator put in very respectable numbers - 7.26 GB/s.





1600 MHz Memory - Memory Bandwidth Test

Upping the memory speed to 1600 MHz, but not changing the front-side bus, results in a modest increase of about 9% increase in the memory bandwidth of the system to 7.92 GB/s





1800 MHz Memory - Memory Bandwidth Test - 3.60 GHz clock

Finally, we have the Big Daddy - running the Corsair Dominator XMP modules at 1800 MHz with the help of XMP and an 1800 MHz front-side bus.  The result: a staggering 9.27 GB/s of bandwidth and a 28% jump over our first set of results!

Pricing

The price on the modules that we tested here today, 2GB TwinX Dominator DDR3-1800C7DIN, is about $550.  The good news is that there is no premium over the non-XMP memory modules of the same specs: the Dominator DDR3-1800C7D kit will cost about the same.  When compared to other memory rated at similar speeds, the Dominator modules are among the highest priced, but only Corsairs modules are rated CAS latency 7 and 1T command rates. 

In general, DDR3 memory prices are declining, but still pretty high compared to DDR2.  You can get a good quality 2GB kit for about $250 now in DDR3 but you can find a DDR2-800 2GB kit for around $50-60.

Final Thoughts

There's a lot to like about Corsair's new Dominator XMP 1800 MHz DDR3 modules.  Just in terms of raw speed, the amount of memory bandwidth that DDR3-1800 offers is amazing.  We would really like to see the timing issue addressed though for the XMP profiles -- if 7-7-7-20 was indicated then having the system run at 9-9-9-24 is a downer.  Looking past that, the Intel XMP standard does in fact make the memory overclocking world easier and more accessible to users that are not comfortable addressing multipliers and timing settings.  As I mentioned before, with the power of the Intel name behind it, XMP should also see more success and adoption that we have seen with NVIDIA's own SLI Memory technology and the possibility of the industry settling on a single standard is definitely appealing.  Corsair has a great seat no matter the result though: both their Dominator XMP and Dominator SLI/EPP modules are among the best in the world. 


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