Starts with a rant:
and why are they starting with a rant?
|Welcome to the absurd world of premium random access memory. Here today I have some of the latest and greatest from a company which needs no introduction as they have defined this segment for years. There are many memory vendors from whom I have purchased RAM throughout my time as a computer builder and user, but none stand out to me like Corsair. Why is that? Why is it that my friends who don’t know diddly-squat about their computers refuse to buy anything but Corsair? Let’s not kid around, to play with this brand (and more specifically the Dominator product line) you have to open up your wallet. Corsair doesn’t even flinch each time it announces a new product with pricing that seems to scream highway robbery, and their pricing adjustments as time goes on seem less influenced by market trends than other brands as well. Are Corsair customers getting what they pay for? Is their product really superior?|
The Dominator GTX3 memory is sold at Corsair’s online store as individual 2GB DIMMs which you can combine into pairs for Lynnfield based systems, or in sets of three for Bloomfield or Gulftown based systems. This memory is rated to operate at DDR3-2400 at 9-11-9-27 timings. Corsair has only validated the speed and timings of these DIMMs with the P55 platform in 2Ã—2GB configuration; a 6GB kit on the X58 platform is not a validated configuration. The price? A whopping $189.99 per DIMM (where’s my “yikes” smilie?)! In addition to the price of the DIMMs, Corsair recommends buying a cooling fan as well ($35)…so the total for the kit I have here today is $604.96 plus tax and shipping (if applicable).
That’s a fairly tall order if you ask me! Why? Well, Intel’s CPUs contain the integrated memory controller (or “IMC”) which operates this memory, and the controllers are only rated by Intel to operate at DDR3-1333 and DDR3-1066 for Lynnfield and Bloomfield/Gulftown respectively. So concerning Bloomfield/Gulftown operation, you’d be asking the memory controller to operate at a 125% overclock! With Lynnfield, we’re talking about an 80% overclock. If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is!
This was intended to be a formal review, but I’ve grown frustrated with that intended goal. The problem isn’t the memory, but the IMC on the seven CPUs that I’ve used to attempt to test with. Yes, I said seven. I tested one Clarkdale i5 670 dual core, which obviously didn’t stand a chance. If you run a Clarkdale CPU and you’re eyeballing high end memory like this, STOP IT! High speed memory like this, is not going to run well with Clarkdale. I also tested with two Lynnfield CPUs, one i5 750 and one i7 860 on the Gigabyte P55A-UD7 motherboard. I also tested with two Bloomfield CPUs on the Gigabyte X58A-UD9 and the eVGA Classified E760, both were i7 920s. Lastly I tested two Gulftown based 32nm CPUs on X58, a Xeon X5677 quad core and an i7 970 six core. With the four X58 based tests, I tried in both triple channel and dual channel mode. In every single attempt, I failed to achieve stable operation at the rated speed and timings specified by Corsair.