Corsair TWINX2048-4400PRO 2GB Memory Kit Review

Memory by KeithSuppe @ 2006-06-18

What can possibly be said about Corsair which hasn?t been said before. Their products are known and respected worldwide, as is their reputation for producing the highest quality memory. Their memory is the most consistent ever tested with every product to date either meeting or exceeding specifications. Today we test a product from their XMS Series, in particular the TWINX2048-4400PRO kit.

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What can possibly be said about Corsair which hasn't been said before. Their products are known and respected worldwide, as is their reputation for producing the highest quality memory. Their memory is the most consistent ever tested with every product to date either meeting or exceeding specifications. Today we test a product from their XMS Series, in particular the TWINX2048-4400PRO kit.

Madshrimps (c)

As was mentioned in the Introduction Corsair Memory has been a staple diet of PC-Enthusiasts, Overclockers and businesses (Servers etc) the world over. If I had to define the company in one word that word would be Reliability. While the semantics behind the name Corsair define a; "A swift pirate ship, often operating with official sanction." the only plundering occurring has been on the competition's reputation and revenue. If there's one thing you do get from Corsair, it's a solid ROI (Return On Investment). In our last stand-alone Corsair TWINX2048-4000PT review, that specific kit didn't fare thee so well up against GSkill PC4000 this time around with GSkill excluded even the TWINX 4000PT gets some extra mileage.

As we compare the exact same TWINX2048-4000PT to our Corsair TWINX2048-4400PRO I discovered that kit did much better which, all things being equal is attributable to the Opteron-148 replacing the A64 3500+. The graphic card in this system is a Gigabyte 6800 compared to the Aopen 7800GTX last time and the MGE XG Duro 900 (actually a SevenTeam 750W) replaces the PCPower&Cooling TurboCool 850SSI. Of course it could be said the power supply may have an effect on the performance, but given the fact both these components are inferior to their counterparts this is unlikely. For the most part however, overclocking the TwinX2048-4000PT yielded much better results using less voltage. This is most likely attributable to the Opteron-148's on-die memory controller and Revision-EO stepping. Onto the review.

Madshrimps (c)

Corsair announced in April they would be using high quality binned Infineon C based IC's for their TWINX2048-4400PRO series. Timings are always an issue in DDR systems and this is now their only advantage which is rapidly evaporating when compared to DDR2 speeds in excess of 1100MHz at 4-4-4-14. Corsair has programmed their XMS4400 with SPD (Serial Presence Detect) CL3-4-4-8 timings which is much better then CL4 or CL5. On the DDR2 side-o-the-fence I reviewed Corsair TWIN2X2048-5400UL (albeit a 1GB part) and for DDR2 it overclocked to 700MHz at 3-2-2-6 which was simply amazing on a 925XE chipset Asus board. With DDR2 latencies coming close to high-speed DDR, what then are the benefits of investing in a kit of DDR550 into a system which will eventually go the way of the dinosaur?

Size, RAM is where the work gets done and theoretically much more can get done with a large Random Access Memory compliment running at loose latencies then less RAM running under tighter timings for today’s PC-User. The average Joe (or Jane) armed with a digital camera, a few of the more recent game titles and a love for music can get more done in less time with much more stability simply by investing in more memory. The name of the new PC-Game is multitasking, mucho DVD playback, Internet nirvana and of course gaming. You’re better off with a 2GB of 3-4-4-8 then 1GB of 2-2-2-6 since the latter will be under a speed limit anyway. The kit we’re testing here today not only does more, it looks great and the LEDs indicate memory activity in real time. Corsair uses a special thermal transfer material which is oven cured to bond the modules and dissipate heat from the IC’s to the extended heat spreaders. With more surface area then any other memory and made of thin aluminum Corsair’s XMS PRO series are much more then another pretty face, they’re literally some of the “coolest” memory out there..

Lights… Camera... Action

Madshrimps (c)

When LED enhanced memory first hit the streets the techies (myself included) contemplated whether the additional circuitry (added current draw etc.) might have adverse effects on performance? Some even thought the LED were used in [M]ad subliminal marketing which influenced synaptic activity triggering a "Buy more Corsair" reflex. However this was confused with the Intel Reverse Spread Spectrum subliminal ad campaign which triggered the "Faster is Better" reflex. Arid humor aside, insofar as LEDs affecting DDR-performance, not human behavior it's difficult to fathom Corsair investing in a product line and overlooking the obvious. Each kit was tested under the exact same conditions. Our featured products using Infineon Revision-C DRAMs while the compared TWINX2048-4000PT utilizes Samsung K4H510838C-UCCC parts.

Test System

AMD Test System
CPU Opteron 148 Socket-939 CABE Retail version
Mainboard DFI LAN party UT nF4 Ultra-D
Memory Corsair TwinX2048-4000PT (2x1024MB DC CL3-4-4-8)
Corsair XMS TWINX2048-4400PRO (2x1024MB CL3-4-4-8)
Graphics Gigabyte GV-N68T256DH
Power Supply MGE XG Duro 900
Cooling Corsair Nautilus 500 external-H20 system
Operating System Windows XP

Test Methodology:

Testing XMS 4400PRO involved running numerous CPU multiplier/FSB combinations, as well as tweaking many of the DFI LANparty UT memory settings. In the end I chose to remain with SPD timings at 3-4-4-8. My reasons for this are due to the ever growing PC-Enthusiast / Overclocking segments who desire the performance without the tedious trial and error BIOS tweaking/trouble-shooting. Recently Corsair in cooperation with NVIDIA announced adoption of the new EPP Memory (Enhanced Performance Profiles) which was developed in-part for this reason. With EPP memory the concept of SPD (Serial Presence Detect) is taken to a new level and those settings which seem so complicated in the DFI BIOS can now be integrated into as yet unused portion of SPD. Simple settings such as voltage and Command Rate are just a few of the added features and it seems these would be limited only by the EEPROM capacity. Both the Entry-level Overclocker as well as the dedicated PC-Enthusiast can benefit from this as it saves time and even extends component life-span which can be cut short through accidental over-volting. After all who would know their products tolerances, limitations and performance potential better then the manufacturer?

Corsair has always gone the extra mile in this respect and I imagine EPP simply places a new acronym on an old tradition for Corsair. Of course I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't at least include those benchmarks exemplifying the maximum speed ceiling under the tightest manual timings. Those timings were CL2.5-3-3-6 at 480MHz with the voltage remaining at 2.85V. Attempting to increase the voltage incurred more errors. In our benchmarks and in al the remaining charts the timings above will be represented as LL.

To compare the difference in performance these manual timings had just below the LL setting which was run at 480MHz a second series was run at SPD or 3-4-4-8 at 480MHz. Thumbnails of each XMS TWINX2048-4400PRO setting benchmarks are found below. These lead to screenshots capturing the Sandra Bandwidth result and CPU-Z screens indicate memory revision, memory timings, CPU/FSB speed and ratio.

11x200FSB SPD | 11x240FSB LL | 11x240FSB SPD

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

10x250FSB SPD | 9x275FSB SPD | 9x285FSB SPD

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

10x290FSB SPD

Madshrimps (c)

Onto the results ->
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