Corsair PC12800 "Dominator"
Since it has been a while since Corsair
joined a review at Madshrimps, we're glad that they did change their mind and sent us a review kit to include in this roundup. The kit you'll be seeing today however, is a review kit provided to us by our sponsor Tones
. The kit from Corsair will be featured in a little follow-up article to compare performance of these retail modules to the newer revision they sent us.
Here's a word about Corsair:
Regarded as one of the most prominent memory manufacturers, Corsair has been making memory products since 1994. For the first 5-7 years of their existence, Corsair focused on the business market of servers and workstations. Only in the last couple of years, especially since the introduction of PC-133 SD-Ram, the consumer market really became interesting for RAM development. At that time people became aware that faster ram was a worthy investment, and the overclocking market was born. In the last 7 years, Corsair has put more and more of its eggs into the basket of gamers and overclockers and has become the company all others measure their success by. Today, Corsair still makes server and workstation ram, and the so called "value-select" memory for the budget oriented consumer, but they are especially famous for the XMS memory line, which stands for "Extreme Memory Speed". This lineup has been around for a couple of years now, and has constantly been refreshed by new products... In the middle of 1996 the new Dominator lineup was added, which has since been revamped with the introduction of DDR3 memory...
So have a look at the retail box that we received:
(click for larger version)
At first, I could hardly believe this was a normal retail box, because it is actually huge to be holding only... 3 memory modules. The box is plane white, rather thick cardboard, a box for a non-retail review sample one would think. Inside we find three blisters, each holding one memory module, and surprisingly enough an airbag to keep everything in place, and prevent damage. This is of course some very sturdy packaging, and guarantees the safe arrival of the memory modules. I'm not sure if this is the final retail package for these modules, as the more recent modules seem to have different packaging.
Packaging: more shots
Now for a first look at the new dominators themselves :
I think most people will agree if I say these modules look great. They don't just look great, but also feel very sturdy, and just ooze quality. Those that have been reading my reviews over the last few years might know that I really liked the original Dominators. Madshrimps was lucky enough to review
the "good old" PC8888C4F Dominator kit right upon launch. Back then I realized that Corsair had produced something really special: the dominators introduced the dual path heat exchange or "DHX", and the heatsinks (and not "spreaders", as I was repeatedly told ;-) ) remain a thing of beauty until the present day. Today's Dominators are quite different however, as the sink is more of an integrated cooling block now, whereas the original were 4 different light heatsinks glued together. The current package is much more durable, but I can't help but think that the cooling performance cannot be equal with the new heatsinks, as the surface area went down significantly. Of course, DDR3 uses much less voltage than its DDR2 micron counterpart (we're talking 1.65V vs. 2.45V here) and as such heat should never become a problem.
Upon talking to Corsair about the new heatspreader design, they gave me a little more information regarding the technology behind them :
The new DHX heatsink is called DHX+ and it is thermally equivalent the original DHX in terms of passive cooling performance. The change in surface area is basically offset by having physically more metal (hence the sturdy, weighty feel). It still uniquely cools the face of the ICs and the heat leaked into the PCB from the BGA leads.
There's no doubt more to tell about these modules, but this I'll reserve for a little followup review featuring the new revised kit that has arrived in our labs last week. Meanwhile, enjoy the pics in the thumbnails below.