Sometimes there´s more to a memory module than meets the eye : Corsair Dominator and Mushkin Redline modules have always looked better than nice, and now they have the performance to match. We put these two against the OCZ Blade, a real high end kit based upon Elpida´s -hyper- chips, and against our 8 previous triple channel kits, in order to get a good view of the Core i7 memory landscape to date.
Corsair Dominator PC12800C8 : more details
A closer look
Time to have a closer look at the modules themselves, this is the front side, with the specifications printed in the middle :
Again, except for the "2.2" lettering at the right side, these modules are simply identical to the ones we reviewed in our original roundup. The modules look as great as ever, and the cooling is managed by the improved dual path heath exchange or DHX+ cooling design, this is Corsair's take on 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.
Indeed, ever since the original design, the dominator cooling design does more than just cool the ram IC's that reside upon the PCB, but DHX also cools the PCB's themselves leading to (arguably) better cooling performance than the competition is able to offer. Of course, this is up for debate, and "the others" will not necessarily agree here...
So what is different in the new revision of these modules ? If it isn't on the outside, it has to be on the inside. Although I wasn't able to remove the heatsink from the modules to see exactly what IC's are on there (this isn't very easy on a dominator module, and I didn't want to break them), I received word from the Corsair representative that these modules carry a new revision Elpida chips, the rev. B. Whether these are the so-called "Hyper" chips remains to be seen, as this kit is only rated for 1600Mhz operation. The new "hyper" Elpida chips should be capable of much more than 1600Mhz operation, so it will probably be a lower bin in this occasion. In any case, we'll see what they're made of shortly.
Last but not least, in case you didn't know it Corsair also sells watercooling products. As such, the Dominator modules have been equipped with removable fins :
It's just a case of removing three screws at the top, and the fins come off. They can be replaced by Corsair's own "H30" memory watercooling kit or even better, their new "ICE T30" TEC cooling system. But that's food for another review I'd say.
Finally, in the above thumbnails you can see the very clean back of the modules, and the thermal pads that are on top of the modules transferring the heat from the heatsink to the fins.