Corsair's PC10000 Super-Ober-Uber-RAM Sets Sails

The new DDR2 Dominator DIMMs usually come bundled with Corsair’s Dominator Airflow, which is an easy to mount active cooling system for your memory.

Overclocking has a long tradition : It became popular in the PC mainstream as different speed grades were introduced for platforms, processors and memory over time. As components offered hardware or software options to tweak the required parameters, people all over the world started to tune their systems. They bumped up the system speed to overclock both the processor and the platform Compare Prices on Corsair’s PC10000, and even graphics processors weren’t spared. Anything that is clock-based can technically be overclocked - including the main memory.

Overclocking is free of cost, as you simply run your existing hardware above the specified speed. Usually, this results in performance that equals what you would get from far more expensive components. But today, overclocking isn’t just the most effective way to reach higher performance anymore. It has created new market segments for high-end hardware, similar to what you can find on the car tuning market. There are overclocking contests, and the fastest PCs are based on highly overclocked hardware today !

Many manufacturers couldn’t resist overclocking their products for the questionable purpose of winning awards of comparative reviews and roundups. A good example is motherboards : If you raise the system speed by as little as 1%, your product will beat its competitors that run at standard settings. Luckily, the tendency of cheating by factory-overclocking has transformed into the creation of products that are particularly designed for overclocking. In the graphics space, companies such as Gainward became popular by offering factory-overclocked products such as the so-called Golden Sample series. Different from former approaches, the vendors offer their standard warranties for these products - although the components used run considerably above the hardware spec. Motherboard manufacturers fight for awards in highest overclocking spheres nowadays, since there is virtually no performance differentiation at default speeds.

If we look at the memory market where the JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) specifies common memory standards, memory vendors and manufacturers have been offering products that are specifically designed for overclocking scenarios : There are dual-channel memory kits, low latency parts and high-speed DIMMs with lots of margin for your overclocking adventures. It’s amazing to see that large parts of Corsair’s reputation originate in its memory offerings for enthusiasts and overclockers.

The new PC10000 DIMMs (Dual Inline Memory Module) are no different : Once again Corsair seems to be the first company to deliver highest-speed memory. The CM2X1024-10000C5D DIMMs are the latest members of the Dominator family, which features extreme clock speed support, Corsair’s proprietary heat exchange technology for adequate cooling, Nvidia’s "SLI-ready" certification and Enhanced Performance Profiles (EPP) to better serve memory auto configuration at ideal settings.

This latest product resembles a speed upgrade from PC8888 (1,111 MHz double data rate speed) to PC10000 (1,250 MHz DDR). There is another part in between, the PC9136 Dominator, but due to the small speed increment we refrained from having a look at them. While there is this 12.5% clock speed increase from 1,111 to 1,250 MHz, the timing parameters had to be relaxed to safely reach this new speed record. Does the new top model perform well enough to justify spending $600 ? We compared performance at PC6400, PC8888 and PC10000 speeds using an Intel Core 2 Duo E6700. As we wanted to compare what would happen if you invested the memory in a faster processor instead of the memory, we added benchmarks with PC6400 RAM and a Core 2 Extreme X6800.

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