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Corsair's XMS2 Dominator: The World's Fastest DDR2?

Dominator Types

The corsair DHX Dominator series comes in two flavors : The first is the top-of-the-line PC2-8888 C4 (1111 MHz DDR clock speed) model. The second is a lower-cost alternative, rated PC2-8500 C5 (1066 MHz DDR), which is for those who want the added benefits of DHX, but do not need the additional speed option of the PC2-8888 C4.

Corsair DHX XMS2 Dominator PC2-8888 C4

We got our hands on a set of PC2-8888 C4 modules and decided to put Corsair’s claims to the test. Our modules came with the Dominator Airflow fan, which the company says guarantees seamless operation above 2.5 V. At this point, it’s important to note that the default voltage for DDR2 memory is 1.8 V, while high-performance products go up to 2.3 V. The cooler is built from steel sheets and has three 40 mm (1.57") fans that blow directly onto the fins. Although they are not loud, this clearly is not a product for people who want low-noise machines. The airflow unit is attached to the DIMM-locks and its cable is adequately long.

Test Setup

For our benchmarks, we chose the Asus Crosshair motherboard due to its very good overclocking capabilities. The modules are specified to run with 2.5 V, and we had no problem achieving the promised 1111 MHz DDR2 speed mark. However, for a better comparison, we operated the Dominator memory at 1,123 MHz, which can be reached by overclocking a DDR2-800 setup. Using the Extreme Tweaker in the BIOS we set the RAM to 2.4 V and the front side bus to a 281 MHz base speed, after which we started the system and had no stability issues with the setup. We even increased the memory frequency to 1,200 MHz at 2.5 V with CL4-4-4-12 timing without any stability issues or errors from prime.

System Hardware
Socket AM2AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 (Windsor 90 nm, 2.80 GHz, 2x 1 MB L2 Cache)
RAM I2x 1024 MB DDR2-800 (CL 3.0-4-3-9)Corsair CM2X1024-6400C4 XMS6404v1.1
RAM II2x 1024 MB DDR2-1111 (CL 4.0-4-4-12)Corsair CM2X1024-8888D4 XMS8804v1.1
Graphics CardMSI RX1900XTXVT2D512EGPU : ATI X1900XTX (650 MHz)
RAM : 512 MB GDDR3 (1550 MHz)
Hard Drive I (read)1x 150 GB 10.000 rpm, 8 MB cache, SATAIIWestern Digital WD1500ADFD
Hard Drive II (write)1x 150 GB 10.000 rpm, 8 MB cache, SATAIIWestern Digital WD1500ADFD
DVD-ROMGigabyte GO-D1600C (16x)
Software
ATI GraphicCatalyst 6.8
Nvidia nForce 500 SeriesForceware 9.35
DirectXVersion : 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
OSWindows XP, Build 2600 SP2

Benchmark And Settings

Benchmarks and Settings
3D-Games
F.E.A.RVersion : 1.0 RetailVideo Mode : 1024x768Computer : HighGraphics Card : mediumOptions/Performance/Test settings
Video
TMPEG 3.0 ExpressVersion : 3.0.4.24 (no Audio)182 MB VOB MPEG2-source (704x576) 16:9
DivX 6.25Version : 6.25 (4 Logical CPUs)Certification Profile : High Definition ProfileMultipass, 3000 kbit/sEncoding mode : Insane Quality
XviD 1.2.0Version : 1.2.0 SMP BetaEncoding type : Twopass - Single passProfile @ Level : DXN HT PALTarget size (kbytes) : 570000
Audio
Lame MP3Version 3.97 Beta 2 (11-29-2005)Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 74 minwave to mp3160 kbps
OGGVersion 1.1.2 (Intel P4 MOD)Version 1.1.2 (Intel AMD MOD)Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 74 minwave to oggQuality : 5
Applications
WinrarVersion 3.60 BETA 4 (Dual-Core)(303 MB, 47 Files, 2 Folders)Compression = BestDictionary = 4096 kB
Autodesk 3D Studio MaxVersion : 8.0Characters "Dragon_Charater_rig"rendering HTDV 1920x1080
Adobe Photoshop CS 2Version : 9.0.1VT-Runtime ScriptRendering from 5 Pictures (66 MB, 7 Filters)
Synthetic
PCMark05 ProVersion : 1.1.0CPU and Memory TestsWindows Media Player 10.00.00.3646Windows Media Encoder 9.00.00.2980
SiSoftware Sandra 2007Version 2007.5.10.98CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMediaMemory Test = Bandwidth BenchmarkMemory Latency Test = ns
EverestVersion 3.01 Beta 704Memory Benchmarks
Other
Windows Media Player 10Version : 10.00.00.36.46

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