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The New Arms Race: DDR3-1800 RAM

Corsair Dominator TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF

Dominator DIMMs are Corsair’s premium products. Their benefit is the two-way cooling of the memory ICs, utilizing the PCB and memory packages.

Corsair’s first Dominator DIMMs launched roughly a year ago as DDR2 modules at PC2-8888 speeds (DDR2-1111), and the firm quickly added more Dominator products to the portfolio. This includes a CL3-4-3-9 low-latency dual channel kit, as well as a high-speed PC10,000 product. Dominator DIMMs feature Corsair’s dual heat exchange solution, which dissipates heat from both the memory ICs and the PCB to the outer heat spreader. To provide efficient memory cooling, Corsair also bundles the Dominator Airflow module, a snap-on cooler that you simply mount above the memory.

When compared to OCZ’s CL8-8-8-24 timings, the Corsair DIMMs are rated at quicker CL7-7-7-20 settings, which indeed provides slightly better performance in our benchmark suite. Both modules are specified to run at 2.0 V. It’s interesting to refer to the JEDEC specification, which defines a supply voltage of 1.5 V and latencies of CL9-9-9-24 at DDR3-1333 speeds. However, we couldn’t really overclock the TWIN3X DIMMs much, which either indicates that the memory really operates at its limits, or that the processor we used doesn’t tolerate faster FSB speeds. Since we were able to overclock OCZ’s DDR3-1800 to DDR3-1900 speed, the processor doesn’t seem to be the culprit.

Unlike other Corsair DIMMs, the DDR3-1800 Dominator does not include EPP, which stands for Enhanced Performance Profiles. These are a nice feature if you run your memory with an Nvidia nForce 6 series motherboard, as these are capable of selecting ideal timings rather than running on default SPD timings, which can be rather slow.

Corsair’s DDR3-1800 RAM ran at CL7-7-7-20 timings, which is more than acceptable considering the high clock speed of 900 MHz.