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Hardcore DDR2 RAM by Corsair, G.Skill, OCZ and Patriot

Corsair Dominator CM2X1024-10000C5D (2x 1 GB)

The Dominator by Corsair is the current king of the ring. We took a look at it earlier this year, and its performance was impressive. Dominator is an entire series of enthusiast memory products, available exclusively in 2x 1 GB memory kits at DDR2-800 speeds and up. Corsair is proud of its Dual Heat Exchange (DHX) solution, which dissipates heat away from the memory chips and the module circuit board. You’ll recognize Dominator DIMMs by their black imprint and the top-side heat sink fins.

We used the PC10000 part, which is the highest performing product. It was not designed to reach short timings, but this product clearly is a clock speed monster. We were able to start Windows XP at up to DDR2-1333 speeds (2.5 V, 5-5-5-15 timings), but I’m afraid the system didn’t run reliably at this speed. The highest stable clock speed we could achieve was 640 MHz or DDR2-1280, which required 2.45 V.

There is a special fan module available for the Dominator DIMMs. While the memory does indeed get very warm, we think proficient case ventilation might suffice. Based on our experience, extensive memory cooling will allow you to add a few more megahertz, but it does not work wonders. To us the DHX makes sense, but we’re not sure about the fan module.

In any case, the Dominator PC10000 can operate both at DDR2-800 speed at CL3-4-3-9 timings, which is close to ideal, or at up DDR2-1280 at default timings of CL5-5-5-15. Corsair was the first to release "SLI-ready" memory, which is very helpful for Nvidia platforms : if the feature is enabled, it will automatically run your RAM at ideal settings.