Getting knee deep with Corsair XMS3
If you are going to look into DDR-3 you may as well do it in style, Corsair has been on the top of the "to buy" list of a number of enthusiast users for years. The XMS became popular back in the DDR days and it feels like yesterday we were trying to hunt down some DDR 333 BH-5 modules from Corsair so we could achieve that glorious overclock.
We follow on in the XMS name with the latest series to enter it being the XMS3, the 3 of course lets us know that these modules are DDR-3. Currently the 1066MHz XMS3 modules we have are the only ones available in Corsair's range, though word is that within the next few weeks we should see 1333MHz DDR-3 memory join the ranks of the latest elite lineup from Corsair.
The launch of DDR-3 is much like that of DDR-2, the current timings on the 1066MHz memory comes in at what people would consider quite a sloppy 7-7-7-21. Considering Corsair has the Dominator PC10000 which is capable of 1250MHz at 5-5-5-18 along with its PC6400 800MHz modules achieving timings as low as 3-4-3-9 at default, it is easy to see how you can come to this conclusion.
Not only are the timings high like the release of DDR-2 but we also have high prices with a lot of countries not even listing DDR-3 at the moment and of course causes a miserable supply rate. It's not Corsairs fault though with DDR-3 boards not being available in most countries it makes sense that they aren't going to flood the market with DDR-3, especially considering that as demand and supply picks up prices will begin to drop.
DDR-3 is of course just another evolution jump in the world of memory, like we did from SD to DDR and DDR to DDR-2 we are now going to slowly transition to the much higher clocked DDR-3. Increased speeds give us increased bandwidth and eventually the goal is that we see DDR 2000MHz at timings like 5-5-5-18 and lower clocked 1066MHz or 1333MHz running a CAS latency of 3 or 4.
Looks wise the memory of course is very XMS with the platinum heat spreader. There is no doubt it is not the best looking module in the lineup, hopefully we will see Corsair release a line of Dominator DDR-3 modules with the fancier heatsink and RAM cooling option.
The biggest specification changes with the release of DDR-3 that actually affect the user are the official JEDEC speeds which are from 800Mbps to 1600Mbps compared to DDR-2 and its 400Mbps to 800Mbps, also the fact that it is capable of running at less voltage, 1.5V versus 1.8V, than DDR-2 as well as one of the more cooler features literally, the optional inclusion of a thermal sensor on the RAM.
Aside from this there are a few other new features like the inclusion of a "fly-by" Topology instead of a "conventional T" model that was used on DDR-2, we also see a doubling in the amount of internal banks from four (DDR-2) to eight (DDR-3) which helps reduce access latency.