IntroductionWith NVIDIA's GTX 280 graphics cards now starting to look the goods, nForce 790i Ultra based boards are looking ever more popular. This is because NVIDIA has been holding out on its SLI licensing; no other chipset can run SLI unless the drivers are hacked open. That takes time and effort, a lot of which no one is willing to do these days. Until X58 arrives with SLI support, people are forced to go with an NVIDIA motherboard chipset.Well before NVIDIA had any plans for DDR3, EPP or Extreme Performance Profile DDR2 memory was making its way into the mainstream. These modules were really designed to work with 680i chipsets, since any AMD solutions have the memory controller moved to the CPU, this eliminated any offerings NVIDIA can give. EPP has made its way into DDR3 with EPP 2.0; this being the DDR3 variation. Today we have Corsair's monster 4GB DDR3 kit (2x2GB) supporting EPP 2.0. Let's see how it copes today.
The Package and Modules
The Package and Memory Modules
First off we start with the package that Corsair ships their memory in. Now, I can tell a few are thinking "not another personal injury blister pack". Thankfully, I can assure you it isn't. This one splits down the sides easily; no tools required, making it a hospital free product. You can also clearly see the modules through the packaging, so no need for a colour photo.
On the back, Corsair has put a detailed picture on how its DHX memory heatsinks work in order to reduce the temperature of the memory. Extra layers are added to cool the PCB and the memory chips, not just the chips like some other companies do.
Upon removing the modules, one thing is for sure, they are large and they are heavy. The extra DHX fins on the top give it the extra height while the extra layers to cool the PCB make it heavier than most DRAM modules on the market. But this isn't a bad thing as it's guaranteed to help keep things cool. Being the DHX series, you can separately purchase the DHX fan that sits atop the modules with 3x40mm fans to cool the modules. We happen to have one of these on hand, so we will be testing with the fan and without.
On one side of each of the modules, Corsair has its own sticker that has the company logo, model of the modules, and its timing info. In our case, we were sent a dual channel kit of 4GB; each module was 2GB density with timings of 9-9-9-24 at 1600MHz and 1.8v.
Overclocking the Modules
Now, one thing is for certain, Corsair knows how to do its RAM. While these are EPP rated to do 1600MHz on NVIDIA boards, the mainstream PC is using an Intel based system, since they are more flexible with their graphics options.We slapped our memory into an X48T-DQ6 to see if it would handle this; it not only handled 1600MHz but managed to shoot up to 880MHz or 1760MHz on the DDR3 scale. That's very impressive, and it only needed 1.95v to do it. But this was the wall we hit and was with the fans attached. Using passive mode, 805MHz was the limit no matter what voltage we threw at it, so it seems cooling is the key here.Important Editor Note: Our maximum overclocking result is the best result we managed in our limited time of testing the motherboard. Due to time constraints we weren't able to tweak the motherboard to the absolute maximum and find the highest possible FSB, as this could take days to find properly. We do however spend at least a few hours overclocking every motherboard to try and find the highest possible overclock in that time frame. You may or may not be able to overclock higher if you spend more time tweaking, or as new BIOS updates are released. "Burn-in" time might also come into play if you believe in that.
Test System Setup and Everest
Test SystemProcessor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500Motherboard: GIGABYTE X38-DQ6 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)Hard Disk: 500GB Western Digital SE16 (Supplied by Western Digital)Graphics Card: GIGABYTE 9800GX2 (Supplied by GIGABYTE) Cooling: GIGABYTE 3D Galaxy II (Supplied by GIGABYTE)Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista SP1Drivers: Intel INF 22.214.171.1248, ForceWare 175.16Today's test bed consists of the same X48T motherboard and graphics card setup, so not much has changed. We did our tests with the OCZ XMP1600 modules which clocked close to the Corsair memory; its clocking max was 1700MHz, so not too shabby. Our stock clocks as always are 1333MHz as this is the highest JEDEC standard recognised for DDR3 memory at this time. It may go up to 1600MHz but that's not happening yet.In our overclocking tests we used 1600MHz which is the highest XMP Intel supports, so 1600MHz was tested with both modules and then we went to Max OC. For our OCZ, that was 1701MHz; Corsair without heatsinks 1610MHz and with heatsinks 1760MHz. An FSB/memory divider of 1:2 was used.EVEREST Ultimate EditionVersion and / or Patch Used: 2006Developer Homepage:http://www.lavalys.comProduct Homepage:http://www.lavalys.comBuy It Here
EVEREST Ultimate Edition is an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking it provides essential system and overclock information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings. CPU, FPU and memory benchmarks are available to measure the actual system performance and compare it to previous states or other systems.
Starting in synthetic bandwidth tests, at 1333MHz both kits come in identically; the extra 2GB size doesn't help the Corsair here. When we go to 1600MHz levels, OCZ has a lower timing profile of 8-8-8-24 without the XMP profile enabled, so it gets a better overall bandwidth. When overclocked, only using the fan setup managed to keep the Corsair in front; it falls behind without the fan due to lower clock speeds.
Benchmarks - Sciencemark 2.0
ScienceMark 2.0ScienceMark 2.0 is a mathematical program designed to stress the memory subsystems of both desktop/workstation and server environments to determine the read/write latency as well as the overall memory bandwidth available between the CPU and the memory controller.
Latency and access times win it here; at 1333MHz all is locked. At 1600MHz OCZ managed to win out. At OC levels, the fan combo on Corsair wins as the latency between OCZ and Corsair is the same here, it's the extra bandwidth that helps.
From the makers of Far Cry, Crysis offers FPS fans the best-looking, most highly-evolving gameplay, requiring the player to use adaptive tactics and total customization of weapons and armor to survive in dynamic, hostile environments including Zero-G. Real time editing, bump mapping, dynamic lights, network system, integrated physics system, shaders, shadows and a dynamic music system are just some of the state of-the-art features the CryENGINE 2 offers. The CryENGINE 2 comes complete with all of its internal tools and also includes the CryENGINE 2 Sandbox world editing system.
Pressing into real world gaming, Crysis doesn't benefit from the extra 2GB memory size here at all, so it's up to sheer speed. At OC levels it managed to get 2 extra FPS on the Corsair memory.
Final ThoughtsCorsair has been one of the biggest overclocking memory companies for nearly eight years now. In fact, it may be longer as Corsair memory was some of the highest clocking back when PC-133 memory for the 440BX chipset was around, allowing bus speeds to 150MHz. What an achievement that was. Moving into the 21st century, Corsair still holds its own.The XMS series of memory is the cream of the crop; hand picked and designed to overclock for the enthusiasts. You're going to be hard pressed for find a better module, XMS3 continues this tradition.The larger size, while not showing a huge benefit today in our gaming tests, it really does help Windows XP multi-task. While only 3.5GB of it was used under our 32-bit OS, it still loaded the games up slightly quicker than the 2GB setup, and for 64-bit OS users, you will get the full benefit.
Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:27 pm CDT
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