Corsair Dominator PC3-12800 (1600MHz) 4GB Kit

We check out a lower latency Corsair kit that looks like it can impress. Let's whack it on the test bed today and see if it does just that.

Manufacturer: Corsair
7 minutes & 15 seconds read time

Introduction, Packaging and Modules


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It seems that companies are concentrating a little more on the lower speed end of the memory market at the moment. Recently we looked at a new Kingston kit which carried with it a 1600MHz DDR clock and today we're looking at a kit from Corsair that carries with it the same speed.

Of course, the speed is the only difference, because in both true Corsair and Dominator style, the timings are quite aggressive. Before we get into too much detail on that, we'll have a look at the package and then the modules themselves before getting into the overclocking side of things.

The Package

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It's been a while since we've seen a retail package from Corsair. Most of the time we just get some pretty boring white boxes. The kit looks really nice packaged up, though, and you can see most of the information can be seen, especially once we turn over and the window shows us the important information on the modules themselves.

The Modules

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As for the design of the kit, it's not anything you wouldn't have seen before and if it isn't broke, why fix it? - For the most part I like the Dominator heatsink, but it has to be said that in the situation you have to push the modules in from the top, those fins really do a number on your fingers.

As for information on the modules, we've got the Corsair logo on both sides, the Dominator tag on one and the model, timings, speed and other information on the opposite side.


The kit comes in at 1600MHz as we mentioned in the introduction, and honestly, it came as no surprise that getting that speed that wasn't a problem at all.

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You can see the validation here.

The kit uses a 7-8-7-20 setup at 1.65v which is fairly tight. Indeed this is one of the benefits when it comes to using lower MHz memory. We also opted for 1T timings as it didn't run into any problems at all when it was up and running.

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You can see the validation here.

When it came to overclocking, we weren't sure if we would have loads of luck; mainly due to the fact that it is a Cas7 kit. While we managed to get to 1676MHz DDR, it's not the highest overclock; but with that said, we achieved that at 7-8-7-20-2T which is impressive nonetheless.

Important Editor Note: Our maximum overclocking result is the best result we managed in our limited time of testing the memory. 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.

Test System Setup and PCMark Vantage

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, MSI, Kingston, Noctua, Mittoni and Corsair.

Today we'll be looking at the Corsair kit in stock and overclocked form. We've also included the Kingston kit which carries with it the same speed, but uses more relaxed timings.

Let's get started!

Important Note: When modules are overclocked we adjust the BCLK which not only lets us fine tune the MHz out of a module, but in turn increases the overall CPU clock speed. While we always make the effort to include the BCLK and CPU Speed in our graphs, please just make sure that you make note of these when looking at the results. In some tests that don't purely test the memory speed the extra MHz on offer from the CPU can increase the result. Of course, it's worth noting that having faster memory gives you the ability to run your CPU at a higher speed.

PCMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage:
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PCMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed for Windows Vista offering one-click simplicity for casual users and detailed, professional grade testing for industry, press and enthusiasts.

A PCMark score is a measure of your computer's performance across a variety of common tasks such as viewing and editing photos, video, music and other media, gaming, communications, productivity and security.

From desktops and laptops to workstations and gaming rigs, by comparing your PCMark Vantage score with other similar systems you can find the hardware and software bottlenecks that stop you getting more from your PC.

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Across the board you can see there's little change between the setups under Vantage.

Benchmarks - wPrime


Version and / or Patch Used: 1.62
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

wPrime uses a recursive call of Newton's method for estimating functions, with f(x)=x2-k, where k is the number we're sqrting, until Sgn(f(x)/f'(x)) does not equal that of the previous iteration, starting with an estimation of k/2. It then uses an iterative calling of the estimation method a set amount of times to increase the accuracy of the results. It then confirms that n(k)2=k to ensure the calculation was correct. It repeats this for all numbers from 1 to the requested maximum.

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Looking at wPrime, we see the Corsair kit performs the strongest when overclocked. It did sit a little further back under wPrime at stock, though.

Benchmarks - Everest Ultimate Edition


Version and / or Patch Used: Ultimate Edition
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
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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. Furthermore, complete software, operating system and security information makes EVEREST Ultimate Edition a comprehensive system diagnostics tool that offers a total of 100 pages of information about your PC.

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Once we start getting into tests where the timings come in to play, we can see the strong performance on offer from the Corsair kit; especially when we overclock.

Benchmarks - SiSoft Sandra

SiSoft Sandra

Version and / or Patch Used: Professional Home
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SiSoft Sandra (System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is a synthetic Windows benchmark that features different tests used to evaluate different PC subsystems.

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The same advantage as we saw under Everest is seen here with the more aggressive timings helping the overall performance of the kit.

Benchmarks - Super PI

Super PI

Super PI is a computer program that calculates pi to a specified number of digits after the decimal point - up to a maximum of 32 million. It uses Gauss-Legendre algorithm and is a Windows port of the program used by Yasumasa Kanada in 1995 to compute Pi to 232 digits

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Super PI performance between the kits is very similar.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Vantage

3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
Buy It Here

3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.

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Looking at 3DMark Vantage, we can see that performance between all the setups is again very close.

Total Performance Rating (TPR)

Total Performance Rating

The TPR graph is a combination of all our benchmarks in which we test our memory modules with.

The TPR number is a combination of:-

PCMark Vantage, Everest Ultimate, SiSoft Sandra, and 3DMark Vantage.

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Performance is strong, and it comes as no surprise that when overclocked the kit manages to sneak ahead of the Kingston one, which is clocked slightly lower and uses much more relaxed timings.

Total Value Rating (TVR) & Final Thoughts

Total Value Rating

The TVR graph is the TPR score divided by the price of the memory kit. The price of the memory kit is based on the list price of the model on In the event the kit isn't listed, it will be based on the U.S. $ MSRP given to us by the manufacturer.

In the event we can't source a price from either, the product will not receive a TVR rating. As with our TPR graph, the amount of memory kits on the list will grow over time and the price of the model won't change from what it was when first reviewed. For this reason the U.S. $ price that the kit is based off will be included next to the name of the model.

In the event you want to find the TVR rating yourself based on the current price, all you have to do is simply divide the TPR number by the list price.

TVR numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number; 100.3 will be 100; 100.8 will be 101 and 100.5 will be rounded down to 100.

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Priced at $119.99 over at Newegg right now, it's a bit more expensive than the Kingston kit, and while faster, our TVR graph shows the kit does lag a little behind.

Final Thoughts

The Dominator series from Corsair is a tried and true method that's been working for Corsair for a long time. This kit while not carrying with it the massive stock MHz that we've seen in recent months, still deserves the respected Dominator tag because of those aggressive timings.

While the overall value is a little down compared to the HyperX Blu kit we looked at recently, you have to remember that while it is the HyperX tag, it's the new Blu series which is more budget orientated. For some, an extra $20 is a small price to pay for the aggressive timings seen on the Corsair kit we've got here.

Finally, while our OC might've been the highest, because you're dealing with tighter timings you've got a lot of room to loosen them up. Once you've done that you should find some more breathing room, helping performance go even higher.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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