DDR3 Round-Up: Core i7 Performance Analysis - HotHardware

DDR3 Round-Up: Core i7 Performance Analysis

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Corsair Dominator XMS3 1866 MHz
Corsair’s Dominator XMS3 series are commonly known as some of the best designed, but most expensive modules on the market. Dominator modules typically run at higher clock speeds and lower-latencies compared to most other enthusiast class modules, but what really kicks up the price tag are their custom PCB designs and sleek, effective heatsink design.


The Dominator kit we have to look at today is one Corsair's latest.  It offers 6 GB of memory running at 1866 MHz clock speeds. It’s a triple-channel kit which is comprised of 3 x 2 GB memory modules. The modules run at fairly high 9-9-9-24 latencies, but do conform to Intel’s guidelines of a maximum voltage level of 1.65V.

Sold separately is Corsair’s Dominator Airflow kit, which is comprised of two low-noise 40mm fans which sit above the memory modules. It’s a fairly unique and well designed unit, as it’s easy to install, easy to remove, and will cool not only up to 6 memory modules, but will provide airflow to other components in the surrounding area. Of course, if you plan to overclock, the additional airflow will do nothing but help. In testing, we were able to get our Corsair Dominator 1866 MHz modules up to 2100 MHz with 1.9V memory levels, but we were not able to take it higher. Since the time of the 1866 MHz kit release, Corsair has gone on to certify kits at 2000 MHz and above, which means that the prices of this particular kit should be dropping fairly fast. If you can afford it, they are certainly some of the best memory modules on the market – there is a reason why Dell is equipping their high-end XPS gaming systems with Dominator modules.


OCZ Platinum XTC 1600 MHz

OCZ currently offers their Platinum lineup at speeds up to 2000 MHz, whereas the kit we're looking at today is their PC3-12800, which runs at 1600 MHz. While in the lower-end of the clock speed spectrum compared to the other kits we're looking at, this kit does boast the lowest stock latencies, running at CAS 7-7-7 while running at an Intel approved 1.65V core voltage.



The modules are low-profile, and the heat-spreaders which OCZ equips these modules with are thin, but appear to be quite effective. OCZ's Platinum Z3 XTC heatspreader uses an open-air mesh design which is based on aluminum alloy, which allows for airflow directly on the chips and PCB and for direct heat conduction. These 1600 MHz stock speed modules were able to clock up to 2050 MHz in our testbed at 1.9V, slightly below the Corsair 1866 MHz modules, but mighty impressive considering these modules are roughly half the price of the Corsair memory modules.

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What a great story...thanks for the comparo! DDR3 is so much more expensive than DDR2 right now (I have read that the price difference between the two will be much closer at the end of this year), but Core i7 builders don't have a choice. If a Core i7 builder tries to save some money and only installs two sticks of memory, will it run in dual-channel or single-channel mode?

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awesome article guys. Could have used that a couple weeks ago thoughStick out tongue. I would have went with the OCZ modules more then likely. Although I have not yet messed around with the dominator 1600 set that I got. I have a feeling that if I tweak it I can probaly get some better timings out of it. Default settings on my board have it running at 1333. What did you guys use when you tested the rampage 2 board?

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Dual channel mode.  Raw bandwidth takes a hit, but real world performance impact is nil.

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Im thinking the right ddr3 and the rampage 2 boards are going to sport some very high marks and cant wait to see the numbers the the lucky guys here that alredy have access to these setups!Make you lealous and slobber!

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Glad you liked this one, gents. Chris did a good job with it for sure. It shows some interesting results actually.

For the RE 2 board, I believe Rob used some Qmonda RAM.

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Great review. I too hope that DDR3 prices go down, so I'll be able to use my Eclipse.

Well, maybe I could 'borrow' a review sample. Wink

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Dave_HH:

Glad you liked this one, gents. Chris did a good job with it for sure. It shows some interesting results actually.

For the RE 2 board, I believe Rob used some Qmonda RAM.

Qmonda RAM? Is that like an abreviation for something? I was more curious about the speeds and how he might have adjusted timings if he did any of that when it was overclocked. Seems to have locked in settings for the timings when adjusting the speed of the memory. I have't messed around with the gazillion settings yet but thought since we were on the topic of memory I would ask.

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No Nelson thats not an abbreviation actually. Qmonda is the company who actually made the actual DDR5 on ATI video cards. They also made the DDR4 on the 3870's as well I believe. So they are about the fastest ram maker in the world at least on a developmental aspect. I know other people are making DDR5 now but they had it developed and rolled out for the 4870's release which was what mid July last year.

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Don't you mean Qimonda Dave?

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Nice article,  I do have a question about your comparison of memory bandwidth testing between 1,2 and 3 channel modes.  I've noticed that the amount of ram changes with each test.  While this isn't a problem on synthetic tests that actually check the memory bandwidth it will skew real world testing as things like photoshop tend to gain performance when the ram capacity increases.

Have you guys thought of keeping the ram capacity the same in single, dual and tri channel modes?

This would give you an exact indication of whether the extra channels are giving a benefit or if the previous result was due to extra capacity.

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