DDR3 Round-Up: Core i7 Performance Analysis
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.