Even though DDR2 memory may be the current talk of the town, thanks to Intel's platform upgrade, there are plenty of P4, Athlon, and Athlon 64 owners that still use standard DDR based systems. Reason being, it's almost always cheaper to stay slightly behind the curve when purchasing hardware. It's probably never been more true these days than ever before. Although technology can't stand still, current software and user habits simply don't require every user to go out and buy the latest and greatest every few months. Case in point might be the current crop of i915/i925x motherboards. Upgrading to one of these motherboards in many cases requires a complete overhaul of components, starting with PCI-E video cards and DDR2 memory. While the future potentially holds great promise for these technologies, you'll pay a high price for what currently seems like a marginal performance increase in most circumstances.
It is in this vein that we take a look at two memory kits from Corsair, both of which are of the standard DDR variety. When Winbond's low-latency chips disappeared from the market recently, there was a bit of a concern as to how Corsair and other manufacturers would be able to continue producing low-latency memory modules. Samsung has admirably filled that role, providing a slew of chips that can equal or better the performance of the memory we've worked with in the past. Capitalizing on this, Corsair has two new matched pairs of modules available that are perfect for dual channel memory boards such as those based on the Intel i865 and i875 chipsets, or the nForce 3/4. These matched sets, dubbed TWINX by Corsair, are extensively tested for compatibility with each other at lower latencies than the usual fare. The first set we'll take a look at is the TWINX 1024-3200XL v1.2, which as the name alludes to is a 1GB paired set of DDR400 running at super-tight 2-2-2-5 timings, hence the XL for "Xtreme Latency". The second set in this review is the TWINX 1024-4400C25PT kit.
The two memory kits we received from Corsair looked nearly identical except for the obvious difference in coloring used for the aluminum heatsinks. The TWINX1024-3200XL set was sheathed in black while the TWINX1024-4400C25PT came in Platinum. Of course, the colors mean nothing aside from aesthetics as either set can be ordered in the other color as well. A thin clip was placed over the heatsinks which are used to apply steady and even pressure across the surface of the RAM, although it's effects are mostly minor since the heatsinks are attached to the RAM chips directly using adhesive thermal pads.
The DIMMS use Samsung ICs which have shown a tendency to perform well and stable at stock speeds while offering a lot of headroom for overclocking. All relevant information about the timings, speed, etc are placed neatly at the end of the sticks on a holographic sticker. This, in turn, serves two other purposes: the holographic sticker lets the user know they have purchased a genuine Corsair part and you'll never need to wonder what the specs are for that particular set. A quick glance at the labels quickly and easily show us that we've got one set of 512MB modules rated for 2-2-2-5 operation at 400MHz and one set of 512MB modules with 2.5-4-4-8 timings at 550MHz.
The packaging told us everything else we needed to know about either kit. A brief pictorial explains how to properly install the RAM, with instructions in five languages. The only information that perhaps should have been added here was the lifetime warranty that Corsair provides.