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Review: Corsair DOMINATOR DDR3-1,600 C8: bandwidth for Core i7

by Tarinder Sandhu on 25 December 2008, 05:00 3.55

Tags: DOMINATOR DDR3-1,600 CL8 6GB, Corsair

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XMP: easy as pie

Looking at the DOMINATOR-clad modules again, they're recipients of what Corsair calls DHX cooling, which purports to remove localised heat build-up in a more-efficient manner than regular heatsinks. Leaving the modules running for a 30-minute stress test, the 'spreaders were very warm to the touch, around 8°C hotter than a Crucial non-heatspreader set. We take the positive view that the heatsinks are doing their work and channelling heat to the outside, away from the underlying ICs.

The DOMINATOR design usually means that you can (optionally) purchase Corsair's AIRFLOW cooling apparatus, attaching to the top of the modules, for around £15. However, with the tri-module nature of Core i7, a new AIRFLOW system is required,  which is currently bundled with DDR3-1,866 memory, and we've yet to see it on sale as an aftermarket solution.

XMP's a real boon for the novice user.

Here's how they booted up with the XMP profile activated in the Bloodrage's BIOS. Note the 1T command rate? We manually changed this to 2T for formal testing.

Intel's Core i7 processor is split into 'core' and 'uncore' portions. Changing the core frequency dictates what speeds the base clock, QPI, cache and memory-controller work at. However, you can change the uncore - controlling the memory-controller speed and L3 cache - independent of the core, and it needs to be double the memory frequency.

Breaking it down, the uncore runs at 3,192MHz (shown as NB frequency) with Corsair DDR3-1,600 memory, but at 2,660MHz with the same 3.2GHz CPU speed on a 965 EE but with DDR3-1,333 RAM in situ. Faster RAM, therefore, means a faster memory-controller and L3 cache speed on Core i7.

Pre-benchmark summary

A relatively low-latency set of DDR3-1,600 memory that ships with three 2GB modules, Corsair's DOMINATOR C8, whilst seemingly expensive at £195, works straight out of the pack. Corsair backs them up with the usual limited lifetime warranty, too. Let's now see how it performs.