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Appeared on: Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Corsair Dominator TWIN3X2048-1800C7DFG

1. Features, installation

Corsair as a well known and respected memory manufacturer that recently released a new series of DDR3 memory with the highest rated specification and a very low CAS latency. The new TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF G product promises ultimate performance and high overclocking margins. Let's find out what this memory is capable of when paired with an Asus P5K3 Deluxe WiFi Edition motherboard.

- Corsair TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF G

The Dominator Series TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF G is a 2048 MB kit of DDR3 SDRAM DIMMs built using Corsair’s latest high performance heat sink with Dual-path Heat Xchange (DHX) technology coupled with a Corsair Airflow Fan. This part delivers outstanding performance in the latest generation of dual-channel DDR3-based motherboards. It has been tested extensively in popular DDR3 motherboards to ensure compatibility and performance at its rated speed. This memory has been verified to operate at 1800MHz at latencies of 7-7-7-20 at 2.0V VDIMM.

The DOMINATOR family of memory represents the ultimate in performance technology engineering from Corsair. The Dominator was designed to have the highest performing IC maximum overclocking capability and efficient DHX cooling – all the while being stable and reliable.

Heat Dissipation

Heat is the enemy of your computer’s key components. And the more you tweak components for performance, the more heat is generated. Heat will slow down your system and impact long term reliability. With traditional DDR2 memory, the standard method of chip packaging involves a BGA (Ball Grid Array). In a BGA, small balls of solder, organized as a grid, are the leads that connect the device to the module circuit board. A Micron Semiconductor study shows that in a BGA memory device as much as 50% of the heat generated by the chip is actually conducted into the circuit board. Since traditional heat sinks are only attached to the front surface of memory chips, there’s no easy thermal path for the heat coming from the back of the chips.

DHX - Maximized Performance, Minimized Heat

Corsair’s engineers have developed a unique technology that maximizes heat dissipation while improving reliability, even in the most extremely overclocked memory module. Dual-Path Heat Exchange (DHX) technology utilizes two methods to effectively remove heat from the memory circuit board - Convection and Conduction.

Optional AirFlow - Extra Cooling for Extreme Overclocking

The optional Airflow fan unit contains three 40mm tachometer-controlled fans to provide impinging airflow to the memory subsystem. With the moderate RPMs required to provide adequate forced air, the Airflow fan is nearly silent. The fan easily clamps onto most motherboards.

- Main features

- Retail package

Corsair provided us the retail package of TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF G. The retail price of the package is around $540~781, depending your location and currency... The memory modules are carefully packaged inside a common carton box.

with several protecting foam sheets

Finally, we can see the DDR3 memory modules, in right inside the white box we can find the optional memory cooler.

Removing the memory modules from the retail box, we can have a clearer view. From front, there's the Corsair logo along with all the important specifications, the memory size, the DDR3 rating speed and of course CAS latencies and suggested memory voltage. The black aluminium heatsinks on the outside are designed to absorb the heat from the surface of the memory modules:

At the back, there are two logos,

The Corsair Dominator Airflow can be installed in all DDR2/DDR3 memory types and uses three almost noiseless 40mm fans to improve heat dissipation.

Here is how our test system looks like after the installation of both Corsair Dominator DDR3 memory modules and the optional cooler:

After installing the modules and using CPU-Z v1.41 we have more information about the memory. Corsair is probably the first manufacturer that supports Intel's XMP profiles for 1800 rating speed. Of course there are present the standard JEDEC timings embedded for 592 and 666MHz accordingly:

Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) technology comes from Intel. Extreme memory profiles (XMP) are SPD (Serial Presence Detect) settings that are activated once memory modules are installed into a system with a mainboard that supports such settings. It is projected that XMP will be supported by mainboards based on Intel X38 chipset and will allow memory modules to operate at higher clock speeds with aggressive latency settings in order to provide extra performance.

2. Testing the DDR3

For out tests used the following setup:

While for benchmarking we used:

We overclocked Intel E6600 up to 3.60GHz in order to eliminate the CPU factor, as much as possible. By keeping the voltage at 2.00V we managed to get DDR3-1600 CL6 and DDR3-1800 at the promised CL7:

Memory Frequency/Timings
Real Frequency
Memory Ratio (FSB:RAM)
CPU Speed
DDR3 1333
DDR3 1600
DDR3 1800
DDR3 1869

Keeping the FSB at 400MHz and the CPU multiplier at 9x we could directly compare DDR3-1333 and DDR3-1600. Then we dropped the CPU multiplier at 8x and we rised the FSB up to 450MHz in order for our CPU to operate again at 3.6GHz. Finally for finding the maximum memory speed, we dropped the CPU multiplier at 7x and we increased the FSB. Below are the highest memory speeds that we've achieved with 2.25V. We hit roof at 1869MHz, which should be considered as a medium performance since we have seen much higher overclocking performance with of course different processors and motherboards setups. In any case, the Corsair Dominator TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF G should be considered as a top rated product:

In all cases, the memory modules had to pass all memory synthetic tests without any problem. Note that the results vary from module to module and at this very high overclocking speeds, you need a very good cooling solution for the northbridge and of course the CPU.

3. Comparison with other DDR3 modules

The Corsair TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF G has the advantage to perform CL6 at DDR3-1600 and CL7 at DDR3-1800, therefore it has the advantage in all possible benchmarks. We wanted to compare the new memory modules with other DDR3 memory, so we used the following memory timings/cache latencies:

DDR3 comparison
Memory Frequency
Real Frequency
CPU Speed
DDR3 1067
CL5-5-5-15 (1T)
DDR3 1150
CL5-5-5-15 (1T)
DDR3 1250
CL5-5-5-15 (1T)

In all cases we used the same timings and the same CPU internal multiplier. All these tests were performed with the following Bios settings:

Memset offers information about what exactly memory timings Asus P5K3 Deluxe has chosen:

All test results are showed below:

The Crucial DDR3-1600 seems to perform not only equal but better than Corsair DDR3-1800 in most Sisoft Sandra tests. Things seem to change in SuperPI, since SuperTalent had the lowest SuperPI 2M calculation time:

Lastly, in Science Mark, the Corsair DDR3-1800 achieved the highest performance

4. SiSoftware Sandra, RightMark

SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software. It works along the lines of other Windows utilities, however it tries to go beyond them and show you more of what's really going on. Giving the user the ability to draw comparisons at both a high and low-level. You can get information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, PCI, PCIe, ODBC Connections, USB2, 1394/Firewire, etc.

Sisoft Sandra offers two tests, unbuffered and buffered. We sum them, devide them in half and present you the test results.

Before this test packet was created there was no proper software for measuring vital system parameters such as CPU/Chipset/RAM providing steady and reliable (reproducible) test results and allowing for changing test parameters in a wide range.

Vital low-level system characteristics include latency and real RAM bandwidth, average/minimal latency of different cache levels and its associativity, real L1-L2 cache bandwidth and TLB levels specs. Besides, these aspects are usually not paid sufficient attention in product technical documentation (CPU or chipset). Such test suite, which combines a good deal of subsets aimed at measuring objective system characteristics, is a must have for estimating crucial objective platform parameters.

RightMark offers a variety of tests, including both read/write performance from synthetic and performance tests:

5. Science Mark 2.0, SuperPI

Science Mark 2.0 is an attempt to put the truth behind benchmarking. In an attempt to model real world demands and performance, SM2 is a suite of high-performance benchmarks that realistically stress system performance without architectural bias. Science Mark 2.0 is comprised of 7 benchmarks, each of which measures a different aspect of real world system performance.

SuperPI has become an utility to benchmark modern systems. In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi and he collaborated with Dr. Y.Kanada at the computer center, the University of Tokyo.

A Total SuperPI result from Intel XE6800

This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environment such as Windows NT and Windows 95 and called Super PI. The software offers up to 32M calculations of PI numbers, for all memory settings we tested only the 2M calculations.

6. Everest Ultimate Edition 2007, PCMark05

- Everest Ultimate Edition 2007

Click for official website!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. The software has build-in several tests for memory and CPU/FPU.


Click for homepage!PCMark®05 is everything you need to reliably and easily measure the performance of your PC and determine its strengths and weaknesses. With PCMark05, you will be able to select the optimal upgrades for your existing PC, or choose the right new PC that fits your specific needs. This easy-to-use product gives you the same tools and knowledge that virtually every professional tester in the industry uses. Below you can see all three available scores, memory, CPU and total.

7. Summary

Corsair with the arrival of Dominator TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF G creates a new market of high performance memory that is one step ahead from other manufacturers. The specs are really very good -you get CL7 at 1800MHz and of course CL6 at 1600MHz- which really helps the Corsair Dominator TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF G to perform much faster in all benchmarks, compared to other DDR3-1600 rated DDR3 memory. The voltage of course is slightly increased to 2.00V, but that's according to specifications and since Corsair offers life time warranty, there's nothing to worry about.

We left the performance graphs to speak for themselfs. In most cases, the reduced cache latencies did give additional performance boost to the benchmarks. From an overclocker's point of view, we managed to get the memory modules up to 934MHz with the voltage boosted to 2.25V. Its very possible that this memory can go even up to 1980MHz as several other reviews have showed, however with our combination of processor and memory modules we couldn't get the system stable at those speeds. There were times we could boot the system at 1920MHz, but since we couldn't stabilize it we consider it as a limit.

Now to the interesting part...The memory price. Taking a quick peek at the prices of various DDR3 memory we've compared, we found that the prices vary from country to country and on-line shops.

Memory Modules
Price ($)
SuperTalent DDR3-1600CL7
Crucial DDR3-1600CL7
Corsair Dominator DDR3-1800CL7

For users who wish to get an affordable DDR3 memory product, the SuperTalent DDR3-1600CL6 is still a very good priced product. The Crucial DDR3-1600CL7 is still highly priced, almost $100 higher than SuperTalent's DDR3-1600CL7.

The Corsair Dominator TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF G has a high variety of prices and we didn't find high availability, so we assume that prices will eventually drop, but as it currently stands, its highly priced. However you are getting a product that performs much higher than DDR3-1600 memory based products. So it's up to you to decide if the Corsair Dominator TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF G fits your needs.

From our point of view, it's a top product for serious overclockers and enthusiast users who wish only the best performance if of course they can afford it.

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