It has been a long time since I have reviewed any memory from Corsair as not many sexy and new attention-getting parts have come out in recent months. From the enthusiast perspective the last major release from Corsair was the new DOMINATOR 4GB DDR3 2000MHz memory kits, which are great products, but let’s face it, not too many people can run at 2GHz. This is due to the fact Intel Quad-Core processors have Front Side Bus (FSB) limitations and the majority of DDR3 boards out there are Intel and the memory and FSB are linked together. The last reason this memory kit doesn’t make a ton of news is because it still costs $839 at retailers even though the MSRP is just $675.
Today, we have a chance to look at a newly released part from Corsair that is part of the XMS brand line, which is Corsair’s mainstream line of performance memory. The part that I will be looking at is a 4GB XMS3 DHX series kit that operates at 1600MHz with average 9-9-9-24 memory timings. The part number on this kit is TW3X4G1600C9DHXNV and it just happens to be NVIDIA EPP2.0 SLI-Ready system memory certified. This kit is priced at $344 with free shipping after a mail in rebate, so it’s about half the price of the flagship speed demon mentioned above. With the global economic crisis that we are having, memory kits like this seem to appeal to a wider audience. If you look around at other retailers you’ll notice that other DDR3 1600MHz (PC3-12800) memory kits start at around $249 and you might wonder what makes this memory kit so special, well it’s all in the ICs, my friend.
The TW3X2G1600C9DHXNV memory kit is the first and only Corsair memory kit that uses Samsung based memory ICs. The majority of the other modules are using Micron memory ICs. That gives this kit a leg up over other companies as it is offering the latest in memory ICs. This specific memory kit has been verified to operate at 1600MHz at latencies of 9-9-9-24 at 1.8V VDIMM by Corsair, but as you will see later in our article, you can pull off timings of 6-7-6-18 at 1600MHz with some extra voltage.
Each module pair is tested together at 1600MHz on an NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI motherboard before being packed and shipped to retailers. The labels on the memory modules tell you what the density of the module is, the memory timings and what voltage the memory should operate at. It also tells you other information like the model number, version number (our kit is version 4.1) and the individual module production number. I have been an advocate for labeling modules like this since 2002, so hats off to Corsair for being, what I believe, the only US company to put all the critical settings on the label for consumers.
The platinum spreaders look great and are built using Dual-path Heat Xchange technology, which you can get a closer look at on the next page.