Rich’s Unique Thoughts & Conclusions:
With so many quality memory kits on the market things become muddled very easily. While a few 2 GB memory kits like Crucial’s Ballistix PC4000 offer the versatility of both tight latencies at DDR400 and incredible overclocking ability, they are the exception rather than the norm. Most often the end user is forced to choose between either tight timings at stock speeds (DDR400), use dividers, or choose memory that overclocks well while sacrificing the benefits found with tighter timings. The three Corsair kits we tested today pretty much cover the full spectrum of memory choices, and users looking for a 2GB DDR1 kit should definitely find something that fits their price range as well as their needs. A couple of other factors that make Corsair memory kits attractive are the “RAM Guy” support forums, a lifetime warranty, great tech support and a variety of memory kits that fit every need from budget to the extreme enthusiast.
The TWINX2048-3200C2 is a step up from Corsair’s base 2GB kit, the TWINX3200 and its 3-3-3-8 memory timings. Though this kit is rated for 2-3-3-6 at DDR400, mine was error free and completely stable at 2-3-2-6 at DDR400 and actually overclocked decently for its PC3200 rating, topping out at DDR474. With more and more games/ applications utilizing 2GB of memory and priced at around $220 after a mail in rebate, the TWINX2048-3200C2 is a solid choice for the gamer on a budget.
The TWINX2048-3500LLPRO is the kit that really impressed me. First, for those who like to show off their system, Corsair’s Pro Series is always nice eye candy. 18 activity LEDs and the oversized black heatspreader definitely stand out regardless of the system they are part of. Aestetics aside, the 3500LLPRO proved to be one of the best kits I’ve ever used. At its stock speed of DDR438 the memory simply shined with its incredible 2-3-2-6 at at a relatively low 2.75V. While I was a little surprised in the inability to run this memory at 2-2-2-5 at DDR400 (it came in at 2-3-2-5), I was greatly impressed by the ability to hit DDR500 while only increasing the timings to 2.5-3-3-6….while only increasing the voltage to 2.85V! The 3500LLPRO finally topped out at an extremely impressive DDR518, not bad at all for memory only rated to DDR438! I think Corsair’s 3500LLPRO is an outstanding choice for anyone from the beginning system builder to the hardcore enthusiast/gamer. In my mind, the 3500LL PRO is second only to the Crucial Ballistix PC4000 kit I tested a few weeks back in overall performance.
Lastly, the Corsair TXINX2048-4000PT performed very well at the opposite end of the spectrum from the TWINX2048-3200C2. While showing average timings at DDR400 (2.5-3-3-6), the TWINX2048-4000PT proved a top performer where it counted, simply blowing past its rated speed of DDR500 reaching DDR506 at 3-3-3-8 and topping out at a pretty impressive DDR560 at 3-4-4-8 (with a modest voltage increase to 2.85V). I would definitely recommend it to those who live by pushing their system to the max. I also found the TWINX2048-4000PT to be a decent value at around $250.
Overall, all three kits exceeded my expectations and performed very well under their intended conditions. Please take note of a couple of facts (outside of the test results), first, I used DFI’s LANParty NF4 SLI-DR board for all of my testing, and during all of the benchmarking and tweaking I never encountered any instability issues or other problems associated with the memory or the motherboard (I bring this up only because I’ve seen a few users have issues with various Corsair kits over at the DFI support forums). Second, one thing I noticed during my overclocking was that all three modules ran at or close to their maximum overclock with timings of 3-3-3-8, increasing the timings to 3-4-4-8 bought me almost no extra mileage from each kit.
While some may feel that Corsair memory is a bit pricey, I am more than willing to pay a little extra for the quality Corsair provides. All three kits showed the quality I’ve come to expect from Corsair. Both the TWINX2048-3200C2 and 4000PT kits are very good for the consumers they are marketed for. The TWINX2048-4000PT especially impressed me by reaching its max overclock very modest voltage increases. I also have to say that while at its max overclock, the memory was incredibly cool and performed superbly during extended usage.
Legit Bottom Line:
In the end, the kit that really stood out in my eyes was the TWINX2048-3500LL. While I was impressed with its timings at its rated speed, I was greatly impressed by how well it scaled while overclocking. Reaching well above DDR500 while loosening the timings and increasing the voltage only slightly this kit really stood out.