Corsair Dominator 4GB DDR3 1600Mhz C7 Memory Kit Review

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Corsair Dominator CMP4GX3M2C1600C7: 4GB of Domination

Get 4 GB of memory for the low price of $5000.00, sounds like a bargain doesn’t it?  When I was installing Compaq ProLiant 6500 Pentium II Xeon rack servers at the country’s largest beer brewer back in late 1998 that was the going discount rate for 4GB of ECC protected buffered EDO DIMM memory.  Fast forward to today where you can get a budget 4GB (2x2GB) kit of DDR3 PC-1333 memory for as low as $37.99.  Times sure have changed with memory pricing.  Twelve years later and not only can you get 4GB of memory for 1/10th the cost of 1998 but you can get top of the line 4GB kits between $100.00 and $250.00 depending on how extreme you want to be.  For this review we will be looking at a $69.99 high-end 4GB DDR3 1600MHz memory kit from Corsair. The Corsair Dominator with DHX Pro Connector, 4GB (2x2GB PC3-12800 ) Dual Channel DDR3 Memory Kit model CMP4GX3M2C1600C7.  It comes with stock frequency and timings of 1333Mhz 9-9-9-24 and has a XMP profile of 1600Mhz at 7-8-7-20. 
  
Corsair Dominator PC3-12800
Back in 2002 Corsair realized that budget DRAM was great for some people but not good enough for the enthusiast that pushes their PCs to the limit.  This segment wants more, much more, so Corsair jumped in and high end enthusiast’s memory was born.  That focus on the enthusiasts market continues today with the Corsair Dominator series.   Corsair makes four main lines of memory, the budget XMS series, the mid tier Vengeance series, the enthusiasts Dominator series, and the ultimate performance Dominator GT series.  When you move into Dominator territory you are serious about your memory and you are looking for every possible option to squeeze that last bit of performance out of your memory.
Corsair Dominator PC3-12800
When talking about RAM there are a few questions I typically get from my gamer buddies such as how much RAM should I get and what brands should I consider.  When I mention Corsair in my short list the next question is commonly “what is the difference between the Vengeance and the Dominator series?”.  I cannot really blame them because If you go to Corsairs site (www.corsair.com) is isn’t abundantly clear what the difference is beyond price and the different heat spreaders for memory kits with the same frequency and timings.  
I personally have used Corsair memory for years so I try to explain the difference between highly screened IC’s, tighter timings, stability at high frequencies, and tolerance for higher voltages.  This is a great point in the conversation for me to see if they are still following the conversation or if they have a blank stare on their face.  Blank stare means I tell them save some money and check out the Vengeance series or even the XMS series to maximize their bang for the buck.  But if their head is nodding and they tell me they just got the latest unlocked K chip from Intel so they could really dial in that last bit of performance from the memory banks I point them to the Dominator lines.
The obvious visual difference between the Vengeance and the Dominator series is the heat spreaders.  For the Vengeance series it is the single piece comb with an attitude.  The Dominator series is a two piece affair that allows you to unbolt the top of the spreader and pull the fins off to add memory accessories such as taller fins with more surface area or even more extreme cooling options such as the recently announced Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H30 and Ice Series T30.  Another unique accessory for the Corsair Dominator series is the AirFlow Pro Dynamic Temperature and Activity Display that takes advantage of the DHX Pro port and provides LED status lights for your RAM along with a pair of 60mm cooling fans.  
Corsair Dominator PC3-12800
Currently this Corsair Dominator 4GB kit is selling for $81.99 which is a 41% premium over what a similar stock clocked Corsair Vengeance series is selling for at $47.99. What do you get for the extra $34.00 beyond the cool memory accessories and removable heat spreader?

Corsair Dominator CMP4GX3M2C1600C7 memory kit specs:

  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Capacity: 4GB (2x 2GB modules)
  • Memory Configuration: Dual Channel
  • Memory Type: DDR3 SDRAM
  • Performance Profile: XMP
  • Heat Spreader: Black DHX+
  • SPD Voltage: 1.5v
  • Tested Voltage: 1.65v
  • Speed Rating: PC3-12800 (1600MHz)
  • SPD Speed: 1333Mhz
  • Tested Speed: 1600Mhz
  • SPD Latency: 9-9-9-24
  • Tested Latency: 7-8-7-20
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