Running 12GB of DDR3 Triple Channel Memory on Intel Core i7 PlatformsSun, Jan 18, 2009 - 12:00 AM
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
Running 12GB of memory on an Intel Core i7 platform can be done and it is easy to do at that. The sweet spot for running 12GB of memory was found to be at 1600MHz with CL8 timings. Overclocking was possible and was also easy to do with no voltage increase required. Stability was also not an issue as Prime 95 and gaming were done on the system for hours and hours with no ill effects. If you want to run 12GB of memory you have nothing stopping you from doing so.
The two Corsair DOMINATOR 6GB 1866MHz CL9 memory kits that I used in this review retail for $449 shipped each and since you can’t hit 12GB at 1866Mhz it is overkill if you ask me. The Corsair Dominator 6GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Triple Channel Memory Kit is a better suited kit to run 12GB of memory as each 6GB kit retails for $252.59 shipped. Spending $500 on 12GB of memory sounds better than spending $900, so be sure to keep this in mind. I recently reviewed the Corsair Dominator 6GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Triple Channel Memory Kit, so be sure to check that out if you are interested in running 12GB of memory. The only major difference between the Corsair 1866MHz kit and the Corsair 1600MHz triple channel kits are different memory ICs. The Corsair 1866MHz kit uses Samsung IC’s, while the Corsair 1600MHz kits use Elipda IC’s.
One other thing that I didn’t talk about in the article was temperatures and I kept a really close eye on these during testing. I did all my testing at 1600MHz with no active cooling (fan), but I did use the Corsair Airflow when doing the overclocking. The temperatures on the modules varied from 60-70C while Prime 95 testing the system at 1600MHz, so they do get pretty toasty – and that was shooting the temperature gun at the heat spreader on the memory module. If you plan on getting 12GB of memory and filling all of the memory slots you should think about putting a fan over the modules to circulate the air around and between them. Corsair doesn’t yet sell the Airflow by itself, but it should be out later this month and will have part number CMXAF2 when released. The new triple channel Corsair Airflow has two 60mm fans and is 2.6″ wide. The original Corsair Airflow has three 40mm fans and is just 1.8″ wide. Since you are going to be running six modules you’ll want the newer wider model to help cool the memory kits properly.
Legit Bottom Line: Running 12GB in your Intel Core i7 Platform is possible when using quality memory like Corsair’s Dominator Series!