Corsair TwinX1024-4400C25PT Memory Review
Corsair recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, which is quite a
milestone for a memory manufacturer. In this corporate schmooze-fest-with-consumers-world, customer support goes a
long way, and it is probably for this reason that Corsair runs
its own support forums. Instead of consulting a FAQ
or dialing 1-800-your-call-is-important-to-us-please-hold, the "RAM GUY" is
there to dish out the info and advice on using the companies
products.Imagine if Microsoft had their own support forums for everyone
who ever suffered the rath of a "BSOD"?! Anyway getting back onto the topic, this
PCstats review is on a pair of Corsair TwinX1024-4400C25PT dual channel DDR memory.
So, let's begin.
These two TwinX1024-4400C25PT Platinum Edition DDR
modules are 512MB in size, and run at 550MHz. This memory isn't as fancy as the
LED-illuminated TwinX1024-4000PRO models PCstats burned in recently, but they
are faster. ;)
As you can see Corsair use standard aluminum
heatspreaders to help keep the memory cool. The heatspreaders do lower the
overall operating temperatures of memory modules a wee bit, but they do little
to nothing to enhance overclockability. Still, memory heatspreaders protect the
DIMM's from physical damage; I don't know about you, but I've knocked those tiny
resistors off a few sticks of memory in my time.
||Corsair TwinX1024-4400C25PT DDR
Each double sided DIMM of DDR has sixteen 256MB DRAMs which
give you a total of 512MB of RAM on each stick. Officially the
TwinX1024-4400C25PT is designed to run mainly on Intel
systems (Corsair states in their documentation that top speed tests
were only performed on i875P motherboards) and is rated for dual channel configuration
at 275 MHz, with 2.5-4-4-8 memory timings and 2.75V.
Upon removing the heatspreaders we found that the
TwinX1024-4400C25PT is equipped with Samsung K4H560838F-TCCD DRAMs. It's the same stuff that Corsair use
in its "XL" PC3200 memory, which means at lower speeds the memory should be able
to run with tighter timings, good news for AMD systems.
PCSTATS tests DDR memory on two major CPU platforms
- the AMD Athlon64 and the Intel Pentium 4 - because RAM behaves differently
with each processor architecture. For instance, Intel users tend to run their
memory at high speeds with high latency settings, and in general that works
quite well for Intel-based computers. It would be detrimental to system
performance if you were to run the same DDR memory settings on an AMD Athlon64
system, since latency plays a much larger role in system performance.
Because much of our audience is made up
of enthusiasts, PCSTATS also runs overclocking tests so you can get an idea on
how far the memory will go.
On both Intel and AMD test PCs, we're only
interested in seeing how high we can go with the memory running 1:1, as running
with other dividers puts the overclocking bottleneck elsewhere, and not with the
system memory. On the Pentium 4 test system we sometimes use higher latencies in
our tests, as latencies are not as important. With the AMD Athlon64 test system,
the DDR RAM latency must run at 2-2-2-5, or the memory's tightest possible
timings, as quick access is more important to the CPU design. So, let's get
Overclocking the memory!
When we installed the Corsair
TwinX1024-4400C25PT DIMMs into PCSTATS' Athlon64 test system the first thing we
did was change the memory timings from SPD settings of 2.5-4-4-8, to 2-2-2-5.
Without much trouble the system booted up just fine and we were able to run
through a whole set of benchmarks. Starting at 200 MHz Front Side Bus, the
overclocking was increased a little at a time while keeping the most
aggressive memory timings.
At 211 MHz the system began to exhibit some signs of instability
- it would often crash back to desktop while running 3D benchmarks
- and we were forced to raise the power to the TwinX1024-4400C25PT to
2.7V. That solved the problems momentarily, and we continued on till
another snag arose at 218 MHz. Increasing the voltage to 2.8V fixed that.
In the end, with tight timings
we reached a top speed of 227 MHz. Lowering the timings of the
TwinX1024-4400C25PT didn't improve our overclocking yields very much. With the
memory set to SPD it hit 234 MHz, but I decided to benchmark the system at 227
MHz with aggressive timings since performance at that speed and with those
timings is better.
On the Intel test platform
PCSTATS also had no problem running the memory at aggressive memory
timings, at a FSB of 200 MHz, with 2.6V. We tried to overclock the
system further with aggressive timings but ran into a whole host of
stability problems at the 233 MHz mark (with 2.8V) so we decided to just use SPD
timings. Once the timings were loosened up, the Corsair memory was willing to
On the Intel system the memory
easily reached 275 MHz with 2.5-4-4-8
memory timings, and was even able to overclock past that. In the end it
reached a top speed of 282 MHz with just 2.8V. More voltage just
caused stability problems to crop up immediately.