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Corsair TWINX1024-4400C25PT Corsair TWINX1024-3200XL 1.2: We got our hands on Corsair's latest low latency ram that promises better overclocking than before.
Date: January 4, 2005
Manufacturer:
Written By:
Price:


When we last looked at Corsair's TWINX1024-3200XL, we found the ram to be very fast given the low latencies. Overclocking was somewhat limited, but at 200 to 213FSB, the ram was very quick. Nonetheless, unless you plan to stay at stock speeds for AMD and Intel (not including the DDR2 enabled 925XE), overclocking with tight timings was something of a mixed bag. When Corsair offered up their newest 3200XL modules which are supposed to be more overclockable, we jumped at the chance to give them a look.

This is going to be a quick and dirty review since there are no physical changes to the TWINX 3200XL other than the newer Samsung TCCD which improves the overclocking performance. The Samsung TCCD is a a derivative of the Brainpower 815 board and allows the ram modules to run at higher frequencies. Other than whatever the motherboard supports natively, there is no other benefit like being able to run at higher voltages. The timings match their current XL modules at 2-2-2-5, with the version number (1.2) marked on the silver label. Our kit that we received was not part of their ProSeries and feature their standard black heat spreaders.

Overclocking

A will be used to test for reliability as well as stability during our overclocking tests. The card is quite expensive, but if you're testing a lot of ram, or you're a technician troubleshooting systems, this card is well worth the money.

We proceeded with overclocking, and tested the ram via the memory tests on the R.S.T. Pro2 until we got a failure. In order to maximize our OC potential, we used a Pentium 4 2.4C which has a low multiplier of 12 and will allow a bit of FSB headroom on our ASUS P4C800-E motherboard, which is the same board Corsair uses to validate their ram modules. We've hit 300FSB regularly with this board (albeit, not for long periods), so it should give us some headroom in overclocking. The power supply used is Cooler Master's RealPower 450W.

Timings
v1.1 Max OC
Pass R.S.T. Pro2
v1.2 Max OC
Pass R.S.T. Pro2
2-2-2-5
213
Yes
219
Yes
2-2-2-5
215*
No
224*
No
2-3-3-6
241
Yes
253
Yes
2.5-3-3-6
250
Yes
256
Yes
2.5-3-3-6
252*
No
262*
No
2.5-4-4-8
255
Yes
262
Yes
3-4-4-8
259*
No
276*
No

* Denotes the ram failed the R.S.T. Pro2 tests, but still managed to boot into Windows.

While we did not include every overclocking test/result in our results above, we did include some that were worth noting. Three of the above results (for both the v1.1 and v1.2) failed our R.S.T. Pro2 tests, yet they did run fairly stable nonetheless. Note that I said "fairly". While we were able to perform benchmarks, occasionally we would lock up the system, even though it succeeds in completing the failed benchmark in later attempts.

At 274FSB, the memory passed the R.S.T. Pro2 tests, but only when the vDIMM was pushed to 2.9v and we placed an 80mm fan on top of the modules. Without the additional cooling, the ram would fail the R.S.T. Pro2 tests, but the system would still indeed POST and get into Windows. The system wasn't very stable though, and without the extra cooling, the setup was happiest at 272FSB.

Compared to Corsair's previous XL kit, the XL 1.2 did indeed prove to be a better overclocker between the old and the new. We didn't get much at 2-2-2-5, but at 2-3-3-6 we saw a huge jump of 12MHz, and a 17MHz jump at 3-4-4-8, though keep in mind our system wasn't stable with either kit at that speed.

Something we should mention that although we used the ASUS P4C800-E, your results may vary as no two boards, even the same model, are the same. We also not able to reach the same levels of OCing with two MSI Athlon 64 boards and Albatron's PX875 Pro board, though the Albatron board came close.

Test Setup

ASUS P4C800-E: Intel P4 2.4C, 2 x 512MB Corsair TWINX1024-3200XL v1.2, ATI 9600 XT, 120GB Seagate SATA 7200rpm, Windows XP SP1, ATI Catalyst 4.10.

Testing software will consist of the following:

SiSoft Sandra 2004 Memory - Our standard synthetic test to establish a baseline.

PiFast - A good indicator of CPU/Motherboard performance is version 4.2, by Xavier Gourdon. We used a computation of 10000000 digits of Pi, Chudnovsky method, 1024 K FFT, and no disk memory. Note that lower scores are better, and times are in seconds.

Quake 3 - While it's old and moldy, it still has some value as a system level benchmark.

Note that we're not going to bother with stock speeds here as that's been covered in our previous TWINX 3200XL review (which is the comparison ram for this review), and there was no tangible difference between the two kits. We'll be sticking with the following:

Timings
v1.1 Max OC
v1.2 Max OC
2-2-2-5
213
219
2-3-3-6
241
253
2.5-3-3-6
250
256
2.5-4-4-8
255
262

SiSoft Sandra 2004 Memory - Int Buffered iSSE2

No surprises here as we see the performance scales proportionately with the clock speed.

PiFast

Some improvements can be seen in PiFast as the settings used stresses memory more.

Quake 3: Arena, Min Detail @ 640

Not much happening in Quake 3 as the video card may be bottlenecking the CPU.

Final Words

The benchmarks really didn't give us any surprises as higher frequencies equals better performance. The focus of the review today was simply the overclocking, and the new TWINX1024-3200XL v1.2 brought it in spades. The new PCB was the deciding factor here as we've reached overclocks that were unattainable with Corsair's earlier XL kit. Certainly, if you're looking to put together a speedy DDR based system, it's tough to go wrong with the XL v1.2.

The dilemna most of us will face right now is whether or not to stick with low latency DDR400 or go with a higher latency DDR550? The idea behind the faster, and higher latency ram is that if you have a highly overclockable PC, the faster frequency will make up for the higher latency. The TWINX-3200XL v1.2 didn't quite reach DDR550, that is, it didn't pass our R.S.T. Pro2 tests, but it does come very close. By the same token, the TWINX-3200XL v1.2 does run at latencies below 250FSB that many ram modules can only dream about.

Pros: Very fast, great overclocker.

Cons: Didn't pass stress tests at and around DDR550.

Bottom Line: If you have a setup that is FSB limited in the 250 - 260 range, the Corsair TWINX1024-3200XL v1.2 is our pick as the right ram for the setup. It can reach higher speeds, but we suggest looking into their TWINX-4400C25PT which have been validated at those fequencies.

If you have any comments, be sure to hit us up in our forums.


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