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Corsair XMS3200 RAM

Written By:
Date Posted:
September 20, 2002

    We know that over the past few years CPU speeds have been increasing at an astonishing rate, and while memory speed has increased at a good rate, it has been eclipsed by this increase in CPU speed.  When the AMD Athlon series first came out, the fastest memory available for it was PC133 (PC150 was as well), today we have PC3200 (or DDR400).  The Athlon has gone from a CPU in need of all the memory bandwidth it could get, to a platform that has more bandwidth than it can use.

    Corsair has become one of the more respected memory suppliers today.   They began operation in 1994 and since then have grown to be a supplier that many, especially in the overclocking field, have come to trust for quality products and more importantly, reliable products.  Their XMS brand of RAM is based on the same principle that we as overclockers have known for a long time, that most things are able to ran at far above its rated speed.  So Corsair has tested their RAM and all that works reliably at a certain speed is given a XMS number, i.e. XMS2700 or XMS3000.  This testing helps ensure that the products work as well as advertised.

    Previously I tested a stick of PC2700 from Corsair, and I wasn't all that impressed with its overclocking ability.  Today I'll be testing a 256MB stick of Corsair XMS3200 RAM.  Will it perform any better than its slower sibling?

Corsair XMS3200 C2 RAM

    So what does this stick of RAM look like?  Is it any different from any of the other sticks of RAM that are in the market?  Lets first look at the packaging of this RAM and then look at the RAM itself.

The front of the XMS3200 packaging

The actual XMS3200 in its package

The Stick of XMS3200 RAM

    There is one very sticking feature on this memory that hits you as soon as you see the RAM.  The black aluminum heatspreader catches your eye, especially in relation to other RAM with its green PCB.  This heatspreader is there for its eye catching ability and not for any (if any) cooling ability it possesses, making it something that those with a window in their case would definitely like.  I was not brave enough to pull the heatspreader off this RAM, and possibly destroying it, as it is held on by some very strong thermal adhesive in addition to the clip.

    The part number of this particular stick of RAM is CMX256A-3200C2 which corresponds to a part (warning PDF).  This doesn't say much about the RAM, apart from the fact that it is still 6ns RAM, which corresponds to 166MHz.  This looks like some overclocking is already taking place to set it at 200MHz.  The timings at 200MHz are fairly easy on the RAM even though it is a CAS 2 as the other timings are almost at their slowest (apart from the important command rate of 1T).  The RAM had been tested in the Epox 8K3A motherboard among others, which is the same as the test motherboard in my system.  The fact that it is 256MB is nice, though this is the absolute minimum size that I would buy RAM in, and would even look at the 512MB versions (or 2*256MB).

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