Corsair Dominator 2x2 GB DDR3 1600 Cas 8 Review

tacohunter52 - 2009-08-22 23:31:51 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: tacohunter52   
Reviewed on: September 10, 2009
Price: $129


When the first i7 was released, it forced users to purchase DDR3 memory. The new i5s and i7s also use DDR3, but why not purchase new DDR3 memory while you're at it? That's at least what Corsair is thinking. That's right, Corsair has developped new dual-channel memory kits targeted at the new i5, and i7 CPUs. Today, we'll specifically be taking a look at the Corsair Dominator 2x2 GB DDR3 1600 Cas 8. While that name is quite a mouthful, it does give a lot of useful information. For instance, the memory runs at 1600MHz, the kit contains two 2GB sticks, and the CAS latency is 8. Plus, it makes the name longer so it sounds cooler.

Not only do these new modules have a very long name, they also utilize Corsair's innovative DHX+ memory cooling technology. Long story short, this should hopefully keep your modules cooler so you can push them further. Will Corsair's new memory perform well enough to justify an upgrade? Read on and let's find out.

Closer Look:

The Dominators were packaged in a slightly unusual way. Instead of the usual plastic packaging, the Dominators came shipped in a box. To me, this means one thing - it's much easier to open! The front of the box shows a picture of the Dominators installed on a motherboard. This gives a first hand look as to what the modules look like. As usual they have the extra fins that will help in dissipating more heat. The back of the box gives us some more information about the Dominators in six different languages. The back also gives us a brief description of how Corsair's DHX cooling works.











Opening the box reveals the Dominators protected in a plastic clamshell. Now we can see that the Dominators are slightly bigger then your average DDR3 memory modules. One of the main reasons for this is because of the massive heat spreader. This heat spreader is capable of the aforementioned DHX cooling, which stands for Dual-path Heat eXchange. I'm not entirely sure why they didn't call it "DPHE", but DHX works just fine. DHX cooling means that the heat spreader cools both the front and back of the memory ICs, and the front and back of the PCB. This makes for a very chilly set of memory. The rear end of the Dominator shows that the memory timings are 8-8-8-24, and that the Dominators run at 1.65V. This means the use of the Dominators on your X58 rig, as well as the newest P55 setups, will be where these modules shine with the voltage limit of 1.65V imposed by Intel.




Corsair has a way of making memory look cool. The Dominators follow a color scheme of black, with a touch of gold on the pins. Instead of the usual green color, the PCB is black, which matches the heatspreader quite nicely. Directly in the center of the heatspreader is Corsair's logo. Sticking out of the side of the heatspreader, you can see the DIMM's model number, which is fairly long. It also appears that the heatspreader is held together by screws rather then clips - or at least the fins appear to be attached by screws.




Taking a look at the side of the Dominators allows us to see just how large the heat spreader is. It appears to be much thicker than what you'd see on most modules. The fins also look smaller then what we usually see on Dominator-branded memory. Not to worry though, as they look like they can dissipate a massive amount of heat. We can clearly see that the fins are held in place by cap screws.




Now that we've familiarized ourselves with the modules, let's take a look at how they perform.


240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM
4GB (2 x 2GB)
DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
Cas Latency:
Multi-channel kit:
Dual Channel Kit
Heat Spreader


All information on this page courtesy of


Many people believe that memory modules all perform the same, but this is not true. Every module overclocks and performs differently. You want to get the best for your money and there are many ways to test what memory performs best. In order to test the Corsair Dominators, I will be running them through the OverclockersClub suite of benchmarks to see how the performance compares to that of modules that are rated both lower and higher than the rated speed and timings of 8-8-8-20. The CPU is run at a clock speed of 160 x 20 with the memory multiplier increased to the 1600MHz mark to reach the rated speed of each set of modules. For the overclocking test, I will use a combination of increasing the clock on the CPU to increase the clock speed of the latest Corsair Dominators.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Modules:

CPU-Z: This application shows us the settings that we have chosen in the BIOS. Items shown in this application include CPU speed and bus settings, motherboard manufacturer, BIOS revisions, memory timings, and SPD chip information.




Task Manager: We use this utility to show physical memory, kernel memory, page file, and processor usage.


Overclocked settings:

Much like with the Kingston memory the Corsair Dominators were able to make it above the 2000MHz mark. However, they didn't make it quite as far. The Dominators were able to reach speeds of 2026.6MHz with timings of 9-9-8-24. With Corsair's DHX cooling, these modules should be able to run at these settings without any problems. I know some of you skeptics are wondering why you'd need memory that runs at 2000MHz. The answer is you really don't, but having memory that can achieve these higher speeds is a good thing. This means you'll be able to overclock your CPU farther then you would have been able to with a generic memory kit. Plus, these Corsair modules come with big beefy heat spreadders that will help them remain nice and chilly, while running at blazing fast speeds. With a large fan pulling air past the modules, they never go hot to the touch.


The benchmarks used in this review include the following:




PCMark Vantage: With this benchmark, I will be running the system suite, as well as the memory test suite. The measurement for the system suite will be the total score. The measurement for memory performance is the total memory score.

















SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP2: In this program, I will be running the following benchmarks: Cache and Memory, Memory Bandwidth and Memory Latency. Higher is better in all tests, except for Memory Latency, where lower is better.






In PCMark Vantage, the Corsair Dominators slightly outperformed the Kingston HyperX memory. We saw large performance gains when the Dominators were overclocked. In Sandra, the Dominators and HyperX were more or less evenly matched. Again we saw an increase in performance when the Dominators were overclocked.


Left 4 Dead is a new release from Valve that leaves you as part of a group of survivors in a world where an infection has rapidly turned the populace into a zombie horde. Your goal is to make it to a rescue point, all while fighting what seems like overwhelming odds. Along the way there are safe houses where you can replenish your weapons and health. The movie "I Am Legend" comes to mind to set the stage for this game. But unlike the movie, there are four characters and not just a lone gun and his faithful companion. The horde is not at all like the typical slow walking, foot shuffling zombies. These zombies are quick and work with pack mentality. You have but one job; survival!
















The Corsair Dominators performed exactly the same as the Kingston HyperX. It did beat the Kingston memory by a few FPS at the lowest resolution, but other than that, the two modules are on par with each other. Overclocking the Dominators gave us a 10FPS gain in the lowest resolution and only a 1FPS game in the second lowest. We saw no gain in performance from the two higher resolutions.


Did the Corsair Dominators live up to the name? Yes, I'd say they did. At $130, this set of Corsair Dominators is pretty darn affordable, especially considering a DDR2 1066 kit still costs about $110. If you purchase memory with Dominator in the name, you know it's going to be good. The Dominators overclocked well and were able to go slighty above the 2000MHz mark. However, Kingston's HyperX was able to go farther, and it is slightly cheaper. Performance isn't the only thing you're getting when purchasing the Dominators though. You also get a big beefy heat spreader. This big beefy heat spreader is capable of Corsair's innovative DHX cooling. This will allow you to push your memory further, and for longer.

If you're looking for some of the best memory you can get, then look no further. Not only will the Dominators help your system perform well, they'll also make it look cool - or at least the Dominators will look cool. Which is just one more reason to purchase them. If you've got a rig that looks not so great, you've got nothing to worry about - when showing people your PC's guts, their eyes will instantly be averted to the awesomeness of your Dominators.

This may not be entirely true, but the Dominators are a great set of memory nonetheless. If you've got the money to spend, I'd say spend it on these babies!