Corsair Dominator Platinum 2133Mhz 16GB Reviewccokeman - October 3, 2012
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Over the years Corsair's Dominator lineup has been synonymous with the upper crust of performance memory modules. Corsair makes DDR3 memory modules that will fit just about any need from the basic to the extreme with many products in between. The Dominator lineup is a proven commodity with a strong performance feature set from the distinctive fin style to the Dual Path DHX cooling used to keep the memory running cool when pushed. Corsair has gone one step further with the Platinum lineup with the addition of a light bar to allow the end user who really wants to customize every aspect of their build from the motherboard to the cooling solution and even the look of the memory. To that end the light bar can be customized with different colors to meet the requirements of that full-on custom build.
Corsair has put together Dominator Platinum kits that range from 8GB to 64GB with speeds of 1866Mhz to an impressive 2666Mhz in both dual and quad channel configurations. The set of modules we have received from Corsair is part number CMD16GX3M4B2133C9, a 16GB dual channel kit optimized for use on the latest Intel Z77 chipset based motherboards. This kit features 4 x 4GB modules rated for use at 2133Mhz running timings of 9-11-10-30 using just 1.5v. Pricing as you might guess is on the high end of the scale for 16GB of DDR3 memory, but this set comes in a little less expensive than the standard Dominator line at $214 at online etailers. The pricing starts to make sense when you factor in the lifetime warranty, big speeds, tight timings at low voltages, impressive, rugged industrial looks, and Dual Path DHX cooling — not to mention the fact that these modules feature hand selected and binned memory IC's. Lets see how this 2133Mhz kit of Corsair's finest handles the competition all while looking good.
The packaging for the Corsair Dominator Platinum modules is as distinctive as the modules. The front panel has a window that shows off one of the modules to go with the rendering of the modules front and center. The product name and capacity are below the image of the modules. As noted on the bottom left these modules carry Intel certified XMP profiles. The back of the package lists reasons why these modules should be in your next build with items such as Corsair's Dual Path DHX cooling solution and customizable light bar. The package splits in the middle to show off all four modules in the 4 x 4 GB kit. Inside, each module is individually packaged and inserted into a foam shell to provide both the spacing needed for displaying the modules as well as shock protection during transit. You get high end packaging to go with this high end set of modules.
Stripped out of the packaging we can get a first hand, up close and personal look at the Dominator Platinum modules. Part number CMD16GX3M4B2133C9 is comprised of a quartet of 4GB modules rated to run at 2133Mhz with latencies of 9-11-10-30 using just 1.5v for reduced power consumption and lower operating temperatures. These modules are designed to work in a dual channel configuration in an Intel Z77 based motherboard. This is not to say they will not work with boards equipped with other chip sets, they are just optimized for use with a Z77 chipset equipped motherboard. The front of the modules have a sticker that identifies the part number, latencies, configuration of the kit, speed rating, revision number, and individual serial number. Externally these modules differ from the standard Dominator modules with the use of a light bar that rides over the fins of the Dual Path DHX heat sink. This light bar not only adds a distinctive look but will be offered in multiple colors to more closely match the color scheme of your system and motherboard. On each side of the modules is an extruded aluminum shield that is used to pull heat directly from the highly binned memory IC's while the finned aluminum sink on top of the modules is used to pull heat directly from the PCB.
One of the features that makes these modules visually appealing is the use of the user configurable light bar and pipe. This system is held in place by hex head screws and can be swapped out with several different colors to match the theme of your PC and components. The additional colors should be available by the time you read this article. A light pipe runs the length of the module inside of a polished housing and provides a subtle lighting effect that shines down around the DIMM sockets on your motherboard. Across the top of the polished cover is the Dominator logo so there is no question what modules are in the system, as if the light surrounding the modules is not enough of a visual clue.
The PCB used on the Dominator Platinum series modules is a custom design that incorporates a cooling solution specifically targeted at removing the thermal load from the PCB as well as the memory IC's through convective cooling. In the cutaway below from Corsair you can get a good idea as to how the Dual Path DHX cooling solution works to remove that thermal load. The fins along the top of the modules interface with and cool the PCB while the shields on the sides are used to remove heat from the memory IC's. On one end of the pitch black PCB is the Corsair name and PCB number while the opposite side has a connection used to integrate the modules with Corsair's Link system, which is used to monitor usage and temperatures.
For a quick walk around these modules Corsair has a short video that give the end user the quick tour around the modules to illustrate what they have to offer.
As modules that fall into the upper end of Corsair's memory product stack, the Dominator Platinum modules are hand screened to allow the end user the ability to have a stable, high performance platform that not only looks good but performs well in the long run. Lets see how this 16GB set of memory performs when compared to kits with similar timings and performance characteristics.