Corsair Vengeance 12GB DDR3 1600 Reviewccokeman - January 16, 2011
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For some people, thinking of a corsair brought up images of a rouge or a pirate. Not any more. That is of course, if you are even remotely aware of the computer parts industry! Corsair with a capital C has become one of the top manufacturers of high performance DRAM for use in our dream machines. The Dominator lineup has become synonymous with the upper crust of high performance memory with their distinctive design and performance. The one drawback to the top end Dominator modules was that for the best modules you paid an upper crust premium to acquire them. If the Dominator line is a little much for the budget then say hello to the newly launched Vengeance line. The Vengeance lineup is a new line of modules with another distinctive, aggressive look that uses an entirely new heat spreader design and comes in sets of four to 16GB in combination's for most popular systems. The set I am looking at today is the 1600MHz rated 12GB (3 x 4GB) low voltage kit for use in Intel X58 based systems. Low voltage has been a term we have been used to hearing since the introduction of memory for the Intel X58 and newer systems. Usually this means 1.65v but this set from Corsair is rated to run the 9-9-9-24 latencies with just 1.5v. A significant reduction in voltage to curtail heat and power consumption, both things which are a plus in this day of high energy costs and stuffed-to-the-gills cases. 12GB of memory is becoming more commonplace as the density of modules increases and the pricing of DRAM continues to stay low meaning, more people can increase the amount of DRAM in their systems for not a lot of cash. Let's see how this set of modules from Corsair handles and if we see any benefit to using a full 12GB worth of memory.
The Vengeance modules come in a retail box with a beauty shot of the modules inserted into a motherboard to give you an idea what you are getting if you purchase them. The capacity is listed on the top right with a listing of the size and count of the modules on the bottom right corner. The bottom left corner has an Intel logo so you can pretty much guess what type of system these modules will be going into. The back cover has a trio of windows to show off the modules and the pertinent information on the labeling that includes the part number and capacity. The modules are secured in a total of three clear plastic shells. This makes sense when you look at the fact that you can buy single 4GB modules in this series.
This set of Vengeance modules is designed to work with an Intel X58 based system with three 4GB modules in a triple channel configuration. This set of modules carries part number CMZ12GX3M3A1600C9. This breaks down to a 12GB set of modules rated to run at 1600Mhz with a CAS latency of 9. The timings for this set are 9-9-9-24 at 1600MHz using 1.5v. From this view of the modules you can see the aggressive looking heat sinks and how they differ from the Dominator line up. Like most memory designed for Intel systems, you get the benefit of an XMP profile so you can just set the profile and fire up the system without spending any real time in the BIOS. These modules do come with Corsair's lifetime warranty in case something does go horribly wrong so you have that peace of mind going into the purchase.
When I first picked up these modules, the difference in weight when compared to the Dominator heat sink was clearly evident. This of course leads to a more thorough inspection of the modules. The heat spreader on this set of Vengeance memory from Corsair uses a stamped aluminum heat sink that is connected together on the ends and is attached to the modules via thermal tape. This thinner design saves on material and therefore costs. The Vengeance memory line runs with 1.5v as the default voltage so a more robust cooling solution is not needed. Insert evil grin here - this does not mean it's not needed as there are those of us who will push the modules to a higher clock speed and will most definitely raise the applied voltage to the modules! The design allows plenty of airflow through the modules and indeed stayed cool during testing as the fins were right in the airflow path to the CPU cooler. If you use a larger cooling solution, populating all six dimm slots on your motherboard may provide some challenges due to the height of the memory.
Now that we know a little more about this latest offering from Corsair's memory lineup, it's time to find out just how well they perform when run through our test system. The good looks are only part of the equation. Kind of like a kit car that has the looks of a Ferrari with Volkswagen underpinnings and engine. Will we have something true to form or an impostor? Let's find out. But not before we get the beauty shot of these modules!