Corsair, G.Skill, Mushkin, and Patriot X79 Quad-Channel Memory Reviewccokeman - January 16, 2012
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Corsair's Dominator GT line-up has traditionally been one of the standards to reach for when it comes to memory for enthusiasts and extreme overclockers. The third kit I am looking at today is the Corsair Dominator GT CMGTX8 with DHX Pro connector. These modules are at the pinnacle of Corsair’s DRAM line up. For memory ICs to make it to the Dominator GT line-up, they are rigorously screened for both latency and raw speed, as well as how well they work together at the specifications. This ensures that the modules meet and exceed the expectations of the end user who does step up to the plate and make the commitment to purchase a set of Corsair's best. These modules use DHX+ technology to keep the modules efficiently air-cooled and even allow the end user to get radical with interchangeable heat sinks. Rated to use just 1.5 V at PC3-19200 (2400 MHz) speeds and latencies of 10-12-10-27, it would seem that there may be some headroom with voltage tweaking. Offered at $499 directly from Corsair, these modules require a firm commitment to the brand – when you want the best, there is always a cost barrier. However, what you get in return is the lifetime warranty that Corsair offers on this kit. With two kits to tweak, it will be interesting to see if the memory controller on the test bed processor is up to the task of running an 8 DIMM 2400 MHz combination.
The packaging for these CMGTX8 modules could not be more plain-Jane than a nondescript Corsair-labeled cardboard box. No flash – the weight of the package and the small label are the only clues you need to know in regards to what is sitting inside the box. Inside is nothing less than plain-Jane as well, with a small bit of bubble wrap and a quartet of carefully-stacked modules – each in its own clamshell package.
As you can see, we have a pair of Corsair Dominator GT kits to test the 8 DIMM quad-channel performance of these modules and the X79 Platform. What sets these modules apart from the Vengeance series and just about every set of performance modules is the heat sinks that are much more than just massive. Feature-wise, there is the underlying construction, the highly binned memory ICs, the Corsair Link connector, the interchangeable heat sinks, and the rigorous testing required for the honor of being called Dominator GT. The DHX+ (Dual-Path Heat Exchange) heat sink package is one of the more noticeable features and stands 60 mm tall, measured from the top of the removable heat sink to the base of the ribbed DHX+ heat shield. This cooling solution is designed to not only keep the memory ICs cooled, but the module PCB as well. This kit is rated to run at 2400 MHz using 1.65 V with latencies of 10-12-10-27. The labeling contains this information as well as the revision number of the modules and their individual serial numbers.
To further look at the cooling features of the Dominator GT lineup, Corsair has presented an image that shows the cooling paths for the heat generated by the modules. Corsair references several studies that explain how a large portion of the thermal load from the memory IC’s ball grid array solder joints is transferred into the PCB and not the face of the memory IC. Corsair's engineers have developed a solution for this with their Dual Path Heat Exchange technology that pulls the heat from both the front side of the memory ICs, as well as directly from the PCB.
As a kit rated to run on the bleeding edge, the first challenge is to make sure that you have a memory controller capable of reaching 2400 MHz with all 8 slots populated – a proposition that seems difficult at best and is highly dependent on the CPU.