Corsair XMS2 DHX DDR2 800MHz 2 x 2GB Review

ajmatson - 2008-08-21 18:39:38 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: August 26, 2008
Price: $105.00

Introduction:

With Vista and all of the new programs that like to eat up your system memory, the old 2GB sweet spot just is not cutting it anymore. To battle this problem, many manufacturers are producing 2x2GB memory kits that have two matched modules to run in dual channel for increased performance. With speed also comes heat and memory has for a long time, been overlooked when it came to cooling but now manufacturers see the need and have been designing heatsinks to keep your speed demons alive. Heat spreaders have been around for a bit now and have aided in passively cooling memory modules but some companies take it farther with radical heatsink designs and active cooling.

Corsair has found a way to combat this issue with their DHX memory heatspreader. DHX stands for Dual-Path Heat Xchange, which is made up of one heatsink attached to the memory chips and one attached to the PC Board to keep both components as cool as possible. Today we are going to look at the Corsair model number TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX which is a  2x2GB set rated at 800MHz and runs at a lower latency of 4-4-4-12 with a voltage of 2.1v instead of the JEDEC specified timings of 5-5-5-18 at these speeds. This set also utilizes the DHX heat spreaders to combat the heat generated at these speeds.

Closer Look:

The Corsair XMS2 DHX set is packaged in an easy to open blister pack, so that you do not accidentally damage the modules while trying to get them out. The front of the package is see-through, so you can see exactly what the memory and heat spreaders look like. There is the XMS2 DHX logo on the top, as well as the capacity specifications on the front. The back of the packaging explains what the DHX heat spreader is and what it does. There is also a section that explains about the optional active cooling fan from Corsair that can be used with the XMS2 DHX memory to lower temperatures even more, especially while overclocking. If you open the paper in the packaging there is a step by step guide on how to properly install the modules to aviod damage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the modules are removed from the packaging we can get a better look at them. The DHX heat spreader is large and made of aluminum to aid is the dissipation of the heat created. The top of the heat spreaders uses a fin design so that air passing over them will remove the heat and out through the case exhaust fans using convection. One heat spreader is attached to the memory chips and one is attached to the circuit board to keep both parts of the module at optimum temperatures. With the optional cooling fans, this will also decrease the operating temperatures for faster and more stable overclocks. This set is a matched pair of modules rated at 800MHz with lower latencies of 4-4-4-12 at 2.1v.

 

 

 

Now that the memory is out of the packaging let's get to testing these monsters.

Specifications:

Brand:
Corsair
Series:
XMS2 DHX
Model #:
TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX
Type:
240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM
Capacity:
4GB (2 x 2GB)
Speed:
DDR2 8-- (PC2 6400)
CAS Latency:
4
Timings:
4-4-4-12
Voltage:
2.1v
Heatspreader:
Dual-Path Heat Xchange heatspreader

 

 

Features:

 

Testing:

Now I am excited about the testing phase. Being  intrigued by the design of the modules, I wanted to see how well they actually perform, since looks are not everything. I will be running a series of benchmarks on the Corsair XMS2 DHX memory that will stress and push the modules to the limits to see how well they stand up during tough use. I am also going to be comparing them against other memory sets at the same speeds and timings as the XMS2 DHX modules. To accomplish this, the other comparison sets of memory will be clocked at 800MHz and manually set to 4-4-4-12 timings at 2.1v. This will give an accurate side by side comparison between each set. All other hardware for the system will be set to their stock speeds, timings, and voltages to eliminate any variables from interfering with the scores.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Modules:

 

 

CPU-Z: This is a great program to use in order to view the settings that we've set in the BIOS including, CPU speed, 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 usage, and processor usage (%).

 

 

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

To start off the overclocking on the Corsair XMS2 DHX memory, I started pushing the frequency up by changing the memory dividers on the motherboard BIOS. I was able to get the memory to 1000MHz by loosening the memory timings to 5-5-5-15 and keeping the voltage at 2.1v. I did try to get the RAM to go to 1066MHz by raising the voltage to 2.2v, however it would not remain stable at 5-5-5-15. I was able to get them stable at 6-5-5-18, but the scores were lower than at 1000MHz (5-5-5-15) so that is what I stuck at. The overclocking tests will be run then at 1000MHz with timings of 5-5-5-15 at 2.1v which is a 20% overall overclock for these modules.

 

 

The following benchmarks that will be used in this review include:

Benchmarks:

Testing:

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

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SiSoftware Sandra XII: In this program, I will be doing 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 the PCMark Vantage tests, the Corsair memory was on par with the other sets right in the middle of the comparison sets. For the Sandra tests, the Corsair XMS2 DHX ran in the middle of the pack.

 

Testing:

Company of Heroes is a real time strategy game set during World War II. The object is to occupy and control the ground you capture, while forcing the opponents to capitulate. We will use the in-game performance test to measure the performance of the system.

 

The settings used in this test are listed below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  
 

 

 

 

Higher is Better

 

The Company of Heroes tests came out even across the board for each memory set.

 

Conclusion:

I was intrigued when I received the Corsair XMS2 DHX memory to review, because of the idea of the heatspreader and the reputation of Corsair XMS brand memory. This set made no exceptions and kept true to the Corsair name. They performed very well and kept up with the best of them, hitting right in the middle of the pack. Compared to the JEDEC standards, the latencies on the XMS2 DHX memory are very low, which adds to their increased performance. The DHX design of the heatspreader makes for some really cool memory. Even when overclocked, the modules were cool to the touch and I have tested some that could cook and egg on them when running. I am amazed on how cool they actually were, which is great because less heat created by components keep the internal temperatures of the case lower.

Overclocking this set was a breeze. I was able to reach 1000MHz just by loosening the timings. That is a 20% increase in speed for the price of 800MHz. The only negative I have for the Corsair XMS2 DHX memory set, is that the heatspreader may be too tall for those with overly large CPU Heatsinks. If your CPU cooler is too wide, you will not be able to use these modules, especially with the wider low profile CPU coolers. Other than that, this is a great buy for anyone. At $105.00 for a 4GB set you could not go wrong at all with the Corsair XMS2 DHX memory and I recommend them to anyone looking for a great stable set of RAM, with overclocking headroom to play with.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: