4GB DDR3 Memory Roundup - Part 1

October 8, 2008 // 8:16 a.m.

Tags: #1600mhz #1800mhz #4gb #9 #c9 #cas #corsair #ddr3 #dhx #gskill #memory #samsung #thermaltake

Corsair TW3X4G1600C9DHX

Manufacturer: Corsair
UK Price (as reviewed): £122.79 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $245.61 (ex. Tax)

As you'd expect from the memory giant, Corsair, it has more than one 1,600MHz kit up its sleeve. There is a 7-7-7-20 kit for sale, but we've gone for the 9-9-9-24 because it's far cheaper, it still uses the same DHX heatspreaders to keep it nice and cool and we expected the CAS-9 to do CAS-7 with a bit of extra voltage. Thankfully, we weren't proved wrong.

At £122 it's a superb price, and at PC3-12800 (1,600MHz) it's only two pints and a packet of crisps more expensive than the £117 PC2-9200 (1,150MHz) OCZ Flex II we looked at in July (where have you been drinking recently? Pray do tell - Ed.).

The kit we got from Corsair is actually the Nvidia EPP2 version that retails for a quite frankly insane price premium at £239.84. The two products are identical apart from the EPP2 information in the SDP, so you'd be insane to pay over £115 more for one click settings. Simply do it yourself.

The DHX heatspreaders in silver mirror the black Dominators, but this kit only comes in a basic blister pack with no DHX fan. Still, while we understand there is a market for the niche Dominators, we honestly prefer the better value memory with simple and effective DHX - it's the best of both worlds. Corsair in the States will no doubt have a stress at me again but I have to say; DHX has lost its special.

While technically it's still excellent (and patented to keep it that way), aesthetically it falls into a miriyad of big heatsinks and heatspreaders that other companies have adorned products with. This is true for every manufacturer to a certain extent, and while there are extremes like OCZ Flex II, Reaper HPC, some crazier Thermalright heatpipes or the Thermaltake ones we'll see later - these come with inevitable compromises. Basically, there's only so much you can do with very little space.

We're still disappointed that other ranges like Corsair's Pro with LEDs have effectively been discontinued, no matter how many times the company reassures us that it hasn't, but we have had hints and gurgles from various sources, suggesting that there might be something else in the pipe in the none-to-distant future.

4GB DDR3 Memory Roundup - Part 1 Corsair TWIN3X 1600MHz (PC3-12800) C9 DHX Kit 4GB DDR3 Memory Roundup - Part 1 Corsair TWIN3X 1600MHz (PC3-12800) C9 DHX Kit
Click to enlarge

Features

    Kit: 2 x 240-pin DDR3 Double Sided DIMM
    Module Size: 4GB Dual Channel Kit (2 x 2GB)
    Module Code: TW3X4G1600C9DHX
    Rated Speed: 1,600MHz
    Rated Timings: 9-9-9-24
    Rated Voltage: 1.8V
    Memory Chips: Samsung HCF0
    EPP/XMP: Yes EPP for TW3X4G1600C9DHXNV version.
While we haven't taken the heatspreaders off to virtually confirm they are Samsung HCF0 ICs, we've been told as much and from a side-on inspection the ICs are same size as the others we're testing here. At 1.8V there should be plenty of overhead, but having only been binned at 9-9-9-24 and 1,600MHz, they aren't guaranteed for special performance. Like all Corsair memory though, that doesn't mean we can't try and tune the nuts off it thanks to a lifetime warranty and its DHX heatspreaders heatsinks.

4GB DDR3 Memory Roundup - Part 1 Corsair TWIN3X 1600MHz (PC3-12800) C9 DHX Kit 4GB DDR3 Memory Roundup - Part 1 Corsair TWIN3X 1600MHz (PC3-12800) C9 DHX Kit
Click to enlarge

If you're unfamiliar with Corsair DHX, then it's basically a flat heatsink slapped to the outside to cool the memory ICs directly, then two more are wedged between these soldered to the taller than normal PCB, to cool that too. It's an elegant design that has stood the test of time as Corsair has been using it for quite a few years now. It fits within the boundaries of virtually any setup, apart from those that have low slung CPU heatsinks too close to the memory slots.

4GB DDR3 Memory Roundup - Part 1 Corsair TWIN3X 1600MHz (PC3-12800) C9 DHX Kit 4GB DDR3 Memory Roundup - Part 1 Corsair TWIN3X 1600MHz (PC3-12800) C9 DHX Kit
Click to enlarge

Corsair pairs it with a great looking, branded, black PCB, but this package is missing the Dominator Airflow cooler simply because it's not the black Dominator hardware. Not that you need it mind, and we'd rarely ever encourage using the noisy thing anyway if it can be avoided.
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