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Corsair 2GB XMS2 PC2-6400 PRO

Date: March 27, 2006
Author(s): Rob Williams

If you are seeking out a new DDR2 kit, then make sure it’s at least 2GB! The 6400PRO from Corsair boasts the fast speed of DDR2-800 with timings of 5-5-5. Best of all though, it rolls in at 2GB and includes some purdy LED’s! (This article has been edited since first publishing due to debunked results the first time around.)



Introduction

March 28 Note: Since being first published, this review has been completely revised due to incorrect benchmarks the first time around.

We have taken a look at numerous Corsair kits in the past, but these happen to be the first ones that are for the DDR2 architecture. These are not your run of the mill modules though, as they are clocked at great speeds and are wrapped in Corsairs coolest headspreader. Let’s jump right into the review and see what they are all about.

Close Look

The modules come in a clear blister pack, as we have come to expect. Although they do a great job of keeping the sticks safe, the package is easy to open. On the back, we see quotes from many websites, but they are from 2003! Looks like they may want to consider updating those ;)

The heatspreader on these modules is the Platinum XMS2 version, which all of their high end DDR2 line includes. On one scale, they are designed for great heat dissipation. Not to forget those who love modding their computer, they also include LED activity lights on the top. These flicker depending on the stress the ram is receiving.

The sticker on the modules verify that you have the right ones you ordered. The size of the module is there, in addition to the speed and stock timings. For a fun comparison shot, here is the Corsair module with it’s bulky heatspreader compared to the recently reviewed OCZ XTC.

These are awesome looking modules, and that’s exactly what we expect from Corsair’s XMS series. They found a great looking design and stuck to it. Of course though, what are good looks if the performance is sub par? Let’s see what these babies are made of!



Overclocking

As mentioned earlier, these modules are rated for DDR2-800 (PC2-6400) speeds, at normal timings of 5-5-5-12. Of course, 5-5-5 tends to be high on any scale, so my immediate plans were to see if 4-4-4 was possible with added voltage while retaining the stock speeds. Despite being high end speed, these modules are designed to work perfectly with 1.9v.

Sadly, like most DDR2 modules I take a look at, I am unsure which memory chips these modules use. I hope to get this info from Corsair shortly. Either way, these are high end modules designed for overclocker’s, so we can obviously expect some potential here. To cut to the chase, here are the overclocked settings I have found completely stable:

As you can see, the modules worked at 4-4-4 timings all the way up to DDR2-1000 speeds. I don’t know why Corsair didn’t just set the SPD to 4-4-4, because they are extremely stable at stock speeds with those timings. Your results may vary, but they certainly kept solid with my setup.

The modules scaled quite well, and I managed to get them to 500MHz while still retaining the 4-4-4 timings. The voltage had to be pumped up to 2.2v, but is still a safe spot. With proper cooling, such as good fan placement on the fans, they may be able to go higher. All of these proved stable without any sort of cooling, due to the fact I can’t figure out a good fan solution. It’s in the works though, and once I get one in there I will continue to see if I can bring these further. Stable at DDR2-1000 is a great achievement though, but we’ll see if the OC is worth it in our benchmarks.



EVEREST & MemTest

Before any testing occurs, the modules were tested at stock speed throughout the night, about 10 hours, using MemTest 1.65+. The tests proved error free as I had hoped, so I continued with the overclocks. All of the overclocks listed have been proven stable throughout multiple runs of test 5 and 8 in MemTest. The final setting, DDR2-1000 proved stable in a 6 hour MemTest run. For quick reference, here are the overclocks again:

I will be comparing the benchmarks to the OCZ modules I took a look at last week. They are not the same stock speeds, but that doesn’t really matter. You can check out that review here, although select benchmark scores will be used here.

Lavalys EVEREST 2005 2.21

I am using a slightly outdated version of EVEREST because I have found the newer versions to escalate scores to a level that’s just not that believable. Therefore, until I find that the scores are more evened out, I will be sticking to this version.

Everything looks keen here! I have taken a look at many modules in the past, and not too many have broken through the 8,000 barrier, but these ones stormed through. Excellent WRITE speed especially, 3,300MB/s with our #8 overclock.

At our top overclocks, we managed to score lower than 70ns latency. If you are not very keen on DDR2 then that may seem quite high… which it is. But in the DDR2 world, it usually takes a LOT of tweaking to score below 70ns. Great stuff.

MemTest 1.65+

Compared to the OCZ kit here, this one stormed past in the bandwidth department. 4,500MB/s!



SANDRA & PC Mark 05

SANDRA 2005

What would a memory review be without a SANDRA benchmark!? Overall, these are some great scores any way you look at it. Looking at #8, we hit 7,100MB/s on both sides and this was with a very easy overclock that didn’t even require active cooling. On the Unbuffered side of things, these are the first modules I have had hit 4,600, so another acheivement there.

PC Mark 05

Go ahead and whine about me using Futuremark products.. do it! Despite not being entirely accurate to some people, they are still a good way to scale your overclocks. PC Mark does a great job of performing 16 different memory specific benchmarks and spitting out an overall score. As you can see, the memory results scaled well with upping the FSB.



Conclusion

As we have seen throughout the benchmarks, this memory has a lot of pushing power. It overclocks extremely well, being able to gain 100MHz on it’s clock to reach DDR2-1000 speeds.. and that’s while retaining 4-4-4-12 timings. If you plan to purchase these modules and don’t even plan on overclocking.. do yourself a favor and at least run them at 4-4-4 timings. You don’t even need to change the voltage, so it’s hardly considered an overclock, but you will gain performance.

You can download a video of the LED’s here. (Right click, save as)

I have to say, these modules were quite fun to play around with. I am certain that these modules have even more potential than I managed to pull off, especially if you don’t mind hitting the 2.4v+ area. There are some overclocks floating around with these modules extremely stable at 520MHz. Also, because I was unable to hit 300FSB due to my CPU not being able to handle 4.2GHz on a stock cooler, I am sure I lacked some performance there. Once I move off the crap stock cooler, I will see what I can muster with 300FSB.. or more.

In the end.. these modules are a great choice regardless of whether you are an overclocker. For the price these are going for, they are surrounded with competition. But because of the proven overclock ability, it makes them a great value. Of course, having the snazzy LED’s on top doesn’t hurt either ;)

I am awarding these modules an 9 out of 10 and our Editors Choice award. If you wish to discuss this review, ask questions or simply comment, feel free to post a reply to our related thread.



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