DDR2 is fading rapidly, especially with the introduction of the Core i7 architecture, there’s now more reason than ever to make the upgrade to a DDR3 board. With the introduction of the Core i7, this likely means that DDR3 prices will start to fall as the ram becomes more common and in the mainstream and in use in more systems.

Today I’ve got a set of DDR3 ram from Corsair, it’s the XMS3 DHX PC3-12800 Ram or 1600Mhz ram. The DHX stand for Dual-path Heat Exchange that the ram features in the form of essentially a three piece heatspreader, one of each side over the ram ship and one between that actually helps keep the PCB cool as well. I ran the set through my battery of tests and it fully dominated all of them, it even easily runs at a lower latency of Cas8 which netted me a nice performance gain as well. So read on…

No unboxing video for ram, there’s not much to look at really.. but we’ve got box shots etc for you. The Corsair PC3-12800 comes in a common clamshell package with a cardboard insert with specs and features listed

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This is is DHX ram, Dual Path Exchange which means it has extra large heatsinks and a dedicated PCB heatsink as well to make sure everything remains cool. The DHX heatspreaders do add quite a bit to the height of the ram, so it might not work well is all cases where it’s cramped or a large CPU cooler is involved.

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CORSAIR XMS3 DHX 4GB DDR3 PC3-12800 1600Mhz Ram TW3X4G1600C9DHXNV
The TW3X2G1600C9DHXNV is a 4096MByte kit of DDR3 SDRAM DIMMs based upon Corsair’s high performance XMS3 DHX family of memory which is certified as SLI–Ready Memory. 
NVIDIA EPP2.0 SLI-Ready system memory certification ensures compatibility and system stability with the rest of the SLI ecosystem components including NVIDIA nForce SLI motherboards, NVIDIA GeForce GPUs, and SLI-Ready  power supplies.   
Specifically,when these memorymodules are paired with NVIDIA nForce SLI-based motherboards,advanced performance memory settings are enabled.   
Built  using  Corsair’s  Dual-path  Heat  Xchange  (DHX)  technology,  this  part  delivers outstanding performance with NVIDIA-based DDR3 motherboards and has been tested extensively to ensure compatibility and performance at its rated speed. This memory has been verified to operate at 1600MHz at latencies of 9-9-9-24 at 1.8V VDIMM

Dual-path Heat Xchange
-Optimized fins to maximize ambient airflow through the module array
-Extruded aluminum heat sinks to maximize convective heat dissipation
-Dedicated PCB heat sink

-4096 Megabytes of DDR3 memory
-Two matched CM3X2G1600C9DHXNV modules
-DHX technology provides maximum cooling
-Certified as SLI-Ready Memory
-100% tested at 1600MHz in NVIDIA-based motherboards
-Lifetime warranty

Test Specs:
-Each module pair is tested together at 1600MHz
-Packaged together immediately following system test
-Tested together at 1600MHz, Vdimm = 1.8V, at latency settings of 9-9-9-24 on NVIDIA
nForce 790i Ultra SLI motherboards

SPD programmed at:
-EPP2.0 9-9-9-24 values at 1600MHz
-JEDEC standard 9-9-9-24 values at 1333MHz

I’m using a Gigabyte P35C-DS3R Motherboard, with an Intel C2D6420 CPU, EVGA 8600GTS video card and using Windows Vista Ultimate X64 edition for testing.

I’ve recently tested a set of Kingston DDR3 HyperX, so that’s included in there along with a set of DDR2 for comparison. I did find that I could easily run the Corsair set of ram at lower timings of 8-8-8-20 as opposed to the stock of 9-9-9-24, so that’s included in the testing graphs as well.

First up for testing is Cinebench10 64bit:

cinebench graph

As you can see running the Corsair at lower timings nets a nice increase in performance overall, especially in OpenGL and Rendering with 2 CPUs.

Next up we’ve got Crystalmark, it’s a nice whole system benchmarking suite.

crystalmark graph

As you can se yet again Corsair dominates over the other ram, with the lower timings netting a nice performance gain.

Next up I ran Crysis DX9 and DX10 benchmark, 2 passes, 2x AA at a resolution of 1024×768, it’s an 8600GTS so it can’ exactly handle Crysis well, so ignore the actual framerates, it’s just for comparison purposes.

crysis 9 graph

crysis 10 graph

We see a very slight gain but not much at all, nothing spectacular at all, maybe if I used a different card I might have netted better gains.

Now we’ve got several tests from SiSoft Sandra 2009, they’re synthetic tests but they work for a nice comparison.

we’ve got SiSoft Sandra 2009 Results:

SiSoft Sandra Cache and Memory Benchmark

-Cache/memory Bandwidth GB/s – Higher is better

-Speed Factor – Lower is better i.e. less difference between processor cache speed and memory speed.

cache and mem graph

Here again we see some nice performance from this set of ram, pretty much dominating the other sets.

Next we’ve got CPU Arithmetic test:

-Higher scores are better

cpu arith grpah 

In this test we see pretty equal scores with the Corsair actually falling a bit behind..

Next we’ve got CPU Multimedia Test:

-Higher is better

cpu multimedia graph

Pretty much equal all around…

Now we’ve got Memory Bandwidth Test

-Higher is Better

mrm bandwith graph

At the lower latency of Cas8, we see the Corsair easily takes the lead, while the Cas9 lags a bit behind. There’s really no reason no to run this set at the lower latency…

and finally we’ve got SiSoft Sandra Memory Latency:

-Lower is better

mem latency graph

as expected the Cas8 easily shows the best performance here… Corsair pretty much dominated all of my testing here…

As for overclocking I could hit 1700Mhz with this set of ram but no higher at all, and there wasn’t much of a difference in performance really. I believe the set will go higher, but I’m limited with CPU as it is a 266Mhz FSB CPU, and to hit the 1600Mhz I had to bump the FSB up already to 400Mhz, and even with the CPU multiplier down to 6x it was still overclocking the CPU, and it’s not a very overclockable CPU sadly, and it wasn’t the cooling I was using a TRUE Copper CPU cooler, even with a large voltage bump the CPU wouldn’t budge anymore…

According to Corsair documentation, testing and other reviews I’ve seen, this ram easily hit 1800Mhz and even 2000mhz, apparently I need to get a new DDR3 board and CPU that will overclock better and allow me a more extensive set of settings to change in the BIOS… but from my testing even at the lower settings the Corsair set is a decent set of ram.

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The results pretty much speak for themselves, the Corsair DDR3 1600Mhz kit is something to be reckoned with in terms of performance and even looks.

This kit can easily run at a lower latency of Cas8, with the overall timings of 8-8-8-20 at stock voltages, as at those timings there is a nice performance gain so there is no reason not to run at those timings.

Works at lower latency
Overclocks well
Excellent performance
SLI certified
Looks cool

Large profile, might not fit with all configurations

Overall score-9-10
Design score-9-10
Performance score-10-10