Corsair XMS4000 TwinX DDR Memory
Having the fastest memory modules available usually guarantees that the rest of the system will hold you back while overclocking. Memory manufacturers are usually one step further with their products compared to other components on your system. Corsair, company that was founded at 1994 continues their tradition to be one of the leading manufacturers in this field by offering their XMS4000 to the world. This time we will review their TWINX1024-4000 matched memory pairs that offer 1 Gigabytes worth of storage space with a tested maximum speed of DDR500 (250 MHz).
When the first TwinX modules were released there wasn't that many boards available that could utilize their full potential. Today almost all of the new boards that roll out from the production lines are infact dual channel boards. This trend is the same for boards supporting both Intel and AMD processors so we all can benefit from the increased memory bandwidth. Now all the major manufacturers have recognized this need for the compatible modules and are offering their own products. From the outside it seems that the only difference between these modules from different manufacturers is the color of the heat spreader but there are many benchmarks that shows us this isn't the only difference. Memory chips used in these modules play an important role and while two different modules might have been rated for the same speed the amount of overclocking you can achieve varies greatly. Because the modules usually have these heat spreaders and you can't see the manufacturer of the chips or their rated speeds it is quite hard to judge which module will be the fastest. Because fast memory is expensive I hope that these reviews made by MetkuMods and other review sites helps you to decide where to invest your hard earned money.
Visual appearance of the modules doesn't matter that much but it is still nice to see a well crafted coolers on top of them. Corsair uses their traditional look with these new modules but from this image you can notice that there is a slight difference on the colouring. Top module is Corsair's XMS3200 Low Latency module and while they both are black the new one on the bottom looks a lot... cooler. :) Nice to see development in this field too.
Corsair is well known for its thorough testing of the modules before they leave the factory. The test for these XMS modules are conducted with Asus P4C800 dual channel DDR motherboards that are based on the I875P chipset. Modules will have to pass 500 MHz with latency setting of 3-4-4-8 at 2.75 volts. Modules are then tested in pairs and if the pass the test they will be immediately packed together to ensure the best possible compatibility. SPD value configured for the modules is JEDEC PC3200 with latency setting of 3-4-4-8. Name of the module is set to CMX512-4000 to reflect the true usable speed of the modules. OCZ Technology and Kingston uses the same latency data on their similar PC4000 products so they all have a similar idea to ensure that we hit the DDR500 mark.
As you can see from the latency setting these are not meant to be used as low latency modules. With a bandwidth provided by dual modules running at DDR500 the latency setting doesn't matter that much for most users. With single module there is still some room to play with. Corsair has verified that modules can run with latency settings of 2.5-4-3-6 with the speed of 255 MHz (DDR510) while the voltage is 2.65 V.
DFI's LanParty PRO875 identified the module having the SPD settings of 3-4-4-7. CPU-Z reported the same latency settings and that the module was a PC3700. I tried to confirm the data with AIDA32 and it reported that the module was a PC3200. Because the highest rating offered by JEDEC today is PC3200 there must be something different in the way that the CPU-Z uses to determine the module's specs. While the latency was bit off from the values in the datasheets the system was totally stable so I used this default SPD setting in my benchmarks.
|Processor:||Intel Pentium 4 2.40 GHz 800 MHz|
|Motherboard:||DFI LanParty PRO875|
|RAM:||Corsair XMS4000 2x512MB & XMS3700 2x256MB|
|Display Adapter:||Albatron Geforce4 MX460|
|Hard Drive:||Seagate 40GB 7200rpm|
I decided to use the two popular memory benchmarks that are also used by Corsair in their demo charts. While trying to find the stable maximum FSB I used SETFSB to speed up the process. The maximum FSB and memory speed that I was able to use and get Pifast to complete one cycle was 275 MHz. As the memory is running at 1:1 the speed of the modules were 550 MHz. This wasn't totally stable for getting all the benchmarks done so I dropped it a bit, to 271 MHz (DDR542MHz !) and allowed the CPUBurnMMX to test the setting for 15 minutes. Because the motherboard is limiting the DIMM voltage to maximum of 2.7 volts I wasn't able to clock the modules any further. Another limiting factor can be the CPU itself because this is the highest speed that I have ever managed to get out from it. This said, the potential of these modules for further overclocking by raising the DIMM voltage and/or replacing the CPU looks really promising and I'm confident that we will see even higher numbers than these in the future.
I also decided to use Corsair's PC3700 modules as a reference but I was only able to use them in FSB 200 MHz tests because they failed to overclock to the same level with the PC4000 modules. This suggests that Corsair has done something else to these new modules than just place a new sticker with new values on them. It also turned out that by including the PC3700 modules to the benchmark, they only made analyzing of the results even harder as you can see from the graphs.
Write speed of the PC3700 modules in AIDA32's was really interesting compared to the PC4000 results. I'm not sure of the command rate is different or what but we can see that the PC4000 out performs PC3700 running at the same speed and the same 3-4-4-7 settings. Same happens but in less dramatical way in Sandra's memory tests without buffers.
The performance boost gained goes hand in hand with the amount of raised FSB. Raise the MHz by 20% the amount of moved data will increase by 20% etc. It is easy to see how fast this memory is and it is too bad that I don't currently have any other motherboard to test these modules with. You have to wait a bit longer to see what is the true limit of these modules. Still, having able to hit the speed of 542 MHz is very exciting and XMS4000 really proves to be on the leading edge of today's memory products.
|Corsair XMS4000 TwinX
+ Lifetime Warranty
I have to say that I wasn't too supprised to see these results. I have used modules made by Corsair before and I know what to expect from the products that they make. Sure, they may not be the cheapest products around but they will give you something that those modules that you bought from the sale can't; Great overclockability and good stability at the same time plus a lifetime warranty.
Both benchmarks and the fact that I was able to reach this stable 542 MHz mark with these modules prove that the name Xtreme Memory Speed is well suited for this line of products from Corsair. It is easy for me to give Editor's Choice Award for this product because it offers the latest and greatest memory technology that you can purchase for your system. If you run your system with regular FSB speeds and don't plan to overclock it in near future you have the option to stick with those cheap modules. Users that like to be on the leading edge and seek for the best technology there is, Corsair's XMS4000 is definitely something that you have to try.