The best SDRAM available, but at a hideous price
Performance in a class of its own
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You have to pay through the filtrum for the highest-performing components - 'twas ever thus - but how far are you willing to go? Corsair's latest Dominator memory is designed for high-end, atom-splitting Conroe/FX- 62 gaming rigs, and runs at an incredible 1,111MHz out of the box - the fastest retail memory you can buy.
Moreover, it's eminently overclockable, thanks to the heat exchangers. Their multi-layer construction goes right down to the basalt - well, the PCB at any rate - to conduct heat away in the most efficient manner possible. As a result, the Dominator's base latency at 1111MHz is 4-4-4-12, better than DDR2's usual CAS latency of five, and faster than the stock 1066MHz you'd expect with the highest of high-end memory.
All this means that the RAM works at full tilt, and remains entirely stable in its out-of-the-box overlocked state. Each module has three rows of aluminium heatsinks, with the increased surface area dissipating heat with greater efficiency.
The pair of modules even comes packaged with dual 40mm clip-on fans - another impressive first for the Dominator.
Of course, if you're running a Conroe-based system already, chances are your motherboard only supports 800MHz DDR2, so the benefits of higher clock-speeds will be wasted on you.
But for those with a full 1,066MHz-compatible board, you'll be pleased to hear that the Dominator manages a 10% efficiency boost over 800MHz parts when running at 1,066MHz. Running Doom 3, 3DMark and SYSmark on the same system also yielded performance increases, although less dramatic.
The downside of the Dominator is the price tag; you can purchase a budget PC for less than these modules. The price difference between this RAM and 800MHz modules is significant, for a modest performance gain.
That said, if money is no object and you're looking to create the ultimate performance rig, then the Dominator's the only game in town - along with a mobo that lets it run at full speed.
If you aren't a beneficiary of the Rockefeller estate though, spending that price difference on a processor upgrade, powerful GPU or even a 10,000RPM hard drive will result in a brisker PC. Orestis Bastounis
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