Corsair XMS TWINX2048-3200 2GB Kit Page: 1
Introduction

The latest games today are becoming more dependant on how much ram you have, and 1GB isn't cutting it. With Windows Vista on the horizon, and newer more advanced games too, 2GB will be more of a necessity than a luxury. Finding a good kit for a low price is hard too, so today I'll be looking at Corsair's relatively cheap 2GB kit.

Packaging



The XMS packaging is very simple, showing off the memorys heatspreaders and labels. It boasts about Corsair's highly awarded products, and on the back gives you a listing of reviews for the product. Nowhere to be found on the package are the specs, though. The modules are carefully kept from sliding around in the package, by little beveled areas for the modules to sit in.


Corsair XMS TWINX2048-3200 2GB Kit Page: 2
Specification

On Corsair's website, there aren't many specifications besides speed, timings, and memory capacity. On the label, the same thing.. which is quite hard to capture on camera as it is holographic.



Neither the website or label tells you the appropriate voltage to run this RAM at, not good if you don't know much about PC's or RAM. I did manage to scrape up specifications from different sources on the internet, though.

Frequency: 400MHz
Latency: 3-3-3-8
Parity: Unbuffered
Voltage: 2.6v
Pins: 184
Chip Density: 64Mx8

The default voltage is very low on this memory, which can prove to be good or bad. We'll see later on in the review. Taking a look at the timings, they seem pretty average for a lower priced set of 2GB RAM, and maybe with some extra voltage we can get them tighter.


Corsair XMS TWINX2048-3200 2GB Kit Page: 3
Appearance

The XMS series come in two colors.  Black and "Platinum," which is Silver.  I chose the black modules as I like the black look better.  Taking a closer look at the heatspreaders, you may notice they have no clips!  These heatspreaders are adhesed to the ram modules themselves, as with all other heatspreaders.  I'm guessing Corsair used extra strong adhesive while ensuring perfect contact for the spreaders to stay on so tightly without clips.

 

The heatspreaders have the basic Corsair logo in white, for good conrast, along with the XMS branding.   In my opinion these heatspreaders look very good, especially since they have no clips.  If only they had used a black PCB, they'd look a lot better. 



Looking at the top of the modules you'll notice that the ram is double sided.  I didn't attempt to remove the heatspreaders for a closer look though, as they're adhesed on very tightly and I didn't want to damage the memory.  I'm unsure of the PCB manufacturer but it may be Brainpower, who are well know by overclockers for producing high quality PCB's which assist in getting the best results out of memory modules.


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Test Setup

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 512K Cache, OC: 2710MHz (271x10) @ 1.566v, 4x HTT Multi
Motherboard: MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum (nVidia nForce4 Ultra)
Graphics Card: HIS X1900GT IceQ 3 @ 700/800
Hard Disk: Seagate Barracuda 160GB SATA-II 8MB Cache
Power Supply: Tagan 2Force 480w (Single Rail Mode)
Software: Windows XP Home SP-2

Counter Strike: Source was run at my usual settings of 1600x1200, maximum graphics settings with 4x AA and 16x AF, with HDR Enabled. Color correction is disabled.

Benchmarks

When testing & benching the XMS, I wanted to make sure I covered all ground on performance and overclocking. Everyone has their own preference on how they like to run their ram. Low latency vs. high clock speed... so I tried to cover them both. Below is some information regarding the testing procedures and their results:

Stock Settings
The XMS does great at stock timings and settings. Providing both quick speeds and very stable operation, this ram blazed through all the benchmarks at stock without a hiccup.

Lowest Timings at Stock Frequency
I left the voltage at 2.6v which is stock for this memory, and tightened the RAM timings. I got to 2.5-3-3-6, after a few CMOS Clears.

Highest Frequency Overall
The highest I could get while maintaining a 1:1 ratio with the CPU & RAM was 225MHz, which also happens to be the max for both 3-3-3-8 @ 3-4-4-8, so naturally I tested at 3-3-3-8. Since that eliminates the possibility of any higher clocking, I decided to bench with my 24/7 settings too, with the CPU at 2.71GHz and the RAM at 225MHz. Sadly though, I only gained 25MHz over stock.

Highest Frequency at Highest CPU MHz
This is my 24/7 stable setting. The CPU at 2.7GHz, and the RAM at 225MHz 3-3-3-8 @ 2.6v. With the max frequency on the RAM and stock timings, this is stable as a rock.







Despite not overclocking very well, there is a secret to this RAM. It's the first RAM that I've seen to feature ram chips by Promos. Whats even more interesting is that they're 90nm IC's, vs the smallest I've seen being 110nm. You'd think they'd overclock well with such a small manufacturing process, but I guess not. They do have their pro's though, like being able to run at voltages lower than 2.60v when overclocked. They also run very cool, too.


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Conclusion

Overall I'm impressed with the ram. Despite its lack of overclockability, it runs very cool, very stable, and runs on very low voltage. While only getting a 25MHz overclock, I'd still recommend this set of memory to anyone who wants a cheap, stable, and reliable set of 2GB dual channel DDR. They look good and run good, and are cheap. Coming in at a reasonable price tag of about $180, what more can you ask for?

Pros
+ Runs very cool
+ Very stable
+ Good looking
+ Price

Cons
- Not for the overclocker
- Timings could be better



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