Corsair Dominator GT 1600MHz AM3 Review
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition "C3"
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition
ASRock 890GX Extreme3 Motherboard
4GB Corsair Dominator GT DDR3-1600 C7 AM3
Samsung Spinpoint F1 320GB SATA II Hard Disk Drive
XFX Radeon HD 5670 1GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
Samsung 22x DVD+/-RW SATA
Windows 7 Home Premium x64
The Dominator GT set will be compared against memory at DDR3-1600 CAS9 and DDR3-1333 CAS9. Overclocked results will not be included in the comparison for reasons mentioned below.
Our overclocking attempts were involved two targets. First of all, we wanted to determine the maximum stable frequency that can be obtained with the recommended timings of 7-7-7-20. Once determined, we loosened the RAM up and shot for the highest frequency possible.
It must be said however that we encountered serious trouble with our Socket AM3 testbed. Initially we could not overclock our memory so much as a few MHz increments above the nominal Base HTT and no level of memory adjustments would remedy the problem. Thus, it became clear that our Phenom II X4 965's memory controller was to blame. After waiting patiently for a Phenom II X6 1090T to arrive but once again, anything north of DDR3-1640 was a no go. The symptoms were the same across two different AM3 motherboards as well. Two rubbish memory controllers - wonderful.
Suffice to say, we had no more time or patience left to source another AMD processor and so we placed the Dominator GT set into our Core i3/i5 LGA1156 testbed.
After a number of 5-10MHz increments and a couple of memtest86+ runs, we finally found ourselves at a maximum stable 7-7-7-20 1T frequency of 1722MHz. Not a bad effort
For anyone raising an eyebrow right now, I can confirm that the CAS Latency readout of 10 is a misread as both BIOS and Memtest86+ confirm a timing configuration of 7-7-7-20. This required a mild Voltage boost of 1.675V.
Moving on from here, we continued to expedite our memory overclock until we reached our motherboard's stable BCLK limit of 183, for a resulting frequency of 1830MHz. This was achieved with the same voltage of 1.675V and a timing configuration of 8-8-8-24. To this stage, the set of memory was showing little sign of reaching it's limits so when could assert that they could have potentially reached closer to the magic 2000MHz.
Once again, the claimed CAS Latency by CPU-Z is indeed incorrect. A confirmed 8-8-8-24 timing configuration was indeed applied.
On our Core i3 platform, the two overclocks show proportionate increases in bandwidth in SiSoft Sandra's memory performance test. Both overclocked results included Quickpath frequencies of ~2700-3000MHz and as such have not skewed the results in any way. Let's get to the real testing phase...