Packaging & Appearance
In typical Corsair fashion, the outer boxes are plain white with just a stick to identify the fan and modules. Taking the contents out of their respective boxes, we see that the modules are individually packed in blister style packaging while the fan assembly comes unassembled but swathed in bubble wrap for protection. While the fan assembly is not difficult to put together, especially for someone who is familiar with the design, a small instruction leaflet would not go amiss.
Following on from the successful DHX design of the previous Corsair Dominator modules we see the only difference between this kit and those previous is the distinctive electric blue heatsink with matching Dominator sticker. Flipping the module over the theme is the same only this time the sticker displays the modules full specification including bandwidth, latencies and correct voltage.
Because the Dominator GT series are the cream of Corsair, they have seen fit to attach their DHX (Dual-Path Heat Exchange) cooling solution to the module. This works two fold in that this technology uses two methods of heat dissipation, convection and conduction by removing heat from the PCB and from the chips themselves. Traditionally, memory heatsinks are only attached to the memory modules via BGA (Ball Grid Array) but a study by Micron Semiconductor showed that up to 50% of the heat is actually conducted via the circuit board. With this in mind Corsair also attach the cooler to the circuit board itself to give the ultimate in memory cooling.
The rear of the module displays the specification of the memory modules. 1600MHz is the rated speed of these modules which just so happens is the maximum the P55 chipset officially supports but as we all know, they will overclock much higher than this with compatible memory modules. We shall be putting this to the test with the Corsair kit later in the review. Latencies of 8-8-8-24 are pretty much standard for this speed and should afford a little headroom come overclocking time by lowering them a notch or two. 1.65v is the maximum vDIMM recommended by Intel and as such this is the voltage Corsair have set this kit to. While I would not normally recommend exceeding this voltage, in testing I have not encountered many problems upping this voltage a notch or two but keeping below the 1.7v level. Some memory chips scale better with added voltage while others remain stubborn, we shall see if the GT kit is the former or latter later in the review.
As this kit is labeled with Ver 3.1 I am happy to report that they do not come with the unreliable Elpida Hyper chips which have reportedly failed in the past. Micron chips are the ICs of choice at present which should afford a solid level of overclocking. Thanks to the removable top of the module, additional cooling methods can be used such as watercooling or indeed DICE, should Corsair finally release the promised adaptors needed for this extra cooling. If extreme cooling is not your bag, this kit comes with an air cooler that now has two larger 60m fans rather than the three 40mm fans used in previous designs. Hopefully this will cut down on the noise while still keeping (or indeed improving) airflow.
Keeping to the tried and tested design is no big deal as the Dominator is a distinctive design that still sets itself apart from other manufacturers. Add a flash of colour, this time blue and the kits aesthetics are further enhanced. The tops of the ram are also removable so if you are a dab hand with a spray can or paint brush you can easily paint them to match the overall theme of your setup should you wish without the risk of damaging the modules themselves.
Let's move on to the test setup and overclocking section...