Corsair Dominator GT DDR3 1866 6GB Kit

Test Setup & Overclocking

Test Setup

For today's testing we will be using the Gigabyte EX-58 UD5, a mid-range Core i7 motherboard from Gigabyte that will allow us to push the memory on test to its absolute limit. Here's a breakdown of the rest of the components:
Intel Core i7 920 'Nehalem' @ 2.66Ghz

Gigabyte EX58-UD5

Corsair Dominator GT CL7 1866MHz 7-8-7-20 3x2GB kit
Corsair Dominator CL8 1600MHz 8-8-8-24 3x2GB kit

Graphics Card
Nvidia 280GTX

GeForce 180.60

Gigabyte Odin 1200w

Operating System
Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit SP1 + Updates
1 2
3 4
I appreciate the UD5 is perhaps not the best colour co-ordinated motherboard to use with the Dominator GT ram, for that you may wish to consider the Foxconn Bloodrage which matches the colour scheme of the Dominator GT perfectly, as would the lush but highly expensive EVGA classified. But I digress.
Setting the ram up proved a little troublesome. For some bizarre reason I could not get the full 3x2GB kit to POST. Despite a couple of BIOS changes the UD5 refused to POST with anything but a single stick. Even entering the correct default SPD settings or indeed utilising the X.M.P profiles on the sticks made no difference. I wasn't until I moved the modules around, using the same slots but alternating the positions of the modules did I have success in getting the setup to post. This might be something you may wish to remember should you encounter the the same difficulties.
I am sad to report that the cooler is not that much quieter than the previous 3 fan version. While it may have two larger fans there is still the whooshing sound of air passing over the blades which is akin to an ATI graphics card under load conditions. They do however push a lot of air onto the Dominators so it goes without saying this noise can be justified with the extra cooling the fan provides. In testing the modules certainly got hot when under load so the justification of using a memory cooler is certainly warranted should you wish to extend the lifetime of the Dominator kit.
For testing the memory we used a number of synthetic benchmarks and games:
Synthetic Benchmarks
  • Lavalys Everest 4.10
  • SuperPI mod_1.5
  • Sisoft Sandra 2009
3D Benchmarks
  • 3DMark Vantage
  • Far Cry 2
For the run of benchmarks, we will be comparing the 1866MHz 6GB Dominator GT to the original Corsair Dominator kit.
Starting from scratch we disabled on the settings that may affect the overclocked settings such as Intel Speed Step as well as disabling the C-State settings which may also affect some of the results in the benchmark testing phase of the review. Here's how the sticks look at stock speed:

stock cpu SPD
The above screen shots are what the Gigabyte UD5 motherboard decided to set as a 'stock' setting basing it's findings on the SPD settings on the DDR3 kit. Not content with these settings as these are not what Corsair advertises, I delved back into the BIOS and set the X.M.P to profile 1 (programmed via the modules) and here's what they came up with:
stock cpu XMP
Now that's more like it! However, something still wasn't right as the tRAS setting was 25 as opposed to the advertised setting of 20. I would also like to have seen the Command Rate running at 1T so I decided upon setting the modules up myself rather than rely on the XMP settings.
cpu set set
Finally the correct settings are shown in CPU-Z. Why XMP did not set these settings I cannot say as JEDEC clearly shows the XMP setup. This is possibly a quirk with the UD5 BIOS (F7) which is the latest official BIOS available from Gigabyte. Never the less, these are the settings I will be using in today's benchmarks.
So how far did I manage to push the 6GB kit?
max bandwidth latencies
2000MHz was easily attained with the stock settings with no need to reduce latencies or increase voltages. However, to push them any further and still have some degree of stability, the Vdimm was pushed up a couple of notches to a still conservative 1.7v. With this voltage now powering the modules, I was able to attain a blistering 2128MHz! Better still, the latencies only needed relaxing ever so slightly to reach this. Sadly, relaxing the timings any further did not yield any notable increases in bandwidth but I was very pleased with the speed already achieved. I did manage to lower the latencies below stock to 7-6-6-20 while maintaining the stock bandwidth of 1866 which again is quite an achievement at this speed. Well done Corsair, some damn fine performance is to be had with this kit!

Returning the settings back to their stock values I then ran our suite of memory benchmarks to see how the modules compare. Let's see how I got on...
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Most Recent Comments

18-05-2009, 07:55:52

"Hoping for a top of the line 6GB DDR3 kit that not only performs well but looks the business too? Maybe Corsair have the answer to your prayers. Check it out our latest memory review..." - by W3bbo

Corsair Dominator GT DDR3 1866 6GB KitQuote

18-05-2009, 08:01:05

That is some mightily impressive memory there. You get what you pay for in this case, even if it is a small fortune..super sexy too Quote

18-05-2009, 08:06:00

Blimey, that Dominator GT kit really goes like stink! I'm surprised about how much the added bandwith and tighter timings affected framerates. Questionable value for money but if one really wants the best, this memory kit seems to be quite a candidate. Excellent review w3bbo Quote

18-05-2009, 08:29:34

Nice review. I am thinking about swapping out my memory on my current rig, but I think this kit is a bit too much for my pocket. Here's hoping the price drops quickQuote

18-05-2009, 08:38:25

I think this would be a nice competition prize


18-05-2009, 10:30:29

Won't these go in your rig well Jim

Nice review Webbo.Quote

18-05-2009, 10:46:53

That kit is very nice. I'm hoping both the 1866 and 2000mhz kits drop in price a bit so I can change out my modules I think I'm being hinder currently on my overclock by my current set.Quote

18-05-2009, 11:32:17

very nice

i'd like to try some memory based on the elpida hyper chips, but they're a bit out of my price range at the moment Quote

18-05-2009, 12:35:52

Originally Posted by name='BloomerzUK'
Won't these go in your rig well Jim
I think they already are...

He mentioned Dominator GT in his build. Quote

18-05-2009, 13:11:38

Cheers for the kind comments guys. The Dominator GT's really are a grand bit of kit, sadly Jim has his beady eyes on these. However, I have a potentially faster kit on review atm.Quote

21-05-2009, 14:14:32

I don't understand why the 1600 is faster than 1866 in sup pi 1m??

Can anyone shed any light?Quote

21-05-2009, 14:29:10

Good question. Pi 1M is usually a pretty poor measure of how fast a setup is but that is a little odd.Quote

21-05-2009, 15:21:14

As above really, SuperPI 1m usually throws up unpredictable results and shouldn't really be included but it if I didn;t include it people would be asking where the 1m times are :S. The dominator was the first kit I tested back when i7 was first released so something dodgy might have been going on in the BIOS. Thankfully 32m shows a better more apt outcome.Quote

21-05-2009, 15:27:59

Originally Posted by name='w3bbo'
As above really, SuperPI 1m usually throws up unpredictable results and shouldn't really be included but it if I didn;t include it people would be asking where the 1m times are :S. The dominator was the first kit I tested back when i7 was first released so something dodgy might have been going on in the BIOS. Thankfully 32m shows a better more apt outcome.
Are you able to set the gt dominators at 1600 and the same timings to see if the results are still the same? The newer bios may be bloated and have a detrimental effect of sup pi scores.Quote

21-05-2009, 19:35:31

Originally Posted by name='Ging3r'
I think this would be a nice competition prize

this is perfect compliment to any mid-range x58...

how could we resist whistling...

The Dominator brand from Corsair just set the record for fastest ddr3 and as a 6gb kitQuote

21-05-2009, 21:38:44

LOL I doubt very much you will be seeing this kit in a competition, that is unless Jimbo is feeling exceptionally generous.Quote

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