Corsair TWINX 2048-4000Nov 22nd, 2005 | By Archive
Corsair TWINX 2048-4000
: 11/22/05 – 11:12:02 PM
Page 1 : Index
The influx of 2GB memory kits continues here at Overclockers Online with Corsairs fastest 2GB memory yet, the TwinX 2048-4000 with 3-4-4-8 timings. The secret is out that 2GBs of memory helps in demanding games such as Battlefield 2 and FEAR. Programs such as Photoshop also benefit form the extra room to spread its legs and with the digital revolution well behind us, Photoshop and similar photo editing programs are running on more machines than ever. It is no wonder 2GB kits are becoming increasingly popular.
Corsair is a well known and highly respected brand in the memory market with legions of followers all over the world. Their XMS line of memory lays claim to some of the fastest memory modules on the market and the TwinX 2048-4000 modules that I will be looking at today are no exception. Corsair recently came out with these modules in hopes to provide enthusiasts and gamers with 2GB of well performing, high frequency, affordably priced, memory. That is what we will set out to prove today.
So whether you are building a new machine or upgrading your current rig on a budget, you will want to read on to see if the TwinX 2048-4800 with timings of 3-4-4-8 @ 2.75v from Corsair will be the next item on your shopping list.
Page 2 : Package
With the release of the 2048-4000, Corsair offered two flavors. There is the platinum edition with platinum heatspreaders and the plain black version which I received. If youre familiar with my reviews, you know I am partial to black so I couldn't be happier. Needless to say, color has no impact on performance.
As with all of Corsair memory modules, they arrived in a clear plastic blister pack. This kit comes with a teal green backing insert as opposed to the lime green of the Pro series.
The TwinX branding of Corsair memory means that the two DIMMs inside the package are a matched pair that have been tested in dual channel at the rated frequency with the advertised timings. The TwinX 2048-4000 that I am testing today were tested on an Asus P4C800 motherboard, prior to being packaged and shipped off, according to the PDF that is downloadable from the Corsair web site.
With the stickers right on the modules and the packaging being clear plastic, it is easy enough to verify that the package does contain two 1024MB sticks of XMS 4000 DIMMs with timings of 3-4-4-8.
Corsair likes to Flex their muscles with their XMS logo and to be honest, after this long of putting out quality performance minded memory, they can do whatever kind of flexing they choose.
The rear of the insert included in this kit is no different from any other of recent vintage with quotes from reviews and a small list of awards they have won. The Corsair web site address and UPC code are located back here as well.
Of course, the inside of the folded insert contains the simple installation instructions to get your new modules in place and running. Obviously instructions are not really necessary for most of us, but for those that are hesitant to install some memory, it is a nice touch by Corsair that will give those users the confidence to go ahead with the installation themselves.
Page 3 : Specifications
I have gathered as much information as I can about these modules and will list all of that data here:
- CL 3-4-4-8 1T
- 184 Pin DIMM
- Individual 1GB DIMMs available
- Available in black of platinum heatspreaders
- Lifetime Warranty
All TwinX sets of memory from Corsair are tested on a wide range of popular motherboards and verified to operate at the listed speed. In the case of the TwinX 2048-4000, that is 500MHz with timings of 3-4-4-8. I will check to see what the SPD programming has for these modules and what the auto settings in the BIOS has them running at in the testing section.
Page 4 : Package Contents
It really is no secret as to what the RAM looks like, but here are a few more photos of these modules.
The left side of the heatspreader on the front stakes claim to the DIMMs as being Corsair memory. They even provide their web site address right on the heatspreader. The right side of the front is where a holographic sticker containing various bits of information about the modules is.
It is harder to get a good photo of what this sticker actually says than you think, but we can see that there is the XMS logo, the size, speed, and timings of each DIMM. There is also a part number with revision in the top right corner. Perhaps the holographic sticker serves more of a purpose than to provide some flash as it would be tougher for reproduction and easy to authenticate that it is indeed a quality Corsair module.
The rear of the TwinX 2048-4000 modules are pretty much the same as the front sans the fancy sticker. In its place is the XMS branding. Obviously these modules are of a black finish but I mentioned before that you can get this kit in a platinum finish as well. The heatspreaders are held underneath by thermal tape as well as outside the heatspreaders with the clip you can see above. It is time to remove that clip and see what ICs Corsair has dug up to get these fast frequencies in the 2GB flavor.
Again, Corsair gave me a run for my money in trying to remove the heatspreaders without ripping a nail right off. Unlike the 3500LL Pro I recently reviewed, I came out triumphant and have the photos to prove it. We can see Samsung UCCC chips are mated to Corsair PCBs to generate the genetic makeup of this high performance kit. Google came up aces as the very first hit provided the following information from the Samsung site:
* VDD : 2.5V ± 0.2V, VDDQ : 2.5V ± 0.2V for DDR 266, 333
* VDD : 2.6V ± 0.1V, VDDQ : 2.6V ± 0.1V for DDR 400
* Double-data-rate architecture; two data transfers per clock cycle
* Bidirectional data strobe [DQS] (x4,x8) & [L(U)DQS] (x16)
* Four banks operation
* Differential clock inputs(CK and /CK)
* DLL aligns DQ and DQS transition with CK transition
* MRS cycle with address key programs
– Read latency : DDR 266(2, 2.5 Clock), DDR 333(2.5 Clock), DDR 400(3 Clock)
– Burst length (2, 4, 8)
– Burst type (sequential & interleave)
* All inputs except data & DM are sampled at the positive going edge of the system clock(CK)
* Data I/O transactions on both edges of data strobe
* Edge aligned data output, center aligned data input
* LDM, UDM for write masking only (x16)
* DM for write masking only (x4, x8)
* Auto & Self refresh
* 7.8µs refresh interval(8K/64ms refresh)
* Maximum burst refresh cycle : 8
* 66pin TSOP II & 60Ball FBGA Pb-Free package(RoHS compliant)
The reason behind my earlier battle with the heatspreaders is the translucent tape seen above. I don't have a clue what that stuff is but it certainly holds on to whatever it touches. It's nice of Corsair to include the clips above the heatspreaders but my thumb nails will vouch that it is entirely not necessary. At this point I think we can move on to see how the Corsair TwinX 2048-4000 performs.
Page 5 : Installation & Overclocking
Testing and overclocking will be conducted on the following hardware which is listed in no particular order:
DFI LanParty UT NF4 Ultra-D
AMD64 3000+ Venice core – LBBLE 0518CPAW
Asetek VapoChill Micro ULN
HIS X800GTO IceQ II 570MHz Core / 600MHz Memory
MGE Magnum 500W
WD Raptor 10,000 RPM SATA
Windows XP Pro + Latest Updates
Components were spread out on desktop with some fans assisting in cooling.
Corsair TWINX 2048-4000
I seem to have better luck in the orange slots so I will be sticking with them for this review. There is no chance of clearance issues as the TwinX 2048-4000 comes with the standard heatspreaders and are really no larger than a set of naked DIMMs. That means that they should work with any motherboard and CPU cooler combination out there unless of course your CPU cooler blocks access to some of your memory slots.
With the RAM installed and everything looking good, it is time to do some burning in. For this I like to spend a good 24 hours in MemTest86 and then another 24 hours in windows using StressPrime04 large FFTs. You can see I was able to get the memory to run no problem DDR500 @ 3-3-3-6. Since the DFI does not have 2.75v as an option for VDIMM I just used 2.8v. There was not a single error at the end of the 24 hours in MemTest at these timings so onto windows I went.
First order of business was to see if CAS 2 would run at DDR400…it would not. I would get POST at 2-4-4-8 but windows couldn't even load and MemTest86 would error out almost immediately. Next up was to see if CAS 2.5 would run at DDR400 and if so, how high would we be able to push the memory at CAS 2.5. With 2.8v going to the memory I was able to get DDR484 stable with timings of 2.5-3-3-6. This is pretty impressive since the memory is rated at DDR500 CAS 3 by Corsair and the ICs only DDR400 3-3-3 by Samsung. With added voltage giving us better performance, it looks like a very good overclock with a bunch of juice is possible.
Knowing that 3-3-3-6 at DDR500 should be stable as it ran without error both in and out of windows for 48+ hours I started there and ventured to see how fast the memory would run with those timings. I managed to squeeze 258MHz out of it running 1:1 with the CPU for an effective DDR516 @ 3-3-3-6 with 2.8v. Loosening the timings to 3-4-4-8 and increasing voltage to 2.9v provided an additional overclock of 281MHz. I then increased the voltage to 3.2v and tried 3-4-4-10 but could not get this RAM to run any higher than
DDR562 3-4-4-8 w/2.9v
. As a last resort to squeeze everything out of this kit, I changed to a 2T command rate but could not venture north of 281MHz. For a budget 2GB kit of memory, that is quite the accomplishment by Corsair. To say the TwinX 2048-4000 did its job is a big understatement having almost matched the frequency and timings of the much more expensive OCZ 2048-4000EBPE kit I reviewed a short while ago.
Above is the chart of overclocks and their timings that I found to be stable throughout testing. For stability testing in Windows, I would make a 32M run of Super Pi followed by a 3DMark 01se run and finished up with a couple hours of StressPrime04 using large FFTs. The combination of these three programs provides a very solid stability testing platform. I am confident by passing this regiment that the memory will be running stable at these speeds for days under load without any issues.
Page 6 : Performance
During every review there comes the time that we look at the performance of the product being reviewed. That time has come for the Corsair TwinX 2048-4000 and it will involve the usual suspects. Everest Ultimate and SiSoft Sandra will be used to measure the bandwidth that the memory kit is pushing as the frequency scales up. Everest also has a test that provides an accurate reading of the memory latency and I will be including the results from that test today. All benchmarks were run three times with a reboot in-between and an average of the three being plotted on the graphs below.
The bandwidth climbs steadily and the latency drops evenly except for the hiccup at the point where I had to loosen the timings to increase the frequency. The impressive bandwidth, both reading and writing, that this kit produces rivals that of most any memory module at these frequencies, so there is no lack of performance with the TwinX 2048-4000's smaller price tag.
I like to include Futuremarks PCMark 04/05 and 3DMark 01se because they gauge a systems overall ability to handle various situations that are very similar to everyday computing.
The scores are of no surprise based on the bandwidth and latency numbers above. Being able to cross 4000 for the default PCMark 05 test is no small feat considering we are running a budget 3000+ chip. Having the ability to overclock this kit as high as we can maintaining a 1:1 ratio with the HTT is giving very impressive results. Those with a multiplier of 10 on their CPU's will have trouble maxing out the CPU before the memory needs to be put on a divider.
SuperPi stresses the system more than most benchmarks or tests because it uses intense mathematical calculations to test the ability of the system and specifically the memory. I couldn't manage to get under 30 seconds for a 1M digit calculation run, but I did get well under the 30 minute mark for the 32M digit calculation.
The gaming results are mainly tossed in there to show that the higher the frequency the system is running at, the better the gaming performance will be. The gaming benchmarks were run using BenchEmAll with maximum details at the resolution of 1024×768 to ensure the video card not being the bottleneck.
Page 7 : Conclusion
The Corsair TwinX 2048-4000 did not disappoint when it came to overclocking or performance. Rated to run at DDR500 3-4-4-8 and actually running at DDR560 with those timings was a nice surprise. The benchmark results were right were they should be with the frequencies the system was running at. Having 2GB of memory is no longer the rarity it was a few short months ago and with the price tag that the TwinX 2048-4000 is sporting, a lot more people will be making the jump. Corsair will be putting smiles on a lot of overclockers faces with this kit and rightfully so. Amazing performance backed up with great overclocking should put this kit at the top of the budget build list for someone looking to go with 2GB.
Not having the ability to run CAS 2 really isn't a big deal. These modules are designed to run at DDR500 not DDR400 and for anyone overclocking you will have no need for performance at that frequency anyway. It would have been nice if I could have gotten CAS 2 to run just to add to the versatility of the TwinX 2048-4000, but the overclocked timings make up for this shortfall. In the end, it is hard to recommend a better performing 2GB kit that is available right now because the ability of the Corsair TwinX 2048-4000 rivals that of much more expensive 2GB PC4000 kits out there and for this it receives, without question, the Overclockers Online budget award.
- DDR500 is nice but DDR560+ is even nicer
- Great timings at max frequency
- Standard size heatspreaders
- Very reasonably priced for a high speed 2GB kit
- No CAS 2 ability at DDR400
- Not all motherboards can provide 2.9v
I would like to thank Corsair for providing this TWINX 2048-4000 sample for review.