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Reviewed by: Trevor Flynn [08.12.03]
Edited by: Carl Nelson

Manufactured by: Corsair

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Sorting it all out

Now if you remember back to the beginning of the article, there were a couple basic questions that we wanted to deal with:

1) If you are not into overclocking does running higher speed memory out of sync with the processor grant any performance increases over slower speed memory?

The answer to this one is a simple no. If you notice in our results, an increase was obtained when running at 133/200 as opposed to 133/166, however that increase can be attributed to the lower latency settings of the Corsair RAM. If the latency settings at 133/200 were dropped to match that of the Samsung at 133/166 we found that the results were almost identical!

The big increases were found when the CPU was overclocked to run in sync with the higher memory speeds.  With a FSB of 230mhz, we found that performance almost doubled over stock speeds.  Ability to clock your processor this high obviously depends on your CPU chip and cooling solution, but it is also very dependent on your memory's abilities.

We were very pleased to find that the Corsair XMS3500 which is rated at an effective speed of 434mhz was easily able to not only achieve an effective clock speed of 460mhz but to do so while still running at some very aggressive latency settings. Now if you remember our Epox review, this is the same overclock that we were able to achieve with the OCZ PC3500 RAM. Either these two products are remarkably similar in their abilities or the Epox board is maxing out at 230mhz. My bet is on the latter. I will soon be in possession of a new Intel setup that will allow me to test the true limits of these chips.

2) What type of performance gains can be had using a dual channel configuration over a single channel one, and do the gains increase as the CPU bandwidth does?

The answer for this question is once disappointing. From our results we can see that there are very slight performance gains from running a dual channel configuration, with the emphasis on very slight. It would appear that at current bus speeds there just isn't enough bandwidth to require a 128bit memory pipeline. Even as the FSB speeds increased, the performance increase remained stagnant. This must be very comforting news to Via who are continuing to stick with a single channel 64bit setup.

So after being quite long winded let me finish by being very blunt. If you are not a power user and have no interest in overclocking, save your money and buy whatever speed RAM matches your processor FSB.

If however you are an overclocker, and are looking to push your FSB to 200mhz and beyond then have a look at Corsair's XMS3500 modules. The low latency setting alone make them worth your money in my book, but when you add the ability to max out the FSB on the top overclocking AMD board on the market, well then I'd have to say that we have our self a winner. You'll pay a premium price, but you'll most definitely get yourself some premium performance.

  • Super low latency specs at high clock speeds.
  • Ability to run well beyond it's spec'd speeds.
  • Thermal compound between heat spreader and each ram chip
  • Heat spreaders are pretty

  • Very costly
  • Will allow for overclocks that make your friends hate your guts

Final Score: 95%