After careful consideration I have decided to transfer all hardware review activities to a new domain. I purchased Hardwareasylum.com in 2012 and have been working hard to build a new and improved Ninjalane on that domain. If you are reading this you have reached one of the archived articles, news, projects and/or reviews that were left behind during the site migration.
I have opted to not include any benchmarking numbers this time around for a variety of reasons. First from a technical standpoint having the T(ras) at 5 instead of 6 does not show any significant performance increase when it comes to memory bandwidth. SiSoft Sandra tests even showed the modules having the same speed when used on our test system.
The system used for prelim testing was the Soltek SL-K8AV-R motherboard. The board uses the VIA K8T800 chipset and 754 pin Athlon64 processor. Due to a recent BIOS update the overclocking ability of this board has been greatly increased thus proving that our 3200+ will indeed run stable at 235Mhz FSB. To attain this speed a variety of things needed to be done including the reduction of the HyperTransport frequency, running the memory clock at 166Mhz (4:5), and increasing the processor core voltage. The key to this equation is the memory divider since running the memory clock 1:1 would only get us about 217Mhz or DDR433.
I suspect this limitation is related to the test bed since no amount of memory timing or voltage modifications seemed to help.
Some CPU-Z screenshots have been included for your viewing enjoyment.
CPU-Z Overclocked 235Mhz
CPU-Z Overclocked 217Mhz
So what does this all mean for the eager system builder looking to buy memory? Well, by following the basic principals of how system memory works, faster is better. Having T(ras) set to 5 means that your system memory will be running with the lowest timings allowed by the memory controller, This in turn translates into faster processing and reduced wait time. Ya know all the stuff that makes the operator look bad.
You can also look at this from the standpoint of the overclocker. By buying memory with lower timings you get more "headroom" for overclocking. For instance typical CAS selections are (2.0, 2.5, 3.0). Given that our XL modules are running at CAS 2.0 the overclocker has 2 additional selections to choose from for stabilizing the system.
You also have to take into consideration the memory architecture shift that is currently taking place between AMD and Intel. Intel is switching to DDR2 for all of their new chipsets while AMD has decided to stick with DDR1. Corsair XL modules fit into this scenario quite nicely by providing the fastest access times possible right out of the box.
Note: Keep in mind that if you decide to run Corsair XL modules on a Canterwood or Springdale board (i875P or i865PE) you will need to adjust the T(RCD) or RAS-to-CAS setting from 2 to 3 to ensure that the system runs stable.
My advice to you is this.. Buy memory that suits how you plan to use your computer. If you're a hardcore overclocker it might be a good idea to invest in something a little faster than DDR400. If you're a gamer and like to have a slight edge from time to time look towards Corsair XL, it will give you a very nice balance between mild overclocking and low latency performance, not to mention lighted LEDs to polish off that custom system.
So to sum up here is my list of Good things and Bad things.
The Good Things
Extra Low Latency @ DDR400
True paired memory
Ability to run overclocked at 1:1
Cooler running memory
LED activity lights
Heat spreaders that work
The Bad Things
Limited available sizes
Taller than normal
I would like to thank Corsair Memory for helping to make this review possible.
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