Corsair Dominator Series

Corsair has a long and illustrious history as an innovator in the memory market. For many years the only recognizable brand of enthusiast memory was Corsair. That has changed in recent years, but that is the reason many computer enthusiasts are so loyal to the Corsair brand.

Corsair is the most widely recognized brand of enthusiast memory in the world. It is also widely distributed, making the Corsair brand easy to find just about anywhere you might be located. Corsair has been manufacturing high-speed memory since 1994, and as a result the company has supplier relationships with many computer manufacturers. Corsair maintains an extensive line of memory, ranging from their Value Select brand of low-cost memory to their top-end XMS line.

XMS2 Dominator is Corsair's name for a new memory series. It describes some unique innovations in the PCB and memory cooling.


As you can see from the diagram Dominator uses two paths for memory cooling:
  • Conventional heat release through the front of the memory chips into a pair of super efficient heat sinks
  • Additional dissipation through the back of the memory chips and through the circuit board through heat fins integral to the PCB.
In addition cooling can be further enhanced with a Dominator Airflow fan. This super-efficient fan is designed to attach to the memory clips and float over the Dominator memory modules.


The Dominator Airflow fan uses three 40mm tachometer controlled fans. The fans run at moderate speed to provide adequate airflow but still remain near silent when operating. The Dominator Airflow fan kit comes standard with the Dominator PC2-8888 2GB memory kit, but it is also an optional accessory that will work with any DDR-2 or DDR memory modules to provide additional cooling.


The Corsair fan design is very clever and is a much more secure solution for fan cooling than a precarious large fan laid over the top of memory modules. If you seriously overclock your memory then you should definitely consider adding this 3-fan option to your system, no matter what memory you use.

Corsair has made Dominator cooling widely available in their high-end XMS line. You can find a Dominator version of almost any Corsair Super Performance memory.

Cosair XMS2 Dominator Modules
Part Number Rated Speed Size Timings Kit Fan Included
TWIN2X2048-9136C5D XMS2-9136 2048MB 5-5-5-15 2X240DIMM No
TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF XMS2-8888 2048MB 4-4-4-12 2X240DIMM Yes
TWIN2X2048-8500C5D XMS2-8500 2048MB 5-5-5-15 2X240DIMM No
TWIN2X2048-6400C3DF XMS2-6400 2048MB 3-4-3-9 2X240DIMM Yes
TWIN2X2048-6400C4D XMS2-6400 2048MB 4-4-4-12 2X240DIMM No

NVIDIA and Corsair have jointly developed an open standard for memory profiles in the SPD (Serial Presence Detect) called EPP. It was first unveiled at the launch of the NVIDIA 500 family of chipsets and has been expanded since. The SPD profiles are called EPP (Enhanced Performance Profiles) and they are a standard feature of all Dominator memory modules. This allows easier setting of aggressive overclocking timings if the motherboard supports EPP profiles.

Dominator PC2-8888C4DF Specifications

Corsair supplies Dominator DDR2-1111 in the largest memory package you will likely see. The memory ships in a box about the size of a package for a video card. The box contains a matched pair of 1GB Dominator DIMMs and a Dominator Airflow fan unit.


The PC2-8888 Dominator DIMMs are built with specially binned Micron D DDR2 memory chips. This is certainly not a surprise since OCZ Flex XLC and all the other recently tested top-of-the-line memory has used the same memory chips.


Once installed you have to agree the complete Dominator kit has a unique look. The Airflow fan kit, with quiet, down-facing fans, appears to do a good job of keeping the DIMM area cooler. This certainly contributes to better overclocking performance. We did not measure the temperature drop, as we're not sure how relevant the heatsink temp is to performance, but the finned composite heatsinks are noticeably cooler to the touch when overclocking with the Airflow fan kit attached.

Corsair Dominator PC2-8888C4DF Memory Specifications
Number of DIMMs & Banks 2 DS
DIMM Size 1GB
Total Memory 2 GB
Rated Timings 4-4-4-12 at DDR2-1111
Rated Voltage 2.4V

Corsair Dominator fits the same DDR2 slots as past DDR2 memory, but the dual-path heat exchanger makes for a much taller DIMM. Add the Airflow fan on top and you have a tall memory area. However, while the volume is larger, a Dominator setup still has no problem fitting in a standard case. Since the Airflow fan occupies the same area as the memory module area, fan space requirements are actually less than a large fan resting on top of the DIMMs. We have no problem at all using a complete Dominator kit with the large Tuniq 120 air cooling system.

Index Memory Test Configuration
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  • classy - Monday, January 01, 2007 - link

    It won't be on memory that gives me an extra 2-5 frames. While it performs well, it just doesn't make enough of a performance impact to warrant the price. Maybe for a dream system but for the other 99.75% of the pc world this memory is clearly a waste of money. Reply
  • code255 - Sunday, January 07, 2007 - link

    Totally agree. Buying super high quality memory is an utter waste of money. Double the cost of normal RAM for like 1% higher framerates? Thanks, but no f***ing thanks!

    I usually buy value RAM from decent manufacturers (which is more expensive than from no-name brands) just for the sake of stability. RAM just doesn't have a significant enough impact on gaming performance to justify the insane prices of the top-of-the-line stuff.
    Reply
  • tayhimself - Tuesday, January 02, 2007 - link

    This is such another example of reviews driven by ridiculous marketing than by product reviews that may be worthwhile or beneficial to 99% of readers. I don't doubt there are people spending $600 on 2 GB of DDR2 to get that extra 1.5% performance boost, I just doubt there are very many of them.

    A review of value RAM sticks on 965, 975x, or 590 chipsets would be far more useful and informative because of ridiculous compatibility issues with mobos. But alas these reviews rarely happen...
    Reply
  • bigboxes - Monday, January 01, 2007 - link

    It's nice to see Corsair finally getting back into the game. Here's to prices dropping, though it may be a while. :) Reply
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