Corsair PC4400

Corsair is the most universally-recognized brand of enthusiast memory. However, for quite a while, Corsair had no interest in being included in comparative memory roundups as they referred to themselves as "the BMW of memory providers". There was even a period of time where Corsair refused to provide review samples to websites that did reviews comparing Corsair memory to other brands. Fortunately, the thinking at Corsair has changed in the last few months, and Corsair is again actively sampling websites like AnandTech, which insist that comparisons are the best way to evaluate products. We are really glad that Corsair is active in AnandTech memory reviews again, and we were very excited to see what Corsair had done at the high end with their new DDR550 memory.



As you can see in the photo, the DIMMs are identified as CMX512-4400C25P with an ID of XMS 4404v1.1. Corsair supplies the new DDR550 memory as a matched pair of SS 256MB, called TwinX512-4400C25, and as a matched pair of double-sided 512MB DIMMs, identified as TwinX1024-4400C25. For testing, Corsair supplied a pair of double-sided 512MB DIMMs with aluminum platinum-colored heatspreaders. This 1GB pair is the same configuration tested in other AnandTech reviews of Samsung TCCD memory.



The DIMMs are mounted on a PCB that appears identical to a PCB used on a few other top TCCD DIMMs. The PCB ID is BP MLL E186014, which appears to be the top performing Brainpower PCB used by OCZ, Geil and G. Skill, just to name a few. This PCB has developed quite a reputation for top performance at high speeds with Samsung TCCD, so we expect great high-end results from this Corsair DDR550. Those of you wondering how to identify a Brainpower PCB will be pleased to know that it is distinguishable by just 8 components along the lower edge of the back side of the DIMM - just above the slot fingers. Most other PCBs that we have seen used with TCCD are strewn with components along this edge on both sides. This quick ID method will change with future designs, but if you see DIMM side with just a very few components above the slot, it is likely the brainpower PCB.



With the heatspreader removed, you can also clearly see that the memory chips are definitely Samsung TCCD. As you will see in our review, the behavior curve for this Corsair DDR550 is a bit different than what you have seen in other TCCD reviews. We wanted to make sure that we were indeed dealing with Samsung TCCD and not some new variant of Hynix chips or a special unlabeled bin developed by a chip manufacturer for Corsair.

 Corsair PC4400 Specifications
Number of DIMMs & Banks 2 DS
DIMM Size
Total Memory
512 MB
Rated Timings 2.5-4-4-5 at DDR550
Typically 2-2-2-5 at DDR400
SPD (Auto) Timings 2.5-4-4-8
Rated Voltage 2.75V

With Intel's introduction this summer of the Intel 915/95 chipsets with support for DDR2 memory, the primary market for DDR memory has become the excellent AMD Athlon 64 platform. However, some 915 boards also support DDR, and the continuing Intel Socket 478 also supports DDR memory. For these reasons, Corsair DDR550 was tested on both the standard Intel 478 memory test bed and our newest Athlon 64 Socket 939 test bed.

Index AMD Performance Test Configuration
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  • DonCornelius - Saturday, January 22, 2005 - link

    Can anyone tell me why we can't get 2-2-2 timings on 1GB size DIMMs? The only DIMMs I see with this timings are 512MB and 256MB. Is this marketing or a limit on the technology? Reply
  • Live - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    If what PrinceGaz is sayimng about memory on the AMD platform is true I think it would warrant some clarification from Anandtech. If money is an object what gives best bang for the buck. Cheap memory and faster CPU or the other way around? Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - link

    from #20- "#19 - The $82 PQI Turbo stuff at newegg is 2.5-3-3 timing RAM. The cheapest you can get a 2-2-2 512MB stick of RAM at newegg is the Patriot for $107."

    Given that we've already got a 2.5-3-3 timings with the PQI, and it was the module that at most was 3% slower on memory-bandwidth bound applications with the Athlon 64, I think that answers my question about why budget memory has not been covered.

    You may as well save still more money and get brand-name value-products for an AMD box, unless you are going for a high-end overclocking system with an FX-55 where every component is the best in it's class. Even if overclocking you aren't going to suffer because there is no such thing as an asynchronous memory frequency with an Athlon 64 (there is no Northbridge between the CPU and memory) so just set the budget memory to "DDR333" and you'll be fine for overclocking up to about DDR500.

    Actually when you combine the S939 Athlon 64's lack of dependence on memory bandwidth with it's onboard memory controller that ensures any memory speed is equally efficient; when building a mid-range Athlon 64 box you may as well just get cheap brand-name DDR400 and run it at what ever speed it is happiest with after overclocking your CPU. Which makes all these high-end memory review articles pointless for all except extreme overclockers.
    Reply
  • eetnoyer - Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - link

    #19 - The $82 PQI Turbo stuff at newegg is 2.5-3-3 timing RAM. The cheapest you can get a 2-2-2 512MB stick of RAM at newegg is the Patriot for $107. Reply
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - link

    With NewEgg having PQI turbo 3200 at $82, I thinks that's the best deal, probably worth the extra $10 or so over value RAM. In this review it performed almost as well as the top of the line stuff. Reply
  • Googer - Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - link

    Correction:

    the standard JDEC complient ram does not need to be included in the overclocking tests.
    Reply
  • Googer - Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - link

    All memory should be tested agains JDEC Standard Ram
    using JDEC standard Timings For DDR400. Standard ISSUE Crucial (not ballistix) should also be included as a base compairson for all DDR400 Tests.

    When it comes to overclocking the JDEC complient ram
    does not need to be tested becuase that was never the intent of its design.
    Reply
  • Fricardo - Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - link

    #'s 6,12,14,15

    Here here. I couldn't care less about timings...it's not worth the cash to get ever so slightly more performance. I'd just like some decent RAM that'll let me overclock an A64, nothing fancy.
    Reply
  • miketheidiot - Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - link

    Cheap memory review! Enough of this expensive junk. Reply
  • JustAnAverageGuy - Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - link

    #13

    I think he was thinking more along the lines of say Kingston\Corsair ValueRAM which runs for around $65-70 for a 512MB stick.

    Zebo did something similar (see CPU & OC forums), but I've been waiting for the AnandTech review.

    Reply

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