Corsair DDR3-2133 - How high and fast will it go?by Rajinder Gill on August 28, 2008 3:00 AM EST
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In our opinion, the current acceptance of 64-bit Vista is going to create a large demand for 4GB memory kits. For these users, buying a 2X1GB may appear as a half solution - almost an illogical purchase considering Vista's voracious appetite for memory. As such, we know our work is cut out with this preview and subsequent review of high-end DDR3 kits. Testing niche products always represents a challenge because it is impossible to justify the miniscule gains in real world testing against the premiums one has to pay for that last 1% of performance. However, for a certain group of users, that last 1% means everything - cost be dammed. There is a demand for such products; in fact, this demand sometimes shapes the course and direction of future products. Therefore, we will simply say tongue in cheek, "It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it."
When we first learned that Corsair was sending us this $515 kit for testing, we had just finished pushing the ASUS P5E3 Premium to its limits and found it to be a fantastic board for overclocking 1GB memory modules well in excess of 2000MHz. In order to obtain these results we used 2X1GB modules from Cell Shock that are based upon Micron's D9JNL part. These particular modules scaled all the way to 2160MHz at CAS 8 on the ASUS board, although it has to be said it took a decent amount of work getting there. Very impressive of course, but it's also no real secret that few of us really run our PCs with such a setup, simply because the voltages and time required to reach such lofty speeds is more than excessive for 24/7 operation.
While the X48 chipset can achieve over 2100MHz with good DDR3, it does so at a real push needing more voltage to hold it'self together than most of us are prepared to use. The other logical choice for high-end DDR3 overclocking is the NVIDIA 790i chipset, but after significant testing, we realized it is no different. In fact, it's not nearly as stable when really pushed to the limit with these modules. Corsair's decision to quickly market a high-speed 2133MHz kit based on Samsung's new ICs certainly roused our curiosity. At the same time, we questioned how such kits would be qualified to run at stock specifications, never mind overclocking. Let's look at our first results.