Corsair seems determined to hold the record for the highest memory speed in production memory. We recently reviewed the highest speed memory available at the time in Corsair Dominator DDR2-1111 (PC2-8888). Several other memory makers tried to match or surpass the Corsair speed record and Corsair responded with PC2-10000 (DDR2-1250) which was first demonstrated at CES earlier this month. A few short weeks after CES we have production PC2-10000 fresh from Corsair for testing.

To put memory speed in perspective, consider a few facts. Core 2 Duo provides synchronous support for DDR2-533, which is the DDR (double data rate) match to the base Core 2 Duo bus of 266. The 266 is quad pumped so the "real" processor bus speed is 1067. Intel Core 2 Duo chipsets support faster memory speeds as well - DDR2-667, DDR2-800, and DDR2-1066. AM2 also supports memory speeds to DDR2-800, but the AM2 controller does not support DDR2-1066 at this time.

In a world where you rarely find DDR2 memory rated at even DDR2-1067, Corsair Dominator DDR2-1250 is a very fast speed rating. Considering that many of our readers are searching for good value DDR2-800 when building a new system, the PC2-10000 sounds like it is worlds ahead of anything available. In some ways it is, but it should also be asked what compromises were made to reach this new speed rating?

Where the Corsair PC2-8888 is rated at 4-4-4 timings at DDR2-1111, Dominator 1250 is rated at a higher 5-5-5 latency at its specified 1250 speed. In addition, Corsair was very clear that this PC2-10000 performed best on the NVIDIA 680i chipset. Boards based on the 680i, like the EVGA 680i SLI and the ASUS P5N32-E SLI Plus, certainly have the headroom to support DDR2-1250, but they are also very expensive motherboards. Corsair also told us, just before publishing the review, that new P965 boards designed for massive overclocking, like the ASUS Commando, have been reported to support PC2-10000 at the rated speed.

Corsair PC2-10000 is the new top dog in the Dominator series - a name used for the highest speed memories produced by Corsair. As you can see from the chart below, the Dominator family has grown rapidly, and now includes six high-performance kits.

Cosair XMS2 Dominator Modules
TWIN2X2048-10000C5DF XMS2-10000 2048MB 5-5-5-18 2X240DIMM Yes
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

Some of the kits, including the DDR2-1250 being tested, come standard with a Corsair designed cooling fan. The memory cooling fan attaches to the locking clips of the memory slots.

For Dominator kits without the fan, the Dominator Airflow fan kit is available for about $20. The Corsair fan kit also works well with any high-performance memory you choose to install. It is highly recommended for cooling any memory you choose to use in your system.

OCZ Flex 9200 and Corsair Dominator 8800 both approached high performance with an eye to lower latency as well as speed. Dominator 10000 appears to aim for the highest speed with relaxed latencies. Which approach works best? Is the new Dominator 10000 the fastest memory tested so far? Where does the DDR2-1250 Dominator fit in the high performance memory arena? These are questions we will try to answer in benchmarking Corsair Dominator XMS2-10000.

Corsair Dominator Twin2x2048-10000C5DF
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  • OBWan - Wednesday, November 14, 2007 - link

    It appears that the "highest memory speed" chart on page 7 is not an objective comparison. Besides the top 3 bars that were tested with the overclock-friendly 680i platform, all the rest were tested with old chipsets e.g. 975X. The old chipsets actually hindered the max overclocking potential of those other DDR2's while at the time of their reviews, the editors believed those DDR2's had reached their speed limit, which was an unsighted mistake. So please delete this biased comparison chart and re-do all the tests with the same 680i platform. The readers in this forum deserve not to be cheated.
  • yacoub - Thursday, February 1, 2007 - link

    If those timings relax much more, they'll be asleep.
    5-5-5-18? hehe =)
  • phil verhey - Thursday, February 1, 2007 - link

    i had buffalo pc2-10000 3.5 months ago.. and i still overclocked it to 1300mhz at 5-5-5-18 .. talk about an either ignorant, or biased article.
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, February 2, 2007 - link

    The Buffalo 10000 was announced in Japan a couple of months ago, and it was widely reported that DDR2-1200 and DDR2-1250 were "coming". We have reviewed Buffalo memory in the past and we have yet to receive Buffalo PC2-10000 samples for review. We also have not seen a single review of Buffalo PC2-10000. PC2-10000 is also not listed on the Buffalo website - the highest rated Firestix there are PC2-8500.

    The Corsair PC2-10000 is a production product with warranted PC2-10000 performance. We ALSO reached DDR2-1300 and DDR2-1315 several months ago, with OCZ and Corsair, but neither product wass rated or warranted at PC2-10000.

    I have no doubt the Buffalo PC2-10000 is likely a good product. It is just we have neither seen or received for testing Buffalo PC2-10000 - we have only seen press announcements.
  • VooDooAddict - Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - link

    I'd like you to also show a zero based benchmark graph. I understand that you mention it in the article ... but too many people will just look at the graphs. Budget focused people also should see how little going down to 667 or even 533 effects the performance (I try to steer people to 800 just for a little more future proofing of their memory investment).

    I'm sick of people requesting this absurdly expensive RAM. I've got not problem people requesting the RAM for over clocking, the good looking cooler mods, or the brand name... but people are still requesting this stuff because they expect much better performance.

    I can make my own Zero based graph based on your numbers to show people ... but I'm much rather direct them to the original source.
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - link

    The explanation is bold and tells readers why we show a limited range. It is difficult enough to pick out memory variations in a reduced range chart, and it would be almost impossible in a zero-based chart. We also clearly state results on a zero-based chart would show little variation in performance at different speeds.

    In the conclusion I was also very clear:

    "There is also the reality that Core 2 Duo and AM2 really don't need the highest memory speeds to perform best. What they need is low latency DDR2-800 or possibly 4-4-3 DDR2-1067 to get the best performance possible. The unfortunate reality that we see again and again in memory tests is that the super high memory speeds are great for bragging rights and flexible overclocking, but they really don't do much for increasing actual real world performance on either the C2D or AM2 platforms.

    Memory companies seem obsessed right now with higher and higher DDR2 memory speeds... We wish memory companies would become just as obsessed with producing a moderately priced 2 GB DDR2-800 kit that can perform day in and day out at 3-3-3 timings. It would be a bonus if it also overclocked to DDR2-1067 with 4-4-4 timings. With Vista performing best with 2GB of memory many will be upgrading memory as they move to the new OS. Whoever finally produces a reasonably-priced low latency DDR2-800 2GB kit will sell all they can produce."

    We are reviewing super high-end memory that is a good choice for some buyers, like overclocking enthusiasts, but they are a waste of money for the average buyer. We definitely agree once you get above 800 on C2D or AM2 there is very little gain in performance. Your money is better spent on a faster processor or an upgraded video card.
  • Live - Thursday, February 1, 2007 - link

    If there is no real world difference then why do you state in your buying guides that it is important to keep a 1:1 ratio?

    From the January 2007 Buyer's Guide: Midrange Menagerie

    Using a 1:1 memory:bus ratio (which is typically optimal for overclocking)

    This is not the only example. You seem to do this in all your memory reviews I have read lately as well. Granted they have been of high end memory and it seems unreasonable to spend that much on memory if you weren’t looking for the absolute maximum speeds. I still don’t understand tough why a 1:1 ratio is good for overclocking. It would seems to me that by lowering your memory ratio you could reach higher CPU overclocks cheaper which is what really matters, no? I mean most overclock as a way to save money not get the WR in superPI.

    The thing is for us that don't work with this everyday it’s hard to keep up and not fall for the aggressive marketing. I would appreciate it if you could devote a little more time to steer us right without breaking the bank. I know it’s probably not as fun but it would be much appreciated by us readers.
  • Neosis - Sunday, February 4, 2007 - link

    I think additional latencies shall arise at chipset level. Generally following stages take place while requesting data from memory:
    1- Data Request from CPU thru. the FSB
    2- Chipset transfer the request to memory from FSB
    3- Memory responds to the request
    4- Chipset then trasfer the request from the memory thru. FSB
    5- Finally the requested data travels across the FSB to the CPU

    In stage two and four, running the memory asynchronous to the FSB will increase latency. Since conroe has short pipeline like Amd, memory latency is more important than the memory bandwidth.
  • tayhimself - Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - link

    Sorry but that is a piss poor excuse. Its like published scientific studies saying, "we use this statistical analysis because its the only one that shows a significant difference". Who the hell would buy drugs based on that premise. Piss poor AT!!
  • thudo - Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - link

    Conroe E6700 @ 3.66Ghz (1.53V) || Scythe Mine CPU Cooler + ArcticSilver5 Thermal Paste || OCZ 2gb PC8000 DC EL GEEK RAM || Asus P5W DH Mobo (1301 Bios) || EVGA 8800GTX ACS3 Cooling Edition (659/1013) || 2x10k Rpm WD SATA2 Raptor HDDs || Thermaltake Armour Full Tower w/side 250mm Mobo Case Fan || OCZ GamerX 700W PSU || WinXP+ SP2 + DX9c + All Updates || Latest Nvidia Forceware (97.x) || 3dmark2006 Score: 12,426 || SiSandra Int Buff'd iSSE2 : 7561 MB/s // Float Buff'd iSSE2 : 7562 MB/s

    Still surprised my box beats out the latest ram with the Overclock. Can only imagine having the new ram overclocked on the beat! :O

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