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Corsair XMS2 - 5400 (2 x 512K)

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Pence Per Megabyte: - 13.2
Torture Test at 266MHz – Passed
Torture Test Overclocked - Passed

I’m sure most of you have at least heard of Corsair even if you haven’t had direct experience with its products. With a manufacturing facility in Fremont, California, Corsair has been a consistent driving force in the memory market since 1994.

First Impressions

Little has changed in terms of how the product is presented. The same semi-rigid blister pack is used to house the modules, which retain the same black heat spreaders that have been used by Corsair for quite some time now. A yellow and purple branding flash has now been adopted to identify the modules as XMS2 parts.

The heat spreaders are bonded in place and use no additional external retaining clips.

I did notice that the logo and branding are applied by means of a full-length sticker applied to each side of the heat spreader and as this appears to made from plastic and covers 90 per cent of the surface area I can only hope its thermal conductivity is good.

Corsair’s modules are backed by a lifetime warranty.

Testing – 266MHz

Rank When Tested at 266MHz: 6th from 9

As expected Corsair’s modules demonstrated rock solid reliability when run 1:1 at PC4200 spec, which equates to a 266MHz FSB and a 533MHz module speed. Unfortunately, the performance at this speed was far from impressive, resulting in benchmark numbers that were at the bottom of the dual-channel pile.

Testing – Overclocking

Maximum Frequency - Overclocked using timings of 4-4-4-12: 386MHz

Rank based on maximum operating frequency - Joint 2nd from 10
Rank based on overclocked benchmark performance - 3rd from 10

A maximum overclock of 386MHz at 4-4-4-12 put these modules joint third overall for frequency achieved, a position they shared with Crucial’s Ballistix modules. Unfortunately, in terms of actually benchmark performance at this speed, the Ballistix faired better beating the Corsair to third place overall.

These modules certainly seem to be configured for overclocking, or at least for operation above their rated frequency of 333MHz. At or below this level, the numbers were on the pedestrian side.

Verdict

Overall Rank: Joint 5th from 9

Corsair has been around long enough to know the potential risk to its reputation if it were to ever market a poor product range, and its in-house quality assurance team work hard to ensure that it doesn’t happen. It’s not always the fastest, the cheapest or the best, but you do at least know it will be close. On this occasion, both stock performance and overclocking ability were generally good but it was far from leading the way in any single discipline. Solid but unspectacular.

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