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Corsair XMS2 – 5400UL (2 x 512K) 667MHz

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Pence Per Megabyte: 18.7
Torture Test at 266MHz – Passed
Torture Test Overclocked - Passed


First Impressions:

Corsair’s latest and greatest may be new and exciting, but this didn’t earn them any new garbs. The look of the modules is unchanged from the rest of its DDR2 range. As ever, Corsair’s modules are backed by a lifetime warranty.

Testing – 266MHz:

Rank When Tested at 266MHz: 1st from 9

I tested this memory in three boards in total, and not one of them correctly set the timings to the claimed 3-2-2-8. Normally this would have been just tough luck, but the difference between 3-2-2-8 and 4-4-4-12, which most boards were selecting, is too great to be a fair way to test.

In the end, and against my preference, I relented and manually dialed in a setting of 3-2-2-8 and then set about testing. On the premise that most users don’t even know how to even access their BIOS let alone feel confident enough to jump in and make changes, I would feel far happier seeing a more consistent and accurate relationship between SPD settings and how certain motherboards read them.

Unsurprisingly, the UL breezed though testing and landed a solid first place overall. Something I hope to look at in more detail later is that this memory seems less adept at running graphical tests than it is at producing great benchmark results. Particle Fury, and a couple of additional tests that weren’t included in the results here show that it doesn’t always dominate in “real world” testing. I feel a memory sensitive Doom 3 benchmarking session may be on the cards at a later date.

Testing – Overclocking:

Maximum Frequency - Overclocked using timings of 4-4-4-12: 373MHz
Maximum Frequency - Overclocked using timings of 3-2-2-8: 346MHz

Rank – based on maximum operating frequency using timings of 4-4-4-12: 4th from 10
Rank – based on maximum operating frequency using timings of 3-2-2-8: joint 9th from 10

Rank – based on overclocked benchmark performance using timings of 4-4-4-12: Joint 4th from 10
Rank – based on overclocked benchmark performance using timings of 3-2-2-8: 5th from 10

346MHz may be rubbing shoulders with the least capable overclockers in this roundup, but that was at an ambitious 3-2-2-8. Backing off to 4-4-4-12 gave us a little more headroom, hitting a respectable 373MHz.

If overclocking these modules proved anything, it’s that higher frequencies are preferable to lower latencies when absolute performance is what matters.


Verdict

Overall Rank: Joint 1st from 9

It’s the most expensive memory on test and the lowest latency test, so the fact it didn’t pull of a clear win came as a bit of a shock. In overall performance terms, it shared a three-way first place with Crucial’s Ballistix and Buffalo’s nameless PC2-4200.

Run at 266MHz it’s almost untouchable, but push it to the top end of its frequency limitations and it quickly loses all the advantage it gets from its tighter timings. Added to the fact that this is the most expensive memory on test means that while it impresses, the Corsair XMS2 – 5400UL pair fall just shy of an award.

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