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Corsair TwinX1024-3200XL Pro (DDR400 – 200MHz) CL2



Pence per Megabyte - 25.23
Torture Test at 200MHz – Passed
Torture Test Overclocked - Passed

Just when it seemed other manufacturers were catching up, Corsair has pulled off a master stroke with what is, in theory, some of the fastest PC3200 memory on the planet.

TwinX1024-3200XL Pro modules are rated by Corsair to run at 200MHz at 2.75v 2-2-2-5. The modules carry a lifetime warranty. The memory chips used couldn’t be identified due to the pre-fitted heat-spreaders.

Being part of its “PRO” series, the modules come equipped with large, black aluminium heat spreaders installed. The heat spreaders increase the height of the modules to 44mm as opposed to a more usual 31-34mm.

The heat spreaders also feature two rows of nine activity LEDs arranged along the top spine as three pairs of green, three pairs of amber and three pairs of red. The heat spreaders are thermally bonded and feature no retaining clips.

First Impressions

Corsair’s “Pro” series memory has always been an eye-catcher. In a highly competitive market where there’s almost nothing you can do to differentiate your modules from the competition other than slapping on some fancy heat spreaders, Corsair’s addition of admittedly gimmicky and slightly cheesy activity LEDs makes them stand out like a boil on the end of your nose.

The oversized heat spreaders make the use of this memory in small form factor PCs something of a squeeze and you need to check that you have enough clearance before you buy.

The heat spreaders are baked on and use no retaining clips, but these seem to stay cooler in use than many of the other heat spreaders in this roundup, which raises some concerns about how efficiently heat is transferred internally.

Testing – 200MHz

Rank When Tested on a Prescott CPU at 200MHz: 1st from 18
Rank When Tested on a Northwood CPU at 200MHz: 1st from 18

We don’t want to get sucked into using too many superlatives here but this stuff simply out-paces the competition with twelve first place finishes out of a possible 18. At the time we received this memory it was the only stuff on the market capable of running 2-2-2-5, but it has now been joined by GeIL, a company that announced its own “Ultra-X” PC3200 2-2-2-5 on the 15th June 2004.

Impressive as this memory is at 200MHz, it’s generally accepted that latency becomes less of a factor at higher frequencies making this a perfect choice for 166MHz or 200MHz AMD systems too.

Testing – Overclocking

Maximum Frequency - Overclocked using SPD settings: 220MHz
Maximum Frequency - Overclocked using manual settings (CL-4-4-8) low ambient of 18c: 245MHz
Maximum Frequency - Overclocked using manual settings (CL-4-4-8) high ambient of 28c: 240MHz

Rank - overclocked performance (high ambient): 11th from 18

The initial ceiling of 220MHz achieved using the module’s SPD data is where we believed we’d find the limit, however at 2-4-4-8 things progressed upwards all the way to 245MHz, but dropping to 240MHz under higher testing temperatures. We didn’t run manually at 2-2-2-5 so as not to disadvantage the faster modules in this roundup, actually we did but we're not posting the results here. Let’s just say they were very similar to these and in keeping with what other sites are reporting. It seemed happiest at 2.8v.

Verdict

Overall Rank, all performance parameters included: Joint 2nd from 18

Just when it seemed memory had nowhere left to go and CL2.0 was becoming a thing of the past, Corsair pulls this rabbit from the hat. There’s no need for enhanced bandwidth here. It has plenty of real bandwidth to call upon.

Probably not the best choice for the die-hard overclocker, Corsair is once more ahead of the game with new and innovative products that challenge everything else on the market. Not happy with being the fastest, it’s added a bank of LEDs just to put a cherry on the top.

This is the second most expensive memory on test here, so you’ll need deep pockets to equip your system with a Gigabyte of 3200XL Pro. But provided you’re not aiming for any FSB records it will be money well spent. A great choice from AMD users in particular.

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