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Corsair TWINX1024RE-3200LL DDR SDRAM Review

Corsair’s TWINX ECC DDR has proven itself to be a valuable addition to both gamers’ systems and server platforms.

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Introduction


Over the last couple of years, Bjorn3D has looked at many different types of memory from Corsair. Some of our guys have even been using Corsair RAM since they were the first to come out with good CL2 PC100 SDRAM at the early beginnings of the Super Socket 7 days. Each time Corsair releases a new product, they raise the bar as to how well the modules perform.

One of their latest moves has been TWINX, which are pairs of memory modules that perform together within tight specifications. This is nearly a necessity for the performance-minded memory buyer, because individual memory modules rated to the same timings may not work together under those specifications on a given motherboard. The latter part being the most apparent issue that we’ve encountered. Certain motherboards are very agreeable with certain RAM, while others are not. Thus with increased testing and a certification of sorts offered by Corsair’s TWINX configuration, we have a higher level of comfort when considering the purchase of multiple memory modules for the all too common dual channel memory motherboards where multiple modules are a must. Besides these obvious benefits of these tested pairs of RAM, gamers have been buying and swearing by the Corsair’s performance-minded DDR SDRAM for quite some time.

Today, we’re looking at a set of Corsair TWINX1024RE-3200LL DDR SDRAM. This pack is one of many TWINX configurations offered by Corsair. Corsair has basically two model lines of TWINX memory, based upon their XMS DDR SDRAM. The higher line, called XMS PRO, includes only three models:

Configuration
Speed
Size
Latency
Package
ECC
Heat Sinks
XMS Pro Line-up
TWINX1024-4000PRO
XMS4000 (500MHz)
2x512MB
3-4-4-8
2×184-pin DIMMs
non-ECC
Black Alum. Heat Spreaders
TWINX1024-3200LLPRO
XMS3200 (400MHz)
2x512MB
2-3-2-6
2×184-pin DIMMs
non-ECC
Black Alum. Heat Spreaders
TWINX1024-3200C2PRO
XMS3200 (400MHz)
2x512MB
2-3-3-6
2×184-pin DIMMs
non-ECC
Black Alum. Heat Spreaders
The TWINX Model Tested
TWINX1024RE-3200LL
XMS3200 (400MHz)
2x512MB
2-3-2-6
2×184-pin DIMMs
ECC
Black Alum. Heat Spreaders

As you can see from the table, the naming does provide some insight into what each model offers. The highest speed model of the XMS Pro line-up, the PC4000, does offer a very high FSB speed. However, its latencies leave a little to be desired at 3-4-4-8. But, this should be expected for this newer technology. New, faster RAM modules always start out at higher latencies. The other two TWINX Pro models are both PC3200 based. The only difference between the two is the memory timings. Our model, the TWINX1024RE-3200LL, has the exact same specs as the TWINX1024-3200LLPRO model, except that it is ECC RAM.

Please note that Corsair also offers many other configurations of their TWINX (non-PRO) matched pairs. These other pairings vary from PC4400 down to PC2700 parts, and include 2x512MB and 2x256MB pairings. Some include ECC memory error correction (the ‘RE’ models) while others include a ‘PL’ designation indicating platinum colored heat spreaders.

The Test


Whenever you start talking about ‘matched pairs’ of anything, you’ll probably think this level of certification is only really necessary for server markets or other high end systems. And especially when you talk about ECC ram, you’re definitely thinking server platforms. As mentioned in the intro, this isn’t necessarily true if you do want to be certain to reach the low latencies offered by Corsair’s TWINX series. For comparison sake, we are going to benchmark the TWINX1024RE-3200LL against some Legacy (renowned in the server market) ECC modules.

Our test configurations include 2x1GB of Legacy PC3200 ECC versus two sets of TWINX1024-3200LLPRO kits. What Corsair gives us with these kits is a total of four 512MB modules in matched pairs.

The test platform for the review includes the following:

  • Asus SK8N based on nForce 3 150PRO
  • AMD Athlon 64 FX-51
  • 2x 36GB WD Raptors in RAID 0
  • 2x 200GB Maxtor DiamondMax 9 in RAID 1
  • NVIDIA 5950U Reference Board

Legacy Timing 2.5-3-2-6
Corsair Timing 2.0-3-2-6

Sandra 2004

Memory Bandwidth – Int Buffered
Memory
Score
Corsair 5526
Legacy 5385
Memory Bandwidth – Float Buffered
Corsair 5426
Legacy 5335

The TWINX is leading the Legacy RAM by 2-3% in the Sandra benchmarks. This margin is likely what can be expected from the timing differences.

PC Mark 2002

Memory Test
Memory
Score
Corsair 11239
Legacy 10899

Again we’re seeing the TWINX lead by a small (3%) margin which can be attributed to the slightly faster timings of the Corsair.

PC Mark 2004

Memory Test
Memory
Score
Corsair 5095
Legacy 4098

PC Mark 2004 does a thorough job of isolating the memory sub-system and running through a series of tests, including: reading data blocks from memory, writing data blocks to memory, performing copy operations on data blocks, random access to data items, and latency. The Corsair TWINX has surpassed the Legacy by a whopping 24% and it apparently took the thoroughness of PCMark2004 to maximize the efficiencies of Corair’s ECC TWINX.

Unreal Tournament 2003

FlyBy – 1024×768, noAA, noAF
Memory
Score
Corsair 274
Legacy 259

Last but not least, we have a good old fashioned gaming benchmark. Even UT2003 shows us a 6% improvement going from the Legacy ECC DDR to Corsair’s TWINX ECC. Six percent is a decent amount of improvement for only a 0.5 ms latency improvement.

Conclusion


We have seen that Corsair has once again addressed the high performance desires of hardcore gamers with a quality product for those of us with AMD 64 FX and Opteron CPU’s. The PCMark2004 results show that this ECC DDR SDRAM could certainly aid in server duties also. The faster timing of the modules from Corsair has shown they have a noticeable speed difference over the Legacy based product. If you are building an FX or Opteron machine I would say look no farther than these modules.

The memory can be found on PriceGrabber for as low as $284.00 per set.

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