We are hearing that the amount of memory on Windows 7 is just as important as raw ram speed. We got a couple of 8GB kits including a Corsair Dominator 8GB kit and tested them out.
With Windows 7 hitting the shelves we were hearing that the amount of ram in Windows 7 is just as important as raw ram speed. So to that end we got a couple of 8GB kits, installed Windows 7 and ran some testing. We ran our normal test suite on the kits then ran further testing using 2 sticks of ram (2x2GB) then the whole kit (4x2GB). That way the exact same ram is tested with 4GB and 8GB and the testing results should be about as good as they come.
Corsair was nice enough to send over a 8GB kit of Dominator 1600MHz for our testing enjoyment. We like Corsair Dominator ram, the black IHS (integrated heat spreaders), the performance, the lifetime warranty, the excellent support forum. There’s little not to like about Corsair Dominator ram. Lets see how 4GB density fares against 8GB density.
What’s that on top this new 8GB kit a Blue fin design, we loved the Dominator GT red fins and we’re loving the blue fins on the 8GB kit we received. Just that little splash of color helps the ram stand out in the rig. The traditional all black design is nice but it’s somewhat muted inside the rig. We like a little splash of color to set things off.
- Kit Number CMD8GX3M4A1600C8
- Timings 8-8-8-24
- Density 8GB (4x2GB)
- Voltage 1.65v
- Speed 1600MHz
- Type DDR3 Low Voltage
- Pins 240
- Heatspreader Yes
- Intel XMP ready
With a native speed of 1600MHz timed a 8-8-8-24 and low voltage requirements of 1.65v this kit is perfect for our new LGA 1156 Core i7 870 test rig. Not only is it perfect the Acrylic chassis we have the rig in has Blue LED fans so the new blue fins should look really nice in there.
Pictures & Impressions
There’s nothing like the first pictures of a new ram kit, all shiny and new with that new component smell almost all reviewers are addicted to. The kit we got arrived in absolutely pristine perfect condition, not a scratch or mar on it.
Revision 3.1 means this kit is Micron based, Micron F to be precise and any kit with Micron memory IC’s is sure to be a great overclocker.
We didn’t actually move the memory in this shot we’re pretty sure it’s crawling toward the test rig under it’s own power.
With the new blue sticker and blue fins we are liking the color trends we are seeing from Corsair.
Included with our kit we found a Dominator airflow fan which is always nice to see. With 4 modules running in close proximity they might need a little airflow during overclocking.
Assembly on the fan only takes about 2 minutes and your ready to go.
Testing & Methodology
We did a fresh load of Vista Ultimate 64 bit on the Crucial 128GB SSD and loaded all the latest motherboard drivers for the Asus Maximus 3. We updated the BIOS to the newest available BIOS at the time of testing. We ran each test 3 times and report the average of each three pass run here.
Then after we ran our normal testing suite we installed a new HD with a fresh and update load of Windows 7 Professional on it and ran our Windows & tests. That way we can show results with the current OS, Vista, and show some results in Windows 7 which by the looks of it will quickly gain acceptance.
|Case Type||Sunbeam 9 Bay Acrylic Chassis|
|CPU||Core i7 870|
|Motherboard||Asus Maximus 3|
Corsair Dominator DC DDR3 1600MHz 8GB Kit Cas 8 (CMD8GX3M4A4A1600C8)
Kingston HyperX DC DDR3 1600MHz 8GB Kit Cas 8 (KHX1600C8D3K4/8GX)
Patriot Viper 2 Sector 5 DC DDR3 2000MHz 4GB Kit Cas 8 (PVV34G2000LLKB)
Kingston HyperX DC DDR3 2133MHz 4GB Kit Cas 8 (KHX2133C8D3T1K2/4GX)
Corsair Dominator DC DDR3 1600MHz 4GB Kit Cas 8 (CDM4GX3M2A1600C8)
|CPU Cooler||Thermalright Mux 120 (Dual 120mm Fans)|
|Hard Drives||Crucial 128 GB SSD(MLC/Samsung controller)|
|Optical||Sony DVD R/W|
|GPU(s)||BFG GTX-260 Maxcore|
|Case Fans||120mm Fan cooling the mosfet CPU area|
|Testing PSU||Tagan BZ 700w Modular|
|Gaming Ear Buds
|Any Attempt Copy This System Configuration May Lead to Bankruptcy
Synthetic Benchmarks & Games
SANDRA XII Professional
Everest Ultimate Edition v.4.60
SuperPi Mod 1.5XS
WinRar v.3.71 Compression Benchmark
Windows 7 Professional
“EVEREST Ultimate Edition is an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking it provides essential system and overclock information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings. CPU, FPU and memory benchmarks are available to measure the actual system performance and compare it to previous states or other systems. Furthermore, complete software, operating system and security information makes EVEREST Ultimate Edition a comprehensive system diagnostics tool that offers a total of 100 pages of information about your PC.”
We got almost identical performance from both the 8GB kits but the Dominator kit managed to squeeze out a hair ahead of the Kingston kit. The Dominator kit running at 1720MHz came close to the performance of the Viper kit so performance is looking pretty good.
The Everest Memory Write test shows the Dominator kit in the lead at stock speed but when overclocked the HyperX kit squeaked by the Dominator kit. Let’s face reality though both kits are showing stellar performance so far.
The Memory Copy test again shows the Dominator 8GB kit ahead by a few points but with differences that small it’s nothing that human perception would notice. By overclocking the kit to 1720 which should be pretty safe for 24/7 operation we gained about .8GB/s bandwidth so that should be a nice little performance boost.
The Dominator 8GB 1600MHz kit turned in a 29.1ns Latency which is pretty amazing considering that another 4GB kit of Dominator running at the same speed turned in a 31.5ns Latency.
WinRar v. 3.71
This module in WinRar generates random data, which contains specially introduced redundancy, increasing the load to both the processor and memory. Data is then passed through RAR compression and decompression algorithms, and the output of the decompression algorithm is compared to the source data. If any differences are found, WinRar then reports “Errors found – Yes” in the command window. WinRar displays a size of processed data and compression speed, current and resulting, in kilobytes per second.
In WinRar the Dominator 8GB kit slid ahead of the HyperX kit at stock speed but the HyperX kit slipped ahead when overclocked.
Super PI is the “Gold standard” for many when it comes to judging system performance. We ran 1 and 2 Meg calculations, again running each test three times and reporting the average of the results.
In the SuperPI 1MB test the Kingston kit did better but you need to keep in mind how small these differences actually are. At stock speeds the differences between the HyperX kit and the Dominator kit ran 35 thousandths of a second.
Then in a reversal the Dominator 8GB kit came out on top in the SuperPI 2MB test when overclocked but at stock speed the HyperX 8GB kit came in a little over a tenth of a second faster.
“SiSoftware Sandra (the System Analyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software. It works along the lines of other Windows utilities, however it tries to go beyond them and show you more of what’s really going on. Giving the user the ability to draw comparisons at both a high and low-level. You can get information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, PCI, PCI-X, PCIe (PCI Express), database, USB, USB2, 1394/Firewire, etc.”
The Sisoft Sandra Memroy test shows the Dominator 8GB kit turning in a 21.73GB/s score which is phenomenal bandwidth for a Dual channel DDR3 kit. On the older LGA775 platform we were lucky to see 9GB/s.
We ran Photoshop under Windows 7 Professional and used a 512MB cluster of 128 photos and opened all the photos at once. We start recording the time from the moment we click open until the time the last photo is opened then record the time it took. We repeat the test 5 times and then toss out the highest and lowest time, then average the remaining 3 runs. We tested with the 8GB kits but we tested with 4GB of the kit then tested with the whole 8GB.
Starting into the Windows 7 testing we did we only ran the 8GB kits but we ran them with half the kit (4GB) then came back and ran them with the whole 8GB. The point here isn’t which kit did better but to show that in Windows 7, and we suspect all 64 bit operating system there is a distinct advantage to using more ram. Using 4GB of the Dominator 8GB kit we ran a 212.25 second load time and with 8GB we managed to shave 19.45 seconds off that time.
Windows 7 Sleep & Resume
Again this is part of our impromptu Windows 7 testing and what we did was boot into Windows 7 Professional and waited one minute for all the loading processes to complete. Then we checked the Task Manager to make sure everything had settled down. When everything had completed loading we closed task manager and put the machine to sleep. We started timing from the time we clicked sleep until the last power indicator or HD light ceased activity. We recorded the time it took to sleep the machine, then we woke the machine and recorded the time from the time we started waking the rig until the desktop had completed loading. We repeated the tests 5 times tossed out the highest and lowest times and averaged the remaining 3 scores and report those scores here.
Win 7 Sleep
When we used 4GB of ram we saw the Dominator kit coming in at 116.2 seconds to sleep our test rig but when we popped all 8GB in the rig we knocked 40.08 seconds off the sleep time. That;s a pretty large performance difference.
Win 7 Resume
Here’s where we see the largest performance difference, with 4GB in the test rig it took 22.97 seconds for the rig to wake up but when we put 8GB in the rig it only took 8.16 seconds to resume. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the performance difference there.
Crysis Warhead is the much anticipated sequel of Crysis, featuring an updated CryENGINE™ 2 with better optimization. It was one of the most anticipated titles of 2008.
Once again we used Windows 7 Professional and Crysis Warhead and what we did was start Crysis Warhead and waited until the game had fully loaded. Then we chose the Call me Ishmael level to record the load time. We started recording the load time when we clicked the Call me Ishmael save game and stopped timing it when we got control of the game. Between tests we rebooted the machine, waited one minute for load processes to complete, then repeated the test. We repeated the test 5 times, tossed out the high and low score and averaged the remaining 3, the average of those 3 scores are reported here.
We wanted to check load times for an application inside Windows and sure enough it took 80.03 seconds for the Call Me Ishmael level of Crysis Warhead to load with a 4GB kit and with 8 GB it took 68.52 seconds to load. In fact every test we ran including the load times we aren’t showing the larger 8GB kit showed an advantage.
Lets take a look at the Corsair Kit just like CPU-Z shows on first boot.
All we did here was enable the XMP profile then reset the Bclk to 160 and reset the voltage on the CPU to 1.35v. The Dominator kit loaded right up to 1600MHz with the correct timings it was plug and play on the rams part. Enabling the XMP will knock out your overclock unless you remember to reset your Bclk and CPU voltage.
Here’s a shot of what we tested the OC speed at. We tested at 1720MHz but that’s not as high as we got the kit stable.
We loosened the timings to 9-9-9-24 and got the kit to 1900MHz using stock 1.65v on the ram. Not to shabby at all for stock volts. Well what if your a little insane and don’t mind potentially killing your CPU’s integrated memory controller? Using 1.75v which is 0.1v more than Intel says is safe we got the kit to 2GHz stable.
We liked the performance of the Corsair Dominator 1600MHz 8GB kit. We saw a lot of advantages on Windows 7 and Vista 64 using an 8GB kit of ram, so much so we spent the better part of a day loading applications and timing them with 4GB of the kit and again with 8GB. In almost every case we saw an improvement in load times. In memory hungry applications like Photoshop we get better load times on large groups of images.
In short 8GB performs better on a 64bit operating system, enough better that if you compute a lot, or use a computer at work it’s well worth upgrading to 8GB of ram.
Performance on the 8GB kit was better than we expected and the 8GB kit outperformed another 4GB kit of Dominator we have reviewed previously. Considering that both kits were timed the same there’s no disadvantage we can see to running more ram. So much so that we will be running 8GB on our LGA1156 and 12GB on our LGA1366 rig.
The Corsair kit has managed to change our minds about some aspects of ram, there are times to run a lightning fast kit, but in general the density (amount) of ram you are running is just as important as the speed of the ram. We would opt for an 8GB kit of ram running at 1600MHz over a 4GB kit running at 1866.
We loved the new blue sticker/fin color scheme on the Dominator kit and the great performance we got from running an 8GB kit didn’t hurt our feelings. With a lifetime warranty, Corsair support, and the Dominator distinctive look it’s hard to beat this Dominator 8GB kit.
We are using a addition to our scoring system to provide additional feedback beyond a flat score. Please note that the final score isn’t an aggregate average of the rating system.
- Performance 8.5
- Value 8
- Quality 10
- Warranty 10
- Features 9
- Innovation 9
+ Good Overclocker
+ OCing Performance Scaled Well
+ 8GB Kits Give A Great Performance Boost
+ Distinctive Dominator Look
+ Easy To Overclock
+ Dominator Quality
- Tall Heat Sink Might Interfere With Some CPU Coolers
- Getting Spoiled By Having An 8GB Dominator Kit
The Corsair Dominator 8GB DC DDR3 1600MHz kit showed us the advantage of running more ram and gave us a great performance boost, we plan on running 8GB in our test rig and that’s the best compliment you can give any product so it scores an: 8.5 out of 10 and the Bjorn3D Seal Of Approval.