Corsair 3GB DDR3-1333MHz CL9 Memory

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Product: Corsair 3GB DDR3-1333
Price: Find Lowest Price Here

 

Introduction:

After a few rough years of ridiculously high prices, I think it's safe to say that DDR3 has finally arrived for the masses.  While 6GB kits are still a little expensive for the average user, mainstream DDR3 is finally affordable.  This makes the 3GB Triple-Channel kit of DDR3-1333 CL9 a great deal for the mere $65 you can find it for online.  When it comes to overclocking, this kit actually surprised us and did quite well.  Make sure you keep on reading to see how it stacks up to the 6GB Crucial DDR3-1600 we've take a look at really.

This kit features 3x 1GB sticks that have 9-9-9-24 timings at 1.5v and this is what sets it apart from a lot of DDR3 - it runs at a mere 1.5v - Standard JEDEC.

 DDR3 Top
DDR3 Top
DDR3 Back
DDR3 Back

 

First Impressions:

The Corsair XMS3 PC3-10666 3GB is a pretty basic kit that doesn't have the flash and beauty of other Corsair XMS3 DHX, Dominator or Dominator GT memory.  The heat spreaders are quite plain, but when you consider that the memory only has a mere 1.5v coursing through the traces, you realize that it really won't begin to generate the heat of a 2000MHz Dominator GT CL7 kit will.  This is probably one of your most basic triple-channel kits for the Core i7.

 DDR3 Profile
DDR3 Profile
 DDR3 Long
DDR3 Long

 

These modules come packaged in a nice tidy kit that claims to be matched and shouldn't have any issues running on any X58 setup.

 

Specifications & Info:

The information below has been pulled from the PDF white paper on Corsair's site.

The XMS Series TR3X3G1333C9 is a 3072MByte kit of DDR3 SDRAM DIMMs built using Corsair’s high performance heat sink. This part delivers outstanding performance in the latest generation of X58 DDR3-based motherboards. It has been tested extensively in popular X58 motherboards to ensure compatibility and performance at its rated speed. This memory has been verified to operate at 1333MHz at latencies of 9-9-9-24 at 1.50V VDIMM.

  • Each three module set is tested at 1333MHz - Packaged together immediately following system test
  • Tested together at 1333MHz, Vdimm = 1.5V, at latency settings of 9-9-9-24 on X58-based motherboards with a Corei7 CPU
  • SPD programmed at: JEDEC standard 9- 9-9-24 values at 1333MHz.
  • 3072 Megabytes of DDR3 memory - Three matched 1GB modules
  • 100% tested at 1333MHz in X58-based motherboards
  • Lifetime warranty

 

On the next page we'll cover the test setup and do some overclocking before we dive into the performance numbers.



Test Setup:

In this section we will show the setup of the test system for our memory testing. I have provided separate configurations for each of the speeds we have tested 1333MHz CL9 (stock), fastest CL8 speed, and the fastest CL9 speed possible. It is important to note that in order to achieve some of these speeds we have tested this memory kit at; it required overclocking the FSB, which in turn increases our CPU clock speeds. For all of my testing I used the EVGA X58 motherboard and keyed in specific timings in order to keep everything comparable.  To make things interesting we included the numbers of the Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR3-1600 CL8 kit for reference.

 

Test System:


Intel Core i7
CPU
Motherboard
Memory
3GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3-1333 Kit
Graphics
2x Radeon HD 4850 Crossfire
Cooling
Hard Drives
2x Seagate 200GB HDD RAID 0
Operating System
Windows Vista Ultimate x64 w/SP1
ATI Drivers
9.1 Drivers

 


We only used three main memory settings for testing the Corsair XMS3 DDR3-1333 memory.  We use the timings on the label - 9-9-9-24 1T at 1.5v as well as the fastest clock speed available at both CL8 and CL9.  In order to push this memory up to higher speeds, we bumped up the voltage to 1.6v - up from the stock 1.5v.  Our fastest CL8 speed ended up being DDR3-1496.  Finally we clocked up the DDR3 as fast as possible using the CL9 settings for stock speeds, left the voltage at 1.6v and found out how high we can take this memory before it gets flaky on us.  The result was an impressive 1734MHz at CL9.  I'm sure we could take it higher with a bit more voltage but as this memory is geared for the "average" user, we don't feel that we need to phase-change cool our memory for maximum performance - at least not on a $65 kit.  Either way, we managed to gain an extra 400MHz at stock timings - a 30% overclock.

DDR3 Stack
DDR3 Stack

 

Many DDR3-1333 kits for the Core i7 come with CL8 timings, but this value kit is not geared for high-performance, but great value and as such it comes with stock timings of 9-9-9-24 at 1.5v.  As you can see, we had a fair bit of headroom when it comes to overclocking, but most users will simply sit with stock timings.

Corsair SPD
Corsair SPD

 

As you can see, the memory comes with several SPD values that should make it work in pretty much any system.  At DDR3-888 it clocks in at CL6, DDR3-1038 is set at CL7, DDR3-1186 is locked in at CL8 and finally DDR3-1333 is set at CL9.  As we've shown above the memory has a whole lot more to offer though.


 CL9 @ 1734MHz
CL9 @ 1734MHz

 

 CL8 @ 1496MHz
CL8 @ 1496MHz


Benchmarking - Everest:

Because there is a lot of system tweaking that goes along with clocking up memory to non-standard speeds, we haven't included any "real-world" benchmarks.  In order to get the memory to run at speeds other than 1066MHz, 1333MHz, 1600MHz or 1866MHz the motherboard bus and CPU must be clocked up in order to achieve these speeds.  As we've shown before the CPU plays a huge roll in benchmark performance and so it's not fair to compare WinRAR compression when the CPU is clocked up 400MHz faster.  Of course the "RAM" will look faster, but in reality the CPU is the one doing the work.  For this reason we use two simply synthetic benchmarks to show memory performance.  How it affects performance in the real-world will depend largely on CPU, motherboard and other hardware bottlenecks so we have to be content with synthetic benchmarks to gain our number metric.  First up is Everest.

  Everest

While it's no surprise that the Crucial DDR3-1600 crosses the finish line first in some of the tests (stock, fastest low latency, fastest stock timings), the Corsair pulls off a very impressive showing and we rechecked our numbers several times.  ll in all, at the fastest speeds both kits are capable off, the Crucial wins, but it's pretty darn close in other areas.  This shows that when we are running at DDR3-1496 at CL8 on the Corsair kit vs. DDR3-1600 CL8 on the Crucial kit, the CPU plays a role as the Corsair system is overclocked.


Benchmarking - SiSoft Sandra:

If you want to compare your triple-channel DDR3 performance, you can head on over and grab SiSoft Sandra here and compare away.  Please keep in mind that if you are using a dual-channel kit, your performance numbers will look dismal.

 SiSoft Bandwidth
SiSoft Bandwidth
 SiSoft Latency
SiSoft Latency

 

SiSoft shows a greater benefit to faster memory than Everest did.  The fastest numbers that Corsair managed to pull off was at 1734MHz at CL9.  This kit pulled off a theoretical 24.64GB/sec transfer - compared to the best the Crucial DDR3-1600 kit did at DDR3-1808 at CL8 - 30.2GB/sec.  The difference won't likely be noticeable in most situations, but the impact on your wallet certainly will be noticed.  The Corsair kit will save you well over $200.

 

Final Thoughts:

Running This is our second official Triple-Channel kit of DDR3 to hit the bench here at BCCHardware and we have limited data on other kits.  In fact, the Corsair DDR3-1333 kit is pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum, but that's what makes this review so interesting.  Although the Corsair kit is $230 cheaper than the 6GB Crucial DDR3-1600 kit, the performance difference isn't that significant.  The performance of this kit seems to be very solid and we actually managed to run well over stock speeds at tighter timings making this a great value.  This is probably one of the cheaper triple channel 3GB kits of DDR3 and it manages to hold it's own against more expensive PC3-12800 CL8 kits.  This gives the kit a perfect score in terms of "value".  Overall, this is a great kit and if you are building a system and have spent all of your money on motherboard and processor.  You still can have very good performance without spending a crap-ton of money on RAM.

 

Pros:

  • Low price DDR3 Triple-Channel kit
  • Runs 1333MHz at CL8 instead of CL9
  • Can overclock 400MHz at stock timings
  • Excellent performance:price ratio

 

Cons:

  • No XMP profiles
  • Pretty slow timings

 

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