Articles: Memory

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The system memory market hasn’t been revived by the Windows 8 release as some had expected. Even the most optimistic forecasts suggest that the demand for memory chips and modules in the last quarter of 2012 is going to grow by a mere 8% whereas the previous versions of the most popular desktop OS used to provoke a much higher sales growth. For example, Windows 7 helped increase system memory sales by 18% although that OS had lower system requirements compared to the previous version. Windows 8 seems to be unable to have such a strong effect.

There are substantial reasons for that, actually. First of all, Windows 8 doesn’t sell well itself. The OS brings about a lot of innovations but many users, especially corporate ones, are not ready to make the transition from the customary desktop to the tile-based interface. Second, Windows 8 doesn’t act as a strong incentive to upgrade the PC fleet. This is partially due to the notorious economic conditions that prevent users from investing into new PCs. On the other hand, traditional PCs are currently being replaced in many areas with tablet PCs or even smartphones, so many potential customers prefer to invest in these perspective technologies instead. And the third reason is that it is quite comfortable to move to Windows 8 from any Microsoft OS released since 2001 without any changes in the hardware configuration. For example, the new OS has the same hardware requirements as its predecessor but, being optimized for mobile devices, feels much better on platforms with a weak CPU and a small amount of memory.

This is all bad news for memory makers since prices for memory chips and modules remain at an indecently low level and there is no hope for this situation to change in the short-term perspective. It has become increasingly difficult to sell computer memory with any profit. However, there are some firms that remain profitable even under such bleak circumstances. They produce DDR3 SDRAM modules for enthusiasts by picking up chips that can work better than specified in the JEDEC standards and assembling overclocker-friendly modules guaranteed to be stable at high clock rates. With attractive specs and a lifetime warranty, such modules can be marketed at prices much higher than the average level. And there are quite a lot of users who want to have that memory for that price. The leading makers of overclocker-friendly memory don’t seem to live from hand to mouth.

Of course, this market segment has its competition, but in specific forms. Price wars are not common because the process of selecting, testing and servicing overclocker-friendly memory modules calls for a high price markup. So, it is high operating frequencies that the manufacturers are competing at. Most of them have already mastered DDR3-2800 SDRAM, which seems to be a certain milestone since higher clock rates do not make much sense right now: memory controllers of existing CPUs can hardly be stable with faster memory.

They also compete at releasing DDR3 SDRAM modules with attractive design. Computer enthusiasts often have system cases with a side window and try to make their PCs look good by means of highlighting and other decorations. Every little detail is important then, so memory modules, situated right next to the CPU, must look good, too. Therefore, the manufacturers cater to modders by experimenting with the shape and color of memory module heatsinks or even adding extra visual effects like highlighting or various indicators.

So, today we are going to tell you about a new family of overclocker-friendly memory modules from Corsair which combine high performance with attractive exterior design. We’ve got several Dominator Platinum series kits for our tests and they make us understand those customers who feel an irresistible urge to replace their old memory modules with these ones even if that makes no sense from a technical standpoint.

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