Corsair’s new memory is quite an innovative solution that comes under the unique marketing name of Dominator. Corsair’s approach to developing memory that would break all frequency records was creative: TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF modules don’t have analogs among Corsair’s earlier products and feature a bunch of innovative technologies and solutions.
Besides the engineers, Corsair’s marketing department has also taken part in designing the TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF as it is. In order to be able to write “the fastest memory” in the press-release, the new modules from Corsair were put into PC2-8888 rather than the PC2-8800 category, so their official frequency is 1111MHz rather than 1.1GHz. This 11MHz difference, so important from a marketing standpoint, doesn’t matter much to us end-users, so let’s take a look at the Dominator series TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF modules from a technical standpoint.
Each kit includes two 1GB DDR2 DIMMs. The kit specification promises that the modules are stable at 1111MHz with 4-4-4-12 timings (at 2T Command Rate) and a voltage of 2.4V. The manufacturer also claims the voltage can be increased to 2.5V without any risk for the modules.
Corsair didn’t limit itself to just setting the voltage higher. One glance over the TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF is enough to realize that this kit differs completely from its own predecessors as well as from competing products. The heat-spreaders on these sticks are larger than ordinary heat-spreaders installed on DDR2 SDRAM modules. The height of Corsair Dominator modules is 51mm, which is 20mm higher than the standard DIMM for overclocked systems and 6mm higher than Corsair Pro series modules. Moreover, the heat-spreaders on the TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF have some ribbing for better heat dissipation. As a result, these heat-spreaders, even though made of aluminum rather than copper, are good enough to cool memory chips that work at a 33% higher voltage than the normal voltage of DDR2 SDRAM chips. Well, the heat-spreaders on both sides of each Corsair Dominator module are only half the cooling system implemented in it. Corsair’s Dual-path Heat Exchange technology implies yet another way for heat dissipation. The technology is based on the assumption that about half the amount of heat generated by the memory chips goes into the module’s PCB, especially since the BGA packaging of DDR2 SDRAM chips (the contacts are located on the reverse side of the chip) provides an easy way for heat to go – right through the contacts. Considering this, Corsair’s engineers thought it proper to equip not only the chips, but the PCB as well, with heat-spreaders.
This is how it’s implemented: the PCB wiring of the Corsair TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF modules is basically the same as that of other company’s product, TWIN2X2048-6400C3. The PCB of Dominator modules has a special copper-coated area at its top two additional aluminum heat-spreaders are fastened to. Thus, a Corsair Dominator module is cooled by a total of four heat-spreaders, two of which are responsible for the external surface of the memory chips and two more for taking heat off the module’s PCB which becomes hot receiving heat from the internal surface of the chips as well as through the contacts.
Thanks to this cleverly designed cooling system, it became possible to increase the voltage of the Corsair TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF memory to 2.4-2.5V. That’s how they reached an 1111MHz frequency with 4-4-4-12 timings using the same chips from Micron as are employed in other overclocker-friendly DDR2 SDRAM modules.
That’s not all about the cooling of TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF modules. There is an additional cooler included with the Dominator kit. It is fastened on the DIMM slot locks and blows at the installed modules to guarantee their protection against overheat.
This cooler contains three 40mm fans with a rotation speed of about 5000rpm. The fans are all directed towards the memory to ensure strong airflow there. The efficiency of this cooler is beyond any doubt, but unfortunately, its noise is audible, and this spoils the overall impression from the solution.
The cooler is shipped only with Corsair TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF kits so far, but the manufacturer is planning to sell it separately, too. As a matter of fact, it can be easily installed into almost any system.