The leading manufacturers of overclocker-targeted memory modules, Corsair and OCZ, once again prove their highest technological and engineering potential. These two companies have introduced 1.1GHz DDR2 SDRAM modules ahead of all their competitors. However, this success was achieved by means of a long-known method, namely by increasing the voltage of the memory chips. PC2-8800 memory modules require 2.4V voltage, and this can be a cause of problems, particularly of higher heat dissipation that has to be coped with somehow. Corsair’s engineers introduced their revolutionary Dual-path Heat Xchange system whereas OCZ employed XTC heat-spreaders the company had tested on its earlier products. Both solutions proved to be adequate for the intended purpose.
The memory kits from Corsair and OCZ have somewhat different specifications. The Corsair TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF can be used at 1100MHz with 4-4-4-12 timings. The OCZ DDR2 PC2-8800 Gold Edition can only work at that frequency with 5-5-5-15 timings. So, the Corsair Dominator looks preferable from this point of view, but we should also take the price factor into account. The 2GB Corsair TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF kit costs as much as $650. The same-capacity OCZ DDR2 PC2-8800 Gold Edition kit costs $450 and looks as a value offering in comparison.
The Corsair TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF kit is worth its price, though. It is versatile in the sense that you can use it at 1.1GHz with rather low timings or as DDR2-800 with 3-3-3-10 timings. The OCZ kit can’t offer that. Besides, the Corsair Dominator kit includes a special-purpose cooler for cooling your DIMMs.
Winding up this review of recently released PC2-8800 memory, we want to draw your attention to the limited area of application of such memory, despite its impressive characteristics. Not all mainboards can give a voltage of 2.4V, necessary for PC2-8800, to the memory slots, yet this is not the main problem with such memory. What casts a doubt on the market perspectives of fast DDR2 SDRAM is the fact that today’s computers can’t “digest” it. As we’ve shown in our earlier reviews, overclocked systems with Core 2 Duo processors provide their highest performance when the memory is clocked in sync with the FSB. It means that you have to overclock the FSB to 550MHz for the expensive DDR2-1100 SDRAM to justify its cost. While it is possible with Core 2 Duo processors, considering that you can lower their frequency multiplier to 6x, modern mainboards can hardly work at such a high FSB clock rate, at least not until the release of a new revision of the Intel P965 Express chipset. As for computers with Socket AM processors from AMD, DDR2-1100 SDRAM may bring certain performance gains to them, but wouldn’t make sense from the economical standpoint. Today, platforms with AMD processors are entry-level and midrange solutions, so it’s unreasonable to use them with expensive top-end memory.