Corsair takes DDR3 memory to 2 GHz - update

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener and Humphrey Cheung

Taipei (Taiwan) – Corsair announced the first 1600 MHz memory for Intel’s upcoming 3-series chipset platform – and previewed a 2000 MHz version of its Dominator memory.

Intel will be unveiling its 3-series chipset “Bearlake” at Computex this week – and virtually major motherboard manufacturers are expected to showcase a new generation of boards to go along. On the memory side, the top-5 of the mainstream manufacturers have announced devices up to DDR3-1333, while Corsair is the first to actually launch a production-ready 1600 MHz version (PC3-12800) of the technology, which will support Intel’s P35 and X38 chipsets.

 


Corsair overclocks DDR3 to 2 GHz...

1333 MHz and 1600 MHz modules are expected to be available later this month and use technology that was introduced with the DDR2 “Dominator” and “XMS3 DHX” series.  The 1600 MHz Dominator devices include Corsair’s quad-layer heat sink design, which promises to improve thermal dissipation on the memory. In DHX devices, heat is removed via the leads of the BGA chips into the PCB and the back of the BGA packages into extruded aluminum heat sinks.

 

Latency ratings are 10-8-8-24 for the 1600 MHz Dominator modules and 9-9-9-24 for the 1333 MHz XMS3 DHX. The company will offer a 1333 MHz XMS3 Classic (9-9-9-24) and a 1066 MHz XMS3 Classic (7-7-7-21) version as well. Pricing has not been announced.

The enthusiast memory maker provided a glimpse into the future with prototypes of DDR3-2000 (PC3-16000) memory running during a presentation, which provides a fuirst idea how far DDR3 will actually scale. “The fact that we are able to realize 50% more memory speed rating at launch compared to the standard DDR3-1066 specification is simply stunning,” said Jack Peterson, vice president of marketing at Corsair.   

Of course, DDR3’s power saving claims are out the window at these clock speeds. While DDR3 memory has a lower supply voltage than DDR2 (1.5 volts instead of 1.8 volts), which means that the power consumption per clock cycle has been improved, higher clock speeds actually increase the power consumption of the new memory.

AMD users will have to wait a few more months before they can use the new memory. AMD recently told TG Daily that the company will be waiting for its customers to request the new technology in its systems. Industry sources mentioned that AMD will begin supporting DDR3 with the AM3 socket, which is expected sometime in 2008.

Update

Company engineers used cooling fans to get a 1 GB DDR3 Dominator memory module to run at 2 Ghz on a specially prepared computer.

You can see in the picture that there is only one memory module with a cooling unit on top.  The CPU-Z info shows the Front Side Bus ratio running at a 1 to 2 ratio, 1000 Mhz (quad-pumped 250 Mhz) effective against an effective speed of 2000 Mhz (double-pumped 1 Ghz) for the memory. 

DDR3 has a larger prefetch than DDR2 and is able to grab 8 bytes per clock cycle versus the 4 bytes of DDR2.  But there is no free lunch because it takes a little more time to grab the data, as is evidenced by the memory timings on the CPU-Z screen.  Of course these numbers have been tweaked to get this particular module to run at 2 Ghz.  The regular DDR3 Dominator modules will probably have lower timing values.

 

Read all news from Computex 2007