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Corsair XMS4400 (DDR 550) memory

Manufacturer: Corsair Micro
Supplied by: Corsair Micro
Street Price: $400 

by Dean Barker  (2/28/2004)

Introduction

Let me begin by saying this has been without a doubt, the most expensive review we have ever done.  The search for components that could handle the memory speed of Corsair’s newest addition was not exactly easy.  Let me explain.  Corsair has raised the bar on memory speeds to the nose bleed level of DDR550 (that’s 275MHz!)  That’s high enough to give even Tommy Chong a moment of pause.  Since the release of Intel’s Springdale and Canterwood chipsets, excessively high front side bus possibilities are open and begging to be explored.  These high FSB possibilities are high enough that when running a 1:1 ratio between your processor and memory, the memory has been the weakest link.  Corsair in one fell swoop has blown this right out of the water with their TwinX 1024-4400 memory kit.

Hold your horses

Now, I want to emphasis the operative word from the introduction, “possibilities.”  It’s not just any mainboard or processor that can handle 275MHz on the bus.  For instance, for this review, the OCC company credit card was hot from ordering up processors and mainboards that could even have a chance at this speed.  Selecting the Intel Pentium 4 2.4C as our best hope, we went through five processors until we found one that could do the job.  Surprisingly, it was here at the Penthouse Labs the whole time.  Graham on a whim jacked up the 2.4C that was in his primary box, a AOpen EZ65 and bang hit 275MHz.  In spite of not being 100% stable at this speed, this still was a huge testament to the AOpen mainboard in the EZ65.  His chip was promptly “procured” and put in our ASUS P4C 800 Deluxe for testing.

You have already noticed that the XMS4400 memory is not exactly cheap being priced at $400.  The flip side of this is that only a small proportion of users will be able to actually put these memory sticks to the test.  If you have spent lots of time and money putting together the ultimate overclockable system you aren't going to Best Buy for some generic memory.  You are going to get the best there is available for reaching north of 500MHz.

The Unit

Corsair offers the TwinX 1024-4400 kits with either platinum or black heatspreaders.  Under the heatspreaders are Hynix D5 chips.  The chip latencies are reported as 3-4-4-8 at DDR550 under 2.75 volts.  This may seem pretty loose but remember the goal of the XMS4400 is to allow you the reach to find the true ceiling of your CPU with an extreme overclock.  Unfortunately, I could not find what the maximum rating of the Hynix D5 chips but considering Corsair selected them for their flagship DDR550 product I'd say its up there.


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