21 May 2009
Now to talk about Corsair - a well known manufacturer of PSUs, RAM, TEC Coolers and other stuff.
First of all, my initial impression of Corsair was tainted when I was searching for some decent DDR2 RAM back in January - a fair few of Corsair products had negative reviews purely based on 1066 Mhz RAM not performing as it should. People mentioned that it was just 800Mhz rebranded at slower timings and higher voltage.
Now, with the SCAN event in Bolton last Saturday, the couple of BenchTec guys were saying Corsair this, Corsair that. Also, a guy from Corsair was at the event.
The big rave from BenchTec was two fold - PSUs, and DDR3 RAM. The PSU being heralded was the HX 1000W:
It's a modular piece of kit, that is regarded as one of the best PSUs money can buy. 1000W at 50 degrees C, 80A on a single rail, 6 6+2-pin PCI-E connectors, 5-year warranty, the lot. So it looks nice, and performs well. There is one downside - the price. £190 per unit is a large pill to swallow when you're on a budget. In essence, that could be a whole system right there, if not most of one.
So if I was to get one, I'd go for the next one down - the TX 850W model.
Still 80%+ efficient, 4 6+2-pin PCI-E connectors, 5 year warranty, 850W @ 50 deg.C. However, it isn't modular - BUT only £115. At least in my opinion, that's more like it.
Now onto the subject of RAM. I did a little research for this, and basically I can sum it up in a phrase - Corsair make the ultimate RAM for benchmarking. Their flagship product is the DDR3 Dominator GT:
Rated at 2000Mhz and 7-8-7-18 1T timings, these blow everything else out of the water. Take my current G.Skill - 1333Mhz and 8-8-8-24 timings; that is a HUGE difference. The guy from Corsair said that for every 100 kits they aim to make of this GT stuff, only one kit actually passes (the rest get rated at lower speed). So it's crafted, hand tested, and looks good. Now comes the downside - again, price. A 3GB kit seems to be almost non-existent in the UK, but retails for $300 USD. The 6GB kit is around $540/£300. Again, a tough pill to swallow.
For good performance with a tighter budget, there are the 1866Mhz 9-9-9-24 Corsair Dominator kits for £125.
A friend pointed out that an increase of 1-1-1 in timings requires approx 150Mhz on the clock to get similar performance (I haven't done the math, but it seems fair). So if we raise the bar on each kit to 10-10-10, what would the speed be?
(£300) 6GB Corsair Dom GT: 2000 7-8-7 -> 2400 10-10-10
(£206) 6GB Corsair Dom: 1866 9-9-9 -> 2016 10-10-10
(£42) 6GB G.Skill 1333 8-8-8 -> 1633 10-10-10
That's a serious price to pay for quality RAM...