Corsair Dominator 3x2GB PC3-12800 C8 Memory Review

by 3oh6     |     February 3, 2009

Package & Memory Overview

Right off the top we have to admit, the title of this section is a bit misleading. We won't have a single image of the package this memory retails in. This is due to the fact that we didn't receive the retail package of this memory as our sample was hot off the production floor in order to get to us in time for the beginning of our i7 rush. Based on history, however, we can assume this memory is packaged in a plastic molded blister pack. It isn't like the package is a complex or integral aspect of a memory kit so we aren't too worried about being light on details there, instead, we will jump right into looking at these impressive Corsair Dominator modules.

It still looks a little weird and to be honest, intimidating, seeing modules in triplicate instead of pairs. If nothing else, triple channel memory kits just look impressive all stacked up together, especially the sleek black Dominator DHX heat sinks. At first glance, these heat sinks look like the Dominator DHX heat sinks we have come to know and love but a closer look reveals a bit of a face lift to the design.

Upon standing the modules up we can see that the main body looks pretty much the same. The thin ribbed out shell doesn't appear to be any different from the DHX heat sinks of past, but the fins along the top are definitely different. Not terribly different but a slight redesign has occurred. The PCB is still a Corsair specific model which provides heat transfer from throughout the PCB up to the top strip of the circuit board where the heat sink makes contact. This contact along a top strip of the PCB provides an avenue for the heat from the PCB and the ICs to be pulled out by the heat sink. This is the key to the DHX design. So not only does the heat sink remove heat from the ICs themselves, but also the PCB. This heat is then dissipated into the ambient air via the cooling fins.

At the angle of the first photo we can get a better idea of just how these heat sinks work. We can see that the modules are double sided and the heat sink attaches to both sides of ICs through a seemingly invisible thermal material. This material is actually cured, or baked, onto the ICs and the heat sinks for optimal thermal transfer. We can also clearly see where the PCB contacts the upper portion of the heat sinks. This is where the design has changed. The old DHX heat sinks actually had two pieces to the upper portion but this new design incorporates all the cooling into one solid mass. The cooling fins are then attached to this mass through what appears to be a strip incorporated into the main body and a set of hex head thumb screws. Based on the photos so far, it would seem entirely possible then to take the cooling fins off.

As suspected, thirty seconds and a couple turns from an allen key and we have the cooling fins separated from the modules. On the underside of the cooling fins we can see a thermal material, this is very similar to what you would find on the underside of a PWM heat sink on a motherboard. We can't be 100% certain about the reason for the re-design but the new water-cooled TEC attachment that Corsair has been showing off in limited capacity in the enthusiast world would seem to be the likely motivation for this new design. We obviously don't have that attachment here today so we will move on.

The last photo above shows the channel that is vacant with the cooling fins removed. It really doesn't appear to be a very efficient path for the heat to move from the main heat sink body to the cooling fins and we suspect that if the extra height the cooling fins add to the modules is causing an issue in your setup, taking them off might not be an option to discount. To be truthfully honest, we much preferred the first generation of DHX heat sink on the Corsair memory but are confident in Corsair that the design change is for the better.


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