IntroductionCorsair TwinX1024-4400C25PT 1Gbyte Matched Memory
Intel may have eschewed DDR1 RAM in favour of higher-clocking DDR2 for its performance i925X(E) chipsets, but the fact remains that far more core logics still support good ol' DDR1. Indeed, Intel is the only major player to even bring a DDR2-compatible chipset to the market. Everyone else, it seems, reckons there's life in the old dog yet. The enthusiast's recent focus has been on a raft of new low-latency memory that offers superb performance at DDR400 speeds. It's suited to users who either run with high-speed CPUs that have minimal frequency headroom, or to conservative enthusiasts who are content with a minor overclock. Either way, it's difficult to argue against the kind of performance 2-2-2-5 timings confer.
Then there's the second type of enthusiast. They look for the lower graded CPUs based on current performance cores. The hope is that these slower processors will overclock to similar levels as premium parts, thereby offering a far more attractive cost-to-performance ratio. A couple of problems are immediately visible with this approach. Due to both CPU giants multiplier-locking (upwards, at least) pretty much every retail CPU, the only method of increasing speed is to raise FSB or driven clock, depending upon platform. That requires a motherboard's chipset to often hit 275MHz+ and, preferably, for system memory to match this elevated speed. That's precisely why we've seen big-name enthusiasts RAM manufacturers fall over themselves to launch faster and faster RAM.
Corsair has been steadily driving up the DDR1 clock speed on its XMS line of performance memory. Today, we see the fastest models yet, running at a blistering DDR550. Let's take a closer look.