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Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4-3400 16GB Review


Packaging & Memory Overview

Although most consumers will never even see the packaging of the products they buy online before ordering them, a little attention to detail does go a long way towards creating a positive initial impression when they receive their product. As a result, let’s see what Corsair have done with this new industry-leading memory kit.

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We have said this before, and we’ll say it again: when your memory kit comes packed in a huge box you know that it’s going to be something special.This packaging is pretty sleek with mirror-like silver sides, and a bunch on information detailing the unique DHX ( Dual-path Heat eXchange) heatspreaders that Corsair puts on their high-end Dominator Platinum modules, as well as the capabilities of their proprietary Corsair Link interface.

When you open the box you are presented with two separate trays, and as you will see below the reason the box is so large is because of the included accessories.

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Each tray holds two memory modules and one Dominator Airflow Platinum LED Fan, which we will explore in much greater detail on the subsequent page. There is also a Quick Start Guide included that explains how to assemble the fan accessory, and how the Corsair Link interface and software works.

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These Dominator Platinum modules feature the Dominator DHX heatspreaders, which are not only designed to cool the ICs directly, but also help transfer heat from the PCB to the heatspreaders as well. This is all possible because of the highly custom PCB’s that Corsair have designed with an eye towards conducting heat from the memory chips, transferring it to the PCB and the fins, and ultimately dissipating it with the help of the included fan accessories.

When it comes to height, these memory modules clock in at about 55 millimeters/2.17 inches, so they are definitely taller than average due to the fins and top bar. Speaking of which, the limited edition orange top bar is actually upgradeable, so if in the future you decide to upgrade from your X99-SOC CHAMPION, you will be able to colour match this memory kit with that next motherboard.

On one side of each module you will see the Corsair Link interface connector. Since we don’t have a Corsair Link control unit, we can’t really dive into the capabilities of this interface, but we can tell you that it’s useful for directly controlling the PWM fan speed from within Windows, changing the colour of the LED fans, and a bunch of temperature-related features if you have a Corsair case, PSU, or all-in-one liquid cooler.

By the way, if you take a close look at the sticker on each module, you will probably spot “ver5.29” which is an identifier that – based on past experience – is proof that these modules do in fact feature Hynix MFR memory chips.

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These are just gratuitous money shots to show how sexy this combo looks together. If this doesn’t cause an uptick in the number of black and orange DIY builds, nothing will.

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Each module also features a built-in “light pipe”, which is a LED illumination that shines white light downwards. It an orange light would have maybe been more appropriate, or it could have been overkill depending on the look you are going for. Overall, the effect was quite pleasant.

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In order to get this memory kit to work, you need the GIGABYTE X99-SOC-CHAMPION and the latest F4F BIOS. Getting a motherboard (and accompanying processor) to support such a high memory frequency requires a ton of fine tuning, so it’s no surprise that a custom BIOS was released which focused heavily on supporting this unique memory kit. For those who are curious, we did try this memory kit on our ASUS X99-Deluxe motherboard, and it was not able to run at the highest of the two settings.

Two settings you say? Yes, as you can see in this CPU-Z screenshot, Corsair have programmed these modules with two separate XMP profiles. The first is the fully fledged DDR4-3400 profile, while the second is set to operate at DDR4-3200. This is a thoughtful addition since there is always the slight possibility that your particular CPU might not actually even be able to handle DDR4-3400.

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This is the XMP-1 profile. It is programmed for DDR4-3400 with 16-18-18 timings and a 2T command rate. It requires 1.35V which is identical to other enthusiast-oriented memory kits, and impressively low all things considered. As you can see, Corsair have also elected to set a nice little 200Mhz processor overclock, and a 60Mhz bump in the Uncore frequency. Both are welcome additions.

All of these values are programmed into the XMP file, so they can all be instantly applied by simply enabling the correct XMP profile in the BIOS. It couldn’t be simpler. Having said that, if you do encounter any issues, we highly recommend that you go into the “Advanced CPU Core Settings” sub-menu and try manually disabling C1E and/or C6/C7 State Support. Most of you shouldn’t encounter any issues, but if you do, this is worthwhile tip to keep in mind.

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This second XMP profile is set to DDR4-3200 with 16-18-18 timings, a 2T command rate, and a 1.35V default voltage. As you can see, there is no CPU or Uncore overclock programmed into it. One of the most notable aspects is that it uses the 100Mhz CPU Strap instead of the 125Mhz CPU strap of the primary XMP profile. This is good since if your particular processor is not very strong with that higher strap, you might have more success with this one. Having said that, as on all other motherboards, we were unsuccessful at enabling the 34X memory multiplier with the 100Mhz CPU strap. Perhaps a future Intel microcode update will improve these limitations.

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