Date: Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Corsair is today launching a new RAM set in its Dominator series. Corsair says the Dominator Platinum RGB RAM is, "in a class of its own." Corsair sent over a full 64GB kit (8X8GB) that is rated at 3600MHz with 18-19-19-39 timings at 1.35v. There will also be kits ranging from 16GB at 3200MHz to 16GB at 4800Mhz. There is even a 128GB kit rated at 3600MHz as well.
We have always been impressed with Corsair's RAM packaging and this time was no different. It would be incredibly difficult for this RAM to get damaged en route to you.
First let's take a look at these new DIMMs without all the Frag Harder Disco Lighting turned on. These are some of the best looking sticks of RAM we have ever seen Corsair deliver. The design is all black and makes an impressive looking package. When you get the hardware in your hand, the build quality becomes apparent. These sticks feel rock solid. Small details have been taken into account as well, and you can feel that in your hands. The edges are beveled, the seams are tight, and the anodized finish is smooth to the touch. The black on black Corsair logo works extremely well too.
While these are all jazzed up for RGB, even the top edge comes through with shining colors when or if you decide to forego your Tony Manero moment.
Getting the Dominator Platinum RGB sticks installed was uneventful and the DIMMs snapped tightly into place. These actually seemed to be a bit tighter than the RAM we normally work with, and removing these did take a bit of extra force. Quite frankly, we are good with that. We like knowing our RAM is heartily snapped in and making excellent contact.
We have been no huge fan of Corsair's iCUE software, but over the last year or so it has matured greatly. We should know, we use it. The fact that we actually keep it running on our computers should say enough to the fact that it now actually works, and works rather well. A year ago, there is no way we would keep iCUE software on our personal machines, but things change, and Corsair has done a very good job of righting its wrongs. iCUE v3.12 is required for supporting this new memory series.
The integration and control that Corsair affords the Dominator Platinum RGB through its iCUE software is excellent. Yes, we are impressed.
The first two screen captures below show you one of our favorite features on these DIMMs...and it uses RGB. Yes, we just typed that, and not under duress. You can select "Temperature" under Lighting Effects, and dial in what colors your RGBs display is at different temperatures. We actually used this feature while we were stress testing the DIMMs, and it works, and it works quite well. You can select what colors you want to use for the scaling, and you can set three different temperature points as well. On top of that, the iCUE software is smart enough to allow you to attach this feature to the temperatures on your CPU, GPU, multiple sensors on your motherboard, and of course in our case we can pick one of our RAM sticks as well. Most importantly, it just works, and works very easily. Good job, Corsair.
When it comes to choices about preprogrammed Frag Harder Disco Light Shows, you will not disappointed. The granularity of control that Corsair offers over how your lights flash, which lights flash, and when your lights flash, or whatever you want those to do, is basically endless. Enjoy yourself.
Should you forget what the specs are on your sticks, you can easily look up this information as well. iCUE will allow you to go in and look at the temperature of every DIMM in your system and even graph those should you wish. It will also allow you to set alerts to those RAM temperatures.
The last control panel will likely not be used by many, but the fact that it is there, and allows you the control it does, is impressive. We doubt we would have grasped the importance of these controls had we not been moving these sticks between the Intel X299 system and the AMD X39 system. When we first installed these to the Intel system all worked as it should, and we think that location and direction of the DIMM is written to a ROM logic on the memory. The DIMMS on most X299 systems are all oriented the exact same. On an AMD X399 system, half the DIMMs are located one way on side of the socket and flipped 180 degrees on the other side of the socket. When I fired up the system, half my DIMMs were "facing the wrong way," in that the previous moving RGB pattern was not synced across all 8 DIMMs. The iCUE software allows you to address this. It will also allow you to move your DIMMs around if those get "out of order" moving from system to system. Of course this is a useless feature, until you need it, and when you need it, it gains a lot of value.
Let's get the "bad" out of the way first. The AMD Threadripper X399 systems are not known for RAM overclocking. In fact until recently, there have been a lot of issues with getting larger RAM sets to work at acceptable clocks. Installing the Dominator RAM and selecting the non-existent "X-AMP" profile (these only have Intel XMP presets officially) for 3600MHz did not go well. The timings were correctly identified on our MSI MEG X399 Creation motherboard, but the 1.35v stock voltage was not, so we dialed that in by hand. We were welcomed with our RAM running at 2066MHz when the system finally made it to the desktop. To make a long story short, what we had to settle on was 3000MHz at 1.45v on our X399 board. At these settings, with stock timings, we were able to pass a 24 hour MemTest86 suite with no errors, and we were also able to load the full 64GB of memory up using Prime95 and run successfully for 24 hours. It was fun to dial in our temperature RGB scale to show when the memory was being pounded on. To be clear, we were in no way expecting the full 64GB of RAM to run at 3600MHz on our X399 system, but we were hoping to hit the magic 3200MHz sweet spot. We could get to the desktop at 3200MHz, but when pushing the sticks we were met with BSODs, and MemTest86 showed us a plethora of errors as well. All of this is not a reflection on the Corsair RAM, but rather AMD's integrated memory controller, UEFI, and IO drivers.
Using the Intel based MSI MEG X299 Creation was an entirely different experience. Simply installing the RAM and selecting the XMP file set all our timings and voltage properly and got us up and running on the Win 10 desktop without a hitch at 3600MHz. That netted us around 75GB/s in bandwidth. Simply setting our clocks to 4000MHz worked just as easily, and that netted us ~85GB/s of bandwidth. Using to 4200MHz was not in the cards at stock timings even pushing the voltage up to 1.5v which we are good with for daily use in a well ventilated system. At 4200MHz the system would drop one of the RAM channels. It would work at 4200MHz, just not across all sticks. At 4000MHz however, we were still getting rock solid MemTest86 and Prime95 tests. Impressive.
We had shot some video of all the RGB pattern variation presets in iCUE, but we just could not get the colors to come through on the video. Simply put, our video made the RGBs look bad, so I decided not to share it here. Still pictures still do not do the colors on these DIMMs justice either, but hopefully some still shots will give you an idea of how these can look. I am not an "RGB guy," but the color intensity, the smoothness, and brightness on this RAM is very impressive.
These new Dominator Platinum parts are blessed with Samsung B-die modules, and surely that will make the prices on these a bit more palatable. You can see the full chart of MSRP and supported kits in this chart. Our 64GB kit carries an MSRP $879.00, which is nothing to sneeze at and a price premium over comparably rated G.Skill RGB. However all of these fancy RGB kits are getting up there in price and none that we have seen offer the control over the RGB functions that Corsair does, so of course you will know if these are right for you.
Performance-wise, we hoped we could hit 3200MHz on our X399 system, but that was not to be, and of course that does not lie at Corsair's feet either. On our Intel X299 system the Dominator Platinum RGB sticks shined with an exceptionally easy to reach 4000MHz clock.
Corsair did a great job with its new Dominator Platinum RGB in terms of performance, iCUE integration and controlability, and overall design. It would be a shame to hide these in a case without a window however. Try dialing in the RGB temperature scaling function if you put these in your system as it is some of the best use of RGB we have seen to date.