Gaming laptops are traditionally full of compromises.
Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4-3000 RAM review
4x4GB sticks from the CMD16GX4M4B3000C14 memory kit tested on Z170 and Z270 motherboards
- Runs cool
- Overkill if you don't make the most of it
For most people this kit will deliver imperceptible benefits in day-to-day computing tasks. However, if your system can cope with serious tweaking and overclocking, the stability and speed potential on offer can deliver noticeable performance boosts.
Price$ 245.00 (AUD)
When you look at RAM it’s easy to think that the big, beefy modules with the fancy heat-spreaders are are going to make your computer fly along. If you’re a competitive overclocker then this is probably the case and this review isn’t for you.
Corsair’s Dominator Platinum memory is its top-end product and uses chips that have been highly-screened (binned) for speed and stability. That’s why competitive overclockers like them but it’s also why users who require stability from long, high-performance computing tasks will also have their heads turned. It’s a bit like buying a Workstation PC for much more money than a regular PC with the same specs – you’re paying for expensive certifications and guarantees that the parts are less-likely to fail. In similar regards, Corsair’s Dominator Platinum brand gives high-end users similar reassurance.
But is it overkill for everyone else?
We tested the Dominator kit against Corsair’s own premium Vengeance LPX kit which costs $100 less. We ran tests on our Z170X Gigabyte Designare-based Test Rig and again when switching in an Asus Strix Z270F Gaming motherboard with an i7-7700K CPU.
On both boards we set the memory timings to XMP (for this kit that automatically adjusts settings to 14-16-16-35 at 1.35V). On the Designare Z170 we ran PC Mark and 3D Mark with our Skylake i7-6700K processor running at a stock 4GHz and again when automatically overclocked to 4.6GHz. On the Strix we ran the PC Mark Creative 3.0 test with our Intel 7th Generation Kaby Lake i7-7700K CPU at default settings and with automatic overclocking settings turned on.
In PC Mark on the Designare Z170 the Vengeance scored 4,040 at stock and 4,355 overclocked. Switching to the Dominator kit these scores jumped to 4,047 and 4,364. That’s a 0.2% increase. For hardened overclockers that might justify the price on its own but in day-to-day use the difference is imperceptible.
In 3D Mark the Vengeance scored 5590 and 5688. The Dominator kit scored 5601 and 5707 – less than a 0.3% boost which reflects a 1fps increase. Yay.
Read more: Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2400 RAM review
At this point our Z170 board became poorly sick and so we switched over to the Strix Z270 with the Kaby Lake processor and ran the Creative 3.0 tests. RAM tends to show its worth best when performing picture and video editing and this test relies heavily on that.
The Vengeance scored 5853 to the Dominator’s 5902 – a 0.8% increase. But what does that mean? When you dig through the results there’s virtually no difference in the photo editing and website tests. However, in video editing we saw a slightly larger difference – the Dominator kit completed the task 3% faster. If you regularly edit or render video that could be the starting point to turn your head. But that’s not where the story ends.
The Strix has a simplistic overclocking system which can be confusing to decipher. What we do know is that when we tried to use it to overclock with the Vengeance kit, the basic-level, stated 9% system boost saw the whole system run slower than before. Every ‘faster’ setting insta-crashed the PC and it wouldn’t boot. However, when we added the Dominator kit and set the system to top-end “media machine” settings (with a 17% system boost) it did boot and even ran the Creative 3.0 benchmark, stably. We note too that the kit’s temperature was only slightly warm when running this test thanks to the cooling prowess of the elaborate-yet-solid heat spreaders.
Read more: Gigabyte Z170X Designare motherboard review
It scored 6163 this time which is 5% more than the Vengeance’s score and over 4% more than the stock-speed Dominator run. The whole benchmark took 67 seconds less than the Vengeance run. More importantly, the video editing was 12% faster and the photo editing was 10% faster.
In 3D Mark Time Spy we obtained a score of 5760 – a greater-than-1% boost over the Vengeance kit but still only worth 1fps. It’s also worth noting that the benchmark crashed the first time we ran it which could indicate some stability issues with the graphics card in this significantly-tweaked system.
For most people Corsair’s Dominator Platinum kit is complete overkill with a general performance boost that will be imperceptible in most applications and they’d therefore be better off sticking with the Vengeance kit. However, to hardened media manipulators and competitive overclockers who intend to significantly ramp up their computer’s settings and who have partner components that will stand the strain – whether using automatic or manual overclocking – there will be a perceptible practical boost both in rendering times and benchmark results.
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