When building any HTPC solution memory is something given little consideration. It is now reasonably cheap to buy and as a result we generally tend to take whatever is available. It is important to remember that different memory modules offer different features. When memory is selected correctly you can get a lot more for your money. Memory is one of your core componets and can considerably improve the performance of your system. In this Corsair XMS3 review we will assess the 1600MHz 8GB kit and look at the value for money it offers. We also provide a Corsair XMS3 price compare allowing you to piitch this memory against other available modules.
Corsair XMS3 Price Compare
The Corsair XMS3 CMX8GX3M1A1600C11 8GB memory module is a great choice for any home theatre PC or media centre solution. The memory is a DDR3 (double data rate) type module providing high bandwitdth access to your memory. The memory runs at a 1600MHz clock rate which will deliver great performance for any of todays top games. 1600MHz clock speed is considered to be the sweet spot in the price vs performance debate today.
The memory fits a 240 pin DIMM socket and the modules can be installed individually. Compared with it’s predecessor DDR2, DDR3 memory delivers better performance at a lower voltage. The Corsair XMS3 uses just 1.5V per memory module compared with DDR2 requiring 1.8V. The XMS3 is designed for use with both Intel and AMD CPUs and is compatible with most modern processor types (please check your motherboard manual prior to purchase).
For HTPC and media centres this is a great memory choice. The XMS3 modules are compact and the heat dispersers are close to the dimm. The memory is fairly low profile and will not interfere with the majority of CPU coolers. Running at just 1.5V the memory can be used if you are building small portable media players. Please note that on most motherboards when you install the XMS3 memory module the clock speed will default to 1333MHz which is the manufacturers SPD Speed (Serial Presence Device).
The SPD speed tells the system BIOS a kind of fail safe speed in which to operate. In the case of XMS3 memory modules it is 1333MHz. If you want to take advantage of the 1600MHz capabilities you need to set this in your system BIOS but for most media centres there is no need. The standard XMS3 1333MHz speed will run all top system emulators including Dolphin Nintendo Wii & Gamecube emulator and PCSX2 however you will get slightly improved frame rates in some of the top PC games by taking the leap to 1600MHz.
Ther Corsair XMS3 8 GB memory module is recommended due to it’s speed and also size. When choosing your memory you need to install enough to run your intended software and add an element of future proofing to your system. Most HTPC builds are based on mini-ITX or mini-ATX motherboards which usually come with just two memory DIMM slots. At present 8GB is enough to run the latest PC games but this may change over the next few years.
If you were to buy 2X 4GB DIMMS you may save yourself a few pounds short term but when you need to upgrade you will need to replace both memory modules to reach 16GB. We suggest installing a single XMS3 8GB DIMM now and leaving one slot free for another one in the future. If you are not using a dedicated graphics card you must take into consideration how much of the system memory will be allocated to the on board graphics chipset and whether or not you have enough remaining for the rest of the system.
- Low profile
- Memory price vs performance sweet spot
- A good price per gigabyte
See the Corsair XMS3 Price Compare above to pitch this product against other memory modules.
Corsair XMS3 Review – HMP Verdict
Memory is not something you want to spend too much time considering. Work out the size and speed you require and then source it at the right price. Ensure that you buy good quality memory as cheaper imitations won’t last and always add an element of future proofing to your HTPC design. The Corsaire XMS3 CMX8GX3M1A1600C11 is an affordable solution for any DDR3 supporting CPU and motherboard set and will deliver all the performance you need for the most demanding HTPC / Media Centres. Use the above Corsair XMS3 price compare table above.