With the launch of 12th Gen Intel processors, we're seeing RAM manufacturers release new DDR5 kits. The latest generation of system memory boasts numerous improvements over DDR4 with headroom to push speeds even further. Corsair's Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5 RAM promises high transfer speeds, low power draw, and more.
Top DDR4 kits aren't sluggish and perform well in games and production-related tasks, but we're closing in on just how far companies are able to push this tech. DDR5 switches things up with how modules are designed, allowing manufacturers to crank up the speeds to 5000MT/s and beyond. Even at launch, we're seeing speeds of up to 6000MT/s.
Today, we're taking a look at the Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-5200 32GB kit. This RAM promises the advertised speeds through XMP profiles at just 1.25V. Let's take it for a spin to see how good it is compared to the competition.
Bottom line: Corsair's Dominator Platinum RGB range of RAM looks incredible, and the company changed nothing on the outside for DDR5. That's a good thing since this is one of the kits to get if you're building a new PC and want the latest tech.
- Gorgeous design with RGB lighting
- Solid reliability at 5200MT/s
- Ability to overclock further
- Lifetime warranty
- iCUE software is great
- Requires new motherboard
- Not that much better than top DDR4 RAM
Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB: Price and availability
Corsair set an MSRP for the Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-5200 32GB kit of $350, which is in line with competitor DDR5 modules available right now. The price of DDR5 is considerably higher than DDR4, and we're looking at smart RGB lighting, which also bumps up the price of RAM.
Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB: What's good
I'm a big fan of Corsair packaging, and the Dominator Platinum is no exception. Both modules were located inside the usual plastic shrouds, but Corsair chooses to wrap them in a foam cut out for better protection during shipping, before inserting them inside a cardboard box.
We received the modules in black, and RGB lighting with iCUE software support is present. I like the design of the Dominator Platinum range as it takes me back to the '80s with the use of squares and how the diffusers are configured on each side of the modules. If you've used the DDR4 kits before, you'll feel right at home here.
Like other DDR5 RAM we've reviewed so far, Corsair's Dominator Platinum RGB 32GB kit has a single row of banks on one side of the PCB. The aluminum heatsinks are huge, but only touch 56mm in height, which should be fine with most CPU coolers and the best PC cases. This is a premium product especially once disassembled.
For the modules themselves, Corsair is using Micron (MT60B2G8HB-48B), and for the onboard power management integrated circuit (PMIC) we're looking at the NXP LPC82X. Having the PMIC located on the RAM modules themselves allows for tighter control with better results for performance and power usage.
Other improvements brought to the table through DDR5 include support for Intel XMP 3.0, the aforementioned onboard power module (PMIC) for enhanced efficiency and tighter control, and on-die ECC error correction. Using an XMP profile, it's possible to boost this 32GB DDR5 kit to 5200MT/s with 38-40-40-78 timings at 1.25V.
By default, the Dominator Platinum RGB RAM runs at 4,800MT/s, but as aforementioned with a flip of a switch, you can activate XMP and go up to 5600MT/s, depending on the kit you purchase. Most RAM modules released today run at specified speeds and perform about the same and that goes for DDR4 vs. DDR5.
The higher latency and faster speeds are an even match for the lower latency and slower speeds of DDR4, which means we're only going to see a marginal upgrade (until we see generational improvements from manufacturers). We tested this RAM kit alongside other DDR5 modules with a 12th Gen Intel Core i5-12600K and MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi.
Where our testing differed slightly was with the GPU, which saw the SK hynix DDR5 kit be paired with an RTX 3080 instead of the RTX 3060 Ti used with all other DDR5 kits. As one can see with the above synthetic tests, the difference between DDR4 and current DDR5 modules isn't much. You may notice a swing either way with certain applications and games.
It's the future of DDR5 that's exciting, and we cannot wait to see what Corsair and other manufacturers will be able to achieve with this generation of system memory. Overclocking was the same as other DDR5 kits in that it was possible to hit 5400MT/s, but the voltage did need to be bumped up to 1.35V.
Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB: What's not good
DDR5 is in its early infancy, and we're only just seeing launch kits hit the market. There's nothing wrong with the Corsair Dominator Platinum, and it's more than happy to run at its advertised speeds (and then some), but this doesn't result in a huge upgrade over DDR4.
Firstly, the latency is terrible in comparison with a C38 rating (compared to DDR4 kits that can go as low as C16), but the significantly higher speeds make up for this to equalize, which shows in the benchmarks. DDR5 does offer other highlights, including error-checking, an onboard power regulator module, has more populated banks for higher capacities, supports faster transfer speeds, and does all this using less power.
It's a similar story as the move from DDR3 to DDR4. It's early days for DDR5 and if you buy a kit now, you're going to be an early adopter and have to settle with worse performance than what will be eventually available as the generation and tech matures. If you're happy with the DDR4 modules you already own, there's no need to upgrade and spend a few hundred on a component that won't really bring much in terms of a real-world difference.
Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB: Competition
As aforementioned, DDR5 is in a sticky place right now. It's new, expensive, and not a substantial upgrade to the best-selling DDR4 kits out there. It's the potential of DDR5, which is where the magic will likely occur and will be a repeat of what we saw with the move from DDR3 to DDR4. For now, if you're buying DDR5, you're an early adopter.
Corsair is rolling out modules that will work with Intel 12th Gen processors, as well as newer 6000 (we're expecting it to be the 6000 series) series Ryzen CPUs from AMD once they eventually launch. The Dominator RGB Platinum is already available with DDR4 modules, so this is a solid upgrade if you already are a fan of the design and iCUE integration.
But Corsair isn't alone with DDR5, and we've already reviewed the excellent XPG Lancer DDR5-5200 from ADATA and GeIL Polaris RGB SYNC DDR5 RAM kits both with 32GB of RAM. GeIL even set a new record with its newer DDR5 RAM for speed, showcasing just how far the new tech can be pushed at such an early stage.
Corsair is between the XPG Lancer and GeIL Polaris in terms of pricing. All three kits could be considered among the best DDR5 RAM for your PC.
Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want the best from 12th Gen Intel
- You plan on buying a new motherboard and RAM
- You want to have additional headroom for even faster RAM
- You don't mind adopting the tech early (and paying more for the luxury)
You shouldn't buy this if ...
- You want the best value RAM for your PC
- You don't want to use other high-end PC components
- You don't already have a motherboard that supports DDR5
This DDR5-5200 kit from Corsair shares similarities with other modules released at the start of DDR5 in that they're not a whole lot faster than the best DDR4 RAM kits available. The transfer rates are great, but the latency means the system won't be able to make full use of this bandwidth like it could with DDR4 modules.
Buying DDR5 now will see you pay a premium for new technology, though this would mean you have a DDR5 supporting motherboard for an upgrade further than the road. If you already have DDR4 RAM now, it's a hard sell. Corsair also has the Dominator Platinum RGB as DDR4, which makes this even more difficult to recommend over its predecessor.
But if you're building a new PC from scratch and want the latest and greatest for 12th Gen Intel processors, this is one RAM kit to consider. It's rapid, runs well at full speed, and even lets you overclock a little.
Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.