Corsair's XMS Xpert memory modules

The winky-blinky DIMMs

I FIRST LEARNED THE power of glowing LEDs on memory modules back when I wrote a couple of smart-ass articles about a really horrid pair of DIMMs that I bought from some shady online vendor a number of years ago. The basic gist of the article was that these were really lousy, cheap, unstable memory modules. I showed folks pictures of a single, green, glowing LED on each DIMM, and joked that they were "suckage detectors." "When the DIMM sucks, the LED light comes on," I said. "It's always on."

It didn't matter. I got buried under an avalanche of e-mail from people asking where they could buy the glowy DIMMs. So the things didn't actually work right—big deal. People like the blinkenlights.

Corsair first capitalized on folks' affinity for glowy things with its XMS Pro series of memory modules, DIMMS with a strip of multicolored LEDs running up their spines that were triggered by memory activity. The apparent success of the Pro series has prompted Corsair to take the bling-bling, or should I say blink-blink, to the next level with its new XMS Xpert modules. On the inside, these are your everyday, above-average DDR400 memory modules suited for ultra-low-latency 2-2-2 timings and backed by Corsair's lifetime warranty. On the outside, they are an electronic symphony of light emitting diodes in various configurations, from an adaptation of the Pro's activity-based EQ pulse to a full-on scrolling alphanumeric marquee.

Some of you will probably be turned off immediately by the combination of these two elements, practical people that you are. I feel your pain. In between the quality RAM and the light show, however, is the Xpert's ace in the hole: a microcontroller that monitors conditions on the DIMM and reports them back to the user, either via the LED marquee or Corsair's monitoring software. This additional capability makes the Xpert DIMMs a little something more than just a flashy curiosity, though they are definitely that.

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