Back in the day of SDRAM, Mushkin was king with their
PC-150 HSDRAM, but currently they haven't been making much of a splash
in the DDR market. With old rivals like Corsair and KingMAX establishing themselves
as performance memory suppliers, Mushkin has managed to just stay in the limelight.
Now with the Enhanced High performance PC2100
DDR, will Mushkin be able to propel themselves back into the forefront?
With stiff competition from almost every vendor, be it Corsair and their XMS line of memory to KingMAX using BGA packagin, or OCZ who has always given overclockers some of
the best stuff money can buy, where does Mushkin Enhanced High
Performance PC2100 DDR stand?
The first thing we noticed (other then the
unusually long and super-fun-excellent type name) was the rather large aluminum heat
spreaders on the jet black PCB of the PC2100 DDR. The heatspreaders are
exactly the same as the ones found on OCZ PC3000 DDR RAM except
those were all copper.
At a 133 MHz FSB, RAM doesn't get hot enough to
need ramsinks, however Mushkin knows most of their customers aren't normal users and that most
of them plan to push their systems to the max. This is
where the ramsinks help out. During testing at high FSB's the heat spreaders
got quite hot, this despite the fact they are make contact
via rather thick thermal pads.
Upon removing the ramsinks, we were able to
see that the TSOP-II chips where 7ns Nanya DRAM. Since other DDR RAM we've tested also
featured Nanya chips we didn't have very high initial expectations
in terms of overclocking.
Since our general testing motherboard is the
Epox 8KHA+ I quickly shot over to Mushkin's web site to look for any possible compatibility
problems and found they've successfully
tested the Enhanced High Performance DDR up to 152 MHz FSB. It's nice to see a
manufacturer openly embrace the overclocking community like that. Still, we were
hoping that our test sample would do more since the Corsair XMS PC2400 would do
171 MHz FSB at CL2, the OCZ PC2400 DDR would do 170 MHz and the OCZ PC3000 did
195 MHz (200 MHz in the Abit KR7A) at CL 2.5.
Would the Mushkin 256 MB DDR Enhanced High Performance PC2100 impress
us, or tank?
We immediately tried 152 MHz on
the Epox and the memory hit it with no problems and passed our stability tests
without breaking a sweat. Next instead of being a good overclocker and upping the
FSB slowly, we pushed the RAM up to 170 MHz while keeping
the most aggressive memory timings. No problems what so ever! 170 MHz FSB is something to
be proud of but how much further would it go?
Next up, 175 MHz FSB and we had our first
hiccup. Upping the DDR voltage to 2.8V the Mushkin Enhanced High Performance DDR module had
no problem with 175 MHz, while still using the fastest memory timings!
The RAM ended up maxing out at 178 MHz FSB with the most aggressive memory
timings and 182 MHz FSB with the most relaxed ones.
Upping the voltage higher then
2.8V didn't help in our overclocking attempts. Running with a 182 MHz
FSB at a slow memory timing produced lower results then 175 MHz with the fastest, so
all benchmarks were run at 175 MHz FSB. Make sense!?