Return of the MushKinG Interview

Memory by KeithSuppe @ 2005-05-17

Today to compliment our in-depth Mushkin product review, we offer a true insight into the Denver based company vying for "Lord of the RAM." As surreal as it may seem, quite often company Representatives have little to no working technical knowledge of the products they represent. This interview challenges what I see as an insult to our intelligence as PC user's and the patronizing misconception PC-user's have no working knowledge of their own systems. Read on as we are invited along into the throne room at MushkinG.

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UTT memory / Conclusion

UTT memory chips, the future of DDR?:
Madshrimps (c)

[M]: On the recent subject of Winbond die and UTT memory, what about the voltages where DDR performance is concerned? It seems there’s been some memory available which is surpassing the 3.0V mark, how far can these modules be pushed?

Different DRAM manufacturers rate their modules for different voltages, but in the end, the consumer ultimately has the choice on how much voltage they apply to their memory. Voltage can be a friend or foe, and in some cases certain memory like our Winbond UTT chips really shine above 3.1-3.2v. However, the consumer needs to keep in mind that increased voltage will increase heat output and the potential for damage and or ability to destroy their modules. Adding a lot of voltage to your memory may sound good in theory, but may not work well in practice. I advise only those with experience, and preferably only those with spare memory to experiment with voltages greater than 2.9v. And, I must emphasize that for any system pushing above 2.9v, use active cooling: a fan blowing air directly over the memory.

That said, our Redline series of memory modules are rated to run 3.2-3.3v and carry the full Mushkin Lifetime warranty to the original purchaser. The intended audience for this memory should be capable of properly cooling and caring for this memory for its intended use and lifetime.

[M]: Why do these modules require so much current to overclock as far as they do, and will this become the norm above DDR600?

I think that the amount of current required by certain modules to operate above rated specifications is inherent to each module and their tendencies. For instance, Samsung TCCD for the most part, on most boards doesn’t really like over 2.9v and there is often a decrease in the stable clock speed with voltages sometimes over 2.7-2.8v. This is very variable, even between sets of DIMMs within the same line, so my advice is to trial different voltages to see which level your set seems to prefer.

Regarding the Winbond UTT modules you refer to, it’s been an established trait in these IC’s, that increases in voltage often allowed higher frequencies and maintained tight timings. This quality is pretty unique to these Winbond UTT ICs though, as most other IC’s won’t tolerate over 3.1-3.2v without diminishing returns. As a caution though, sets of the Winbond UTT are variable in how much voltage they bear prior to the aforementioned diminished returns, often in the area of 3.3-3.5v. I would again recommend prudence though in the end user as without proper cooling and knowledge, that level of voltage can kill the ICs on the memory modules.

As far as DDR600 is concerned, I don’t see high voltages being necessary as this will mostly be an evolution of the DDR modules from DRAM manufacturers. Currently, there are some competitors offering DDR600 modules; however these are highly overclocked Samsung or Hynix parts, and in many cases have to run 2T command rate which decreases performance significantly. Furthermore, to compound that problem, most end user systems are incapable of utilizing that speed of memory due to other CPU or chipset limitations.

[M]: What are some of the product changes we should be looking for where 64-bit instruction operating systems, and processor’s are concerned?

In as far as our product lineup, probably more of a focus on increased memory sizes and total system memory for reasons discussed above. I really think in the next 2-3 years 4GB will become standard for high end enthusiast and gamers. As silly as it seems, this is a very real possibility, so our goal is to meet those potential demands with high performance memory that will both meet and exceed the expectations of our end users.

[M]: What advice do you have for the PC owner where memory is concerned? Should we be looking to make any changes in our memory selection (besides investing in Mushkin of course hehe)?

Well this really depends on what the users needs and system capabilities are. Each person is different, and each person has varying budget constraints. While I’d love to sell everyone a nice shiny kit of Mushkin Black memory, not everyone needs new memory or has the money to buy our high end kits. That said, one of the easiest ways to speed up the performance of your computer is adding high performance memory, and most often by increasing total system memory. We answer questions daily in our forums regarding which modules would be best suited for certain individuals, so I would at this time direct your readers to our forums as they could take the opportunity to ask/post questions and receive timely answers from one of our techs or myself.

[M]: What is Mushkin’s take on SLI and is there anything in particular I can do to enhance that performance? For example installing tighter latency memory on my board, or faster running memory with more lax timings?

I’d like to say that adding a kit of Mushkin memory to a SLI rig would double your performance, but that’s simply not true. What I could say with all honestly though, is that in an SLI computer, the dual graphics card remove a significant amount of the bottleneck in gaming performance from the GPUs and place that load back on the overall system which would obviously include the memory chosen. If someone was considering building an SLI capable computer, I would highly recommend our Black PC4400, or Redline PC4000 memory depending on which motherboard they have chosen. Simply put, why spend the amount of money that will be needed on dual graphics cards, a high end motherboard, only to skimp on memory? It just doesn’t make sense! Furthermore, Mushkin memory has excellent compatibility with motherboards based on the Nvidia NForce4 SLI chipset.

[M]: Would running 2x1024MB modules over 2x512MB modules have any performance advantages where SLI performance is concerned?

The only performance increases I can speak of would relate to advantages in increased system memory in applications that would take advantage of the added memory.

Madshrimps (c)


It seems to me based on the performance in our MushkinG Lord of the RAM Round-up this company has certainly focused their attention on pleasing the Enthusiast/Overclocking communities, while still meeting the needs of OEM and Business markets. I want to thank Mushkin (Lee Groninger, Tom Duong, Ian Kyle, George Stathakis and John Cook) for giving us this valuable insight into the new; MushKinG!

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