Mushkin PC8000 Redline
Upon opening the FedEx delivery box, I'm greeted with a standard memory "blister"
The first modules we're looking at today are the Mushkin PC8000 "Redline". Have a look what Mushkin themselves have to say about them:
"The eXtreme Performance 1GB XP2-8000 REDLINE module (DDR2-1000) offers enhanced second generation memory throughput and stability for the most demanding DDR2 computing platforms. A product of Mushkin's exclusive EPIC (Enhanced Performance IC) selection process, the XP2-8000 is hand-tested to the highest quality and performance standards.”
Looks quite promising, doesn’t it? The Redline series is actually Muskin's top of the line memory module. The "Redline" name was first introduced for Mushkin's fastest DDR part a couple of years ago, when the first high bandwidth, 1Gb PC4000 parts became available. Now, the name is reserved only for their top memory kit: the PC8000 with 4-5-4-11 (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS) as rated timings.
The specifications are as follows:Frequency: 1000MHz
Density o/t Module: 128Mx64 ; Chip: 64Mx8
Mushkin limited lifetime warranty
Let's have a closer look :
front of the module with specifications
back of the module : sobering impressiveness
The redline is equipped with what Mushkin likes to call their "frostbite" heat spreaders. These heat spreaders provide superior airflow over the memory chips, much better than your average one. Better airflow means better cooling of course so these parts should help increase performance at least by a few Mhz. Besides aiding in the cooling they look very cool too ! In my personal opinion, Mushkin provides the best looking modules in our little roundup: sober yet aggressive. Good work !
On the warranty side, Mushkin provides a lifetime warranty for their modules, up to 2.3V in operation. This is actually the lowest voltage of any of our four contestants, and as you'll see later on, this has clear consequences for the maximum memory performance.
The warranty that Mushkin provides spans a lifetime against defects or in material or workmanship, but also includes a 30 day "compatibility" warranty. That is in my opinion a really nice move, as some 975 chipsets indeed can show some problems when operating with memory at speed above 1000Mhz.
test setup with the Mushkin Redline memory in place
Before we get started I first have to say something about our methodology. For the different cas settings, different bios settings were used, not only for the memory (duh), but also for the front side bus (FSB) and the CPU multiplier. For the stability test I still swear by the Orthos test, as this one gives me almost 100% guaranteed stability after running for 15-20 minutes. If Orthos fails, the memory is not considered stable, and every kit was therefore tuned down until an Orthos stability of about 20 minutes was reached.
Our settings for the different cas timings are as follows:
- cas 3 : Memory setting 4:5 (667 setting) ; CPU multiplier @ 9x
- cas 4+5 : Memory setting 2:3 (800 setting) ; cpu multiplier @ 8x
These settings were chosen specifically to let our memory "shine" a little. As you'll see later on, the differences on the standard front side bus of 266mhz are rather limited. No-one in their right mind would be buying this kind of memory kits to run their rigs on standard settings, that's why we chose to work with a lower divider (4:5 or 2:3 instead of 1:2 for example). This way we can increase the system bus much more, which benefits the bandwidth of the modules hugely and will therefore give more interesting results. The lowering of the cpu multiplier on the other hand gives us another benefit: this way the speed of the cpu stays limited, and by doing this we can lay more emphasis on the memory, which is what this review is all about.
Time to look at what the Mushkins are capable of, wouldn't you say...
As the memory timings are a standard of 4-5-4 at 1000Mhz, I'd like to start off with cas 4 performance. For memory that has "only" 1000Mhz as rated speed at cas 4, the modules overclock very nicely. With 4-4-4-4 (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS) timings the modules top off at 1090Mhz, at 2.3V. They surpass their rating by 9%, at slightly better timings.
TRCD makes little or no difference on this setting, at least none that I could perceive. I also did not notice any different behavior with different TRAS settings. The rated timing is 11 in this case, but I could lower it to a 4 setting without any drawbacks...
Next up is the cas 5 setting, which gave interesting results: almost no gains were measured. I tried hard to lift the memory past the 1100Mhz barrier, but couldn't succeed, at least not with 2.3V. Even relaxing the timings maximally did not do any good, with the added drawback that performance dropped a little compared to the cas 4 timings.
To conclude, the cas 3 setting is quite impressive too. The maximum reproducible result was 855Mhz with 3-4-3-9 timings. If you know that there are no CAS3, 800mhz+ rated memory modules out there, then 855Mhz can be called a success. In this case TRCD did make a difference by the way, lifting the kit 20 Mhz higher than a 3-3-3 setting.
The screenshots of the Orthos runs for the different settings are displayed below.
Left to right (click to open) : Maximum CAS3, CAS4, CAS5
Next up is OCZ ->