Mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) XP2-6400 Memory Review

Makaveli - 2007-10-25 12:22:43 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: Makaveli   
Reviewed on: October 29, 2007
Mushkin
Mushkin
Price: $213.41

Introduction:

The new Microsoft Vista and the Apple OSX Leopard operating systems are very demanding on a system. You won’t be able to run either of them at their best with only 1GB of RAM – you'll need more. True 4GB sets of RAM are hard to find, especially quality sets. Like most enthusiasts, I also want to have high performance RAM that has room for overclocking. Let’s take a look at Mushkin’s new true 4GB kit (2 x 2GB) XP2-6400 RAM with timings of 4-4-4-12. How well will this 4GB set perform? How much room will I have to overclock? Join me as I thoroughly examine this XP2-6400 4GB kit.

"Founded in 1994, Mushkin is best known for producing “Enhanced” memory modules. Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Denver, Colorado Mushkin provides performance enhanced computer products to users worldwide. Exceptional quality, enhanced performance and unparalleled customer support are what make Mushkin products the best in the industry."

 

Closer Look:

The Mushkin 4GB XP2-6400 memory is packaged the same way all of Mushkin’s modules are. I like this style of packaging because it’s simple, professional, and small. The back of the package has information regarding installation and troubleshooting, which I think is very helpful to have.

 

 

The sticker on each module display its timings, frequency, and the part number. The modules use Mushkin’s FrostByte heatsink, so you already know that the temperatures will be kept cool quite well.

 

 

Now that we have an idea for what the XP2-6400 2x2GB memory looks like, let’s install them and start testing!

 

Installation:

To install the Mushkin 4GB XP2-6400 set of RAM, you’re going to have to first power down your computer, take off the side panel, remove your current RAM, insert the new Mushkin RAM into your DDR2 240-pin slots and secure the RAM with the clips on either side of the slots. After the RAM is inserted, close up your computer and power up your system. Now you’re ready to go! If your motherboard recognizes EPP profiles, it should pick up this RAM and the EPP profile associated with it in your BIOS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specifications:

Frequency 800MHz
Latency 4-4-4-12
Voltage 2.0-2.1V
Module 256Mx64
Parity Unbuffered
Pins 240
Chip 128x8

Testing:

To test this Mushkin XP2-6400 4GB set of RAM, I'm going to compare it against the Mushkin HP2-6400 4GB set. The XP2's stock timings are 4-4-4-12, whereas the HPC's default timings are 5-4-4-12. Both sets are DDR2 800, so we're going to see which set is better. The HP2-6400 4GB set was used in the exact same system except it had two 8800GTS video cards instead of one 7950GT KO. This shouldn't make too much difference in most of the tests.

Testing Setup:

Benchmarks:

 

CPU-Z: This great little program tells you absolutely everything you would want to know about your memory and CPU. Below is the screenshot of the XP2-6400 clocking in at 404MHz (DDR2 800).

 

Task Manager: This Windows application is used to monitor your system's performance. I'm looking at it to see just how much of the RAM Windows is recognizing. Windows XP Professional only recognizes up to 3GB of RAM, but it can utilize the whole 4 gigabytes.

 

Now let's get to the benchmarks to see just how these two sets of 4GB RAM compare.

Testing:

PcMark05: This is a popular system benchmarking program that allows you to single out certain components and benchmark only them. I'll be running the system suite and the memory suite. In these tests, higher is better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sisoft Sandra XI: In this program, I'll be running the Memory Bandwidth, Cache and Memory, and Memory Latency tests. Higher is better in all tests except the Memory Latency - where lower is better.

 

Wow, the XP2 4GB set really man-handled the HP2 set. Let's see if this holds true for the other benchmarks.

Testing:

CacheMem: CacheMem is a good program to use in order to gauge the read and write performance of the memory. Higher is better in these tests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Far Cry: This older first person shooter game is a great way to test memory performance overall. The test results are the frames per second; so higher is better.

 

 

These scores were close - which is good to see.

Overclocking:

While keeping the stock timings of 4-4-4-12 on the Mushkin 4GB XP2-6400 set of RAM, I wanted to see just how far I could push it. After trying multiple frequencies, the highest I could get the RAM was DDR2 888 (444MHz). I knew that if I loosened up the timings, I could go much higher. I loosened the timings to 5-5-5-12 and got the RAM all the way up to DDR2 1086 (543MHz) before I hit a wall. The HP2-6400 4GB set got all the way up to DDR2 1072 (536MHz) at 5-4-4-12 latencies, which is stock, so it'll be a good comparison to use against the slightly higher XP2 frequency.

CPU-Z: 444MHz at 4-4-4-12 and 543 MHz at 5-5-5-12 latencies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PcMark05: As in the previous PCMark05 tests, higher is better. 

 

Sisoft Sandra XI: In all of these tests, except for Memory Latency, higher is better.

 

The XP2 set does much better than the HP2 set in almost all of the benchmarks.

Testing:

CacheMem: Higher for both read and write in this program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Far Cry: Higher is better in this game because the results are in frames per second.

 

 

Again, fairly close results.

Conclusion:

The Mushkin XP2-6400 4GB (2 x 2GB) set of RAM surprised me in many ways. I didn’t think it would be much better than the Mushkin HP2-6400 4GB (2 x 2GB) set. The XP2 set definitely outperformed the HP2 set by quite a margin, making it the best true 4GB set that I have ever tested. Also, Mushkin informed us that this new XP2 set should run at 1T on the 680i chipset with no problem (running DDR2 at 1T is almost unheard of). Unfortunately, even when I manually changed the RAM settings to run at 1T, my motherboard wouldn’t run it. Hopefully, down the road I’ll be able to put Mushkin’s claim to the test to see if this RAM really can run at 1T. What stuck out to me was the overclocking ability of this set. I was able to take it 44MHz higher without changing the timings or voltage. When I loosened the timings up to 5-5-5-12, I was able to overclock the RAM 143MHz higher without changing the voltage. What makes this exceptional is that this is a 4GB set of RAM! Do not pass this true 4GB set up as it performs at an exceptional level, but it also gives you room to overclock, all while running tight timings.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: