Mushkin 996996 8GB DDR3 2133MHz Review
Reviewed by: ccokeman
Reviewed on: September 12, 2013
Mushkin 996996 8GB 2133MHz Introduction:
At one point in the not too distant past, we here at OCC used the Mushkin Redline 996996 2x4GB set of modules as part of our test systems - until we moved on to the 993997 16GB kit that feature the same timings and module size but was equipped with the Ridgeback heat sink package rather than the Frostbyte heat sink package used on the 996996 modules. However, we really never took a look at the 996996 modules to see what they really were capable of, which sets the tone for this review. Mushkin's Enhanced strategy delivers products that offer improvements in timings, speed, and cooling to go along with the lifetime warranty.
The 996996 kit consists of a pair of 4GB modules that are rated at 2133MHz and designed to run using just 1.65v. Currently priced at $79.99, the 996996 Redline modules are offered at a modest price point. Having used this kit extensively for about two years I'll be curious to see how well the performance stands up when coupled with the latest Z87 platform from Intel.
Mushkin 996996 8GB 2133MHz Closer Look:
The packaging is your standard blister pack that showcases the modules from a single side of the package with the marketing card between the top and bottom of the container. From the card, the Mushkin 996996 modules are presented so you know just what you are getting for your hard earned dollars. The front side of the marketing card features the Mushkin logo at the top left and the greater than sign behind the modules, indicating that you get more with Mushkin. On the back side of the ad card are instructions that illustrate how to install the Redline 996996 kit properly as well as a sticker that has the SKU, timings, part number, and voltage needed.
What you notice about the Mushkin Redline modules is that they are well built and are equipped with Mushkin's time tested Frostbyte heat sink cooling technology. Of course it's red, since this set of modules is part of the Redline series of modules that are targeted at the high performance enthusiast and hardcore gamers that demand the best for their systems. This set of modules comes with a lifetime warranty in case things go a little south during an overclocking session. One side of the Frostbyte heat sink carries the Mushkin Enhanced and Redline logos while the other carries the product information/warranty sticker. This set of modules carries an XMP 1.3 profile that is set to run the modules at 9-11-10-28 using 1.65v to reach its rated speed of 2133MHz. Mushkin's Frostbyte heat sinks feature plenty of open space under the hod to allow airflow up and through the modules through convection to strip away the thermal load from the memory ICs and PCB.
The back of the package states in bold text "Get More". In the past this slogan has held true to form. I have no doubt that the modules will indeed offer excellent performance.
Mushkin 996996 8GB 2133MHz Specifications:
Mushkin 996996 8GB 2133MHz Features:
- Dual Channel Kit: Engineered for dual-channel architecture.
- Enhanced Timings: This product has been programmed for timings that offer improved performance when properly installed.
- Enhanced Frequency: This product has been programmed to operate at the ideal frequency for your system when properly installed.
- Hand-Tested: This product has been tested by hand for quality assurance.
- Extreme Performance: Unparalleled speeds to save time and money while transferring content rich data.
- Lifetime Warranty: Quality guaranteed - we offer a lifetime warranty on this product and genuine, unmatched service and support.
- Frostbyte Heatsink: This product is equipped with the Frostbyte™ Heatsink.
All information courtesy of Mushkin @ http://poweredbymushkin.com/index.php/component/djcatalog2/item?id=32:996996&cid=5:redline
Mushkin 996996 8GB 2133MHz Testing:
Memory is often hard to separate from one kit to another in gaming, but when it comes to number crunching and computing, some memory provides an extra boost in comparison. To see just what kind of performance this kit has to offer, I will be running the modules through a series of benches to see just how they compare. There will be 8GB and 16GB kits ranging in speed from 2133MHz - 2400MHz, tested at native speeds as well as overclocked. Overclocking of course will be dependent on exactly how far the testing rig will allow, but I'll push it as far as I can. The testing setup used for these benchmarks is listed below, where Turbo Boost has been disabled to eliminate uncontrolled clock changes that may skew the results. The CPU will be run with default Boost clock speed of 3.9GHz for baseline testing and bumped up to 4.2 GHz for OC testing, or as close as possible to that speed. All current updates and patches are installed for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and the latest driver for the NVIDIA GTX 770 will be used.
- Processor: Intel Fourth Generation Core i7 4770K
- CPU Cooling: Corsair Hydro Series H100
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus VI Extreme
- Memory: Mushkin 996996 2x4Gb 2133MHz
- Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 770
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Smart 750W
- Hard Drive: Corsair Force GT 240GB SSD
- Optical Drive: Lite-On Blu-ray
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D
- OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
- G.Skill Trident X 8GB 2400MHz
- Mushkin 993997 16GB 2133MHz
- Patriot Viper 3 4x4Gb 2400MHz
- Corsair Vengeance Pro 2666MHz
CPU-Z: This application visually shows the settings that we have chosen in the BIOS. Items shown in this application include CPU speed and bus settings, motherboard manufacturer, BIOS revisions, memory timings, and SPD chip information.
Task Manager: We use this utility to show physical memory, kernel memory, page file, and processor usage.
- Processor: Intel Fourth Generation Core i7 4770K @ 4250MHz
- Memory: Mushkin 996996 2x4Gb @ 2333Mhz 10-12-10-28 1.73v
Overclocking on Intel Haswell processors is quite a bit different from what we are used to in the last few generations, where the CPU clock speeds did not influence the clock speed the memory controller could handle. Entry to Haswell memory overclocking 101 shows that while the CPU may handle a nice overclock of up 4.7GHz to 5.0GHz on really impressive examples, the memory may not scale up past 1866MHz or 2133MHz at those CPU clock speeds, even though the memory modules are rated much higher. What I found on both of my CPUs was that anything greater than around 4250MHz on the CPU would not run the memory at 2600MHz or higher.
With that being said the CPU clock speed is kept within that window or right at 4.25GHz in this case. By using the 125MHz CPU strap I was able to push the Mushkin 996996 modules up to 2333MHz. I had to use this method since I could not get 2400MHz to boot with the modules with up to 1.75v and relaxed primary timings. The next dividers down did not offer enough bclk stretch to get to the final clock speeds. To reach 2333MHz I did have to relax the CAS latency to 10 and TRCD to 12 while pushing the voltage to 1.730v to get 2333MHz stable. The voltages for the memory controller were left on auto since the voltages applied were sufficient to manage the memory clock speed. There might be more in these modules but relaxing the timings further would have an adverse effect on performance. All in all the overclocking netted a 200MHz boost in clock speed that helped improve performance measurably.
Maximum Memory Speed:
The maximum memory speed for each set of overclocked modules is indicative of how well the modules ran on this test system. As such, your results may differ in either a positive or negative way based on the capabilities of your hardware. In other words, your mileage may vary!
The benchmarks used in this review include the following:
- PCMark 8
- Geekbench 2.1
- Hyper Pi 0.99
- SiSoft Sandra 2013
- Metro: Last Light
Mushkin 996996 8GB 2133MHz Testing:
PCMark 8: With this benchmark, I will be running the Home and Creative suites. The measurement for the both test suites will be the total score.
Geekbench 2.1 provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks engineered to quickly and accurately measure processor and memory performance. Designed to make benchmarks easy to run and easy to understand, Geekbench takes the guesswork out of producing robust and reliable benchmark results.
Hyper Pi is a multi threaded program designed to calculate Pi up to the 32nd millionth digit after the decimal and is used as both a benchmarking utility and simple stress test to check your overclock before moving forward with more rigorous testing. The world records for this benchmark utility are hotly contested.
Surprisingly this little set of Redline modules from Mushkin keep pace with the faster memory kits throughout these tests. Overclocking allows them to deliver once again performance on par with faster sets due to the tighter timings it runs at lower speeds.
Mushkin 996996 8GB 2133Mhz Testing:
SiSoftware Sandra 2013: In this program, I will be running the following benchmarks: Memory Bandwidth and Transactional Memory Throughput. Higher score are better in the Bandwidth test while lower scores are better in the transactional memory test.
X.264 Benchmark: This benchmark is used to measure the time it takes to encode a 1080p video file into the x.264 format. The default benchmark is used with an average of all four tests on each pass taken as the result.
AIDA64 Extreme Edition is a software utility designed to be used for hardware diagnosis and benchmarking. I will be using the Cache and Memory benchmark to test each module’s read, write, and copy bandwidth, as well as the latency test.
Higher is Better
In many of these tests the 996996 set of Redline modules perform similarly to the 993997 kit, also from Mushkin, that carries the same timings of 9-11-10-28 and speed bin of 2133MHz.
Mushkin 996996 8GB 2133MHz Testing:
Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro: Last Light is the follow-up to the extremely popular game Metro 2033. Developed by 4A games and published by Deep Silver, this game uses the 4A game engine. In this game set a year after the missile strike on the Dark Ones, you continue on as Artyom as he digs deeper into the bowels of the Metro.
- DirectX 11
- Global settings = Medium
- PhysX = Off
- Motion Blur=Normal
Higher = Better
In this game the impact of higher speed binned memory is nullified with all five sets of modules delivering similar FPS results that have a 1 FPS variation at worst between the lowest and highest performing kit.
Mushkin 996996 8GB 2133MHz Conclusion:
Try as I might there is nothing I have to say bad about this set of Redline modules from Mushkin. The modules perform just as well as I expected them to do based on using these as part of the OCC test bed back during the heyday of the P67/Z68 chipsets, where the modules performed well when paired with an Intel Core i7 2600K or even with the Third Generation Core i7 3770K. Overclocking was just as I remembered and fairly robust with a 200MHz boost in speed achieved with just a bit of tuning time. The boost in speed did not come with the serious drop in performance that I have seen with some of the modules I have tested as the speeds increase and the timings get looser.
Even though targeted at the enthusiast and hard core gamer, the Redline 996996 modules do not have to be tweaked and tuned to get the most from them as the XMP profile is pretty aggressive to start with. Something that allows the modules to perform well right out of the gate on top of making it easy for the average user to set up the modules just by enabling the XMP profile in the BIOS.
Mushkin's Frostbyte cooling technology offers enhanced cooling of the modules with a lightweight design that is not only good looking but functional. The red color goes well with any build, especially one that employs any of the red and black themed boards such as the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero and MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming. By hand testing the modules before they leave the factory, Mushkin ensures nothing but quality parts are sent out to the consumer. Sometimes things go wrong even though we do everything right, in those instances Mushkin is there to stand by its product, offering a lifetime warranty on the modules.
As it stands here the 996996 Redline modules are another solid offering that comes with a low buy in cost for the quality you get at $79 for 8GB of memory! Good looks, great performance, and the support to back it up. Remember that slogan on the back of the package? It proudly states "Get More". I would have to agree.
- Frostbyte heat shields
- Tight timings