Mushkin HP3 12800 3x2GB Reviewccokeman -
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Every time there is a change in processor technology, there is usually a shift in the system memory needs that goes with the new "platform". This time around, we go from a DDR3 dual channel configuration with voltage limits that pushed upwards of 2.1 volts, into memory that is designed is to be run at 1.5 volts to a Tri channel configuration with strict voltage guidance from Intel that specifies that the memory should run at 1.65 volts or less for the long term reliability of the processor. With the enthusiast community, the limits are more of a guideline until there are mass CPU deaths and then there will be the usual screaming for heads. But the guidance was given beforehand. More system memory may not help with overall speed, but definitely impacts how "smooth" the system runs. That may be interpreted as a speed increase, but the speed was always there - it was the paging to the hard drive causing your lag and performance loss. Just going from 2 to 4GB of memory on a system running Vista will open your eyes to that fact since Vista is a resource hog.
But I digress - this review is not about a dual channel kit but Mushkin's HP3 12800 Tri Channel 3x2GB set of memory, that are optimized for use with motherboards that feature the Intel X58 chipset along with Intel's Core I7 processors. This set of modules is rated for use at 1600MHz (800) with latencies of 9-9-9-24 and uses 1.5 to 1.6 volts to get there - less than the 1.65 volts Intel specifies as a maximum.
The HP3 12800 modules are packaged much the same way the rest of Mushkins lineup is packaged, in a plastic clam shell that holds the modules securely in place for their trip to your door. The front view shows off the modules and contains the Mushkin logo and the slogan "Get More", while the rear view features some installation and trouble shooting tips to help you out should there be a problem. With this set there were no issues.
The part number for this set of modules is Mushkin part number 998659. What this tells us after looking up the specifications for this set of modules, is that this is a 3x2GB set of modules in the HP3 lineup. These modules feature latencies of 9-9-9-24 at 1600MHz and use voltage in the range of 1.5 to 1.6 volts for the specified latencies and clock speed. This set of modules uses heatspeaders designed using Mushkin's own Frostbyte technology to provide these modules with the capability of shedding heat effectively. The blue color signifies that these modules are part of the HP lineup and not the XP or Redline series.
Now we are familiar with the HP3 modules, let's see just how well they perform.