Mushkin PC2-5300 DDR2 SODIMM 2 X 2 GB Memory
Reviewed by: Admin
Reviewed on: June 21, 2007
I think I have purchased about four laptop computers in my lifetime. Each time, I waited for a sale at my local electronics store and then settled with something that was affordable, but lacked the power or features I really preferred. Twice I purchased a laptop for the processor, while the other two times were for memory or hard drive space. Each purchase had a cost of over 1300 dollars. Like any other consumer, when my 1300 dollar laptop became obsolete, which was about a year and a half later, I went out and purchased another to fill my needs. That has become quite an expensive habit. Needless to say, it’s time for another laptop again and I don’t want to spend 1300 dollars to get a laptop that is only going to provide me with only one of the qualities I desire. After much thought, I feel that I have found a solution. I wrote down what I needed a laptop for and in order, listed what I needed most to least and then included why I need a laptop. I use my laptop for business mostly, which means that I will be using a word processor, some sort of spreadsheet program, email, internet, watching a DVD while travelling, listening to MP3s and play an occasional game.
Considering all my needs by priority, I was ready to purchase a laptop. The most important part of any computer is its processor and although my main rig is a dual-core processor, I really don’t feel the need for one in a laptop as of yet, so I decided the laptop needed at least a 2.0 Ghz processor. Since I will not be using the laptop for photoshop or other intensive applications, Vista basic is just fine and there is an option to upgrade from basic at any time should my needs change. I own copies of all the programs I need to perform my daily tasks, so to save extra money, I chose a laptop that didn’t come with any bundled software. One other must was the laptop had to have at least a 15.4 in screen and at minimum, a decent GPU.
In this review, I will be focusing on memory. I will show the difference in performance between what came with the computer and the memory I chose to upgrade with, which is Mushkin DDR2 SODIMM PC-2 5300 2 x 2 GB. I will not be reformatting the hard drive nor tweaking the system during this review - I will basically focus on out of the box performance difference. This review will be the first in a series of three total reviews, with this one focusing on the memory, the next focusing on the hard drive with the pre-installed memory and the last comparing the performance of the whole system after the total upgrade.
Mushkin is better known for producing high quality Memory for desktop PCs, but little known for producing quality memory for notebook computers. When I realized that they did produce SODIMM memory and having had only good experiences with their desktop memory, I felt trying the SODIMM memory would be a good choice for my upgrade.
Mushkin was founded in 1994 by Bill Mushkin and has now become one of the worlds leading manufacturers in superior high performance Memory. If you would like to know more about Mushkin, please see our interview with Brian Flood (Manager of Product Development).
This is what I chose to do with the new laptop, in order to save money and get what I truly wanted. I will eventually upgrade my Vista Basic, so I want to have enough memory available to be able to multi-task and I will need at least a 160GB hard drive to feel comfortable with storage. A local retail chain had a sale on a laptop with an AMD Turion Processor that was 2.0 GHz, with 512MB of PC-2 4200 DDR2 memory, 80GB 5400 RPM hard drive, Vista Basic, a DVD/RW, a 15.4 in screen, and an ATI Xpress 1100 GPU. The sale price was 450 dollars. Perfect.
Mushkin SODIMM Memory comes packaged the same way it's bigger brother does, in a clear plastic enclosure so you can see exactly what you are purchasing. SODIMM DDR2 Memory contains 200 pins and measures about 2.75" W and 1.25" H.
Installing laptop memory is a lot easier then you would imagine. When you flip over your laptop, you will see removable panels. On this laptop, there are two panels - one for the hard drive and the other for memory. Using a small screwdriver remove the screws to expose your memory slots.
Once exposed, you will see the memory is held in by two small arm clips. Gently pull them away from the memory chip and the memory that you are replacing will pop up.
After removing the memory you will be replacing, start with the bottom memory slot and insert the new memory and then press down so it snaps into place. Repeat the same procedure with the next memory chip, then screw the panels back on and you are ready to restart your laptop.
The reason for upgrading memory in a laptop is to increase performance, but what kind of performance increase can you expect? For testing, let's start with boot time. How long does it take until the system reaches the password screen, actual desktop and for all start-up items to load? Norton Internet Security came as a trial with this system and in all my experiences using it, it is always the last startup item to load. Thus, the final time will be reflected when Norton has loaded.
- Acer Aspire 5100-3019
- CPU: AMD Turion Processor 64 MK36
- LCD: 15.4" WXGA Acer CrystalBrite
- Memory: 512MB DDR2 PC-2 4200
- HDD: Western Digital 80 GB 5400 rpm SATA
- ODD: Matshita DVD-Ram UJ-850S ATA
- Modem: 56k
- Lan: 10/100 Base T
- Wireless Lan: 802.11b/g
- OS: Windows Vista Home Basic
- Mushkin PC-2 5300 DDR2 2 x 2GB
Boot Time, (seconds):
I hate having to sit and wait for my Internet Browser to load, so the next test will show how long it took for Firefox to load the OCC home page.
So far, the differences are remarkable. Load times were half the time in most cases. Let's not lose focus here. Yes, the system ram is only 512MB while the Mushkin is 4GB, but remember the reasons for my comparisons - to prove that even if you purchase an inexpensive laptop, you can still save money by upgrading components on your own to eclipse the performance of a more expensive off-the-shelf laptop.
The next set of tests will include Fresh Diagnose memory benchmark, to see the differences between the stock RAM and the Mushkin PC-2 5300, Task Manager performance utilization, Windows Vista performance rating and CPU-Z.
I've used Fresh diagnose in the past, but never had much use for it, since I'm more accustomed to using other more familiar benchmarks, like SiSoftware Sandra. For this stage of my review, I just wanted to see what type of differences there were between the two and felt that Fresh Diagnose was an easy enough read. In the 3rd part of this review, I will be using Sandra to show the latencies etc, between both. Fresh Diagnose measures Integer Assignment and the system RAM yielded a score of 23,285, while the Mushkin RAM yielded a score of 36,852.
You may notice that Task Manager is only reading a total of 2685 on the physical memory while using the Mushkin RAM. By shutting down processes, I was able to achieve 3433, but since the tests are being run without any tweaks, I will show it as is.
Vista Performance Rating:
This is something new. The Vista performance rating analyzes your total system and gives the performance rating based on your lowest subscore. The system RAM produced the lowest subscore in the test at 2.0, while the Mushkin PC-2 5300 received a 5.2.
So far, the total cost of my experiment has come to 664 dollars, compared to the last laptop I purchased, my total savings are 786 dollars. So was the cost of upgrading the RAM worth it? Yes. The Mushkin DDR2 SODIMM PC-2 5300 2 x 2GB truly increases the performance of the system. Load times have decreased, programs open faster and multitasking did not freeze the computer as it did with the RAM that came with the system. On average, 1GB of everyday SODIMM memory will cost 100 to 110 dollars (at a retail store), while if you were to purchase a laptop that had at least 2GB of RAM with a good processor, you are already somewhere over 1000 dollars. I would have to recommend the Mushkin DDR2 SODIMM PC-2 5300 2 x 2GB to anyone who is upgrading memory in their laptop. For 4GB, it is worth the price.
As I shut down part 1 of the review and get ready to install the new hard drive, let's see how long it took to actually shut down the laptop.
System Shut Down (seconds):