Mushkin XP2 8000 Redline 2 x 2GB DDR2 Review
Reviewed by: ccokeman
Reviewed on: March 21, 2008
The capability to use four gigabytes of system memory or more is here. In the past, four gigs of memory was prohibitively expensive, fetching 450 dollars or more just a short year ago. What a difference a year makes! Between Vista being resource intensive as well as the latest games using more and more memory, the need for four gigabytes is there. Once the realization hits you that you need more system memory, the questions start to fly fast and furious. How much will it cost? What manufacturer? Timings? Performance memory or just stock replacement memory? 2 x 2 gigabyte sets or 4 x 1 gigabytes? All these questions and more need to be answered before a purchase is made.
Redline! This usually signifies the top of the scale. The maximum safe limit. As the top of the line series of modules, the Mushkin XP2 8000 2 x 2 gigabyte set of modules come with a high set of expectations. Sure there are sets out on the market that have higher rated speeds, but this is a four gig set, not a measly 2 gig set. The Redline XP2 8000 DDR2 features DDR2 1000 speeds guaranteed, an EPP profile, 5-5-5-12 timings and a low 2.0 to 2.1 volts to get there, this means no extreme voltage for the rated performance. Just in case the voltage is pushed, Mushkin makes use of its patented Frostbyte heatspreaders to effectively dissipate the heat generated by the modules. The message on each box of Mushkin memory states "Get More." Let's see if the tradition of "Getting More" continues with these modules!
The modules come in the traditional Mushkin memory package, An easy to open clamshell that keeps the modules tightly in place. The modules are displayed prominently in front of the product card. The rear of the product card includes information about the company as well as installation and troubleshooting tips in case you run into trouble and need some guidance.
The XP2 8000 Redline modules come with timings advertised at 5-5-5-12 at DDR2 1000MHz speeds. It also features an EPP profile, as do all HP, XP and Redline modules for easy one setting overclocking. The modules require 2.0 to 2.1 volts to operate at the rated timings and speeds. Being part of the Redline series of modules, the heatspreaders are a bright red instead of the black or blue of the rest of the performance line up.
The heatspreaders used on its line of memory products use "Frostbyte" technology to help keep the modules cool during usage. A key part of keeping the modules alive when pushing the performance envelope.
We have seen the pics and know the feature set, now let's see how they perform.
All information sourced from Mushkins website at http://www.mushkin.com/doc/products/memory_detail.asp?id=647
The way to verify that one set of memory modules is better than another is to run a series of benchmarks to put down some basic comparison data. When all things are equal and the only variable is the module being tested, the results are a great way to compare performance, good or bad. In order to eliminate the variables, the only settings that will be manipulated will be the memory timings and voltages when overclocking. The comparison modules will be run at the manufacturer specified timings and voltages at a speed of 1000MHz. In order to reach higher memory speeds, the memory will be run unlinked to take the CPU speed out of the equation and allow the memory speed to be the only variable for my performance measurements.
- CPU:Intel Q6600 Core 2 Quad 266 x 9
- Motherboard: Abit IX38 Quad GT
- Memory: Mushkin XP2 8000 Redline 5-5-5-12
- Video Card(s): Asus EN8800 GT TOP
- Power Supply: Mushkin 650watt Modular Power supply
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 320GB SATA
- Opticals:Sony DVD-ROM
- O/S: Windows Vista Ultimate
- Comparison Module #1:Mushkin HP2 6400 2 x 2 GB 5-5-4-12
- Comparison Module #2: OCZ Reaper HPC DDR2 1066 5-5-5-18
CPU-Z: This application shows us 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 usage and processor usage (%).
- Processor: Intel Q6600 334 x 8
- Memory: Mushkin XP2 8000 Redline 562MHz
Getting the most out of the memory that is installed in high performance computers usually comes at a cost. That cost is the voltage needed for the results. Many times, the higher the voltage applied to the DIMMs, the better they perform, to a point. The Mushkin XP2 8000 Redline modules are no different. Whereas 2.3 or 2.4 volts usually is a good, even point on DDR2 memory, these did not want anything higher than 2.05 volts. Used to the "give 'er a bit more Johnny" school of thought, I tried 2.2 volts and did not get the desired increase I was after. So I settled on 1.98 volts for the final overclock. The Redlines ended up giving me 562MHz, 62MHz over the stock speed of 500MHz. I can hear the nay sayers jeering that 562MHz is low for DDR2 DIMMs. You have to realize that this is a four gigabyte set of modules. So 562 MHz is pretty decent and even better when the price point comes into play.
The benchmarks used in this review include the following programs.
- CPU-Z Version 1.43
- Windows Task Manager
- PcMark Vantage
- SiSoft Sandra XII
- Company of Heroes
PcMark Vantage: With this benchmark, I will be running the system suite as well as the memory test suite. The measure for the system suite will be the total score. The measure for memory performance is the total memory score. All three sets of memory in this test will be run at 1000MHz (DDR2 500) as well as the Mushkin Redline XP2 8000 at its maximum overclock.
SiSoftware Sandra XII: In this program, I will be doing the following benchmarks: Cache and Memory, Memory Bandwidth, and Memory Latency. Higher scores indicate better performance in all tests except for Memory Latency, where lower is better.
In the PCMark Vantage testing, the Redline modules scored the highest. The Sandra testing showed the OCZ modules giving much better bandwidth. Latency was similar to the OCZ modules, while the Redline modules performed better in the Cache and Memory benchmarks.
Company of Heroes is a Real Time Strategy game set during World War II. The object is to occupy and control the ground you capture while forcing the opponents to capitulate. We will use the in-game performance test to measure the performance of the system.
The settings used in this test are listed below:
- All settings to Maximum
Higher is Better
The Redline modules' performance was similar to the other modules tested. There was little variation in the game performance from stock to overclocked settings.
DDR2 1000 speeds guaranteed on a set of memory is old hat. Now instead of the two gig modules, apply that same guarantee to a four gigabyte set and then you have something. To have that same guarantee with a relatively low voltage requirement and the package looks a little bit sweeter. The XP2 Redline modules specify 2.1 volts to get the 5-5-5-12 timings at the rated speed. However, it only took 1.9 volts to get there with this set. In fact, the max overclock was with 1.98 volts, far less than the 2.2 or more regularly needed to overclock memory modules. This reduction in voltage should help with product longevity by reducing the operating temperatures of the modules. The EPP profile allows for set it and forget it overclocking. Set the base timings and leave the rest to auto and ratchet up the clock speeds. At a price of $129, the value that this set provides can't be understated. 562MHz will allow for 1:1 overclocking with all but the best processors out in the wild. Even if not running 1:1, using a divider to gain additional bandwidth will increase the performance to the end user. If four gigabytes of memory is in your future and you need a set to carry you to the next upgrade, the Mushkin XP2 8000 Redline 2 x 2 gigabyte set of modules will provide you with the performance you need at a very attractive price point.
- DDR2 1000 Guaranteed
- EPP Profile
- Low Voltage (Relatively)