Mushkin Radioactive 996958 PC3 12800 2X2GB Memory Review

RJR - 2010-11-11 14:55:07 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: RJR   
Reviewed on: December 2, 2010
Price: $114.99


There are so many choices out there for RAM at any particular speed now, so how can you choose what is the best RAM for you? It's pretty much personal preference these days with the RAM sticks running so close to one another in performance and price. The manufacturers are trying to give everyone a unique choice in the regards of color and aesthetics of their RAM so that may sway you one way or another. If you are building a computer with a particular color scheme, you are bound to purchase RAM to match the rest of your components, especially if you have a case with a side window. It is really great to see all the various and extreme choices that are available for RAM out there now, including the Mushkin Radioactive series we are reviewing today.

Today we are looking at the Mushkin Radioactive 4 GB dual channel kit, model # 996958. The specifications are DDR3-1600 @ 6-8-6-24 @ 1.65v, so rather tight timings for a set of PC3-12800 RAM sticks. They include the Mushkin Radioactive FrostByte heat spreaders to cool the memory even when overclocked.


Closer Look:

The Mushkin RAM came in a little different packaging than I'm used to - an aluminum box with foam inserts top and bottom to securely hold the RAM and protect it from even an overzealous shipping company. It includes the Mushkin logo on top and a stiffening aluminum border attached by aluminum rivets, along with a sturdy front latch. I can't say that I've ever received RAM in such a nice package as this before.













Here you can see the inside of the aluminum box with the foam snuggling the RAM like a baby in its mother's arms.

Here we see the front and back of the Mushkin Radioactive sticks with the Radioactive logo. The Radioactive FrostByte heat spreaders are a Mushkin design that produces a greater surface area and air turbulence to keep these memory modules cool and happy.

Let's take a look at how this memory performs.



Memory Manufacturer


Series/Model Number

Radioactive / 996958


DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800)






Radioactive FrostByte


4GB (2X2)











All information courtesy of Mushkin @


Testing of the Mushkin Radioactive memory will include all the standard OCC tests. We will run this memory at the rated frequency and timings specified by Mushkin, make sure that the XMP profile works as expected, and finally, push the RAM to see what headroom is available for the overclockers out there without getting carried away with either the voltages or loosening the timings too much.


Testing Setup:

Comparison Modules:


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 and processor usage.




Overclocked Settings:


The Mushkin Radioactive overclocked extremely well. It topped out at 2220 Mhz with 9-10-9-27 timings, with 1.68v being pushed through them. This is a nice jump from the stock 1600 Mhz frequency albeit with looser timings, but still should provide a substaintial boost with the increased bandwidth of the higher frequency. The nice 39% frequency boost is not the norm for memory these days so lets see if it makes any difference in the benchmarks.





The maximum memory speed for each set of modules when overclocked is a measure of how well the modules ran on these particular settings and test system. As such, your results may differ in either a positive or negative way based on the capabilities of your hardware. This means that your mileage may vary!

The benchmarks used in this review include the following:



PCMark Vantage: With this benchmark, I will be running the system suite, as well as the memory test suite. The measurement for the system suite will be the total score. The measurement for memory performance is the total memory score.

















Higher is Better




Higher is Better




SiSoftware Sandra 2011: In this program, I will be running the following benchmarks: Cache and Memory, Memory Bandwidth and Memory Latency. Higher is better in all tests, except for Memory Latency, where lower is better.


Higher is Better




Lower is Better




Higher is Better




Higher is Better




The Mushkin Radioactive performed very well in these tests, stock frequency held it's own with the tighter timings and dominated the overclocked benches with it's higher frequency.


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.


















Higher is Better




Higher is Better




Higher is Better



Super Pi Mod 1.5 is a 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.


Lower is Better



Here also, the Mushkin Radioactive memory takes a slight lead in all the benchmarks performed, thanks to the tighter timings and higher frequency when overclocked.


Batman Arkham Asylum is a game that pits Batman against the Joker who has taken control of Arkham Asylum along with a whole load of bad guy prisoners. His task is to rescue various hostages the Joker takes, along with trying to stop the Joker himself and fighting scores of prisoners in the interim.

















Higher is Better




Higher is Better




Higher is Better



Here we see that all the memory tested was about on-par with each other, give or take a few FPS.


You sure can't mistake these memory sticks for someone else's - they are very Mushkin Radioactive. They performed very well in the testing against the comparison modules we pitted them against. The tighter timings of these sticks produced an almost complete dominance of performance with the benchmarks we ran. 

These sticks overclocked very well for PC3-12800 modules. If you need the extra bandwidth and are willing to sacrifice its tighter timings to achieve this, this RAM can really get up there frequency-wise. Most RAM in the 2000+ MHz range runs Cas 9 anyway, so you're really not trading too much performance to loosen up this RAM and crank up the frequency if needed. We were able to better 2000 MHz with this RAM reaching 2220 MHz with 9-10-9-27 timings, so all-in-all, a very good overclockable set of memory.