Mushkin Ridgeback 996991 PC3-16000 8GB Reviewccokeman -
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Intel's Sandy Bridge platform has proven to be a capable performer for the mid-range enthusiast, offering exceptional performance for a pretty modest price point. Usually with each new platform, the memory manufacturers have a "new" lineup of modules that are tailored for the latest and greatest platform. This time is no different. After having looked at four sets of memory ranging from 4 to 8GB in our P67 Memory Roundup I found that the binning of modules was pretty close to what they could accomplish out-of-the-box. Due to the Sandy Bridge architecture, the amount of bclock overclocking is limited so there are large frequency jumps between memory multipliers. 1600 to 1866 to 2133 are usually the choices available. Bclock tuning jumps off from those points presenting some unique challenges. One being the lack of bclock tuning with a spread of about 10MHz being the maximum with about a 5Mhz to 7MHz being the norm, if you have a decent chip. That brings us to this 8GB set of Mushkin Ridgeback Memory that runs at 2000MHz with latencies of 9-11-9-27 using 1.65v. Let's see what kind of headroom and performance these latest modules from Mushkin have to offer.
The packaging of these modules is the traditional blister pack retail packaging with a new graphic that steps away from the traditional white with green and black accents. Across the top is the Mushkin Enhanced logo and the Ridgeback name that sets these modules apart from the standard Frostbyte design. The back side of the packaging has information about Mushkin as a company while below that is a quick illustrated guide that shows how to install the modules into a motherboard. The "Get More" slogan is shown along the bottom of the package. The slogan is more than just an idle saying, it's a company philosophy.
This set of Mushkin Ridgeback modules are listed as part number 996991. This equates to an 8 gigabyte (2 x 4GB) set of modules rated to run at PC3-16000 or 2000MHz running latencies of 9-11-9-27 using 1.65v. Additionally, these modules are equipped with Mushkin's own Ridgeback heat spreader design. Each of the major players in the memory market have their own design that sits atop each respective product stack and this is Mushkin's design that is an upgrade from the traditional Frostbyte design. This design is a take on the greater than (<) sign used in the Mushkin logo as each rib on the top of the aluminum heat spreader is shaped this way. The labeling on the modules lists the part number, voltage requirements, timings used, capacity, speed rating and serial number bar code of the Ridgeback modules. just across from this label is the painted on Mushkin logo.
The Ridgeback heat shield design is a three piece design that consists of two shields on the side that screw to the top Ridge that holds the cooling fins to dissipate the thermal load from these high density modules. In this illustration from Mushkin you can see how the modules are put together and how they function to reduce operating temperatures to allow the end user to "Get More".
This set of Ridgeback modules are equipped to run the higher memory speeds the enthusiast demands. The question is where will this set run when the latencies are tweaked and will CAS 9 be the end result or just the beginning of the tweaking?