Mushkin Ridgeback 998827 PC3 12800 3x2GB Reviewjlqrb - April 6, 2010
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With memory being such a vital component in your PC, it is important that the kit you choose be able to produce the performance you require. Of course, picking which set best fits your needs can be difficult as there are many companies and manufacturers of performance memory to choose from. Many have good reputations and stand behind their products, but not all of them have the fifteen years of experience and the out standing line-up that Mushkin has. This Denver base company has over the years released memory that is fast, stylish, highly overclockable, hand tested and comes included with a lifetime warranty. Some of their more popular series to date are have been the Redline and Blackline, which were highly regarded for their performance and overclocking ability making them a hot commodity for enthusiasts looking for a product that could best meet their extreme demands. The set of memory that we are going to be looking at today is a 6GB triple-channel kit from Mushkin, that includes their all new Ridgeback heatspreader. The Ridgeback is designed to offer optimal heat transfer and still be low profile enough to easily fit in any setup. Before even getting this set out of the packaging I can already tell you that Mushkin has delivered on the looks and if appearance were indicator for performance, we could stop the review here and award the gold. However since this isn't the case we'll have to put them though our testbed and see if this new line can perform as good as it looks.
The Mushkin Ridgeback kit comes packaged in standard retail plastic casing, that has the companies color of choice (green) throughout it. Since the packaging is clear, all three of the sticks of memory are fully visible from the front, allowing you to look at the new Rigdeback design before even opening the blister pack. The backside of the packaging is very basic and in place of having listed specifications and features here, you instead find a step-by-step guide of how to properly install the memory into your motherboards DIMM sockets. That's about it for the packaging, so nothing to fancy or over the top, but it is functional and completely serves it purpose.
The new Ridgeback heatspreader is solid black, has a fin array at the top and is identical on each side, even face down having the Mushkin logo facing the same way on each side. On one side though, you will find the information stick, which provides you with the model number, size of memory, voltage needed and timings. The information on the sticker lists this a a 6GB triple-channel DDR3 1600MHz kit with timings of 8-8-8-24 requiring the voltage be set at 1.65v. With the i7 line of processors having the memory controller incorporated directly into the chip Intel states that 1.65v is the max rating that the processor can support without risk of damage to the CPU, so the 1.65v limit on this kit of memory fits nicely within Intel's voltage requirements.
The new Rideback design is very pleasing the eye and thanks to its design, should ensure your memory stays running nice and cool. To transfer heat, the heat spreader on the kit applies the proper amount of pressure to the memory, by using a counter sunk screw design that allows for much more accuracy than a the standard securing method. With this accurate amount of pressure, the high-quality thermal pad has proper contact with each memory chip, allowing heat to transfer away from the memory and onto the heat spreader. Now we all know heat travels up, so to create more surface area to release the heat, the Riddgeback utilizes a ridged fin array. The shape of the fin array is the same as the greater than sign that Mushkin uses with their logo and with it leading to the logo on the top it not only looks cool, but almost gives a tire tread look to them from the top as well.
Now that we have examined the specimen, we can get to our testing and see if it it can perform with best of them.