Mushkin Ridgeback 998827 PC3 12800 3x2GB Reviewjlqrb - April 6, 2010
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The new Ridgeback kit of memory from Mushkin is absolutely astounding and during the course of the review (even though I tried) just could not find any real cons with it. The set comes rated at DDR3 1600MHz with timings of 8-8-8-24, which was more than enough for it compete aggressively against the comparison models, especially when it came to the PCMark Vantage test. In this benchmark, the Ridgeback kitâ€™s total score was ahead of all but one other set and all but two sets in the memory score. This makes for a high performance set of memory right out of the box. So, we know that this kit has strong stock performance, but here at OCC we like to push our products to the limits and when it came to the Ridgeback kit the limit was an amazing 28% frequency increase. This allowed for an additional 449MHz, for a total speed of 2049MHz. Not too many set's out there can reach beyond the 2000MHz mark, so this is very impressive showing, but equally impressive is that they scaled this high with the CAS latency remaining at 8. With this being the case end timings were 8-10-9-29, a command rate of 2T, with the voltage needing to be set a 1.68 to fully run stable. I do have to say though, that beyond just the voltage and timings there was a good deal of tweaking needed to the QPI voltage and sub-timings in order to reach the maximum overclock. In the end I was extremely happy with the result, but if you are looking to get the best performance out of this kit, it might be a good idea to really familiarize yourself with the overclocking options in your BIOS.
Once the overclocking was finished, the memory really put up some impressive numbers and did so while running completely cool to the touch, even with a voltage increase. The ability to keep the heat down was due to the new Ridgeback cooling design, which utilizes advanced cooling solutions to decrease the operating temperature of the memory. The Ridgeback uses a counter sunk screw design to ensure that each side of the heat spreader contacts the memory chips with the proper amount of pressure allowing the high quality thermal tape to quickly transfer the heat from the modules to the heat spreader, where it can then migrate to the top finned array area to be evenly and effectively be removed. This design works flawlessly and even though the Ridgeback uses a finned design, it is still low profile enough to not have to worry about any clearance issues with after-market CPU coolers. Keeping the memory cool will not only increase the overclocking potential for the memory, but also add to its lifespan, which is a nice benefit in its self, but I do have to admit the new look is pretty beneficial as well. Along with all of this you get Mushkins lifetime backing of your memory purchase and since the premium for the set is not excessive, it really is a great value. Even though this review was for a 6GB triple-channel set, you can also find the new Ridgeback design in dual-channel, for use with Intel's LGA 1156 or AMD's AM3 systems. If you are looking for a great set of memory, the Mushkin Ridgeback kit is one of the better ones out there, and are definitely strong enough to meet the demanding needs of gamers, benchmarkers, overclockers and multi-taskers.
- Ridgeback design
- Extremely Overclockable
- Runs cool
- Lifetime warranty
- Overclocking over 1900MHz required some fine tuning