Mushkin Interview and Tour 2011
Reviewed by: Bosco
Reviewed on: April 28, 2011
Mushkin has been around since 1994 and has continued to grow over the years and is now one of the most respected memory companies in the business today. Over the last few years, Mushkin has moved into other markets to expand their company and they seem to be doing well. In 2007 Nick Ryan, one of our former reviewers did an interview with Brian Flood, who at the time was the Product Development Manager. So here we are almost four years later to see how far they have come.
Pulling into the parking lot I noticed Mushkin was located in a nice office complex in a suburb of Denver.
Walking into the office you are greeted to a big Mushkin sign on the wall, while turning to my right I see a custom Mushkin theme computer, with the Memory Robot beside it. The President of Mushkin's daughter made it - a very good job and it looks pretty cool in person. There are a lot of booths in the main area for everyone to have their own area to work. Along the back wall you can see there are offices there as well.
Here are some pictures of Mushkin's board room and the stuff in it.
So I wasn't sure what to expect and how much I was allowed to shoot photos for, but I must say they let me do what I want and wondered where I wanted. I can tell you it was so hard not to touch anything ... I was really struggling not to drool over anything. I now bring you the compound and all of the stuff they have on their shelves waiting to move. Note: Sorry to the OCC forum members, I tried to get a couple of cases of memory for you guys. But I would have had a hard time getting past the 2 guard dogs, and the snipers on the roof. :)
Here is the new memory waiting to be programmed.
This is one of their testing rooms. As you can imagine multiple people and multiple different test beds. What I would have given to be left alone in here for a weekend ...
Here we have Testing Room number two.
Brian Flood is still pumping along as the Product Development Manager. Here is his office - I told you guys he didn't work in a cave!
Here are some assembly shots and products being packaged up to go out to Mushkin's customers.
Here I walk through a Redline kit being packaged up.
Stuff ready to go out.
OCC-- In 2007 you stated you had an "in-house" product design team and everything was done here. Is that still the case?
Brian Flood-- For all of our DRAM memory it's still done in-house. For other products, some of it is split between us and manufacturing partners, but all testing specifications are crafted in Denver.
OCC-- Does all of your building still take place in Denver?
Brian Flood-- We contract out a majority of our products to third-party contractors globally, including the US.
OCC-- How many employees are currently working at Mushkin?
Brian Flood-- 50 employees worldwide, with most of the growth attributable to product development and sales staff.
OCC-- How many offices does Mushkin currently have?
Brian Flood-- Currently four offices worldwide. Two in the US, one in Malaysia and Germany.
OCC-- Any plans to branch to Canada?
Brian Flood-- No plans currently, but the chance of opening a branch there still exists.
OCC--What is the expected arrival date for DDR 4 for desktops?
Brian Flood-- I don’t think we’ll see DDR4 hit until late 2013 and the transition to mainstream will probably take some time after that. Luckily, DDR3 frequencies are set to scale faster and faster and platforms in the next couple years should not be bandwidth-starved.
OCC-- What new developments does Mushkin see beyond DDR4?
Brian Flood-- There is always a need to increase bandwidth and reduce power, so DRAM evolution will continue beyond DDR4.
OCC--Where do you see the memory capacity going for system builds? For example, current memory averages seem to be 4, 8, and 12GB. When do you see 4, 8 and 16GB, modules being more common?
Brian Flood-- We’re starting to see the swing to 4GB modules already in the DIY market. 256x8 is now the dominant DRAM density being produced for DDR3 and that has significantly driven down prices on 4GB modules, which has in turn greatly increased their popularity.
OCC-- Any plans to do extreme cooling for your memory modules?
Brian Flood-- Hammerhead - which is a liquid cooling solution, which is Copper based, which you saw at CES. We have taken a lot of time to get this right. We wanted to produce an optimal liquid cooling solution for cooling memory modules.
OCC-- Back when we interviewed you in 2007, you had just made the move into PSUs and now you have moved into SSDs. What have you learned over the last four years when it comes to PSUs?
Brian Flood-- The fairly stable market changed right after we entered. Now with Mushkin having a global reach, we have high expectations for our new PSU line we just launched.
OCC-- How do you feel about Mushkin's progress on manufacturing SSDs since you started?
Brian Flood-- Definitely a different market -- a very hot market in terms of activity. We expect to see rapid growth in the SSD market and that's why we jumped in when we did.
OCC-- What was your reason for wanting to move into SSDs?
Brian Flood-- The same as everything else we have done, diversity within our market. The DRAM memory market is very competitive, so expanding into other products like SSDs allows us to leverage our existing market share. We will continue to provide great products and support for our existing target customers.
OCC-- What's down the line for Mushkin - any new products you can tell us about?
Brian Flood-- Plenty of new products coming. A few items I can tell you about, is faster USB drives and us joining the SD/Micro SD market. You will see those within the next month or two. We will have fast class 10 SD cards for you to look at.
OCC--In 2007 we asked you the following: "Where do you see Mushkin in the next couple of years? Here was your response: I see us in a different location. Expanding more and pushing the limits, but still being known for quality. We're a trusted name with our recent growth, I see us bigger then we are now." Do you feel you have achieved that? If so, where do you see Mushkin in the next few years from this point?
Brian Flood-- We have definitely done that and we feel the same way still. We expect to continue to grow and we are moving to a bigger facility in the next few months to accommodate this. As new products and technology are released, we always look to see if it's something we are interested in. Above all we continue to reinforce our position as a trusted name in the market. There is nothing else as important.
OCC-- What are your current system specs?
Brian Flood-- I’m in need of a refresh, especially in the video card department, but here are the current specs for my home gaming machine: Rampage II Extreme BIOS 1903 i7-975 @ 4.4GHz HT-enabled Swiftech GTZ block with 3x120 Radiator; (Scythe S-Flex SFF21G Fans @ 1000-1900RPM) 24GB (6x4GB) Mushkin PC3-12800 7-8-7-24 1.65V Redline (2 x 999000 kits; soon to be released) 2xSapphire HD4870 in CF 2x240GB Callisto Deluxe SSDs in RAID 0 2x1.5TB Seagate 7200RPM drives in RAID 1 Mushkin Joule 1kW PSU (MKNPSJL1000) Coolermaster Cosmos case.
We at OverclockersClub have worked with Mushkin since 2006 and have watched them grow into a power-house company. There is a saying that big things come in small packages and this suits Mushkin to a tee. They may not have hundreds of employees or dozens of offices, but they sure do damn well with what they have. I spent two days in the offices watching, asking questions and learning how they do business. I was amazed at the overall moral of the company and how everyone smiles and just loves their job. One thing that stood out to me was when they got a big order, and everyone ran to the back to help out and pack orders. When I say everyone, I mean everyone - sales people, tech guys - even the president of the company. I don't know about you guys, but I don't hear or see too many presidents packing orders. I could be wrong though, but it's nothing someone that happens often in this industry, that's for sure.
Twice while I was there, customers rang the bell to be let in to buy memory. They don't push office sales, but Nick, one of the sales guys, ran to the back and made their order up and sent the customer on their way happy. I know of a few companies around my neck of the woods that won't do that - they make you go online to get it, so it's nice to see Mushkin taking that extra step.
The amount of testing that Mushkin does on their stuff amazed me yet again. Not to say that other companies don't do the same, but seeing first-hand what they do to make sure their products are reliable, is pretty interesting to see in the flesh. Mushkin is getting ready to move to another office, which will be their third office since we did out first interview with them. The new office is going to be a whole lot bigger then they have now, so I look forward to checking out their new place once they are all settled. I want to thank the Mushkin team for opening its doors and allowing me to be part of their team for a few days. I had a great time hanging out with them during and after work, and I look forward to doing it again in the future. Hopefully next time, we won't wait for another four years to go by before we do!