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Mushkin Ascent XP3 16000 2 x 1 GB Review

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The way to verify that one set of memory modules is better than another, is to run a series of benchmarks and gather some basic comparison data. When all things are equal, and the only variable is the module being tested, the results are a great way to compare performance. In order to eliminate the variables, the only settings that will be manipulated will be the memory timings and voltages when overclocking. The comparison modules will be run at the manufacturer specified timings and voltages, at a speed of 1333MHz. In order to reach 2000MHz, the processor used in the test setup will have to be overclocked from 333MHz to 450+ MHz. All of the comparison modules were run at 1333 MHz, the Mushkin Ascent modules were run at both 1333 and 2000MHz. The memory and CPU were run in unlinked mode throughout the testing.

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:

  • Processor: Intel Q9450 450 x 8 1.365 volts
  • Memory: Mushkin Ascent XP3 16000 1000MHz 8-7-6-24 1.82 volts

Having to test modules rated for 1000 MHz (2000 MHz effective) presents some unique challenges. First of all, you need a board that can push 1000 MHz+ on the northbridge. Second, you need a chip that can run speeds of 500+ MHz to run 1:1 when testing. Well, we have the next best thing. Since my poor Q9450 just won't let me play in the 500 MHZ range, I had to look at the alternatives. The modules are designed to run on an nVidia 790i SLI chipset based motherboard, so thats what I did. Because of FSB holes, or a poor divider, I was not able to gain any speed over 2000 MHz at the rated latencies of 9-9-9-24. So instead of going higher, I decided to try and see how tight I could run the latencies. 2000 MHz at the stock volts of 1.9 to 2.0 volts and 9-9-9-24 was a cake walk. Heck, it should be. Now it got a little interesting. First up was 9-9-8-24, good so far.  Then down to 9-8-8, then 8-8-8 - I thought this looked promising. After a few hours of test and repeat, latencies of 8-8-8 were a reality at 2000 MHz. Hmmm, let me push my luck at 8-7-7-24. Surprisingly, this fell after another session of test and repeat benchmarking. "Can there be more?" I asked. Well, yes there was. CAS 7 was a no go at 2000 MHz, but 8-7-6-24 was good. However, it would lock up randomly in a few tests. With the voltage adjustments I had been successful with, they still would not allow it to happen. So, I figured I'd start low-balling the voltage to the DIMMs, and ended up at 1.82 volts for my game and benchmark stability.


The benchmarks used in this review include the following:


  • CPU-Z Version 1.44
  • Windows Task Manager
  • PCMark Vantage
  • SiSoft Sandra XII
  • Company of Heros

  1. Introduction & Closer look
  2. Specifications & Features
  3. Testing Setup, CPU-Z, Task Manager,Overclocking
  4. Testing: PcMark Vantage, Sandra XII
  5. Testing: Company of Heros
  6. Conclusion:
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