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Mushkin Ascent XP3 16000 2 x 1 GB Review

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As DDR3 motherboards continue to be released, the migration to DDR3 memory has begun. The prices have started to drop as more people are starting to adopt the new standard with their latest builds. The memory manufacturers are keen to this as well, by continually releasing modules that operate at higher frequencies. With the release of the QX9770 and its 1600 MHz core clock speed (400 x 4), and XMP profiles that are being programmed into the SPD of many of the higher performance modules, 800MHz (1600 MHz effective) is the starting point. Having modules that can run natively at speeds higher than thae XMP standard is the challenge for the memory manufacturers. As with most high performance modules, pushing the limits means increasing the supply voltage to them, which in turn brings more heat. Two things Mushkin has done with the Ascent XP3 16000 modules is take care of both problems. This set of modules does indeed run at 2000 MHz natively. Getting rid of the heat is the other problem when 1.9 to 2.0 volts is the requirement for operation at this speed. To fix this problem, Mushkin is using a vapor chamber cooling assembly on the modules. This eVCI technology is provided by Celsia. It effectively removes the hot spots that a traditional heatpipe style of cooling system would impose upon the memory ICs, therefore allowing the modules to run cooler at higher voltages. The difference in module temperatures was like night and day between the HP3 10666 set of memory I looked at last year. At the JEDEC spec 1.5 volts the modules were fine. Once they started getting more than 1.7 volts the heatspreaders were actually quite warm to the touch. Not so with the Ascent modules, even at 2.1 volts they didn't scream for relief.

Once again, I am pleased with the results I have gotten from the modules Mushkin has produced. Since the XP3 16000 modules are rated for 2000 MHz operation at 9-9-9-24 using 1.9 to 2.0 volts, the expectation is that they will run and perform at this level. That they did. What I was not expecting was the ability to reduce the latencies at the 2000 MHz threshold. Normally, you will need an increase of the voltage supplied to the modules to make this happen. What it actually took was a voltage decrease to do this, down to 1.82 volts and 8-7-6-24 at 2000 MHz, was the result of this exercise. If you need a set of modules to run with that brand new E8400 or E8500, and you don't want to wonder if the modules can keep up, this just might be your set of modules. We'll just have to wait a bit longer on pricing, though.



  • New cooling concept works
  • Mushkin Quality
  • Lower than rated voltage for results
  • Reduced latencies at rated speeds



  • Price will most likely be still high
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