Mushkin XP3-15000 8-9-8-20 3x2GB Reviewccokeman -
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With the introduction of the Core i7 processors and X58 chipset, the availability of DDR3 memory modules in tri-channel kits has blossomed to speeds once thought impossible, considering the low voltage requirements of the Core i7 processor. When the i7 was first released, the warning about the voltage requirements was all over the place, and stated that memory voltages above 1.65 volts could cause irreparable harm to your CPU. The warning stickers are placed over the DIMM slots on each X58 motherboard, as well as being prominently displayed in the motherboard manual on the memory installation page. What this did was force memory manufacturers start looking for modules that would work with this restriction, so they do not offer a set of memory that would help you void your CPU warranty and ultimately expose themselves to liability concerns. Each manufacturer initially struggled to get high performance kits out for the launch of the Intel i7 processors, and as time has gone by (six months plus) the modules' speeds have crept upwards while the timings have tightened. Gone are the days when you needed 2.0 volts on a set of DDR3 memory to get to 2000MHz. Currently, there are sets available that push the boundaries of what can be expected with the 1.65 volt specification, with some kits running 2133MHz or higher. These modules come with a premium price tag, though.
Mushkin is one of the premiere memory manufacturers that deliver a high quality product that usually exceeds expectations, and the XP3-15000 3x2GB Tri-Channel kit should be no exception. With rated timings of 8-9-8-24 at 1866MHz and 1.65 volts, these modules should provide increased performance in applications where enhanced memory bandwidth allows increased performance. Mushkin's slogan is "Get More", and if past performance is an indicator, then yes we should get more - when it comes to performance and overclocking overhead. Let's see just how much "more" we get!
Mushkin's modules come in a standard retail clamshell that is easy to open, as the edges do not have the usual heat sealed edges. From the front, the XP3-15000 modules are the first thing you see, with the Mushkin logo as a backdrop. The phrase "Get More" is prominently displayed on the top left corner. The rear view contains a brief list of instructions, as well as a troubleshooting guide you can use as a quick reference if you happen to have problems while installing the modules.
The Frostbyte heatspreaders used on this set of memory are black, signifying that these modules fall in the XP, or Extreme Performance, lineup. The specifications of the modules are on a sticker on each of the sticks. The part number for these modules is 998687. This part number equates to the XP3-15000 3x2GB triple-channel kit of modules with rated timings of 8-9-8-24 at 1866MHz using 1.65 volts, the maximum safe specification for the Core i7 processor. Cooling for the Mushkin modules is carried out by the Frostbyte heatspreaders. This is a flow-through design that does help cool the modules while providing a sleek look to them. They don't have quite the cooling ability of the "Ascent" design, but we are not running 2.0+ volts through the modules either.
Let's get the modules installed and see if the XP3-15000 does indeed deliver "more!"