I've been saying since we started reviewing Quad Channel memory kits that we're beginning to see some RAM from companies that we haven't seen anything from in ages. Mushkin would definitely fall into that category as I really can't think of the last time I saw a RAM kit from them.
The last time we saw a RAM kit from them, though, doesn't matter today as we check out one of their brand new Quad Channel kits in the form of the Redline series. There's not a whole lot more that needs to be said to be honest, so let's just take a closer look at the kit of RAM we've got here today from Mushkin.
Being part of the Redline series, we instantly know that this is aimed as a performance memory kit and we all know that nothing means more performance than a sexy red heatsink. This is the first time I've seen the Ridgeback heatsink that Mushkin are using here and I find myself thoroughly impressed with the quality of it.
What I like the most is probably the fact that it's screwed together; these days most heatsinks are simply held in place via some thermal tape on the memory ICs. Instead we can see that Mushkin opt for a much more sturdy option with the screws which helps make for a great feeling kit.
Moving in a bit closer and flipping one of the modules over, we get a better idea of what's going on with the overall design. On one side we've got the Redline Mushkin Enhanced logo neatly in the middle.
Turning over to the other side, we can see we've got the Mushkin logo on the right with the main specifications sticker on the left. It's here we can also see that another three screws are installed which again help make the heatsink feel extremely solid. What I would've loved to have seen was a black PCB against the red heatsink. The green is probably more prominent against the red heatsink here. It's not anything major and it's nothing more than a cosmetic thing, but when you throw a high end kit of RAM into a high end motherboard with a black PCB, the black on black against the heatsink looks great.
With that said, if we move in closer to the RAM and check out the specifications sticker, we can see what exactly is going on with the kit we've got here today. We can of course see it's part of the Redline series and the actual model number is 993997. Below that we can see we're dealing with a 16GB kit that is achieved via the help of 4x 4GB modules.
On the left hand side we can see that the kit is a PC3-17000 one which means it comes in at 2133MHz DDR. Next to that we have the timings which come in at 9-11-10-28-1T @ 1.65v. CL9 2133MHz DDR memory is fairly common and it seems to be that sweet spot for people who want performance RAM without jumping to 2400MHz DDR which carries with it quite a price hike.
Knowing that our CPU is capable of going over 2500MHz DDR, we knew that getting to 2133MHz DDR at CL9 wasn't going to be an issue. You can see our CPU-Z validation here. Up and running in Windows, it was time to check out the performance we could get.
Under AIDA64 we ended up with Read / Write numbers of 19,788 MB/s / 15,151 MB/s, Copy speed of 17,466 MB/s and latency of 45.9ns.
As usual, the stock performance doesn't hold any surprises; this isn't the first time we've had 2133MHz CL9 RAM in our system. What we're really interested in is the overclocking performance. So with that said, it was time to head into the BIOS to see just what we could get out of the RAM.
While normally the first thing I'd do is move to a 2T Command Rate, I figured we'd just leave it at 1T and see what we could do. The first thing was to push the RAM up to 2200MHz DDR at the default 9-11-10-28-1T setup. Surprisingly we got into Windows without any issue.
We then moved up to a 105 BCLK which is the most we can do before we need to move to the 125 BCLK strap. Again at 105 BCLK our RAM got into Windows without an issue. Moving to the 125 BCLK strap we did have problems getting into Windows, so we just moved back slightly.
Eventually we ended up in Windows at 2270MHz DDR using the default 9-11-10-28-1T timings which is fairly impressive. You can see our CPU-Z validation here.
Up and running in Windows, it was time to check out the performance we could get.
Under AIDA64 we ended up with Read / Write numbers of 21,592 MB/s / 16,960 MB/s, Copy speed of 19,406 MB/s and latency of 42.5ns.
We can see a nice boost in performance which is helped a lot by the increased CPU speed thanks to the big jump in BCLK. As always, though, we head back into the BIOS and up our multiplier to see what kind of performance we get out of the kit when our CPU sits closer to the 5GHz mark.
Looking below, you can see a nice boost in performance in all areas thanks to the fact that we're not only running a higher CPU speed, but we've continued to keep the RAM running at CL9 with that 1T Command Rate.
Under AIDA64 we ended up with Read / Write numbers of 23,166 MB/s / 19,311 MB/s, Copy speed of 21,185 MB/s and latency of 41.0ns.
Since we had achieved such a strong overclock on the default timings, I figured we'd head back into the BIOS and just loosen the timings a little. We moved to a 10-11-10-28 setup and pushed the Command Rate to 2T. After a bit of back and forth we ended up and running in Windows at 2343MHz DDR which is a solid 210MHz DDR over the stock 2133MHz DDR clocks the kit carries with it.
Under AIDA64 we ended up with Read / Write numbers of 22,701 MB/s / 18,959 MB/s, Copy speed of 21,210 MB/s and latency of 42.1ns.
Apart from the slight boost in copy performance, the overall numbers sit a little lower across the board when compared to the 2270MHz DDR results. It's at this point we see one of the bigger highlights from the Mushkin kit.
The 137MHz DDR overclock at CL9 with the 1T Command Rate is able to offer us slightly more performance than the 210MHz DDR CL10 2T setup. It's here we see the power of more aggressive timings, even if the timings aren't that far apart from each other. Moving from 1T to 2T brings with it the biggest hit in overall performance.
It's been so long since I've used Mushkin RAM that I have been at the point when someone asked me about it and I'd say 'it was good the last time I used it'; unfortunately that was years ago. After checking out the Redline PC3-17000 16GB kit, though, I can say with all confidence that they continue to make fantastic memory like they did all those years ago.
Coming in at $209.99 US, the Mushkin kit falls in line with other performance 2133MHz DDR Kits. With the quality of the heatsink and the overclocking possibility out of the kit, though, it manages to stand out from the pack. It's nice to see a new kit from Mushkin and know they haven't lost their touch when it comes to making awesome RAM that we want to buy. Another great Quad Channel kit for anyone who wants to jump on the X79 bandwagon!