Mushkin XP3-16000 Ascent 2GB DDR3 Memory Kit

Mushkin push the limits of memory technology every time. Today we have another high performing DDR3 kit hitting 2000MHz.
| Sep 18, 2008 at 11:00 pm CDT
Rating: 86%Manufacturer: Mushkin


Mushkin XP3-16000 Ascent 2GB DDR3 Kit
IntroductionMushkin memory is one of the oldest memory companies in the history of computers. In fact, they can be traced back as far as the beginning of the SDRAM evolution. Mushkin memory was the first company to successfully push SDRAM to 133MHz using standard voltages. Not only that, but they were also able to keep timings to CL2. It seems like such a long time ago, but Mushkin has managed to survive and live prosper.Through the DDR and DDR2 days Mushkin kits came thick and fast with high speed, high capacity and low latency modules designed for both Intel and AMD platforms. Now we have the dawn on the DDR3 revolution coming and it won't be long before we really start to see DDR3 hit its peak.Today we have the latest DDR3 kit from Mushkin memory designed for extremely high performance; 2000MHz is where it's aimed, so let's see if it can deliver.

The Package and Modules

The Package
Mushkin XP3-16000 Ascent 2GB DDR3 Kit
Mushkin has gone with a simple package design; the ever popular plastic see-through blister encases two memory modules. And thanks to its see-through nature there is no need for it to have any pictures on the back of the package. This blister pack separates very easy and is held together with simple staples, so you're not going to have your hands destroyed trying to open it.
Mushkin XP3-16000 Ascent 2GB DDR3 Kit
Removing the modules from the package, we get our first real look at them. One thing for certain, these modules are heavy. This is in part due to the new heatsink design that Mushkin is using on the XP3 series of modules. The new heatsink design is what Mushkin calls its Copper Enhanced Vapour Chamber Interface (what a mouthful that is). The modules are encased in a multi-layer heatsink comprised of copper, alloy and a special vapour channel zone that works in concert to keep the modules as cool as possible. All of this is encased onto the modules and is no thicker than a standard copper heatsink that comes standard on modules today. This means you can still have four modules of the same design into a board with close proximity memory slots.
Mushkin XP3-16000 Ascent 2GB DDR3 Kit
On one side of each module (two in this pack) Mushkin has a sticker that gives the buyer information on the modules specs. The kit we were supplied with contained two pieces, 1GB in density. The modules are designed to run at PC3-16000 or 2000MHz using 9-9-9-24 timings at 1.9v. These are the specs for use on 790i SLI chipsets and not guaranteed to run on the Intel chipsets. However, we aren't content to just follow the rules here.


Overclocking the ModulesNow we come to the fun part. While these modules are designed to work on the 790i SLI board, the 790i is simply not a mainstream chipset. We decided to push them along using the Intel X48 chipset with DDR3 support, which in essence the same chipset as the P45 minus XMP support. It has the same memory controller so it's a good chipset for testing.We managed to make it to 1980MHz using 2.1v, but we had to lower the timings to 9-9-9-28. There's no denying this is a very high clock speed; the 2000MHz eluded us, however we didn't have enough time to tweak all the boards options and I'm sure with more time available we could have reached that magic 2000MHz mark.Important Editor Note: Our maximum overclocking result is the best result we managed in our limited time of testing the motherboard. Due to time constraints we weren't able to tweak the motherboard to the absolute maximum and find the highest possible FSB, as this could take days to find properly. We do however spend at least a few hours overclocking every motherboard to try and find the highest possible overclock in that time frame. You may or may not be able to overclock higher if you spend more time tweaking, or as new BIOS updates are released. "Burn-in" time might also come into play if you believe in that.

Test System Setup and Everest

Test System Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500Motherboard: GIGABYTE X48T-DQ6 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)Hard Disk: 500GB Western Digital SE16 (Supplied by Western Digital)Graphics Card: GIGABYTE 9800GX2 (Supplied by GIGABYTE) Cooling: GIGABYTE 3D Galaxy II (Supplied by GIGABYTE)Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista SP1Drivers: Intel INF, Forceware 175.16As usual, we are using our OCZ XMP 1600MHz modules for comparison which have been very impressive, especially because they will run 7-6-6-18 at 1.9v at 1600MHz; a very low latency module indeed. Today we test using 1333MHz, 1600MHz and Max OC.EVEREST Ultimate EditionVersion and / or Patch Used: 2006Developer Homepage: Product Homepage: http://www.lavalys.comBuy It Here
EVEREST Ultimate Edition is an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking it provides essential system and overclock information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings. CPU, FPU and memory benchmarks are available to measure the actual system performance and compare it to previous states or other systems.
Mushkin XP3-16000 Ascent 2GB DDR3 Kit
Mushkin XP3-16000 Ascent 2GB DDR3 Kit
Starting as usual, we hit the synthetic memory tests. At 1333MHz the Mushkin memory modules manage to get a higher score. At 1600MHz both modules are almost identical; while the Mushkin did run at a higher CAS latency, the other values were lower. At Max OC the 1980MHz speed of the Mushkin manages to push the OCZ out of contention.

Benchmarks - Sciencemark 2.0

ScienceMark 2.0ScienceMark 2.0 is a mathematical program designed to stress the memory subsystems of both desktop/workstation and server environments to determine the read/write latency as well as the overall memory bandwidth available between the CPU and the memory controller.
Mushkin XP3-16000 Ascent 2GB DDR3 Kit
Mushkin XP3-16000 Ascent 2GB DDR3 Kit
Latency and access times win it here; Mushkin wins out with all three clock speeds in both tests. Mushkin has done a great job with its XP3-16000.

Benchmarks - Crysis

CrysisVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.1Timedemo or Level Used: Custom TimedemoDeveloper Homepage: Product Homepage: It Here
From the makers of Far Cry, Crysis offers FPS fans the best-looking, most highly-evolving gameplay, requiring the player to use adaptive tactics and total customization of weapons and armor to survive in dynamic, hostile environments including Zero-G. Real time editing, bump mapping, dynamic lights, network system, integrated physics system, shaders, shadows and a dynamic music system are just some of the state of-the-art features the CryENGINE™ 2 offers. The CryENGINE™ 2 comes complete with all of its internal tools and also includes the CryENGINE™ 2 Sandbox world editing system.
Mushkin XP3-16000 Ascent 2GB DDR3 Kit
Lastly, the real world test. We see that both setups at 1333MHz and 1600MHz are just about identical. At Max OC the extra CPU and memory speed helps win the day.

Final Thoughts

Final ThoughtsDDR3 is set for new heights and with the 2000MHz barrier on the way down, it's clear that Intel will be relying totally on DDR3 for its Core i7 processors and its future processors for 2009. With AMD now looking into DDR3 for its next generation of Phenom processors using the AM3+ socket, DDR2 has had its day in the sun. And with kids like Mushkins XP3-16000 kit on the block, they're showing us just where DDR3s strength lies over DDR2.Overall, the XP3-16000 kit is extremely impressive in its latencies and overall clock speeds. While a little hard to get hold of due to yield requirements, if you're after the top speed then these modules get a big tick.
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