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128 MB Mushkin High Performance Revision 3 222 Review

By: Jonathan Martini - February 16 2001

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Introduction

With the ever increasing speed of CPUs, GPUs and front-side-bus speeds, memory has become the performance bottleneck that limits these components. Strangely enough, system memory is often the most overlooked component when upgrading.

As with all components, there are the generic brands that compromise price over quality. Then there's the high quality components that put the rest to shame. Mushkin, a name synonymous with high-quality high-performance memory components has been manufacturing high-quality memory since they opened their doors back in 1994. The 128 MB Revision 3 stick that we'll be examining today is their latest foray into the high performance category. It's a relatively new arrival to the memory market as it was announced the 1st of December. Such high performance memory modules have only recently begun to see high yields at this later stage of the SDRAM life cycle.

Here are some of the specifications:

  • Rated 2-2-2 @ 150!
  • Uses 128-Megabit Chips
  • 16Mx64 Module
  • 16Mx8 chip density
  • Unbuffered
  • 6-Layer PCB
  • Gold Contacts
  • 168pin 3.3v DIMM
  • Lifetime Warranty

The first spec is by far the most astounding improvement of this new revision of Mushkin High Performance memory. Though Mushkin has memory that is rated PC150, this is only at the lower Cas setting of 2-3-2, and their previous High Performance Revision 2 stick was capable of Cas 2-2-2 setting at a max of 133 MHz. This demonstrates the improvement Revision 3 has brought; not only is it guaranteed to run with a front side bus speed of 150 MHz, but it can run at this speed with all the CAS settings at their fastest setting of 2, besting both versions of Mushkin memory.

The only method of overclocking Intel CPU's is by overclocking the front side bus speed. The Revision 3 memory allows overclocking the fsb alleviating the memory fsb bottleneck, while keeping with the maximum performance rating that CAS 2-2-2 to the table.

CAS Settings

With all this talk about CAS settings in the previous paragraph, what do all these settings mean and what do they entail?

CAS is yet another three letter acronym in the computing world which stands for Column Address Strobe, which is assigned 3 numbers that refer to three different operations of the memory. 

The first number is the latency, or the amount of time it takes for your memory to respond to a command. A setting of 2 requires 2 clock cycles to respond, whereas a setting of 3 requires an additional clock cycle for a total of 3 to respond. Therefore a smaller number equates to faster performance.

The second is the RAS (Row Address Strobe) to CAS setting and the third, RAS precharge time. They are also latency settings that are derived from the way data is stored and then used in the RAM modules. The settings are calculated in the same format that the latency setting is calculated, thus a lower setting also equates to improved performance.

The best settings for the three readings are currently 2 clock cycles each, therefore we see that the Mushkin Revision 3 sample is capable of the highest performance settings available.

The Packaging

One cannot review a Mushkin memory stick without talking about the unique format in which their memory sample is shipped:

As you can clearly see from the pictures, Mushkin takes the utmost in care when shipping their products to the customers. The pillow is very effective as it size can change, yet it is thick enough to provide protection to the memory.

Next Page: SiSoft Sandra Performance

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Last Updated on February 16, 2001

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