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Mushkin Revision 3 PC133 SDRAM
Author: Chris Oh
Date Posted: May 8th, 2001
URL: http://www.slcentral.com/reviews/hardware/memory/mushkin/rev3pc133

Introduction

Whatever happened to memory being synonymous with high price? I don't really want to get into that but I do want to say that it's a great time to be in the market for some new RAM for that system. Why do you need SDRAM? RAM is the life juice of computers, making them faster in terms of response time and cutting down their swap file use that translates to faster performance. Throughout it all, we have always called RAM in 3 classes: generic, and premium. Generic RAM is what you always see in Fry's ad's being sold for around 40% less than normal price. They are the run of the mill ram fresh off the production line. They compromise quality for price: cheaper manufacturing processes and cheaper materials. Then there are premium RAM's, like premium wine, they have more expensive components and more time dedicated to making sure they will fir even the most stringent requirements. Premium RAM often run at higher than normal bus speeds at lower latencies. Today we will be looking at a premium stick of RAM from Mushkin, a computer component reseller famous for their quality SDRAM and now DDR RAM. The Mushkin Revision 3 PC133 SDRAM we will look at today is the cream of the crop, RAM selected for its high tolerance of high bus speeds.

Specs

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

Impressive specs to say the least, guaranteeing a PC133 stick to run at 150 or over at 2-2-2 is great but why not call it just PC150 memory? Beats me. We are at a time right now where overclocking isn't just raising the FSB a little but, we are in an era where people are unlocking their T-Birds to a lower multiplier and cracking up the FSB for a higher memory bandwidth. People with 1ghz T-Birds (10x at 100MHz) are lowering their multiplier to 7.5x and raising their FSB to 150MHz, making a good improvement in memory bandwidth. A short time ago, this wasn't feasible because the RAM couldn't handle these speeds, especially at CAS 2 latency. Some manufacturers have made a reputation for themselves and also gained a following with their high quality chips. These companies, such as Infineon/Siemens, Mosel, etc… have their chips mounted on PCB's by companies such as Mushkin and Memman and sold as their own. Mushkin uses Infineon chips on their RAM, probably the best chips out they're in my opinion and it's great they picked such a great manufacturer.

CAS Latency And You

What is CAS Latency that I talk about? CAS stands for Column Address Strobe and it is assigned a number for operation activity of the memory. For example:

CAS 2: The number is 2, which stands for latency. Latency is how fast your RAM reacts to commands given to it. It's all in the clock cycles. In this case, it's 2 clock cycles, which is faster than 3 clock cycles.

Installation

Mushkin really wants to pamper the memory from what their packaging is. They placed the stick of RAM inside a bubble of packaging filled with air. It provides a great amount of protection (65 pounds in our tests) and also adds some class to their name. Just like any other stick of SDRAM, it goes into a memory bank and that's it, power on the computer, and wait for it to recognize the stick. Installation was flawless and it booted right up at 133FSB. After setting the CAS Latency to 2-2-2, we went ahead and ran a few tests.

Benchmarks

Sorry for the lack of screenshots but as you can see, memory speed is very similar to that of other sticks of high quality SDRAM. So what sets this apart? We tested this stick of RAM up to 151MHz at CAS2. Also, 158MHz at CAS3. This is what makes this stick so desirable, not so much the speed of the ram but the capability to overclock to major speeds. For the new T-bird owners out there, this is a great stick to jump on when you're boosting your FSB speeds to 160 and beyond. Stress testing with Sandra's Burn-In wizard let us knows that ram was stable at these high bus speeds.

Conclusion

Should you buy this RAM? At a special $79 right now, it's a lot more expensive than normal "house" RAM that goes for $35 today but is it typical PC133 SDRAM? Not really, the ability to sustain high bus speeds combined with the performance of fine Infineon chips (SystemLogic.net only uses Infineon) makes this stick a very unique and reliable piece of silicon. For the people who want the best performance and the assurance that their RAM will run as fast as their system can go, this is the memory you should take a hard look at. There is no other stick that guarantees 150MHz FSB at CAS2-2-2.

Rating: 9/10 SystemLogistics

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