It has been a year now since DDR2 launched and slowly but surely, DDR2 is gaining ground against DDR1. With Intel pushing hard for its Grantsdale and Alderwood chipset and new processors coming out of their fabs, you’ll find that DDR2 will become more and more in demand this year. DDR2 sporting faster frequencies and lower latencies will start coming out from known manufacturers everywhere.
Mushkin as an established and respected enthusiast memory supplier will of course have modules out and ready for such demand. Their initial DDR2 release was the PC2-4200 (533MHz) in both CL3 and CL4 types. At the time, it was sufficient for the current hardware most enthusiasts and overclockers were using but as time moves on, a need for a faster DDR2 with more headroom is what everyone was raving about.
So out comes Mushkin’s latest DDR2 offering, the PC2-5300. Rated at 667MHz, this definitely gives the user more headroom when it comes to pushing one’s system to the limits. Today we will take a close look at the 1Gb Dual Pack flavor of Mushkin’s PC2-5300 to find out what performance advantage it has over the old 533MHz DDR2 counterpart.
The PC2-5300 (667) picks up where PC2-4200 (533) left off with bandwidth of up to 5400 Mb/s. This dual pack consist of 2 x 512mb PC2-5300 modules and is rated at CL 4-4-4-11. According to CPUZ’s SPD utlity, these modules uses A-Data chips.
Mushkin’s PC2-5300 memory is designed for use in the latest generation motherboards where you can asynchronously run your memory faster than the processor bus speed. Note that this type of memory is also backward compatible to DDR2 systems using 533MHz but with a rated speed of 667MHz, overclockers and enthusiasts will have more room to work with.
The Mushkin PC2-5300 1Gb DDR2 Dual Pack arrive to us in Mushkin’s trademark “airbag”. Each module is shrink wrapped with an anti-static packaging. Included with the goods is a free Mushkin pen and aluminum “powered by mushkin” case badge. Freebies are definitely most welcomed.
Mushkin’s PC2-5300 modules are built with sixteen 32×8 bit chips in a dual bank, double sided configuration mounted on a green PCB using A-Data chips. These modules are designed for use on any DDR board using 400MHz, 533MHz or 667MHz memory bus at CL 4-4-4-11. As to whether each module is hand picked and manually tested, we don’t know as it not mentioned anywhere on their site. However, having vast experience with Mushkin’s modules through the years, I am most certain that these modules passed all their extensive testing and quality control measures before being packed and shipped to the end user.
SPD is programmed at 4-4-4-11 latency values and tested at 1.8v – 2.0v. It defaults at 266MHz (DDR2-533) but is rated at 667Mhz. Besides its aesthetic appeal, the custom-designed aluminum Silver Heat Spreader reduces the risk of localised hot spots within the memory core and further increases overclocking margins of the modules, according to Mushkin. Note though that heatspreader color may vary and that tampering with them VOIDS warranty.
Using an Intel P4 3.6GHz ES Prescott LGA775 processor, the Mushkin PC2-5400 1Gb DDR2 Dual Pack was set to run synchronously at 200MHz (DDR2 400) and asynchronously at 266MHz (DDR2 533) and 300MHz (DDR2 600MHz) while maintaining a 3.6GHz processor speed. We also included scores generated from the unlocked 3.6GHz Engineering Sample running at 3.73GHz (14 x 266MHz) with a synchronous memory speed of 533MHz. We also ran the said unlocked processor running at 3.75GHz (15 x 250MHz) with the memory running asynchronously at 667MHz and included its scores.
Using the unlocked P4 3.6GHz and ABIT’s FATAL1TY AA8XE i925XE motherboard, we were able to take Mushkin’s PC2-5300 up to an amazing 706MHz DDR2 at CAS 4-4-4-11 and up to 760MHz DDR2 at CAS 5-5-5-12 with the memory voltage set at 2.0v. We achieved this by lowering the processor’s multiplier to 15 and 16 with the memory running asynchronously at 3:4 ratio.
With such huge overclocking headroom, it would take some time again for you to ran out of MHz space using these modules. Therefore investing in Mushkin’s PC2-5300 would definitely be worth it in the long run especially when new and faster processors come out.
Mushkin has once again impressed us with their latest DDR2 offering, the PC2-5300 DDR2 Dual Pack. It performed as advertised and ran flawlessly way over its rated spec. Current DDR2 systems would definitely benefit from the performance and overclockability brought about by these modules.
Speaking of overclockability, Mushkin shined on this department as expected. It allowed the system to have more headroom to allow other hardware to function way over its specifications. With the right combination of components, you’ll be confident that the memory won’t be the limiting factor in your overclocking.
Pricewise, the Mushkin PC2-5300 1Gb Dual Pack currently sells for US$273. Not bad considering you also get the performance, reliability, stability and good customer support that goes with the Mushkin name. At the moment, DDR2 is not everyone’s cup of tea. But for those wanting to upgrade to a DDR2 system and futureproof their investment, then these modules are highly recommended.