High performance memory manufacturers has just started releasing their PC4400 (DDR550) parts to the market. This was to be expected as DDR1 has made it clear that it will still be here for quite sometime. This after AMD released their roadmap showing DDR1 as the preferred platform in the many months to come. And with new chipsets equipped with faster frequencies coming out all the time, the need for faster DDR1 is of course even greater.
We’ve reviewed quite a few PC4400 in the past and so far we are impressed at the quality and performance these modules generate at such speeds. Today we have another PC4400 from one of the oldest and well known provider of enthusiast memory around, Mushkin. We will take an exclusive look at their PC4400 (DDR550) offering and see if it stacks up to the competition. Introducing, the Mushkin 1Gb PC4400 High Perf Dual Pack.
Mushkin in the past has always provided the enthusiast and the overclocker the modules they need for pushing their systems to the limits. The Mushkin PC4400 comes from the same line that produced these great overclocking modules. And with their PC4400 DDR offering, Mushkin promises to deliver a product that would provide the user the speed and performance that would complement their high performance systems.
The Mushkin 1Gb PC4400 High Perf Dual pack consists of two matched 512mb modules specifically designed for use on dual channel systems. This dual pack is built for extreme speed at CAS latencies of 2.5-4-4-8. The detailed specs for the modules are listed below.
The Mushkin 1Gb PC4400 High Perf Dual Pack arrived to us in Mushkin’s trademark “airbag” packaging. The modules are shrink wrapped in a anti-static bag. Included with the package is a free Mushkin pen and a aluminum “powered by mushkin” case badge. Only modules we received with useful extras to go with their RAM.
These modules awere built with sixteen 32M x 8 bit 66pin DDR chips in a dual bank, double sided configuration mounted on a custom six layer PCB. Gone is the black Mushkin PCB that we are so used of. Sad coz we kinda liked the black ones compared to the traditional green PCBs. This dual pack is designed for use on a dual ddr platform running a 275Mhz (DDR550) memory bus. SPD is programmed at 2.5-4-4-8 latency values and tested at 2.5v – 2.8v.
The custom-designed aluminum Heatspreader 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. Our particular sample has the silver heatspreader.
We go straight into this part so that we can include results taken from the highest rock solid overclock. For the overclocking test, we tried a variety of timings that the memory would work on besides its rated settings. Below are the following CAS timings used:
The highest ROCK SOLID overclock we achieved using these modules on our dual channel setup was 281Mhz (DDR562). We tried to increase the voltage up to 2.8v and fully relax the timings to CAS 3-4-4-8 to see if we can go any further but the results were the same.
What’s very impressive though about these modules is that they can run way better than their rated latency timings. We were able to run these modules at CAS 2.5-3-3-6 up to 281MHz (DDR562). The tightest we have seen at this frequency to date.
The Mushkin 1Gb PC4400 High Perf Dual Pack was tested its rated speed of DDR550. For comparison, we used Corsair’s TWINX1024-4400C25PT 1Gb DDR550 Kit and G. Skill’s Extreme Samsung TCCD PC4400 1Gb DDR550 kit. We’ve also included results taken from the highest overclock generated by this Mushkin dual pack. Note that we used only the tightesr latency timings that each kit can handle at DDR550. The memory was set to run at 1:1 synchronous with the CPU and with the vDIMM set at 2.6v. Testing was done under Dual Channel configuration. Below are the settings used for each test.
Mushkin’s PC4400 offering delivers both speed and tight timings in one package. This is the only DDR we’ve tested at the time of writing that can provide blazingly fast frequencies of DDR562 at CAS latencies of 2.5-3-3-6. The results clearly show what performance Mushkin’s 1Gb PC4400 High Perf Dual Pack can bring to any DDR system at present. Power users will definitely benefit from the performance and stability that these modules offer at this level.
The potential for overclocking is great. The Mushkin 1Gb PC4400 modules reached a top speed of DDR562. Sadly our processor had to give up at 281Mhz FSB. It would have been nice to know the full extent of the module’s overclockability. Based on experience though, these modules has more to offer due to the fact that we are still running it at an aggressively CAS 2.5-3-3-6 when we hit 281MHz (DDR562). With relaxed timings of CAS 3-4-4-8, you can expect more MHz out of these. Rest assured that with the right components, these modules won’t be the limiting factor in your overclocking adventure.
The cheapest we could find Mushkin’s 1Gb PC4400 High Perf Dual Pack is US$273 at Newegg. At this price, it is not the most expensive among the current crop of DDR550 out there but definitely not the cheapest as well. Mushkin lists it at US$285 on their website. Like they always say quality and performance comes at a price.
Mushkin as always has provided the enthusiast and the overclocker with DDR memory that could not only go the distance but could do it at the tightest possible timings. These are the ingredients in getting the highest performance out of any system. Definitely a top pick if you want the fastest DDR with aggressive latencies.