Memory comes in many standards, and the majority of it is in one of two forms; DDR or DDR II. DDR II is the new kid on the block and hasn't yet really found its feet. DDR on the other hand has been around for a while with various speed advances happening over the years. Now since the aim for any system is to get ram that either matches or exceeds your current CPU's FSB, it stands to reason that PC3200 would be quite popular. Enthusiasts and/or overclockers will obviously want to go higher, but increasing the speed is only one aspect of the equation. Reducing the latencies involved can also have an effect on the memory's performance, which is the area that modules are aiming at with some very low timings at DDR400 speeds.
• 2-2-2-6 @ 400MHz
• Dual Bank
• 64Mx64 Module
• 32Mx8 chip density
• Jet Black 6-Layer PCB
• Gold Contacts
• 2.5V - 2.8v
• Heatspreader colors vary
With timings of 2-2-2-6 we should see some nice scores here.
Mushkin sent me the 1GB (2x512) PC3200 L2V2 kit in this rather funky inflatable packaging designed to protect the ram while in transit. One pull of the tag and I was able to gain access to the antistatic, vacuum packed sticks inside.
The sticks inside feature a black on black look; that's to say Mushkin have used black heatspreaders and a 6 layer black PCB which is quite fetching, although the Mushkin site does warn that heatspreader colours may vary. Both sides of the heatspreaders are the same, with a raised Mushkin logo in the middle. One side of each stick has an identification sticker which describes the stick.
On the sticker we have LII V2 in big letters to the left, memory specs such as the size and speeds to the top right with the Mushkin logo below it. The sticker also serves as the warranty void sticker, since removal of the heatspreaders will void the warranty. The memory stick contacts are gold plated to enhance the conductivity and contact between the memory and the motherboard slots.
Abit AN7 (UDP 4.27s), Athlon XP 2500 (provided by ), MSI GeForceFX5950 Ultra 256MB (Forceware Drivers 61.77), 80GB WD 8MB Cache HD, Windows XP SP2
I put the Mushkin sticks in my Athlon XP 2500+, Abit AN7 system and after running the initial tests went ahead and did some overclocking and tweaking. The first thing I wanted to know is just how tight could the timings go at DDR400.
The start point was SPD Timings of 2-2-2-6 which is pretty low anyway. At 2-2-2-4 the PC wouldn't post although 2-2-2-5 performed flawlessly all the way up to 207 FSB. Resetting back to SPD timings of 2-2-2-6 I began to increase the FSB once again. 210 came and went quickly enough and I had no trouble until 217FSB.
For an AMD system this is pretty high at those timings, which is the aim of this particular kit. Next I wanted to find out the ceiling so I relaxed the timings to 3-4-4-11 and began increasing the FSB once more. I had no troubles at all until 240FSB which is the limit for my CPU. Dropping to 3-4-4-8 timings the highest I could reach was 235.