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Mushkin 2x512MB Dual Pack DDR400 2-2-2 Special
By Vijay Anand
Category : Memory
Published by Jimmy Tang on Friday, 2nd July, 2004
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  

Special Edition DDR400 Memory

For a period of time, we had been quite focused on high speed memory modules that were intended to facilitate large margins of overclocking while maintaining a 1:1 system bus speed to memory clock speed ratio as best as possible. So for a change, we went around to explore very low latency DDR400 modules and explored the kind of results we can achieve with these. Those of you who aren't overclockers would surely be inquisitive to the difference between the standard DDR400 memory and the more exorbitant low-latency DDR400 memory modules. With lower latencies, these memory modules get the same work done sooner because they require less clock cycles to complete their transactions. So essentially, systems with low latency modules (coupled with well designed motherboards that can cope with fast memory operation), are slightly speedier than systems that use less than optimal, but more economical memory modules.

To get started, we couldn't think of a better RAM pair than the recently hyped Mushkin's 1GB Dual Pack (2 x 512MB) PC3200 2-2-2 Special memory. Now, what's so special about them? Well, there are only a handful of memory module models that can boast CAS latency of 2 cycles, RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) of 2 cycles and a Precharge time of (tRP) of 2 cycles. The default Row Active Time (tRAS) wasn't specified accurately on the specifications sheet, but using the RAM module's SPD function, we found tRAS to be 6 cycles by default. So you could say that this Mushkin module's default operating parameters is 2-2-2-6.

Another reason why this module is labeled 'special' is because it uses Winbond's BH-6 chips. Ironically, these are DDR333 rated chips but they fared so well that they could easily surpass their rated specifications by quite a large margin. Many RAM enthusiasts still believe that Winbond's phased out BH-5 chips were among the best DDR400 memory chips in terms of cost effective overclocking with low latencies, but you can no longer find new memory modules with these chips. Since the Winbond BH-6 were even older DDR333 rated chips, these too have been phased out, but it seems that Mushkin somehow obtained enough quantity of these to roll out a limited edition class of modules.

Some of Mushkin's memory products are packaged in this mini air-bag case while those that aren't use the familiar plastic box package.

Mushkin's 1GB Dual Pack (2 x 512MB) PC3200 2-2-2 Special memory.

Black PCB for memory is quite rare and it's nice to see Mushkin is differentiating themselves from the others.

Shown above are the dual 512MB Mushkin DDR400 2-2-2 Special modules and they are dual-bank modules unlike the 256MB versions. These modules are part of Mushkin's High Performance Black series and they use a jet black six-layer PCB design. Heat spreaders are standard affair for most of Mushkin's memory, but don't be surprised to find them in various colors. We received a pair of 512MB modules that adorned the silver heat spreaders but another pair of 256MB modules we received earlier on used matching black heat spreaders. Apart from silver and black, there are also various other colors available.

The heat spreader colors on Mushkin memory vary all the time.

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