Mushkin XP2-8500 2GB Kit (2x1024MB) PC2-8500/DDR2-1066 Memory Review


The introduction ...

Mushkin shows with their current XP2-8500 DDR2-1066 memory modules that it's possible to get high performance for low cost.
Because was able to overclock an AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Socket AM2 CPU to approx. 3000 MHz and
the enormously high memory overclocking up to 600 MHz (DDR2-1200) was an important factor for these results.
If you're using a DDR2 motherboard with some overclocking options, you shouldn't miss this Mushkin XP2-8500 Review.



Thanks for the support ...

Many thanks for the support with the XP2-8500 (1x996535 or 2x991535) 2GB PC2 8500 / DDR2 1066 CL5 kit by Mushkin.

The 2 GB kit contains 2x 1024 MB 240-pin DIMM DDR2-1066 (PC2-8500) memory modules and has a price of
approx. 240 Euro (04/2007).
They're available in the Mushkin Web Store and at our sponsors.



The supply of the two 1024MB PC2-8500 memory modules ...

The two very well protected memory modules are delivered in this packing:



That is contained in the scope of delivery ...

Mushkin supplies the two memory modules as well as an English installation and troubleshooting guide on the backside
of the packing, which should make it possible for less experienced users to install them easily.

Here is a picture of the two contained XP2-8500 memory modules:



The technical data ...

Manufacturer Mushkin
Article number 1x 996535 or 2x 991535
Memory 2GB kit (1024MBx2)
Package 240-pin DIMM
Type DDR2 PC2-8500
Configuration 128Meg x 64
Error correction NON-ECC
Speed DDR2 1066 (533 MHz * 2)
Voltage 2.2 - 2,35 Volt
Memory timing 5-5-4-12 (Tcl-Trcd-Tras-Trp)



Characteristics and other features ...

The memory modules are provided on a green plate with black passive heatsinks (heatspreader) to get lower temperatures,
also with higher frequencies and/or higher voltages.
This is especially important with these Mushkin modules, because such a high voltage and/or frequency would destroy the
DDR2 RAM without a good cooling.
Furthermore the test modules comes with EPP (Enhanced Performance Profiles) to get reduced latencies and high frequencies
on latest generation motherboards with EPP support.

Here's another picture of the nice Mushkin XP2-8500 modules ...



Benchmark values and test results ...

Let us begin with the most important part of the test report, because the optics and packing is of course rather
secondary and the highest possible stable performance is the most important factor.
The test results are based on an ASRock AM2XLI eSATA2 SLI motherboard with an Athlon 64 Socket AM2 3000+
CPU on different frequencies depending on the reference clock for the different memory benchmarks.
Furthermore the memory modules were tested on another reference board to test the high frequency with higher voltages.
The multiplier adjustment remains on 9x with all frequencies, because an adjustment for the CPU in half multiplier
steps would be too inaccurate to get nearly the same CPU frequency for all tests.

Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2 is used as the operating system.
The stability was examined with the software Memtest86 and SiSoft Sandra Lite 2007.SP1 program is used for all
benchmarks, since it offers extensive adjustments and a fast result comparison.

First the maximum possible frequency of the memory module was determined.
The memory frequency was increased in small steps with a fixed memory timing of 4-4-4-10 2T and default memory voltage, as long as the detailed memory test with Memtest86 runs without any errors.
This quite long testing time ensured that this frequency works really stable with these modules.

The highest possible frequency with 4-4-4-10 (Tcl Trcd Tras Trp) timings was stable with very high 451 MHz.

It's possible to run much higher frequencies with increased voltages or lower timings, because the frequency values
and timings depends directly from each other.
Officially Mushkin specify the voltage of 2.2 - 2.35 V without loosing the warranty and this is a considerable voltage
to get nice overclocking results, because the default DDR2 memory voltage is 1.8 Volt.
In the test the modules were stable with 2.20 V and timings of 5-5-5-18 up to 600 MHz (DDR2-1200) !!!
This isn't possible on all motherboards, because on the one hand it is necessary that these high clock rates are supported
by the motherboard and on the other hand it's absolutely necessary to support the high memory voltage (Vmem) of 2.2V.
For the test I've additionally used a slightly modified reference board (Foxconn C51XEM2AA) to get this result.

This highest possible frequency was compared with two settings.
On the one hand 451 MHz with SPD values (these are programmed in the SPD IC by the manufacturer),
and on the other hand 200 MHz (x2) with SPD values.

By the way, the "Memory Bus Range" is no benchmark value, but this value is quite simple to calculate by the
frequency and is useful for the benchmark comparison.


Here're the benchmark results:

RAM Range Int Buff'd iSSE2
Memory bus range
451 MHz
fix (4-4-4-10 2T)
6152 MB/s
14432 MB/s
451 MHz
SPD (5-5-5-18 2T)
6088 MB/s
14432 MB/s
200 MHz
SPD (4-3-3-9 2T)
4525 MB/s
6432 MB/s


Here's a diagram of the benchmark values:


Here is a direct benchmark result comparison of some DDR2 and DDR memory modules:

Who expected the Mushkin XP2-8500 at the top of the test results, will be surely surprised, why even a pair of
PC2-5300 modules is above the PC2-8500 modules.
The test results of the benchmark comparison are based on the standard DDR2 voltage, but the Mushkin modules only
gather momentum starting from a voltage of approx. 2.20 V (instead of 1.80 V).
So with default Vmem and fast timings it was possible to overclock them up to 451 MHz.
With a direct comparison on 2.20 V the overall result would look completely different, because 600 MHz (DDR2-1200 !!!) with
2.20 V is the best result tested at so far.

With the frequency of ~600 MHz the used AMD Athlon 64 3000+ CPU was overclocked up to wonderful 3000 MHz !!! with
9x 333 MHz reference clock and that's even for an test CPU a fantastic value !


Result and general impression ...

The Mushkin 2GB XP2-8500 kit is highly overclockable with increased memory voltage.
With default memory voltages the modules were "only" in the upper mid-range of the modules tested at so far,
but when the memory received the manufacturer permitted 2.20 to 2.35 V, the XP2-8500 2GB kit reach the top.
These recommendable high-end modules are thus particularly suitable for motherboards with extensive voltage and timing settings.
It was possible to overclock an AMD Athlon 64 3000+ CPU @ approx. 3000 MHz.
But even if the motherboard doesn't support those extensive overclocking settings, the results are really nice.
All in all it's an awesome result for relatively little money.



Read on in the hardware test area with several hardware reviews ...


All pictures and article copyright 2007