Mushkin 1GB Dual Channel PC3200 '222 Special' Kit

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Memory test – Tom Akita

Mush

Supplied by the great guys at Mushkin

There are many memory brands for the PC enthusiast to choose from when building a system or upgrading. Corsair XMS, Kingston HyperX, and OCZ Enhanced Latency all come to mind when one selects memory to run in their high-performance system.

However, none of the above brands guarantee what kind of chips the end-user will get with their RAM modules, whereas Mushkin states clearly that their “222 Special” series memory runs with hand-picked Winbond BH-6 chips. Mushkin also guarantees its 222 Special will run at timings of CAS 2-2-2 at a speed of 400 MHz.

Features

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Mushkin’s simple, attractive packaging is made of hard plastic and protects the memory sticks from external shock. All that is included in the package is what is shown in the picture above: 2 x 512 MB sticks of unbuffered 184-pin PC3200 (DDR400) DDR SDRAM (3.2GB/s bandwidth) with a lifetime warranty.

All 222 Special is rated to run at timings of CAS 2, tRCD 2, and RAS Precharge 2 from 2.6V to 2.8V. The sample units we received have awesome black heatspreaders, but I’ve seen Mushkin RAM that has purple and orange heatspreaders as well.
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Testing

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Test Platform:

  • ASUS A7N8X Deluxe Rev 2.0 (nForce 2 chipset, BIOS v1005)
  • AMD Athlon XP 2500+ “Barton” clocked at 1836 MHz (stock)
  • 1GB (2×512) Mushkin PC3200 (DDR400) “222 Special” RAM at 200 MHz
  • Sapphire Radeon 9800np
  • 100GB 7200 RPM 2MB Cache Western Digital WD1000BB
  • DVD-ROM, CD-RW, NO FDD
  • Lian Li PC-61
  • Seasonic Super Tornado 400w
  • Windows XP Pro

Procedure:

  • Memory Bandwidth Benchmark in SiSoftware Sandra 2004
  • Memory Bandwidth Benchmark in SiSoftware Sandra 2002
  • Futuremark PCMark 2004

Notes

All benchmarks were run at 2.8V. Initially, the memory was given 2.6V and 2.7V for testing, but both voltages caused crashes in Windows and errors in certain applications. Also, this memory would not run on anything but a 1:1 ratio on our motherboard. Anything other than 1:1 caused memory failures during the POST.


Primary Test: 2-2-2-6 2.8V (Dual-Channel) @ 400 MHZ


Testing began at 400 MHz with the two sticks in dual channel and timings of 2-2-2-6 (default on our motherboard).

SiSoft Sandra 2002

Sis

SiSoft Sandra 2004

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PCMark04

PCM

Sandra 2002 Integer Bandwidth: 3088 MB/s

Floating Point Bandwidth: 2916 MB/s

Sandra 2004 Integer Bandwidth: 3081 MB/s

Floating Point Bandwidth: 2908 MB/s

PCMark04 Total Score

3953 Marks

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Primary Test: 2-2-2-5 2.8V (Dual-Channel) @ 400 MHZ


PCM

One of the most remarkable abilities of this memory is that it can run with timings of 2-2-2-5 stable at DDR400. Surprisingly, however, bandwidth drops slightly from what it was with 2-2-2-6.

SiSoft Sandra 2002

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SiSoft Sandra 2004

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PCMark04

PCM

Sandra 2002 Integer Bandwidth: 3065 MB/s

Floating Point Bandwidth: 2908 MB/s

Sandra 2004 Integer Bandwidth: 3067 MB/s

Floating Point Bandwidth: 2900 MB/s

PCMark04 Total Score

3937 Marks

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Primary Test: 2-2-2-11 2.8V (Dual-Channel) @ 400 MHZ


Memory used with the nForce 2 chipset sometimes benefits from increased bandwidth with the tRAS set to 11.

SiSoft Sandra 2002

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SiSoft Sandra 2004

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PCMark04

PCM

Sandra 2002 Integer Bandwidth: 3095 MB/s

Floating Point Bandwidth: 2924 MB/s

Sandra 2004 Integer Bandwidth: 3092 MB/s

Floating Point Bandwidth: 2917 MB/s

PCMark04 Total Score

3984 Marks

Testing, Summary

This RAM runs the fastest with timings set at 2-2-2-11 on nForce 2 motherboards. Chances are it will run fastest at 2-2-2-5 on motherboards that don’t use the nForce 2 chipset, since 2-2-2-5 is theoretically faster than 2-2-2-11. Also, the 222 Special was overclocked to 205 MHz at 2-2-2-5, 2-2-2-6, and 2-2-2-11, but crashed in Windows after every attempt. We don’t believe this to be caused by the motherboard since these sticks were tested on an Abit IC-7 Max3 as well as our own ASUS A7N8X with the same results.

Conclusion

While it may not be capable of high FSB speeds, Mushkin’s 222 Special with BH-6 chips can run 2-2-2-5 timings with ease, making 222 Special an ideal choice for AMD users who want tight timings but can’t run a high FSB. Mushkin has one of the best performing memory products available to the high-end PC user in its “222 Special”. In fact, 222 Special’s only fault may be its price: at $167 a stick (from Mushkin’s website), it isn’t the cheapest memory around.

However, the supply of memory with BH-6 chips is diminishing rapidly, so for anyone looking for memory capable of running tight timings, Mushkin’s “222 Special” PC3200 is an excellent and worthwhile choice.

Mushkin’s “222 Special” Spec Sheet

Thanks to…

Bruce at Mushkin for sending us this sample for review
Joe C. at Overclockers.com for hosting this review

Tom Akita

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