Mushkin Ascent XP3-14400 CL8 2 GB Kit 5

Mushkin Ascent XP3-14400 CL8 2 GB Kit Review

Value & Conclusion »

Test Setup

Test System
CPU:Intel E6300 Conroe
1.8 GHz, 2 MB Cache
Motherboard:ASUS Rampage Extreme, BIOS 1003
Video Card:PowerColor X800XL Pro 16 PCI-E
Harddisk:Samsung P80 80 GB
Power Supply:Ultra V-Power 450W
Software:Windows XP SP2, Catalyst 8.7

Performance & Overclocking

To get a feel for the overall performance of the Ascent memory, we simply started by booting with the embedded X.M.P. profile. Needless to say, that worked flawlessly on the ASUS Rampage Extreme. We should mention that two other boards - the Foxconn BlackOps and the Zotac nForce 790i - had trouble with the memory. One can blame either the memory or the mainboard, but considering that these boards worked flawlessly with A-DATA and OCZ DDR3 memory, on the other hand the Ascent memory performed extremely well on the ASUS Rampage as the benchmarks show.

Upon booting for the first time, we fired up CPU-Z to take a look at the SPD programming of the Mushkin Ascent kit. The JEDEC 1 & 2 profiles look a bit weird. This could also be the reason, why some boards do not boot with the memory. For example, the ASUS Rampage Extreme does not boot with memory slower than 800 MHz, as that violates specifications.

After benching the memory with the embedded X.M.P profile, the next step was to check how tight the timings could be set for the memory to boot. The Mushkin Ascent managed an excellent 5-4-4 setting at 1.5V, almost cracking the 1000 MHz marker. Increasing the voltage to 2.0 left us just a few MHz short of the 1333 MHz barrier. While it is interesting to see such attributes at low CL, these do not offer a great advantage over DDR2 DIMMs. The next step simply means relaxing the timings to CL6, CL7 and CL8 while starting at the default JEDEC voltage at each level. Then the voltage was slowly raised and the memory benched at key settings and at the maximum achieved with 1.5 V and 2.0 V. While you may go further than 2.0 V we do not want to encourage you to do so, as this means passing into spheres where you may risk your board and memory.

So how did the Mushkin Ascent 1800 MHz CL8-8-7-20 kit fare? Besides scaling excellent with voltage, we managed to squeeze 1800 MHz at CL7-7-7 with 1.7 V. Using the advertised settings of CL8-8-7 and 1.9 V, we were able to push the CPU to its limits and crank an impressive 1888 MHz out of the kit. It should be mentioned, that here the CPU seems to hold the platform back. During the overclocking session, we managed to push the FSB just short of 500 MHz with the memory hitting well over 1950 MHz at the same CL rating. Sadly - the system became very unstable, but shows what this memory is capable of. Take a look at the graphs below for all the details.

As you can see, the memory does scale extremely well with voltage. Every increase in voltage is rewarded with a raise in frequency. This attribute can be seen at every CL rating we benchmarked. Remember your kit may perform different. The above results only reflect what is possible with our sample.
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