The quest for ever faster Memory to keep up with the enormous amounts of bandwidth available from the latest CPUs is seemingly an unending one.
We had Dual-Channel, then the X58 motherboard brought us the expensive, not as fast as it should be, Triple-Channel before we returned to Dual-Channel with the SandyBridge motherboards.
The recent release of the X79 chipset brings us Quad-Channel memory and potentially some incredible levels of performance. Our initial testing found it about on par with the P67 Dual-Channel, so how does the next round fare?
Anyone who has followed the Memory market knows how rapidly Mushkin have gained a big chunk of the market with their high-performance, good value, no fuss kits.
Today we're looking at a Quad-Channel Redline kit, with 16GB of 2133MHz goodness available to us.
As is always the case with Memory there isn't much to glean from the specifications. 2133MHz @ CAS 9 is good enough.
The Redline heatspreader has lost none of its looks. It looks glorious in the Rampage IV too.
Muskin Redline 16GB 2133MHz Quad Channel
Catalyst HD7970 Drivers 11.12
Intel Core i7-3960X @ 4GHz
ASUS Rampage IV Extreme
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
It wasn't that long ago that you could either have the choice of lots of memory, or fast memory. How times have changed.
With a new test setup we obviously have only a couple of results so far. However it will swiftly fill and it's important to compare like for like otherwise where do you draw the line. Thanks to the slightly tighter timings of the Mushkin we gain a little bit in AIDA64 when compared to the GTX8.
It's to be expected that taking the CAS timing from 10 on the GTX8 down to 9 on the Mushkin can give a tiny edge, however it's clear that the X79 runs damn well with either kit.
If AIDA64 and PC Mark showed them to be close, Sandra absolutely loves the tighter timings of the Mushkin. An enormous difference both in pure memory bandwidth, and the combined Cache and Memory test.
If there is any performance edge to be found it's again on the side of the Mushkin. Although to be honest the results are so close that they're within error tolerance of different runs.
It's the same story with wPrime. Neither kit shows the difference that we see in Sandra, although it's worth noting in the 1024M test the Corsair just completes slightly faster.
With any first run of new hardware it's easy to get carried away. Usually the first parts are standard fare and as the enthusiast models hit the market the goalposts seem to be moved on a weekly basis.
Thankfully with today's review we already know roughly where we are, even if we don't know what's possible. The kit we are comparing to is one of the ultimate enthusiast ones around, the blazingly fast Corsair GTX8. Designed for mental bandwidth when we bring it down to the 2133MHz speed of the Mushkin the slack timings can leave it a little behind.
This neatly brings us to the Mushkin itself. Although designed for a maximum of 2133MHz operation this has allowed Mushkin to really nail the timings down, and throughout our testing the 9-11-10-28 proved itself to be worthy of the slimmest of gains against the Corsair.
Sure it seems clear that Quad-Channel RAM, at the moment at least, has no clear day-to-day benefits over the Dual-Channel speeds we're used to from the LGA1155 stuff because the results are pretty much on a par. It's when you saturate the bandwidth completely that the gains become apparent and the Mushkin Redline handles them with the same calm assurance that we've come to expect. Because it hasn't got the headroom that the Corsair GTX8 has it works out a damn sight cheaper too.
So all in all it's everything we've come to know and love from Mushkin. Outstanding performance in a great looking package for an affordable price. What more can you want? A deserving winner of our OC3D Gold Award.
Thanks to Mushkin for supplying the Redline for review available from Aria.co.uk . Discuss in our forums.