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256MB Corsair & 128MB Mushkin Memory

Companies: Corsair Micro, Mushkin
Products:
Corsair 256MB PC133 222, Mushkin 128MB PC150 232
Street Price: Corsair 256MB - $174 / Mushkin 128MB - $119
Date Reviewed: January 15, 2001

 

First Impression:

First off I would like to thank Corsair Micro and Mushkin for their generosity in donating the RAM for this comparison. I know these two sticks of memory may seem entirely different at first glance, but they have more in common than you think. First let me go over the specs of each memory module, then I will get down to testing and performance.

Real quick, the test system composed of the following, I used the BE6-II because of it's excellent stability and memory tweaking options:

Test System

Motherboard ABIT BE6-II v2.0
CPU PIII-550 FC-PGA (Runs stable at over 160FSB) - Courtesy of PCNut
Video Card VisionTek GF2MX (Because of its stability at very high AGP bus speeds)
Hard Drive Western Digital Expert 20.5GB ATA/66

 

Corsair Micro:

Corsair Micro CM654S256-133C2 SDRAM

Module Type PC133 Synchronous DRAM DIMM
Module Setup Built using sixteen 16M x 8 SDRAMS, 4k refresh
Module Size 256 MB
Module Speed 133 Mhz
CAS Latency 2
RAS to CAS Delay 2
Precharge Delay 2
ECC No
Unbuffered / Buffered / Registered Unbuffered
SPD (Serial Presence Detect) SPD EEPROM
Warranty Lifetime

Just looking at the chip in general, it is nice solid quality. The sixteen chips are Micron Technologies -7E, which means 7ns, and the "E" denoting CAS2. Taking a look at the information Sisoft Sandra can read from the memory, it has a setting of 7-1-1-1 read & 5-1-1-1 write. These numbers are basically wait states. (Remember the old 486 boards where you actually were able to set these numbers?) There was no real information telling about the "RAS to CAS delay" and the "precharge delay" on Corsair's site or on the memory chip itself. The only information stated was that the "CAS Latency" is 2. I guess the logic behind it is because most motherboards only allow you to adjust the CAS Latency and not either of the two delays. However, in all their memory modules I have used, I always set the delays to 2 and they work perfect.

 

Mushkin Enhanced Memory Systems:

Mushkin 128MB PC150 Enhanced HSDRAM

Module Type PC133 Synchronous DRAM DIMM
Module Setup 16Mx64 (16 Chips), 4k refresh
Module Size 128 MB
Module Speed 150 Mhz
CAS Latency 2
RAS to CAS Delay 3
Precharge Delay 2
ECC No
Unbuffered / Buffered / Registered Unbuffered
SPD (Serial Presence Detect) SPD EEPROM
Warranty Lifetime

A while back, Mushkin merged with Ramtron which makes the "Enhanced SDRAM" line of memory modules. The chips on this Mushkin module are the "Enhanced" brand and are 6.6ns. The one thing that struck me as very odd was that it was rated for CAS 2, and a Precharge Delay of 2, but the RAS to CAS Delay has to be set to 3. Trust me, if you try 150FSB @ 222 it will not work! It has to be 232 or higher (i.e. 333). When I received this module, (the PC150) this was the fastest Mushkin made, the only other option was to buy their High Perf. Rev 2 which is rated at PC133 @ 222 with 7.5ns chips. Now Mushkin has a High Perf. Rev 3 which is rated at PC150 @ 222. They still have all three models for sale, with only a $30 difference in price between the Rev 2 & Rev 3, and the PC150 right between the two. Again, taking a look at the information Sisoft Sandra can read from the memory, it too has a setting of 7-1-1-1 read & 5-1-1-1 write.

One little neat note is that the Mushkin memory comes in a really odd bubble package to ensure that it isn't damaged during shipping.

Go To Page 2 For Benchmarks & Conclusion

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