Mushkin Redline Ascent 3x2GB PC3-12800 C6 Memory Review

by 3oh6     |     May 26, 2009

Memory Installation & Test Setup

We already know Mushkin has said these heat sinks are not designed for 6 module use, but they also say they only run 800MHz at 6-7-6 timings...and we all know we are going to prove that wrong. We also want to check and see how these modules do with the wing span of the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme. In recent motherboard reviews, we have found the TRUE to cause problems with the Corsair Dominator heat sinks when in the first slot due to height. The Mushkin Ascent heat sinks are taller than the memory PCB, but are they going to be too tall?

The answer is definitely a no. The Mushkin Ascent heat sink has absolutely no problem fitting under the cooling fins of a Thermalright Ultra-120 or its variants. We have plenty of room to play and even install the modules with the heat sink in place on the EVGA X58 3X SLI motherboard. The real question was whether or not we could manage to get 6 modules installed and as the second photo outlines, that is going to be impossible on these i7 X58 motherboards. The DIMM slots are just too tight to save space having a second pair added from Intel platforms of past. This is definitely something to keep in mind when deciding to buy the Redline Ascent or simply the standard Redline memory modules as upgrading to 12GB's will not be possible with the Ascent heat sinks.

Despite the fact that these modules should fit in pretty much any motherboard under a TRUE because they are not too tall, we still thought we should throw the sticks in another motherboard. We happened to have the Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P laying around so we mounted the TRUE and installed the Mushkin Redline Ascent's. At first everything looked to be working well, then we noticed something and took the second photo. The heat pipe on the TRUE is actually contacting the top of the Ascent heat sink. This is more a by-product of the motherboard layout more than anything as you can see the DIMM slot is extremely close to the CPU socket. Also keep in mind that the outside slots are the primary memory slots so the odds of using a single kit in the blue slots is rather slim...but still something to keep in mind when looking at these modules.

A quick check from the XMP profiles on the Gigabyte motherboard provide an interesting result with everything loading up fine, but tRAS showing up as 20 when CPU-Z and CPU Tweaker clearly identify the proper tRAS of 18. On the EVGA X58 3X SLI, the XMP profile came up perfect with no anomalies. Needless to say it is clearly the Gigabyte board having a little fun with the XMP profiles. Overall these modules are pretty effortless to work with. The XMP profile asks for 1.65v for vDIMM and 1.40v for VTT which is definitely enough for any CPU to be able to run these modules at their rated frequency. At DDR3-1600, we didn't find 6-7-6 timings to really push the memory controller so we feel most if not all users really shouldn't have any issue running these modules at specification.

Test Setup

Test Platform:
Memory:Mushkin Redline Ascent 3x2GB PC3-12800 6-7-6-18 (998692)
Motherboard:EVGA X58 3X SLI
Processor:Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition
Intel Core i7 920 D0
Processor Cooling:Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme-1366
2 x Scythe Ultra Kaze 120MM 3000RPM 133.6CFM (DFS123812H-3000)
Thermal Paste:Arctic Cooling MX-2
North Bridge Cooling:Stock
South Bridge Cooling:Stock
PWM Cooling:Stock
Power Supply:Corsair HX1000W
Video Card:Gigabyte GTX260OC 216SP (NVIDIA GeForce 185.85 WHQL)
Additional Fans:Scythe Ultra Kaze 120MM 2000RPM 87.6CFM (DFS123812L-2000)
Hard Drives:Seagate 7200.9 80GB SATAII 8MB cache
OS:Windows Vista SP1 (with all updates)
Ambient Temperature:23C ~ 25C

We have made a couple changes to the testing platform from the last memory review. Instead of running the DFI X58-T3eH8 or the EVGA X58 3XSLI Classified, we are running the EVGA X58 3X SLI motherboard. The Classified will make an appearance a little later on as it is primarily a sub-zero benching board these days, but for all of the stability overclocking and benchmarks, the EVGA X58 3X SLI is going to be running the show. We have also downgraded the GPU to a single GTX260 from a GTX295. No real reasoning behind this aside from perhaps to see if the 3D benchmarks have any influence by a more typical video card being used instead of the ultra high-end GTX295.

The last item of note is the fact that we used two processors during this review. Typically we like to stick to one, but our 965 decided to drop a memory ratio mid-way through the review process. This meant that after overclocking the memory with the i7 965 processor, we wouldn't be able to run the XMP profile any longer for the benchmarks or the XMP stability testing as we lost the 2:12 memory ratio. This is where the i7 920 processor stepped in. In the stability testing you will notice the XMP profile testing on the EVGA X58 3X SLI motherboard is done with the 920, while the rest of the overclocking is done with the 965. Keep in mind, however, that all of the benchmarks will be completed with the i7 920 processor.


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