Mushkin Redline Ascent 3x2GB PC3-12800 C6 Memory Review

by 3oh6     |     May 26, 2009

Package & Memory Overview

We are about to have a look at these new Redline Ascent modules, but be warned, the images very much resemble the color of the actual modules. We have gone to great lengths to ensure white balance and color representation is accurate. These modules are definitely Redline, but the color isn't pure red, the photos are telling the truth with a hint of fuchsia in the color of the heat sinks.

Mushkin has managed to retain the traditional molded plastic blister pack for presenting the Mushkin Redline Ascent memory. At first we were a bit surprised as we would have figured that three sticks of these beefy heat sinks would be too much weight for the plastic package but it turned out to hold the memory quite well. The memory fits in nice and tight and the package actually felt like it wanted to hold together. For shipping, the package will still need to be wrapped in bubble wrap though as there certainly is the possibility of the molded plastic opening up in the middle through flex. This could potentially release a module with ease as again, these Ascent heat sinks really add a lot of weight to each stick.

As secure as the memory is in the plastic package, we still would prefer to see something more secure. OCZ has gone with molded plastic packages for its triple channel kits, but by placing them inside a box, OCZ prevents the molded plastic from opening. Corsair has done the same with its triple channel memory. We would like to see Mushkin do the same and evolve their package. With pretty much all memory being shipped to end users these days, the odds of someone receiving a kit with a module loose and scratched up may not be good, but at least plausible.

If this is the first time seeing the Ascent heat sinks from Mushkin, it is a bit of an experience. Yes the modules do look as thick and heavy as they appear. When you first grab a stick of this memory it feels like you grabbed a lead weight. The vapor chambers on each side and large aluminum heat sinks definitely make these modules one of the heavier sticks of memory out there. We can clearly see a split in the heat sink at the top of the module in the middle as this is where the two pieces of the heat sink meet. Essentially, each side is its own piece with half of the cooling fins at the top being part of one side each.

The two clips are nice and tight to the heat sinks providing ample pressure to each side of the modules. Along the sides of the modules run ribbed fins that increase surface area which helps to dissipate heat. From above, we can see four cooling fins running the length of the heat sink providing even more surface area for the heat to be transferred from the module to the ambient air. We can also see these modules are much thicker than a standard module. The height isn't too far out of spec, but the width is. In fact, Mushkin advises that these modules are not designed for six module use and users looking to use six sticks of this memory should consider the standard Redline heat sinks. We will of course be checking for this during the installation section.

The first image above is outlining the fact that we have two solid pieces to these heat sinks. The top cooling fins closest to us in this photo are a solid piece with the other side of the heat sink. The side of the heat sink we can see is a single piece with the top cooling fins furthest away from us out of focus. The point is, these are actually solid pieces of aluminum that go from the IC surface, to the top cooling fins. This will ensure excellent thermal transfer as there are no joints, or connections unlike the latest Corsair Dominator memory modules.

The second photo is obviously a macro shot of the underside of the heat sinks. We won't be removing the heat sinks as Mushkin advised against such a task due to the thermal adhesive being designed to take IC's with it. We will show some detailed diagrams of the Ascent heat sink and give an idea of exactly what we are looking at, but in essence, the IC's are connected to a single large heat pipe that runs the length of the modules. This large, flat heat pipe is essentially a vapor chamber of sorts that absorbs the heat from the IC's and spreads it out the length of the chamber, transferring the heat to the other side where the aluminum heat sinks move the heat to the ambient air for dissipation. The Ascent heat sinks are definitely one of a kind and do a marvelous job in theory, but the one downside is the added overall thickness to the module.

The markings on the edge of the memory indicate a Brainpower produced PCB with six layers. These PCB's are quite common on entry level to mid range DDR3 memory modules and have been used with good success as far back as September of 2007 that I can recall seeing them. In fact, these same PCB's were used in the last Mushkin Ascent memory we looked at here at Hardware Canucks back in July of last year. Having been used with modules that long and no major revisions or issues arising indicates a great track record for the PCB's used on the Mushkin Redline Ascent modules we are looking at today.


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