Date: February 15, 2006
Author(s): Rob Williams
Just because the memory package says ‘value’ doesn’t mean it has bad performance! We are taking a look at the HP3200 1GB kit, which delivers DDR400 speeds and 2-3-3 timings.
For our first Mushkin review, we will be taking one of their value kits for a spin. The HP3200 (991433) rolls in at PC3200 speeds as the name implies, and 2-3-3-6 timings, at a modest 2.6v. These modules use Mosel SAT-5B chips, so we immediately know that overclocking these babies may not be a huge possibility, but we can’t conclude until we try! Let’s first take a look at the packaging and the modules themselves.
The modules arrived in a clear blister pack that are oh so popular these days. Mushkins blister pack keeps the modules somewhat safer than most though, because each side has a is slightly melted together so that the pack stays closed until you need to open it. Because the package is not that clear, it doesn’t really do the modules justice. Once they are taken out of the package, they look great.
The heatspreaders on these modules are not as snazzy as some other Mushkin products, but the color won me over. I love this color blue, and if it was glossier.. whoo wee Instead of an embossed logo, the value modules have is printed with colored ink. What is great about these heatspreaders though, is the design. The top of the heatspreader has ‘hoops’ that arise above the modules themselves to help dissipate heat better. Many memory manufactuers close off the top of the modules so air can’t really escape, but this way makes sense.
Because of the design and material that the heatspreader is made of, the modules overall are very light and should prove easy to cool with any sort of active cooling. You’ll notice from the sticker on the modules that the timings are 2-3-3, but it doesn’t include the tras. CPU-Z detected the default tras to be 6, and that’s how I concluded the correct speeds to set in the BIOS.
Ok, well since these modules use Mosel chips, I knew I had a better chance of winning the lottery than actually finding success in overclocking these. I don’t even play the lottery! At any rate though, I was definitely up for the challenge and looked forward to seeing if I could squeeze any extra performance out of them.
After running an 8 hours session of MemTest 1.60 at default speeds, no errors were brought about so the fun of overclocking could begin. One thing I quickly found out, was that lowering the trcp and trp to 2 was not going to happen. At default speeds, I tried to run 2-2-2 as opposed to 2-3-3 between 2.6 and 3.2v and the computer would simply not get past POST. Max overclock I could hit at default timings was 210, or DDR420 speeds.
Knowing that 2-2-2 was not going to happen, I had no choice but to up the CAS latency to 3. In my opinion, CAS3 should only be seen on 1GB modules, but if we are lucky then CAS3 will not affect our bandwidth acheivements. Going from 237Mhz to 240MHz required a nice 0.4v increase! I was not willing to go above 3.2v at this time, due to having no additional cooling.
These modules are not marketed as being overclocking friendly nor do they offer enthusiast performance, hense the 2-3-3 timings. I actuality, considering these are Mosel based modules, I did manage to bring the overclock further than I actually expected. If they chose Infineon 5B or something similar to use instead of Mosel, it’s unlikely that overclocking would have been more of a success. Overall, these were a challenge to tweak, but turned out pretty good.
To benchmark these modules, I used both EVEREST Ultimate Edition and SANDRA Lite and their included memory related tests. I used all of the successful overclocked settings during these tests. Let’s begin with a look at the EVEREST read and write tests.
For the timings and speed, the default READ score is impressive, while the WRITE is lacking. Actually, this is true through all the overclocked benchmarks; the READ keeps up with competitors, while the WRITE is slightly lower.
We can immediately see that being forced to switch to CAS3 didn’t exactly help our latency benchmarks. Even still, they kept up to the compeitition just fine in this regard. I couldn’t help but imagine how great these modules would be if they had more favorable chips.
The SANDRA tests impressed me more than anything about these modules. The stock speeds compete with previous PC3200 modules we have looked at, which says a lot considering these timings are more loose. Further up the scale though, at 240HTT, the OCZ Gold XTC score slightly higher due to it’s tighter timings, but beats out our Ballistix even with it’s 2-2-2 timings. Overall, these Mushkin modules definitely hold their own here.
After I completed all of these benchmarks, it was time to move onto gaming benchmarks. I started running 3D Mark 01 on each overclocked setting to first see if the memory was stable overall for gaming. This is where I found out that these modules don’t allow gaming at anything past DDR440 speeds. Anything higher, and the benchmark would actually cut off half way through with a graphics driver error. I played Counter-Strike: Source at the DDR440 speeds though, and it worked no problem, but anything above that would just not cut it. Since these modules have no real overclocking value, I did not bother with a gaming benchmark because there would not be enough results to justify one.
When I first received these modules, I had to bear in mind that they are value sticks, so I treated them as such. Although the modules are value, they seemed to surpass a few other PC3200 modules that I have looked at in the past, despite them having weaker timings. This is actually a great thing if you wish to buy modules and not overclock them at all; you’d be set. As mentioned earlier, at stock speeds these modules have the advantage over the Ballistix at the same speeds. The newer OCZ Gold XTC modules are ever so slightly faster at stock speeds.
As value modules though, the HP3200 are superb. For someone who doesn’t plan on overclocking, these offer great performance for the price point. Of course, as I tend to mention in every 1GB review, the 2GB era is here and that’s where I recommend most people look. Even if you currently own a 1GB kit, adding another will force 2T timings, and 2GB kits are just so affordable now, that there’s little reason to stick with 1GB now. If 1GB is your thing though, you will not go wrong with these modules, just don’t expect to be overclocking!
Because these are value modules and are marketed as such, I am awarding the HP3200 an 8 out of 10. They have great stock performance and will please anyone who doesn’t like to overclock. As is becoming more popular nowadays, these modules also pack a lifetime warranty once you register them.
If anybody out there has had some success overclocking Mosel, please let me know how you succeeded! I will continue to play around with the sticks and see if I can push their performance far enough to be able to game above 220 HTT.
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