Mushkin HP2-5300 DDR2 1GB Kit Page: 1

So you're on a tight budget and looking for some high performance DDR2 memory. The options are sparse, with most manufacturers offerings being high latency or generally poor performance.

Enter the HP2-5300 series from Mushin. Sharing a lot of the features of its bigger brother (the XP2 series), which recently won the OC3D 'Recommended' award and a score of 8/10, can the HP2 series perform just as well - or even better maybe?

About Mushkin
"Founded in 1994, Mushkin is best known for producing "Enhanced" memory modules. Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Denver, Colorado Mushkin provides performance enhanced computer products to users worldwide. Exceptional quality, enhanced performance and unparalleled customer support are what make Mushkin products the best in the industry."


Mushkin HP2-5300 Packaging Mushkin HP2-5300 Packaging

Mushkin HP2-5300 Packaging

The HP2-5300 packaging is exactly the same packaging as the recently review XP2-6400 that Mushkin kindly sent us a short while ago.

The modules are protected by a hard plastic blister pack style packaging, with a printed card insert at the back sporting the Mushkin logo & Graphics. Also printed on the card is some excerpts from previous Mushkin reviews - who knows, one day we might find ourselves on there :)

Many other memory manufacturers use this exact style of packaging, however, an additional welcome touch is the bonding of the edges of the packaging (as you can see above) to prevent the package from being easily opened and fingered by static members of the public.

Mushkin HP2-5300 DDR2 1GB Kit Page: 2

The following specifications have been taken directly from Mushkin's website:

"The eXtreme Performance 512M HP2-5300 module (DDR2-667) offers enhanced second generation memory throughput and stability for the most demanding DDR2 computing platforms. A product of Mushkin's exclusive EPIC (Enhanced Performance IC) selection process, the HP2-5300 is hand-tested to the highest quality and performance standards. The module is an unbuffered 240-Pin Double Data Rate x2 (DDR2) Synchronous DRAM Dual In-Line Memory Module (DIMM), organized as a single-bank 64Mx64 high speed memory array using 64Mx8 chip density. This DIMM achieves high-speed data transfer rates of 667MHz at latencies of 4-4-4-12 (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS). The HP2-5300 is enhanced by Mushkin's Frostbyte heatspreader to ensure superior thermal performance and system reliability. With extreme performance and Mushkin's renowned reliability, the HP2-5300 is the memory upgrade of choice for those DDR2 enthusiasts looking for more out of their high-performance system."

Mushkin HP2-5300 Specs

Frequency: 667MHz
Latency: 4-4-4-10
Parity: Unbuffered
Voltage: 1.9V
Pins: 240
Module Density: 64Mx64
Chip Density: 64Mx8

It's good to see that Mushkin have managed to keep the required voltage low and still maintain good timings. Many other memory modules from other manufacturers require around 2.1v+ to achieve low latencies and good speeds which can reduce the lifetime of the modules due to the extra heat produced from the increased voltage.

Mushkin HP2-5300 DDR2 1GB Kit Page: 3

The HP2-5300 is equipped with the same aluminium heatspreaders as found on the XP2 series. However, unlike the XP2 that is coloured Black, the HP2 series of memory is coloured in a visually attractive Blue.

Mushkin HP2-5300 Front Mushkin HP2-5300 Back

Mushkin HP2-5300 Side Mushkin HP2-5300 Side

Under some light it is hard to see the purple part of the Mushkin logo against the blue heatspreaders, but then let's face it - once they are inside you're PC it will be hard to notice.

Mushkin HP2-5300 Pads

By looking through the top of the heatspreaders we can see that these memory modules are single sided. I did have a go at removing the heatspreaders but Mushkin have used very high quality thermal pads that proved impossible to remove without potentially damaging the memory.

Mushkin HP2-5300 PCB

The PCB of the HP2 series memory is manufactured by Brainpower, who are well know by overclockers for producing high quality PCB's which assist in getting the best results out of the memory chips.

Mushkin HP2-5300 DDR2 1GB Kit Page: 4
Test Setup

Processor: Intel P4 630 3.0ghz Prescott 2mb Cache 800mhz FSB
Motherboard: Abit AW8D (Intel 975X Chipset)
Graphics Card: XFX 6600GT PCI-E
Hard Disk: Hitachi Deskstar 80gb SATA-II 8mb Cache
Power Supply: Silverstone Strider 600w
Software: Windows XP SP2


When benchmarking the HP2-5300 I wanted to be sure to cover all angles. Some people like to run their memory at low latencies (mostly gamers), some like to run their memory at high frequencies, whilst others prefer a mixture of both settings. Below is some information regarding the testing procedures and their results:

Stock Settings
I'm pleased to say that the HP-5300 had no problems running at its stock speed of DDR667, 4-4-4-10 with voltage set to 1.8v. This is a great start, as some memory (including some that my colleague is currently reviewing) can have trouble running at stock timings.

Lowest Timings at Stock Frequency
For this test I increased the voltage to a maximum of 2.1v which should be more than safe for this memory, and proceeded to reduce the timings. After many BIOS reset's, the lowest stable timings I was able to achieve was 3-4-3-8 at DDR667. These timings are very respectable for DDR2 memory and should offer a reasonable performance increase over the stock timings.

Highest Frequency at Stock Timings
In this test I aimed to find the maximum MHZ overclock achievable while leaving the timings at stock (4-4-4-10). By increasing the voltage to 2.1v, I was able to overclock the HP2-5300 to DDR820 which is a massive increase over the memory's stock speed of DDR667

Highest Frequency Overall
It is well known that by relaxing timings the memory speed can normally be further increased. For this test, I relaxed the memory timings to 5-5-5-15, increased the voltage to 2.1v and overclocked the memory as far as it would go while remaining stable. The maximum overclock achieved was DDR850, which was yet again a very respectable result.
What was even more interesting is that using Windows based overclocking tools, I was actually able to take this memory all the way to DDR900 and perform 1m SuperPI tests - however, it is worth noting that the system was not stable at this speed.

Everest Read everest Write

Everest Latency Sisoft Sandra

CSS FPS SuperPI 1m

Mushkin HP2-5300 DDR2 1GB Kit Page: 5

This memory has impressed me. Being able to overclock from DDR667 all the way up to DDR820 while still maintaining stock timings of 4-4-4-10 with only a small voltage increase is testament to just how much Mushkin memory is geared towards overclockers.

When relaxing the timings to 5-5-5-15, a maximum stable overclock up to DDR850 was achievable - and something that might excite 'suicide' overclockers is that this memory was overclockable all the way up to DDR900 and remained stable enough to perform a SuperPI 1m calculation.

The icing on the cake is that the HP2-5300 is very competitively priced too. Coming in at $99.99 over at Directron this is an amazing price that shouldn't be missed by anybody looking to purchase DDR2 for their rig.

+ Overclocks to DDR820 with stock timings
+ Overclocks to DDR850 with relaxed timings
+ Competitively Priced
+ Good looking heatspreaders

- The first time I've ever said this: None

Editors Choice

Thank you to Mushkin for making this review possible.

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