PC133 CAS2 SDRAM Module Competition
Corsair Vrs. Mushkin

By Dave Altavilla - September 19, 2000

Like building a house on a solid foundation, there is just no substitute for good memory, when it comes to performance computing.  Virtually all of the various components in your PC access main system memory
at some point or another.  Whether you are an avid "Over-Clocker" or the conservative type, there is nothing more essential to system stability than a robust Main Memory Subsystem.  Having memory installed that is capable of handling the high end clock rates of today's modern system busses, can be the difference between "rock solidness" and an irritating or sometimes catastrophic "BSOD" (Blue Screen Of Death) system crash.

These days SDRAM manufacturers are punching out memory by the bucket load for the ever hungry consumer market.  However, as with anything else, there are varying degrees of quality and performance within this space.  The "PC133" standard and the memory that supports it, made 133MHz. Front Side Buses for the host processor, a reality.  Furthermore DDR SDRAM capable of 2X the bandwidth of PC133 memory, is coming to fruition.  However, we expect that PC133 SDRAM will be the mainstay system memory for some time to come. 

So, with that said, what separates the trash from the treasure in PC133 memory?  We're going to show you two suppliers of top notch PC133 SDRAM, in the following pages.  We'll put them head to head to compare their quality, performance and overall bang for your buck.

Before we move on, we would like to extend a hearty THANKS to the good folks at OUTSIDE LOOP COMPUTERS for supplying HotHardware with these modules.  OSL has been a sponsor of H.H. for a long time now and we are proud to have them on board.

Specifications Of Our Two Challengers
There is SDRAM and then there is "QUALITY" SDRAM


Corsair On The Left / Mushkin On The Right (click)


Corsair PC-133 CAS2 SDRAM Module

  • 168 Pin Unbuffered DIMM (Dual In Line Memory Module

  • 64, 128 or 256MB versions

  • 3.3V Operating Voltage

  • CAS (Column Address Strobe) Latency = 2

  • SPD (Serial Presence Detect E2 PROM On Board

  • Discrete SDRAM Chip Sources: Micron, Toshiba, Samsung


Mushkin High Perf PC133 Rev. 2 SDRAM Module


  • 168 Pin Unbuffered DIMM Module

  • 64MB or 128MB versions

  • 3.3V Operating Voltage

  • CAS Latency = 2

  • SPD E 2 PROM On Board

  • Discrete SDRAM Chip Sources: Mosel Vitelic


As you can see both of these modules have very similar specs.  As a result, this review should be a solid "apples to apples" comparison.  The PCBs are almost identical here and the only real differences are the chip suppliers used to populate these modules.  It should be noted that both Corsair and Mushkin do not manufacture the SDRAM on these modules but rather use major sources like Toshiba, Micron and Samsung or in the case of Mushkin's module, Mosel Vitelic.  However, regardless of the chip suppliers used, both Corsair and Mushkin guarantee performance according to their own published specfications that you see above. 

On the other hand, it is also widely known that there are very subtle differences between SDRAM chips amongst the various suppliers.  At the time this article was published, Mushkin was only supplying Mosel SDRAM chips on their "Rev. 2" modules.  Corsair could in fact supply any of the three sources listed above.  However, our module was populated with Micron SDRAM and most all modules we have seen for their 128MB PC133 CAS2 sticks, have the same Micron chips on them.  Regardless, we want to underscore the fact that this article is based on our findings with the Corsair product that utilizes Micron SDRAM on the module.

Subtle Nuances and CAS3 Vrs. CAS2 Performance