Memory Comparison: DDR2 667MHz SODIMMs by Kingston and Mushkin

Introduction

Today we'll be comparing two 2GB (2x1GB) kits of SODIMM DDR2 667MHz memory. These kits are aimed at users of Intel based Apple Mac computers. These are machine specific parts designed to work with full compatibility with Apple Macs including the Macbook series.

The kits that we will be examining and testing are from Kingston and Mushkin. Both companies offer lifetime limited warranties and are guarantee the memory to work with the hardware in question. Both the Kingston (Model: KTA-MB667/1G) and Mushkin (Model: 971504A kits) sticks of memory are 1GB each, and rated to run at 667MHz (PC5300) with 5-5-5-15 timings. Each kit consists of two matched model sticks.

Kingston KTA-MB667/1G x 2

There are 8 chips on each side, totaling 16 for each module. The memory chips are all Kingston branded and the chips are all the same throughout the kit.

The SPD information from the memory fits with Apple's standard settings, and the memory is running within specifications.

Mushkin 971504A x 2

Looking at the back of the memory modules, there is a PCB version number (outlined red in photo). Comparing both modules, they're different versions. The front label confirms that they are the same model, but one is revision 2.10 and the other 2.20. Looking closely at both sticks, there are some differences.

The most noticeable difference is that the chips on each module are different. One has Mushkin branded chips and the other Reneon. There are some small differences in the traces printed on the PCB. It should be noted that even though the revision of the sticks of memory are different, there were no compatibility or stability issues encountered when testing.

The SPD information from both memory modules is the same which leads me to believe that the Mushkin chips are merely rebranded Reneon chips.

Test Environment

The test machine is an Apple Macbook with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at 2.0GHz (T7200). The hard drive is a standard (Apple stock) Fujitsu 80GB SATA 5400rpm model. The operating systems for the OSX tests are version 10.4.8, and for the Windows tests, XP Professional with SP2 are being used. Apple Boot Camp 1.1.2 drivers are used for the Windows XP install. Both OS instances are clean installs with no third party applications running in the background.

Tests in Windows XP SP2



Looking at memory bandwidth, the Kingston kit was slightly faster with both reading and writing.


Tests in Mac OSX 10.4.8



Cross Platform Tests


With Photoshop there was a surprising performance margin between the Kingston and Mushkin kits in Windows XP. The results were redone numerous times to confirm this anomaly, but the results were consistent.

Performance and Stability Analysis

Overall the performance of both memory kits were close, but the kit from Kingston consistently edged out the Mushkin kit in the majority of tests. If you're a Photoshop user, you may want to opt for the Kingston kit as it was consistently faster in this test.

Both kits performed flawlessly with full stability. As these kits are specific parts from the manufacturer for the specific notebook (the Apple Macbook), this isn't surprising.

Recommendation

If you're shopping to upgrade an Apple Mac which uses DDR2 667 SODIMMs, you will be happy with either of the 2x1GB (2GB total) memory kits offered by Kingston or Mushkin. They both offer stable operation, and performance wise, they're both excellent with the Kingston edging ahead in most of the tests we performed. Either way, if you're upgrading up to 2GB total, you will definitely experience a performance increase.

In terms of availability (at least in my area), the Kingston kit was easier to be found. Much more stores carried (or could order) Kingston memory than Mushkin memory. Because of this, if you want more options for local support, Kingston might be a better option.

Comments

Thanx for having this online

Thanx for having this online test of these two SODIMM Memory sticks. I'm searching now for online test results for PC42/5200 DDr2 SODIMM Memory or a comparison chart of the same and yours is the only one i've found that compares any SODIMM Memory. I hope that in the future you'll be able to post some more tests of the SODIMM Memory with other Manufacturers like Corsair, Trancend, OCZ, Buffalo, PNY, etc etc. as well as a comparison test result of the SODIMM Kits versus single sticks from the likes of Kingston and others. Which are backwards compatable and which are not. If you did such testing of Laptop Memory, I know i'd surly be returning often and am sure many others would be visiting your site as well. It sure seems like there is a deffinet lacking online in the posted un-biased Laptop memory test sites. Again thanx for what you have thus far. Merry X-Mas and Happy New Year to you and yours. Sincerly, Chase Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Hi I too appreciate te

Hi I too appreciate te report and looking for more of such latest comparisons. I work for a RAM company and need to know more such reviews as comparison for finding Unique selling points DO u know any such site/URL where i can find them regards and see u soon

Thank you for your comment

Thank you for your comment and input Chase. I hope you had a happy holiday yourself. In regards to single sticks versus kits, in my experience you shouldn't have any compatibility issues either way. I've used mix kits and mixed single sticks without issues (most of the time). Provided you buy from the manufacturer directly (like from Kingston.com or Crucial.com, etc), most have a memory configuration tool in which you can get their exact model of memory which works for your laptop. As long as you stick with these models, it should be pretty much guaranteed to work (like even if you have 1 Kingston stick and 1 Crucial stick). Of course, buying in a kit will be 100% guaranteed to work (if it doesn't something is usually defective).

I would love to review more SODIMM memory kits in the future, and am always open to working directly with other manufacturers and resellers. Right now circuitREMIX is a pretty small site in the grand scheme of things, so we don't really have many companies contacting me directly. Plus to add to that, I'm a student and don't have much in the ways of financial resources to buy a lot of the hardware I test. But if any manufacturers or resellers read this, contact me about working with me :)

Hi Appreciate your reveiw

Hi Appreciate your reveiw Can u give me more links of such RAM reviews. I need them desperately Where are u residing. Let me know. I can arrange to some funding oto support these testing regards

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