When you think of ECC (error correction code) memory, Kingston, Samsung, or Crucial are probably the first brands that cross your mind. There’s an overabundance of memory vendors, but very few do business in the ECC market. Some may not know it, but Mushkin is one of the handful of companies that commercialize ECC memory kits, and it has some pretty good ones.
Mushkin advertises the Redline ECC Black DDR4-3600 as the world’s first overclocked ECC memory kit, and that is true. However, ECC memory isn’t prevalent outside the enterprise market, and manufacturers generally stick to JEDEC specifications, such as DDR4-2133, or some vendors even go up to DDR4-3200. Therefore, a DDR4-3600 ECC memory kit is undoubtedly a configuration you don’t often see on the memory market. It does come in handy, though, given that AMD’s Ryzen has always supported ECC and Intel has unlocked ECC memory support for its mainstream Alder Lake processors (provided you use a motherboard with the W680 chipset).
The Redline ECC memory modules come with a green PCB, which might be a letdown for some enthusiasts. Given that ECC memory primarily dwells in servers and workstations, the color of the PCB shouldn’t be an issue for the majority of customers. However, a black PCB could have gone a long way with potential mainstream buyers looking to take advantage of Alder Lake or Ryzen’s support for ECC memory. The Redline ECC checks in with a height of 38mm (1.5 inches), so it’s friendly with most oversized CPU air coolers.
Mushkin equipped the Redline ECC with a lightweight aluminum heat spreader, which the brand calls Frostbyte. Unlike the company’s other memory, the Redline ECC only comes in black or white. In addition, the heat spreader’s top resembles a double helix, which looks pretty cool.
The Redline ECC Black arrives as a dual-channel memory kit with two 16GB memory modules. Each memory module has an eight-layer PCB and adheres to a single-rank design. Although Thaiphoon Burner couldn’t pick up the integrated circuits (ICs) manufacturer, we suspect they’re from Micron, given the single-rank structure and loose timings.
The memory modules run at DDR4-2666 at 19-19-19-43 natively. However, the XMP profile will configure them for DDR4-3600 with 16-19-19-39 timings and a 1.4V DRAM voltage. The required voltage is a bit high considering that there are DDR4-3600 memory kits with better timings at 1.35V. See our PC Memory 101 feature and How to Shop for RAM story for more on timings and frequency considerations.
|Memory Kit||Part Number||Capacity||Data Rate||Primary Timings||Voltage||Warranty|
|G.Skill Trident Z Neo||F4-3600C16D-32GTZN||2 x 16GB||DDR4-3600 (XMP)||16-16-16-36 (2T)||1.35 Volts||Lifetime|
|Mushkin Redline ECC Black||MRC4E360GKKP16GX2||2 x 16GB||DDR4-3600 (XMP)||16-19-19-39 (2T)||1.40 Volts||Lifetime|
|Mushkin Redline Lumina||MLA4C360GKKP16GX2||2 x 16GB||DDR4-3600 (XMP)||16-19-19-39 (2T)||1.40 volts||Lifetime|
|Klevv Bolt XR||KD4AGU880-36A180C||2 x 16GB||DDR4-3600 (XMP)||18-22-22-42 (2T)||1.35 Volts||Lifetime|
|Silicon Power Xpower Zenith RGB||SP032GXLZU360BDD||2 x 16GB||DDR4-3600 (XMP)||18-22-22-42 (2T)||1.35 Volts||Lifetime|
|Lexar Hades||LD4BU016G-R3600UDLH||2 x 16GB||DDR4-3600 (XMP)||18-22-22-42 (2T)||1.35 Volts||Lifetime|
|Patriot Viper Steel RGB||PVSR432G360C0K||2 x 16GB||DDR4-3600 (XMP)||20-26-26-46 (2T)||1.35 Volts||Lifetime|
|Mushkin Redline ECC White||MRD4E320EJJP16GX2||2 x 16GB||DDR4-3200 (XMP)||14-18-18-38 (2T)||1.40 volts||Lifetime|
The Intel system employs the Intel Core i9-10900K and Asus ROG Maximus XII Apex, which operates on the 0901 firmware. On the opposite side, the AMD system consists of the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and the Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero. The latter is on the 3501 firmware. The MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Trio ensures no bottlenecks in our gaming RAM benchmarks.
|Intel System||AMD System|
|Processor||Intel Core i9-10900K||AMD Ryzen 9 5900X|
|Motherboard||Asus ROG Maximus XII Apex||Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero|
|Graphics Card||MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio||MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio|
|Storage||Crucial MX500 500GB, 2TB||Crucial MX500 500GB, 2TB|
|Cooling||Corsair Hydro H115i Pro||Corsair Hydro H115i Pro|
|Power Supply||Corsair RM650x 650W||Corsair RM650x 650W|
|Case||Streacom BC1||Streacom BC1|
The Redline ECC Black ended up in the middle of the Intel application performance chart. The memory flaunted its muscle in the Microsoft Office workload. We doubt there will be widespread use of ECC memory in gaming systems. Nonetheless, the memory surprised us as it managed to take fourth place overall in our gaming benchmarks.
The AMD platform turned out to be the Redline ECC Black’s Achilles heel. We observed a decline in overall application performance that found Mushkin’s memory in the penultimate position. The memory kit didn’t shine in any specific workload, either. Gaming performance was a tad worse than on the Intel platform.
Overclocking and Latency Tuning
It was hard to squeeze a hefty overclock out of the Redline ECC Black since the XMP voltage was already at 1.4V. However, upping the DRAM voltage to 1.45V quickly put us at DDR4-3800 with the exact rated timings for DDR4-3600.
Lowest Stable Timings
|Memory Kit||DDR4-3200 (1.45V)||DDR4-3400 (1.45V)||DDR4-3600 (1.45V)||DDR4-3800 (1.45V)||DDR4-4100 (1.45V)||DDR4-4133 (1.45V)||DDR4-4200 (1.45V)|
|G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4-3600 C16||N/A||N/A||13-14-14-35 (2T)||N/A||N/A||N/A||19-19-19-39 (2T)|
|Klevv Bolt XR DDR4-3600 C18||N/A||N/A||16-19-19-39 (2T)||N/A||N/A||18-22-22-42 (2T)||N/A|
|Mushkin Redline Lumina DDR4-3600 C16||N/A||N/A||16-17-17-37 (2T)||N/A||17-19-19-39 (2T)||N/A||N/A|
|Silicon Power Xpower Zenith RGB DDR4-3600 C18||N/A||N/A||17-19-19-39 (2T)||N/A||18-22-22-42 (2T)||N/A||N/A|
|Patriot Viper Steel RGB DDR4-3600 C20||N/A||N/A||16-20-20-40 (2T)||17-26-26-46 (2T)||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Mushkin Redline ECC Black DDR4-3600 C16||N/A||N/A||16-18-18-38 (2T)||16-19-19-39||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Lexar Hades RGB DDR4-3600 DDR4-3600 C18||N/A||N/A||17-20-20-40 (2T)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Mushkin Redline ECC White DDR4-3200 C14||16-20-20-40 (2T)||14-18-18-38 (2T)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Being Micron ICs, we couldn’t get the timings very low, even at 1.45V. We got the tRCD, tRP, and tRAS as low as 18-18-38 before the memory became unstable. The CAS Latency remained at 16 clock cycles.
Mushkin used a single-rank design for the Redline ECC Black DDR4-3600 C16 memory modules, which affects the memory’s performance on the Intel platform and has an even bigger impact on the AMD platform. It’s a shame because the memory would have performed better if Mushkin had opted for a dual-rank structure. As a result, the Redline ECC Black DDR4-3600 C16 kit cannot compete against enthusiast-grade memory kits like the G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4-3600 C16.
Mushkin’s memory kit currently retails for $236.50. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive than your standard DDR4-3600 C16 memory kit, and we expected that since it’s ECC memory, after all. However, the Redline ECC Black DDR4-3600 C16 certainly has a spot in the market, offering enthusiasts an ECC option that’s better than the standard ECC memory at DDR4-2133 or DDR4-2666 with sloppy timings.