With the relatively recent launch of the second generation Coffee Lake 9000 series Intel CPUs it is important to remember that total system efficiency is not dictated by raw processor speed or how fast your SSDs are but rather how quickly it can process information.
In the past enthusiasts would go to great lengths to overclock a CPU or RAID a number of hard drives together because those gave you the largest performance boosts. These days CPU speed has hit a plateau between thermal throttling and factory “Boost” settings there is very little “practical” reasons for overclocking. In fact, while a bigger graphics card will give you a much needed performance boost it is the system memory that determines how efficiently your system runs and if you have spent your money wisely.
For this review I’ll be looking at the Mushkin Redline DDR4 memory modules. This is a 16GB dual channel DDR4 memory kit running at 3466Mhz with a CAS latency of 16. Currently the motherboard platform will dictate the supported memory speed. Current Z390 motherboards will often support up to 4000+Mhz memory while older platforms like Ryzen, X99 and Z170 will run best around 3000Mhz. Be sure to consult your motherboard manual for what speeds have been qualified with y our system as that will determine which modules you “should” by over which may not be fully supported.
The Redline memory series is rather iconic in that it has always been focused on high-end gaming and sought after by overclockers and enthusiasts since the early DDR days. Of course as processor and memory technology changed the market demand for modules has been diluted resulting in some companies falling into obscurity.
For instance when an enthusiast, like myself, looks to buy a memory kit I often search for the fastest module I can afford and buy something in that range. With lower timings you often get some overclocking headroom however that isn’t always the case. It largely depends on the quality of your CPU. Of course if you aren’t much for memory overclocking you can get a good margin of stability by finding modules with higher timings, these tend to operate better on a more CPUs giving you the best of both worlds.