Crucial Ballistix PC3-16000 (DDR3-2000) 2GB Kit
Test Setup & Results
With DDR3 speeds ramping up on an almost weekly basis, It's extremely difficult to obtain two or more memory kits with similar specifications to perform any kind of worthwhile comparison. Therefore, the Crucial Ballistix PC3-16000 kit will be reviewed as a standalone product using the hardware specified below.
To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities will be used:
Synthetic Memory Subsystem
• Lavalys Everest 4.0
• SuperPI Mod 1.4
3D Benckmarks & Games
• Unreal Tournament 3
One of our biggest fears when receiving a memory kit clocked as high as the Ballistix PC3-16000 is that we'll be required to jump through hoops just to get it to run at its stock speed and timings. Initially things looked pretty bleak for the Ballistix kit, with our 790i based Asus Striker II motherboard refusing to boot whenever we attempted to take the memory past DDR3-1800. However, knowing that this was the first time we'd ever attempted to run DDR3 this fast on the Striker board, we enlisted the help of ASUS to see if there was anything wrong at their end.
Surely enough, after a single magical BIOS upgrade, the board booted first time at DDR3-2000 / 9-9-9-28. Proving once again that Crucial really do provide memory that works as advertised, right out of the box.
Being Overclock3D we were obviously not content with the 2000mhz effective stock speed of the Ballistix kit. So by raising the FSB speed of the CPU and increasing the VDIMM voltage of the memory to 2.0v we managed a thoroughly respectable 72mhz (144mhz effective) overclock out of the kit, taking it to a total speed of DDR3-2144. The chart and graphs below show how this, and the other settings tested on the Ballistix kit, affected its performance:
While you would expect the highest clocked DDR3-2144 results to be the champion across all of these benchmarks, this couldn't be much further from the truth. As the Everest Memory Latency and Bandwidth results above show, the Ballistix kit exhibited a sharp reduction in performance once passing DDR3-2000 with latency rising over 20ns and bandwidth dropping by around 2500 MB/s. We can only imagine that after passing DDR3-2000, some kind of internal divider comes into effect on the 790i chipset (or Striker II motherboard) resulting in crippled bandwidth figures.
However, good all-round improvements were seen by reducing the memory speed slightly down to DDR3-1902 and tightening up the memory timings to 7-7-7-28. This offerred a good balance of bandwidth and latency which was reflected in both 3DMar05, SuperPI and the Everest results.
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