Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR3 PC3-12800 6GB kit

Test Setup & Overclocking

Test Setup

For today's testing we will be using the Gigabyte EX-58 UD5, a mid-range Core i7 motherboard from Gigabyte that will allow us to push the memory on test to its absolute limit. Here's a breakdown of the rest of the components:
Intel Core i7 920 'Nehalem' @ 2.66Ghz

Gigabyte EX58-UD5

Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR3 PC3-12800 6GB kit
Mushkin 6GB (3x2GB) XP series DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz Kit 7-8-7-20
Patriot 6GB DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz Viper Series Low Latency Kit 8-8-8-24
Corsair CL8 1600MHz 8-8-8-24 3x2GB kit

Graphics Card
Nvidia 280GTX

GeForce 180.60

Gigabyte Odin 1200w

Operating System
Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit SP1 + Updates
Lights dark
Setting the memory up presented no problems at all with our test rig. With just a few BIOS tweaks, we were up and running at the Ballistix stock settings of 8-8-8-24 @ 1600MHz. As you can see above the 'Tracer' effect of the ram is very domineering. The modules have four sets of LED's, two 'dormant' sets at the base of the modules which light up the memory slot. These do not move and simply glow. Then the top of the module has two rows of eight "chasing" green LEDs atop the module, pulsating out from the centre in a random pattern based on memory utilisation. A custom-designed circuit relays bus activity to the LEDs, allowing them to accurately reflect usage of each memory module. Think 70's Sci-Fi control panel and you are almost there. One can only assume that the different coloured heatsinks (Red, Blue and Green) would be matched by the same colour LED's but don't quote me on that. I personally like the effect the tracer LED's give off but then I always was a sucker for gimmicks!
For testing the memory we used a number of synthetic benchmarks and games:
Synthetic Benchmarks
  • Lavalys Everest 4.10
  • SuperPI mod_1.5
  • Sisoft Sandra 2009
3D Benchmarks
  • 3DMark Vantage
  • Far Cry 2
For the run of benchmarks, we will be comparing the 1600MHz 6GB Crucial Ballistix Tracer to the MuskinXP, Patriot Viper and Corsair Dominator kit.
Starting from scratch we disabled on the settings that may affect the overclocked settings such as Intel Speed Step as well as disabling the C-State settings which may also affect some of the results in the benchmark testing phase of the review. Here's how the sticks look at stock speed:
cpu stock mem stock

Overclocking the Ballistix was very easy. First off I tried lowering the timings at the stock frequency and found 7-7-7 to be no trouble at all. I then tried CAS 6 latency but found this to be too much until I raised the voltage a little. With that tiny bump in voltage the sticks had no issues running at 6-6-6-20 @ 1600. Next up I attempted to overclock the frequency of the chips going straight for the throat @ 2000MHz. Sadly this ambitious attempt served nothing but to corrupt the Vista install. So one install later and a little more common sense I tried for 1800. They reached that level with no issues so I then raised the bar again to 1900, again, no issues apart from the fact I had to lower the latencies a notch. Next up was 1950 which was a no show, even with the latencies dropped again to CAS 10.

6-6-6- 1900
Settling for 1904MHz then with CAS 9 latencies is no poor show for the Ballistix and while it cannot possibly match the stonking 2100MHz the Mushkins managed in our last review, the Ballistix reached latencies the Mushkins could only dream of.

Returning the settings back to their stock values we then ran our suite of memory benchmarks to see how the modules compare. Let's see how I got on...
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Most Recent Comments

12-03-2009, 16:06:02

They look nice.

Would prefer them in red though.

Jim - get some to match your bloodrage.Quote

12-03-2009, 16:32:55

Originally Posted by name='themcman1'
They look nice.

Would prefer them in red though.

Jim - get some to match your bloodrage.
These or the Corsair GT's are on my list for sure Quote

12-03-2009, 16:43:10

Oh crap Jim now has to choose between Dominator GT or these. Both are good so go for the performance ones lol.

For aesthetics then this is the way to go.

Bit pricey tho'.Quote

12-03-2009, 16:55:11

I ordered a set of the DDR2 for my AM2 system on monday, so as long as they preform as nicely as this lot I will be happy.. and the LEDs look so great.Quote

12-03-2009, 17:00:40

Too bad that the chips don't have red led's instead of the green.

The red would be perfect for your case!

Do I see another mod happening here?Quote

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