Crucial Ballistix DDR3 2000MHz Memory

Posted by on Thursday, July 2, 2009 - 1:44am

overviewCrucial being one of the most recognized and a respected name in memory reproduction has graciously offered a set of Ballistix PC3-16000 for reviewing. With 9-9-9-28 timings being rather high latency can we adjusted with a little tweaking and voltage. But hitting 2000MHz isn’t something many of us have seen from other own system. But Crucial today will give us that opportunity.

 

 

 

Introduction

Just like the early days of DDR and DDR2, which era starting with low frequencies, everything does when dealing with computers. And we all wish for something bigger and faster. DDR3 unsurprising had the same start. In the beginning all we had was 8500 and 10666 modules with promises of faster frequencies coming down the line soon. Well I think we are at that point. It seems that 1600 and 1800MHz came with the quickness. Now we have 2000MHz from a few manufacturers and with others to follow.

Crucial being one of the most recognized and a respected name in memory reproduction has graciously offered a set of Ballistix PC3-16000 for reviewing. With 9-9-9-28 timings being rather high latency can we adjusted with a little tweaking and voltage. But hitting 2000MHz isn’t something many of us have seen from other own system. But Crucial today will give us that opportunity.

Why Ballistix

The Ballistix line is specifically built for performance enthusiasts who want to push the performance envelope without worrying about data loss or corruption, mysterious intermittent errors and display problems, or worse — the dreaded BSOD! The Ballistix line of high-performance memory modules features advanced speed grades, low latencies, and integrated aluminum heat spreaders.

Features

  • Module Size: 2GB kit (1GBx2)
  • Package: Ballistix 240-pin DIMM
  • Feature: DDR3 PC3-16000
  • Specs: DDR3 PC3-16000 • 9-9-9-28 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR3-2000 • 1.9V • SLI-Ready • 128Meg x 64

 

Closer look

The heat spreaders from the Ballistix line haven’t changed much as they still sport the classic gold-like color with the Ballistix logo. Crucial hasn’t never being fancy with their heat sinks. But the Tracer line does add some flair to the line. But nothing in the line of huge coolers or heat pipes.

Advertising 2000MHz with such timings these modules are aimed at the enthusiast that wish to take their newly acquired Intel X38/P48/X48 or Nvidia 790i motherboard. The BL2KIT12864BE2009 according to Crucial can maintain this high level of performance at a mere 1.9 volts. I have come cross to such performance pumping 2.0 plus volts into the ram. It is nice not having to do that again as fear of damaging the ram was always in the back of my head.

 

Testing methodology

Our testing begins with the equipment listed below. We begin by setting up the BIOS to the stock SPD to take a screenshot using CPU-Z 1.45.

Testing Hardware:
EVGA 790i
Intel Core2Duo E8400
Thermalright Ultra 120
Sapphire Ultimate 3870
Maxtor Diamond 10 100GB
Thermaltake TP1000

Testing Software:
Futuremark PCMark05
Futuremark 3DMark06
SiSoftware Sandra
Everest Ultimate
SuperPi 1.5 mod

Overclocking

Overclocking took some time to get right with this set of ram from Crucial and at the same time a little bit of money as well. Our regular test board, the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe was not capable of running this ram at its default values while using the XMP feature. So, I immediately went out and purchased a fresh EVGA 790i. After a few days of playing around with the board we decided to base the whole review around it.

We started the test off with trying to get the ram to run at its highest clock with stock voltage and timings. Honestly, I did not have my hopes set too high as this kit is running at an incredible 2000MHz. really how much more could the ram have in it? Well how about another 31MHz without having to bump up the voltage or having to relax the timings. Never being satisfied we up the voltage to a safe 2.0v and netted another 19MHz for a total of 2050MHz.

Our next goal was to set better timings and then go for the best over of the ram. We started with 8-7-6-18 while keeping the voltage at 2.0. At this timing we were still able to keep the total FSB well over the stock setting as we were able to get up to 2015MHz benchable in our entire test applications. But once again not being satisfied we lowered the timings once more. At 7-6-5-18 things became challenging as we once again wanted to stay above the default clock speed. Well we didn’t quite make as we came up two points shy at 1998MHz.

 

Results

Futuremark PCmark05 Build 1.1.0
PCMark®05 is everything you need to reliably and easily measure the performance of your PC and determine its strengths and weaknesses. With PCMark05, you will be able to select the optimal upgrades for your existing PC, or choose the right new PC that fits your specific needs. This easy-to-use product gives you the same tools and knowledge that virtually every professional tester in the industry uses.

Super Pi Modded 1.5
In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi and he collaborated with Dr. Y.Kanada at the computer center, the University of Tokyo. This record should be the current world record. (Details are shown in the windows help.) This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environment such as Windows NT and Windows 95. In order to calculate 33.55 million digits, it takes within 3 days with Pentium 90MHz, 40MB main memory and 340MB available storage.

SiSoftware Sandra Lite 2007 SP1
SiSoftware has announced the availability of Service Release 2 (SR2) for SiSoftware Sandra 2005, the latest version of its award-winning utility. The focus of this service release has been improved support, compatibility and reliability rather than new features. We have been working closely with more hardware vendors than before to be able to bring greater direct support of an increased market share of commodity and server technologies.

Lavalys Everest
Lavalys EVEREST Home Edition is freeware system information, system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for home PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. It offers the world's most accurate system information and diagnostics capabilities, including online features, memory benchmarks, hardware monitoring, and low-level hardware information. EVEREST Home Edition is uniquely available for home users without any charges, based on the freeware license.

 

Conclusion

My conclusion is if you want to achieve the magically 2000MHz the easiest way then this is it. Being the default of this ram is 2000MHz not much is needed in the way of BIOS settings. But what is needed is a board that can properly support it. As we didn’t our default test board the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe did not. Upgrading to the EVGA 790i, we had no issues whatsoever. And for those that like the Intel chipset over the Nvidia offering then selecting the P45 or X48 should easily handle this kit.

We know that most of you all out there that are willing to go in search of this kit will not leave any setting at default would love to know this kit has more to offer. Achieving another 50MHz may not seem like a lot but you must realize that this is not a 1600 or 1800MHz this is rated at an industry high of 2000MHz which is something that was unheard of in the early days of DDR3. We were totally satisfied with this overclock amount. And chances are we will get more out of it as we do a little more testing with other motherboards in the future.

The only thing that will make one think twice about this kit is its pricing. We found the kit sales for $499 at any respectable retail. We know this kit is super high-end and will come at a premium but at this price I would only see the extreme overclocker purchasing it until the prices become more reasonable.

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