The performance memory market has continued to push the performance envelope over the last few generations of hardware, each new development ushering in more speed and better performance. But beyond speed, memory has not yielded much material to the marketing departments. We all know that the marketing departments are tasked with getting products on the market and into your hands. But other than performance, the only marketable aspects in the segment are fancy heat spreaders, cooling fans and the occasional LED strip. So with this we had to ask, has innovation hit a roadblock? I thought so, but then I’ve never been a huge fan of gimmicky marketing. If you read my last memory review about the Corsair Dominator GTX3 DIMMs, you’ll see why.
However, this review has left me wondering if I was wrong. Crucial has been kind enough to supply one of their latest and greatest Ballistix memory kits for our review today. Are they bucking the trends and actually packing some real innovation into their latest products, or is it just a bunch of fluff? We’ll soon find out, read on!
The kit we have here today is based on three BL25664FN2139 2GB DIMMs for a total of 6GB of memory. These DIMMs are rated at DDR3-2133 (PC3-17000) with 9-10-9-24 timings running at 1.65V. The kit shipped in an unassuming brown cardboard box with a generic Crucial label sealing it shut.
The box contained the three 2GB DIMMs as seen here.
The rear of the DIMMs have a small sticker attached with a serial number displayed.
The front of the DIMMs are quite unique. The heat spreaders are black anodized aluminum and attached to the memory ICs with thermal tape. The PCB does not make contact with the heat spreaders.
Upon removal of said heat spreader we get a clear look at the PCB, which is average height and matte black in color. I’m not personally very concerned about “bling” in my computer builds, but I am becoming a little more picky about color coordination and I’m a big fan of the black PCB here, which is visually a nice upgrade over standard green.
If you are not aware, Crucial is the direct retail arm of Micron, so the best of Micron technology goes directly into Crucial’s premium products: Ballistix & Ballistix Tracer being premium. As you can see here, the IC’s used in these DIMMs are marked with the Ballistix name, which clearly illustrates this relationship. Embedded somewhere in this PCB is a piece of temperature monitoring hardware, the only obvious extra logic on the PCB is shown in the upper left corner of the last image, but I cannot say for sure if this houses said hardware.