There is an old adage that proclaims “Less is More.” This is not true with computer components, where “More is More.” With the Crucial Ballistix Elite, you can answer both and keep you and your Grandparents happy. High speed and lots of capacity fit the bill nicely for the PC “More is More” user. With the 9-9-9 timings and 1.5v necessary to power the sticks, GrandPa will applaud your sensibilities because “Less is More.”
There are very few products, that personally, get me excited. While the paper specs of the sticks are great, they were met with cautious skepticism. Surely such rankings mean the sticks are so highly binned, they are already maxing out their capability. After overclocking and benching the sticks, using them in both AMD and Intel systems flawlessly, there is no doubt that these modules will be listed among the greats in Memory IC history; BH-5, TCCD, D9GMH, or Hyper MNH-E.
Rarely is a product good for both the enthusiast desktop user and the extreme overclocking benchmark performance nut. The Ballistix Elite will serve well in either situation, providing enough memory to handle the latest games, multiple applications or large image/video manipulation duties, yet still able to go out on the weekends and hang with the pro-street crowd despite being a simple “bolt-on” upgrade. With only a 10% voltage bump the sticks were able to run 2133 MHz (2T) at stock timings, or with even less voltage run overstock speeds and cranking the timings down to 8-8-8-1T, simply amazing.
In fact the only drawback seems to be the inordinately high TRFC. It has no apparent impact on performance and is a requirement of high density sticks. Back when 2 GB modules were becoming available, some boards could not run a high enough TRFC to handle the sticks being limited to 42 in the BIOS. In the case of testing these sticks we found this to be true again. BIOS was limited to 255 TRFC, and the sticks by default run at 280. Fortunately it has been programmed into the SPD, so leaving this on auto will leave this adjusted to where it should be.
The large heat spreaders are very effective. Ambient temps in testing were in the upper teens and idle temps according to the Ballistix MOD software ranged from 19.4 to 20.5 Celsius with load testing hitting 24 C. Once pushed to 1.65v temps were about 21 C Idle and increased to 30.1 C under load, and felt warm very evenly through out the RAM. No hot spots were detected. A 120 mm low speed fan was added to the sticks and they dropped quickly down to stock temps despite the abuse of enhanced clocks and voltages.
The price, is high. There is no denying that. The MSRP is $270. Fortunately they are available for $220 on Newegg, and this is a great price point. It puts the RAM about $40 more than other 16 GB 1866 MHZ kits, which are not even in the same school, let alone the same class. They are so far ahead of other memory modules the price is justified.
The Crucial Ballistix Elite gets a TechREACTION Gold Silicon Award for exceptional quality, performance and features. All backed with Crucial’s customer service and Limited Lifetime Warranty. A truly kick ass product.
For more information on Crucial and their products please check out Crucial.com