Low profile is the word of the day and Crucial spells it BALLISTIX LP Tactical. This memory packs bang in the smallest package possible. It is not the fastest memory but it is faster than other low profile kits. It does not have the lowest latency but it holds its latency up to 2133. It is not the least expensive but it is faster and less obstructive than the less pricy chips.
Type: 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM
Capacity:16GB (2 x 8GB)
Speed: DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
Cas Latency: 8
Voltage: 1.35V-1.5V (XMP Profile one and two)
Dual Channel Kit
Designed for performance enthusiasts, gamers and power users
Enhanced heat spreader
Low Profile and Low Voltage
Advanced Speeds and timings (XMP Profile)
Lifetime limited Parts and Labor warranty
All in all these modules are fairly attractive while remaining modest in appearance.
When it comes to this low profile; seeing is believing:The Ballastix tactical shown in the last image is more than 5/32 (4.19mm actual) shorter than standard height memory and a full inch and a 32nd shorter than (26.62mm actual) Corsair Vengeance modules of the same speed rating.
The one thing we want to make clear here is we did not OC the processors. The reason for this is we must consider the application of a product and we see these modules being used in SFF units. That being said, the cooling devices used in a SFF PC many times lacks the ability to cool an overclocked CPU. We were only looking at the advantages afforded by faster memory speeds.
Unfortunately all testing was done on Intel systems (Lynfield and Sandy Bridge) so we could not see the timing advantages that are seen on the AMD Phenom line of processors.
Initial testing on Lynfield (i7-870) yielded no speed advantages when moving from 4 x 4GB 9-9-9-24 2T to 8-8-8-24 1T. Crucial VLP left Corsair Vengeance right:Here there is less than a one percent difference which is statistically insignificant. Next, we ran Super Pi Mod 1.5 and again no advantage was seen either way. We did OC the memory on the Lynfield platform and got a comfortable 1800 out of this memory. Testing was done at these speeds but it seems the CPU just would not take advantage of the extra speed without overclocking it.
Not seeing much improvement on the Lynfield we moved to the Sandy Bridge. A series of tests were run to simply test the memory; we were not concerned with how many 3D Marks our CPU could make. That being said results were mixed. First we wanted to run the Ballistix against the Vengance at 1600 on a z77 chipset throwing in some G.Skill 2400@2133 as a control. Again we found little difference in our test results with nothing more than an outlier here or there. We wanted more.
We moved the memory multiplier to the maximum available for our z77/Sandy Bridge combination and the SuperPI 1.5 results follow:
Next we moved to 2133 to see what happened using XMP profile 2 to reach 1.5V
So with a stock clocked CPU we see that the results are inconclusive which is actually a good thing as it shows no deficiencies in the low profile memory. We had many other results in 3d Mark testing and a few games; but again, the results were inconclusive with an outlier here and there.
The power savings is really not substantial but combined lower usage and lower heat output can save you a few dollars a year and keep your SFF PC from heating up the room.
You really lose nothing when using low profile low voltage memory unless you are overclocking a high end CPU. So where does it rate?
Shortest we can get (save the Crucial Sport)
Great timings running a command rate of one
Good heat control
And if you get the tall memory your HSF may end up being cut up like this:
To conclude we would like to thank Crucial for for providing this sample and we feel this product deserves a Gold as it works as advertized and gives a little bit more in the value added area.
The Crucial Ballistix Tactical 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model BLT2K8G3D1608ET3LX0 can be found at New Egg for $84.99 or less at other online vendors.