|A member of the Funky Media Group|
|Review: Crucial Ballistix DDR3-2133 4Gb Kit|
|Posted by Will Smith|
|Tuesday, 07 December 2010 22:03|
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When it comes to high performance ram, no one is more familiar with this market than Crucial. They''ve been producing enthusiast grade ram for many years. Their Ballistix series are known to perform extremely well under overclocked conditions. For modders, the Crucial's Ballistix Tracer series includes colour LEDs that flashes according to load ... perfect for LAN parties.
Buying memory with the correct specifications for your needs can be confusing at times. Memory with higher specification such as DDR3-1600 or above, doesn't necessarily mean better performance. Generally, the higher the spec, the higher the latency ... and that can cause timing issues. So my advice is to buy memory that best suits your motherboard and CPU, unless you plan to overclock.
Many users like myself, will probably never need any memory modules that can offer performance beyond DDR3-1333 spec. Nine out of ten people will just select AUTO in the memory settings in the BIOS ... it's simple and easy, but most importantly it's stable. However, for the extreme enthusiast and hardcore overclocker DDR3-1600 just isn't enough. If you want to to overclock via the BCLK option in the BIOS, you'll need high performance ram that can cope above the default BCLK rate of 133Mhz ... and that's got to be DDR3-1600 or higher.
A couple of months ago, we reviewed Crucial's Ballistix Tracer DDR3-1600 4Gb kits. They produced excellent performance and looked great in any modded chassis. Today we take a look at Crucial's highest performing ram in their catalogue ... the Ballistix DDR3-2133 (PC3-17000) Dual Channel 4Gb Kit. They're rated to run at a whopping 2133Mhz, with memory timings of 9-10-9-24. These modules come with some mean-looking heatspreaders and should offer excellent performance, that would satisfy even the most demanding of extreme enthusiasts and hardcore overclockers.The included heatspreader is large and plentiful, and should be more than enough to cool the ram during overclocking. To fully take advantage of these modules, it is recommended that you use a motherboard that supports XMP profiles in the BIOS. This allows easy AUTO configuration without having to mess around with the memory timings, voltages or DDR3 frequency of the memory. But having said thay, some motherboards may not fully support XMP profiles above DDR3-1600. So it is best to check with your motherboard manufacturer.
As far as performance is concerned, we're expecting these modules to produce some good results, and should outperform similar memory in its class. What I'm really interested to find out ... is how well these modules will work with XMP profiles selected in the BIOS. In the past, we've experienced some issues and found that it was the limitation of the CPU and motherboard combination. It prevented our XMP ready memory from running at its full potential. Let's see if it's the same here.
We'll be installing these modules into our test rig, which consist of the following ... Intel Core i5 - 650 (LGA 1156), Gigabyte P55 USB3 motherboard (with XMP support), Geforce GTX 460, Noctua NH-C12P SE14 CPU cooler, and a Thermaltake ToughPower 875W PSU.