Crucial Ballistix Tracer 2GB Kit (2x1024MB) PC2-8500/DDR2-1066 Memory Review

 

The introduction ...

It is a pleasure to test the new Crucial Ballistix Tracer PC2-8500 memory modules, because memory is not the same
as memory. Even if the technical data is equal with some other PC2-8500 modules, at least overclocking separates
the wheat from the chaff. The DDR2-1066 memory is available as Ballistix Tracer with integrated LED lighting and
as Ballistix without LED's, so the choice for the additional modding feature is left to the buyer.
One thing is certain, the modules would have received the Redaktion ocinside.de OverClocking Dream Award surely
also without memory activity LED's.
If you think about the purchase of new DDR2 RAM modules, this overclocking review should be interesting for you.

 

 

 

Thanks for the support ...

Many thanks for the support with the BL2KIT12864AL1065 Ballistix Tracer 2GB PC2 8500 / DDR2 1066 CL5 kit by the manufacturer Crucial.

Click Here

The 2 GB kit contains 2x 1024 MB Ballistix Tracer 240-pin DIMM DDR2-1066 (PC2-8500) memory modules and
has at present a manufacturer price recommendation of 212 euro (07/2007).
They're available with the upper banner in the Crucial Shop and at our sponsors.

 

 

The supply of the two 1024MB PC2-8500 memory modules ...

In this small box are the two very well protected memory modules:

 

 

That is contained in the scope of delivery ...

Crucial supplies the two memory modules as well as a multilingual installation guide, which should make it possible also
for less experienced users to install them easily.
Here is a picture of the two well protected Ballistix Tracer memory modules:

 

And here's another picture of the nice Crucial Ballistix Tracer modules ...

 

 

The technical data ...

Manufacturer Crucial
Article number BL2KIT12864AL1065 or 2x BL12864AL1065
Memory 2GB kit (1024MBx2)
Package Ballistix Tracer 240-pin DIMM
Type DDR2 PC2-8500
Configuration 128Meg x 64
DIMM Type UNBUFFERED
Error correction NON-ECC
Speed DDR2 1066 (533 MHz * 2)
Voltage 2.2 Volt
Memory timing 5-5-5-15 (Tcl-Trcd-Tras-Trp)

 

 

Characteristics and other features ...

The memory modules are provided on a black plate with black passive heatsinks (heatspreader) which are supposed to
enhance the memory cooling also with higher frequencies and/or higher voltages.
Thus one achieves on the one hand better results with overclocking and on the other hand a longer life-time,
whereby Crucial by the way grants lifelong warranty (Limited Lifetime Warranty) for the buyer
(all informations to manufacturer conditions are of course without guarantee by ocinside.de).

Another feature are the eight green and eight red light emitting diodes (LED) on each memory module.
The LEDs atop shows the RAM traffic, so one can see the activity of the memory modules at any time.
Close to the pins within the lower range of the PCB are integrated additionally eight further blue LEDs to lighting the PC.
All in all a fancy feature for modded PCs and Macs.

As you can see on the next picture, the Crucial Ballistix Tracer modules illuminate nearly the whole PC ... :-)

 

 

Benchmark values and test results ...

Let us begin with the most important part of the test report, because the optics and packing is of course rather
secondary and the highest possible stable performance is the most important factor.
The test results are based on an ASRock AM2XLI eSATA2 SLI motherboard with an Athlon 64 Socket AM2 3000+
CPU on different frequencies depending on the reference clock for the different memory benchmarks.
Furthermore the memory modules were tested on another reference board (Foxconn C51XEM2AA) to test the
high frequency with higher voltages.
The multiplier adjustment remains on 9x with all frequencies, because an adjustment for the CPU in half multiplier
steps would be too inaccurate to get nearly the same CPU frequency for all tests.
Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2 is used as the operating system.
The stability was examined with the software Memtest86 and SiSoftware Sandra Lite 2007.SP1 program is used for all
benchmarks, since it offers extensive adjustments and a fast result comparison.
BTW. the latest SiSoft Sandra 2007 version is now available on our download server and can be downloaded much faster
and very easily - ALL benchmarks are also included in the free Lite version.

But let us continue with the review ...
First the maximum possible frequency of the memory module was determined.
The memory frequency was increased in small steps with a fixed memory timing of 4-4-4-10 2T and default memory voltage, as long as the detailed memory test with Memtest86 runs without any errors.
This quite long testing time ensured that this frequency works really stable with these modules.

The highest possible frequency with 4-4-4-10 (Tcl Trcd Tras Trp) timings was stable with fantastic 478 MHz !

Of course it's possible to run much higher frequencies with increased voltages or lower timings,
because the frequency values and timings depends directly from each other.

Officially Crucial specify the voltage of 2.20 Volt without loosing the lifetime warranty and whereby the default
DDR2 memory voltage is 1.80 Volt.
In the test the modules were stable with 2.20 V and timings of 4-4-4-10 up to 522 MHz (DDR2-1044) and
with SPD timings of 5-5-5-18 it was possible to reach up to 568 MHz (DDR2-1137 MHz).
This isn't possible on all motherboards, because on the one hand it's necessary that these high clock rates are supported
by the motherboard and on the other hand it's absolutely necessary to have the high memory voltage (Vmem).
For the test I've additionally used a slightly modified reference board (Foxconn C51XEM2AA) to get this stable result.

This highest possible frequency was compared with two settings.
On the one hand 478 MHz with SPD values (these are programmed in the SPD IC by the manufacturer), and on the other
hand 200 MHz (x2) with SPD timing values.

By the way, the "Memory Bus Range" is no benchmark value, but this value is quite simple to calculate by the frequency
and is useful for a benchmark comparison.

 

Here're the benchmark results:

Frequency
Timing
RAM Range Int Buff'd iSSE2
Memory bus range
478 MHz
fix (4-4-4-10 2T)
6704 MB/s
15296 MB/s
478 MHz
SPD (5-5-5-18 2T)
6620 MB/s
15296 MB/s
200 MHz
SPD (4-3-3-9 2T)
4650 MB/s
6432 MB/s

 

Here's a diagram of the benchmark values:

 

Here is a direct benchmark result comparison of some DDR2 and DDR memory modules:

The Crucial Ballistix Tracer PC2-8500 CL5 memory modules reaches with default Vmem clearly the top of all tested memory modules and even beat their own Ballistix PC2-8000 modules.
The frequency of 461 MHz was reached with the Athlon 64 3000 CPU on 9x 265 MHz reference clock = 2385 MHz and
fast 4-4-4-10 2T timings, whereby it's of course possible to increase the frequency with slower timings.
If the motherboard doesn't allow such a high Vmem (memory voltage), nevertheless good OC results can be achieved.
Whereby the results can be strongly improved above approximately 2.20 V and would be thus optimal.

 

Result and general impression ...

The new Crucial Ballistix Tracer PC2-8500 memory modules (1x BL2KIT12864AL1065 or 2x BL12864AL1065)
can be enormously overclocked with the default memory voltage and are thanks to the integrated LED lighting a fancy
eye-catcher in a PC or Mac.
Crucial reach the top of all DDR2-1066 memory modules tested so far with this overclocking result and hard-earned the
Redaktion ocinside.de OverClocking Dream Award 07/2007.
This is by the way not only the first OverClocking Dream Award for the company Crucial, but also the first ocinside.de
award for memory modules at all!

 

Read on in the hardware test area with several hardware reviews ...

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All pictures and article copyright 2007 www.ocinside.de