Crucial Ballistix Tracer Red 4GB Kit (2x2048MB) PC2-6400/DDR2-800 Memory Review

 

The introduction ...

Sure, for most of us DDR2-800 RAM is nothing special anymore, but the new Crucial Crucial Ballistix Tracer Red PC2-6400 memory modules are worth a second look.
The current DDR2 4GB kit consists of 2x 2GB PC2-6400 CL4 memory modules and they are a visual treat.
This Ballistix Tracer Red edition offers not just more memory for the PC, but thanks to several integrated SMD light emitting diodes it lights up the PC in a bright red.
Let us test the result of this new 4GB CL4 kit from Crucial compared to previous tested DDR2 modules.
And let us see, if there is anything special with Windows XP or Windows Vista and 4 GB PC memory.

 

 

 

Thanks for the support ...

Many thanks for the support with the BL2KIT25664AR804 Ballistix Tracer Red 4GB PC2 6400 / DDR2 800 CL4 kit
by the manufacturer Crucial.

Click Here

The 4 GB kit contains 2x 2048 MB Ballistix Tracer Red 240-pin DIMM DDR2-800 memory modules and
has at present a manufacturer price recommendation of 128 euro (04/2008).
They're available with the upper banner in the Crucial Shop and at our sponsors.

 

 

The supply of the two 2048MB PC2-6400 memory modules ...

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

 

 

That is contained in the scope of delivery ...

Crucial supplies the two memory modules as well as an english 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 Red memory modules:

 

And here's a picture of both Crucial Ballistix Tracer Red modules finished in metallic glaring red ...

 

 

The technical data ...

Manufacturer Crucial
Article number BL2KIT25664AR804 or 2x BL25664AR804
Memory 4GB kit (2048MBx2)
Package Ballistix Tracer Red 240-pin DIMM
Type DDR2 PC2-6400
Configuration 256Meg x 64
DIMM Type UNBUFFERED
Error correction NON-ECC
Speed DDR2 800 (400 MHz * 2)
Voltage 2.2 Volt
Memory timing 4-4-4-12 (Tcl-Trcd-Tras-Trp) - EPP

 

 

Characteristics and other features ...

The Micron memory modules are provided on a red PCB with two red 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).
Furthermore, these modules have the Enhanced Performance Profile - EPP, which is helpful to get good timings and
frequencies for easy overclocking on motherboards with EPP support.

Another feature are 16 red light emitting diodes atop each memory module, which shows the active RAM traffic,
to see the activity of the memory modules at any time.

 

Close to the pins within the lower range of the PCB are 8 further red LEDs to lighting the PC.
All in all a cool feature for a modded PC or modded Mac.

 

These Crucial Ballistix Tracer Red modules illuminates nearly the whole PC and this give the PC a special touch ...

 

 

Not 4GB on booting, but only 3GB in the BIOS or Windows ...

Another special thing is the 4 GB size of the memory modules.
"At that time" with Windows 98, Win95, etc. it was necessary to clear the first hurdles with more than 512 MB with an easy trick.
In Windows 98 operating system it was necessary to add MaxFileCache=512000 in the [vcache] section of the System.ini to get it booting.

In the meanwhile the RAM size is fortunately much higher, because with 32-bit operating systems like e.g. Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista the first things are starting approximately with more than 2GB.
2GB can be used both, for the operating system, and for some programs.
But starting from 3GB or starting from values between 3 GB and 3.5GB the memory management on 32-bit operating systems is unfortunately rather badly. Even the activation of Memory Hole and/or Memory Remapping in the BIOS and entries of /PAE (Physical Address Extension) or /3GB in the Boot.ini doesn't help WinXP to the full 4GB in a fast AMD PC.

The only thing which helps, is an update to a new 64-bit operating system like e.g. Windows Vista 64-bit, Windows Server editions, or 64-bit Vista edition, which supports different memory sizes.
Windows Vista 64bit Home Basic supports for example a capacity up to 8GB, Home Premium 16GB and
Vista Ultimate, Vista Business, as well as Vista Enterprise supports sizes of more than 128GB.

So don't worry, if your PC just boots with 3183MB, 3184MB, 3.1GB, 3.2GB or similar RAM values into Windows XP.
Your memory is not defective, but it is because of the memory support (motherboard or operating system).
The exact memory capacity depends on different factors such as hardware used below 4GB and may vary depending upon PC.

 

 

Benchmark values and test results ...

Let us continue 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 (ULi M1697 chipset) 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 to test the high frequency and higher voltages.
The Foxconn C51XEM2AA motherboard comes with the nVidia nForce 590 SLI chipset and supports the EPP feature to
realize an automatically adjustment of the memory timings.
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 SiSoft 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 2008 version is available on our download server and can be downloaded much faster.
All benchmarks are also included in the free Lite version.

But let us now 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 435 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 warranty. But to compare all memory modules,
the default DDR2 memory voltage of 1.80 Volt is used and this results in nice 435 MHz.
Thanks to CAS-4 there's enough scope on CL5 for much higher frequency.
A direct comparison of the frequency versus latency can be found in the interactive memory product ID guide.

This highest possible frequency was compared with two settings.
On the one hand 435 MHz with SPD values (these are programmed in the SPD IC by the manufacturer),
and on the other hand 200 MHz (x2) with SPD values.

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

 

Here're the benchmark results:

Frequency
Timing
RAM Range Int Buff'd iSSE2
Memory bus range
435 MHz
fix (4-4-4-10 2T)
6083 MB/s
13920 MB/s
435 MHz
SPD (5-5-5-18 2T)
6024 MB/s
13920 MB/s
200 MHz
SPD (4-3-3-9 2T)
4643 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 Red PC2-6400 memory modules are despite the DDR2-800 speed indication - thanks to CL4 - in a good midrange of all modules and that is very positive for such module size of each 2 GB.
Starting with 1.8 Vmem (memory voltage) it's possible to get good overclocking values, which can be improved of course with higher voltages.

 

Result and general impression ...

The Crucial Ballistix Tracer Red PC2-6400 4GB RAM kit (1x BL2KIT25664AR804 or 2x BL25664AR804) is also as DDR2-800 memory suitable for the High-End range. Because with CL4 and thanks to the enormous size of 2 gigabyte per module,
this RAM is a pleasure for current PCs with DDR2 support.
The glaring red, LED lighting modules in metallic finish are nice for a Casemod, but they offers also enough memory and good overclocking results for a low price.
Not all operating systems supports full 4 GB, but graphic programs or video editing software is pleased about each megabyte.

 

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

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