Crucial Ballistix Tracer 4GB Kit (2x2048MB) PC3-10600/DDR3-1333 Memory Review

 

The introduction ...

In this Review the performance and the overclocking of a Crucial Ballistix Tracer PC3-10600 CL6 4GB DDR3 kit are tested and compared with 16 Dual Channel kits of previous reviews.
Since current AMD processors supports DDR3 memory modules, DDR3 Dual Channel kits got more demand.
Because who like to build a new PC system with an AMD Phenom II processor, surely prefer a motherboard with DDR3 Dual Channel support.
This OC review will show the difference between DDR3 and DDR2 RAM and the review will also show how far this DDR3 kit can be overclocked on a current AMD 790GX system.

With the introduction of DDR3 support on AMD systems, DDR2 memory modules are still unextinct for AMD,
because the integrated memory controller of the new Phenom II CPU supports both DDR3 and DDR2 modules.
A newly-made AMD Phenom II system is soon equipped however surely rather with a DDR3 motherboard and DDR3 modules, so that DDR2 Dual Channel kits will be predominantly used for upgrades of existing PC systems.

However, enough development forecasts, let us test the Crucial DDR3 modules.

 

 

 

Thanks for the support ...

Many thanks for the support with the BL2KIT25664TA1336 Ballistix Tracer 4GB PC3 10600 / DDR3 1333 CL6 kit
by the manufacturer Crucial.

Click Here

The 4 GB kit contains 2x 2048 MB Ballistix Tracer 240-pin DIMM DDR3-1333 memory modules and
has at present a price of approx. 70 Euro (10/2009).
Memory modules are available with the upper banner in the Crucial Shop and at our sponsors.

 

 

The supply of the two 2048MB PC3-10600 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 with an English installation guide.

Here is a picture of the two well protected Ballistix Tracer memory modules:

 

And here is a picture of both Crucial Ballistix Tracer modules ...

 

 

The technical data ...

Manufacturer Crucial
Article number BL2KIT25664TA1336 bzw. 2x BL25664TA1336
Memory 4GB kit (2048MBx2)
Package Ballistix Tracer 240-pin DIMM with LEDs
Type DDR3 PC3-10600
Configuration 256Meg x 64
DIMM Type UNBUFFERED
Error correction NON-ECC
Speed DDR3 1333 (200 MHz * 6,66)
Voltage 1.80 Volt
Memory timing 6-6-6-20 2T (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS)

 

 

Characteristics and other features ...

The memory modules are provided on a PCB with two bonded 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 overclocking results 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).
Instead of the JEDEC standard values of 1.50 Volt for DDR3 modules, these modules are officially designed for a higher voltage of 1.80 Volt to reach the fast CL6 timinings without errors.

Another feature are the red and green light emitting diodes atop each memory module, which shows the active RAM traffic,
to see the activity of the memory modules at any time without any additional software.
Close to the pins within the lower range of the PCB are 8 further blue LEDs integrated to lighting the PC permanently.
All in all a nice feature for a PC or Mac.

Here is a bottom view of a Crucial Ballistix Tracer module to see the small SMD LEDs:

 

Here is a picture of the Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR3 modules operating in a PC.
The LEDs illuminates nearly the whole PC and this give the PC a special touch ...

 

 

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

It can occur that the memory capacity is only indicated as approx. 3GB instead of the 4GB, because the 4GB DDR, DDR2 or DDR3 RAM size or any size with more than 2GB is still a case sui generis.
Here at ocinside.de is a guide which contains among other things a table, how much RAM is supported by operating systems.

 

 

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 M3A790GXH/128M motherboard with an AMD Phenom II 710 X3 CPU on different frequencies depending on the reference clock for the different memory benchmarks.
The multiplier adjustment remains on 13x 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 7 RC Ultimate Edition is used as the operating system.
The stability was examined with the software Memtest86 and SiSoft Sandra Lite 2009 SP3 program is used for all
benchmarks, since it offers extensive adjustments and a fast result comparison.
BTW. the latest SiSoft Sandra 2009 version is available on our download server and can be downloaded much faster.
All benchmarks are also included in the free Sandra Lite version.

First the maximum possible frequency of the memory module was determined with default 1.50 Volt (1,53V).
The memory frequency was increased in small steps with a fixed memory timing of 8-8-8-24 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 8-8-8-24 2T (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS) timings and 1.53V was 750 / 1499 MHz.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z with 750 / 1499 MHz and 8-8-8-24 2T with 1,53 Volt:

 

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 1.80 Volt without loosing the warranty.
This voltage was also necessary, in order to be able to clock the modules stable with 666/1333 MHz and 6-6-6-20 2T.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z with 666 / 1333 MHz and 6-6-6-20 2T with 1,83 Volt:

 

The benchmark comparison of all DDR3 memory modules were tested with the default 1.53 V, where these modules nevertheless reached 1499 MHz.
This highest possible clocking on the default DDR3 voltage was compared now with two other settings.
On the one hand they were tested with 200 MHz reference clock x6,66 = 1333 MHz and SPD values
(SPD values are programmed in the SPD IC by the manufacturer).
On the other hand the highest possible frequency with the permitted manufacturers voltage was determined at 8-8-8-24 2T.

The highest possible frequency with 8-8-8-24 2T (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS) timings and 1.83V was 773 / 1545 MHz.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z with 773 / 1545 MHz and 8-8-8-24 2T with 1,83 Volt (manufacturer voltage):

 

Here are the SiSoftware Sandra 2009 benchmark results:

Frequency
Timing
Speicher
Spannung
RAM Range
Int Buff'd iSSE2
Memory Bus Range
Memory
Latency
225 MHz * 6,66 = 1499 MHz
fix (8-8-8-24 2T)
1.53 Volt
13,48 GB/s
23,44 GB/s
76 ns
232 MHz * 6,66 = 1545 MHz
fix (8-8-8-24 2T)
1.83 Volt
13,48 GB/s
24,16 GB/s
74 ns
200 MHz * 6,66 = 1333 MHz
SPD (9-12-12-30 2T)
1.53 Volt
11,86 GB/s
20,84 GB/s
93 ns

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's a diagram of the benchmark values:

 

Here is a direct benchmark result comparison of some DDR3, DDR2 and DDR memory modules:

 

The Crucial Ballistix Tracer PC3-10600 memory modules are the first DDR3 kit in this chart and are of course at the top of all benchmark values.
In the comparison of the calculated memory bus range and with the comparison of the tested benchmark values one recognize the performance differences between DDR (1) modules, DDR2 modules and DDR3 modules.
Thanks to the fast CL6 timings the kit has also with the JEDEC standard voltage of 1.50 V good overclocking results which can be improved additionally with higher voltages.

 

Result and general impression ...

The Crucial Ballistix Tracer PC3-10600 4GB RAM kit (1x BL2KIT25664TA1336 or 2x BL25664TA1336) is unusually well overlockable for an usual DDR3-1333 memory.
Thanks to the fast timings of CL6 with the permitted voltage increasement to 1.80 V, the two 2GB RAM modules were well overclockable in the Dual Channel mode and remained pleasantly cool.
The LED lit Crucial DDR3 kit offers thus not only a lot of "Bling, Bling" for a Casemod, but can also clearly increase the total PC performance with the right settings.

 

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

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All pictures and article copyright 2009 www.ocinside.de