Crucial Ballistix 4GB Kit (2x2048MB) PC3-12800/DDR3-1600 Memory Review

 

The introduction ...

After the recently tested DDR3 Triple Channel memory kit without heatspreader, a new ocinside.de review of a Dual Channel kit with heatsink and higher clock rates is now published.
The Crucial Ballistix PC3-12800 CL8 4GB DDR3 RAM kit contains two 2GB modules, which just needs a little voltage increasement to operate at DDR3-1600 CL8.
In the current review we will see, how far the memory modules can be overclocked and how the kit performs against other memory modules.

 

 

 

Thanks for the support ...

Many thanks for the support with the BL2KIT25664BN1608 Ballistix 4GB PC3 12800 / DDR3 1600 CL8 kit
by the manufacturer Cruciall.

Click Here

The Crucial Ballistix BL2KIT25664BN1608 4GB Dual Channel kit contains 2x 2048 MB Ballistix 240-pin DIMM DDR3-1600 memory modules and has at present a price of approx. 129 Euro (05/2010).
The Crucial Ballistix BL3KIT25664BN1608 6GB Triple Channel kit has at review date a price of approx. 193 Euro (05/2010).
Memory modules are available with the upper banner in the Crucial Shop and at our sponsors.

Here you can buy Crucial DDR3 RAM.

 

 

The supply of the two 2048MB PC3-12800 memory modules ...

Both memory modules were well protected supplied in this antistatic plastic packing:

 

 

That is contained ...

This kit came without a manual, but usually Crucial delivers memory modules usually with a quick installation guide.
The plastic packing can be opened very easy, by pressing the back to the rear, to break the two predetermined breaking points and fold up its cover.

This is an exemplary Blister packaging, which can be also closed again without any problems:

 

Here is a picture of the two nice looking Crucial Ballistix BL25664BN1608.16FF modules:

 

 

The technical data ...

Manufacturer Crucial
Article number BL2KIT25664BN1608 or 2x BL25664BN1608
Memory 4GB kit (2048MBx2)
Package Ballistix 240-pin DIMM
Type DDR3 PC3-12800
Configuration 256Meg x 64
DIMM Type UNBUFFERED
Error correction NON-ECC
Speed DDR3 1600 (200 MHz * 8,00)
Voltage 1.65 Volt
Memory timing 8-8-8-24 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 information about 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 1.65 Volt to reach the fast CL8 timinings at DDR3-1600 without errors.

The fast timings and frequencies were programmed as XMP-1600 value (Intel Extreme Memory Profile) in the modules and can be detected on some mainboards like the EPP value (nVidia Enhanced Performance Profile) or the usual SPD value (Serial Presence Detect).
If the motherboard supports XMP, the standard timings can be set to these higher frequencies automatically without much knowledge, otherwise one should adjust the correct RAM values manually in the BIOS, in order to get optimal results.
Don't hesitate to ask for help about the correct BIOS setup and the exact values in our forums.

 

 

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 4GB RAM or any sizes with more than 2GB are still a case sui generis.
Here at ocinside.de is a guide which contains among other things a table, how much RAM each operating system can support.

 

 

Benchmark values and test results ...

Let us continue with the most important part of the test report, the highest possible stable performance.
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 2010c is for all benchmarks used,
because it offers extensive adjustments and a fast result comparison.
BTW. the latest SiSoft Sandra version is available on our download server and can be downloaded very fast.
All memory benchmark tests 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 733 / 1466 MHz.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z 1.53 with 733 / 1466 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.

The benchmark comparison of all DDR3 memory modules were tested with the default 1.53 V,
where these modules reached 1466 MHz.
This highest possible clocking on the default DDR3 voltage was compared 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 was determined at 8-8-8-24 2T with the permitted manufacturer voltage.

With a frequency of approx. 667 MHz the SPD EEPROM autodetection timings were 9-12-12-30 2T (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS).

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z 1.53 with 666.7 / 1333 MHz and 9-12-12-30 2T:

Officially Crucial specify the voltage of 1.65 Volt without loosing the warranty.
This voltage was also necessary, in order to be able to clock the modules stable with 800/1600 MHz and 8-8-8-24 2T.
With 1.65 Volt Vmem and CL8 it was possible to reach a maximum frequency of 1653 MHz on the AMD platform.
An inoffical overclocking test outside the manufacturer specification with 2.00 V Vmem offered a maximum of 1680 MHz and offers only a little increasement compared to the permitted 1.65 Volt.

The highest possible frequency with 8-8-8-24 2T (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS) timings and 1.65V was 826 / 1653 MHz.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z 1.53 with 826 / 1653 MHz and 8-8-8-24 2T with 1,65 Volt (manufacturer voltage):

 

Here are the SiSoftware Sandra 2010c benchmark results:

Frequency
Timing
Speicher
Spannung
RAM Range
Int Buff'd iSSE2
Memory Bus Range
Memory
Latency
220 MHz * 6,66 = 1466 MHz
fix (8-8-8-24 2T)
1.53 Volt
13.52 GB/s
23.00 GB/s
78 ns
248 MHz * 6,66 = 1653 MHz
fix (8-8-8-24 2T)
1.65 Volt
15.00 GB/s
25.84 GB/s
69 ns
200 MHz * 6,66 = 1333 MHz
SPD (9-12-12-30 2T)
1.53 Volt
12.00 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 comparison of some DDR3, DDR2 and DDR memory benchmark results:

 

The Crucial Ballistix PC3-12800 memory modules are with three other kits currently at the top of all benchmark results at standard JEDEC voltage.
At the maximal permitted voltage of 1.65 V, which is also programmed in the XMP-1600 profile by the manufacturer, the result was much higher.
At this Vmem the Crucial Ballistix PC3-12800 kit reached in RAM Range Int Buff'd iSSE2 of SiSoftware Sandra 2010c a performance of 15.00 GB/s at 1653 MHz, which is a very impressive result.

 

Result and general impression ...

The Crucial Ballistix PC3-12800 4GB RAM kit 1x BL2KIT25664BN1608 or 2x BL25664BN1608 is also at the standard DDR3 voltage well overlockable and shows all of its DDR3-1600 talents at maximum manufacturer settings.

At 1.65V this 4GB DDR3-1600 CL8 kit reached the fastest values of all PC3-12800 and PC3-10600 modules tested so far and thanks to the additionally integrated XMP-1600 profile, a XMP capable motherboard can adjust these Crucial modules very simple to correct timings.
Who like to spend the extra money for PC3-12800 instead of PC3-10600 RAM and already have or build a PC3-12800 capable system, shouldn't hesitate to buy these modules.

 

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

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