Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR3-1866/PC3-14900 16GB Kit (2x 8096MB) Memory Review

The introduction ...

DDR3 memory modules are getting faster, bigger and more inexpensive.
This is especially very interesting, when these three factors are included in one DDR3 RAM kit, to meet also the highest requirements.
We are talking about the brand-new Crucial Ballistix Elite PC3-14900 CL9 16GB DDR3 kit, which consists of 2x 8GB modules and which should reach the DDR3-1866 of the XMP profile with low 1.5V.
Of course we have tested this with an Intel system from ASRock and additionally we overclocked this DDR3 kit up to the limit on an AMD system to find out if this kit is really the Elite.
All overclocking results can be compared with several previously tested DDR3 memory.

 

 

 

Thanks for the support ...

Many thanks for the support with the BLE2CP8G3D1869DE1TX0CEU Ballistix Smart Tracer 16GB PC3 14900 / DDR3 1866 CL9 kit by the manufacturer Crucial.

Click Here

The Crucial Ballistix Elite BLE2CP8G3D1869DE1TX0CEU 16GB Dual Channel kit contains 2x 8096 MB Ballistix Elite 240-pin DIMM DDR3-1866 memory modules and has at present a price of approx. 200 Euro (05/2012).
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 8096MB PC3-14900 memory modules ...

Both memory modules came well protected in this antistatic plastic packing:

Unfortunately it is necessary to destroy the packing to take out the modules.
We're missing the good old Crucial packing, which we could open and close very easy with cutting any plastic.

 

That is contained ...

If you've survived opening this blister packaging, you get rewarded with these beautiful designed Ballstix Elite modules and a short DIMM installation guide inside of the package:

 

Here you can see the cool design of the Crucial Ballistix Elite modules:

 

 

The technical data ...

Manufacturer Crucial
Article number BLE2CP8G3D1869DE1TX0CEU or 2x BLE8G3D1869DE1TX0CEU
Memory 16GB kit (8096MBx2)
Package Ballistix Elite 240-pin DIMM
Type DDR3 PC3-14900
Configuration 1024Meg x 64
DIMM Type UNBUFFERED
Error correction NON-ECC
Speed DDR3 1866 (200 MHz * 9,33)
Voltage 1.5 Volt
Memory timing 9-9-9-27 2T (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS)

 

 

Characteristics and other features ...

Heatspreader ...

The memory modules are provided on a PCB with two bonded passive heatsinks (heatspreader), which are supposed to enhance RAM 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).

JEDEC and XMP ...

Instead of the JEDEC standard values of 1.50 Volt for DDR3 modules, these modules are officially designed for this voltage of 1.5 Volt to reach the CL9 timinings at DDR3-1866 without errors.

The fast timings and frequencies were programmed as XMP-1866 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.

If the motherboard supports XMP, the Crucial Ballistix Elite timings can be set automatically:

 

Here you can see the XMP settings, which can be detected e.g. by the ASRock Z68 Pro3 to setup the optimized memory settings with further knowledge in the BIOS / UEFI:

 

But there is one special note about the ASRock Z68 Pro3 with the BIOS P1.60, because the memory modules didn't run until we found out in our test, that the Refresh Cycle Time (tRFC) has to be increased to 255 for this Crucial Ballistix Elite kit to get them running with the XMP profil values:

 

Here are the SPD and XMP values in CPU-Z 1.58:

 

Temperature sensors ...

Crucial offers a special Ballistix Utility M.O.D (Memory Overview Display) tool for download on their web page (see Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer review), which overclockers should download for this RAM kit e.g. to measure the temperature of these modules.
It's useful to get an overview about the RAM temperature increasement by increasing the Vmem or by overclocking these modules.

 

 

Less than 4GB on booting, only 3GB in the BIOS or less than 16GB in the operating system ...

It can occur that the memory capacity is only indicated as approx. 3GB instead of the 16GB, because 16GB RAM or any sizes with more than 2GB have to be setup in the BIOS and/or in the OS.
Here at ocinside.de is a guide which contains among other things a table, how much RAM each operating system can support.
Additionally there are some topics in our forum under hints and cheat, how one can address 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or more also with 32-Bit operating systems.
Don't hesitate to ask us in our German or English forum if you need any help.

 

 

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.
The additional XMP test was made with the ASRock Z68 Pro3 motherboard and an Intel Core-i5 2500K CPU.
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Edition is used as the operating system.
The stability was examined with the software Memtest86 and SiSoft Sandra Lite 2010c and Sandra 2012 is for all benchmarks used, because it offers extensive adjustments and a fast result comparison.
BTW. the latest SiSoftware Sandra 2012 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 780 / 1560 MHz.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z 1.58 with 780 / 1560 MHz and 8-8-8-24 2T with 1,53 Volt:

 

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 modules were tested with the default 1.53 V, where these modules reached 1560 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 9-9-9-24 2T (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS).

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z 1.58 with 666.7/1333 MHz and 9-9-9-24 2T:

Officially Crucial specify the voltage of 1.50 Volt without loosing the warranty.
More than this voltage was not necessary, to clock the modules stable on an Intel Core-i5 2500K CPU with the XMP values of 931 / 1862 MHz at 9-9-9-27 2T.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z 1.58 with 931 / 1862 MHz (DDR3-1866) with 1.5 Volt:

 

This kit reached much higher results with 1.5 Volt and reached very fast the maximum - not the maximum of the modules, but the maximum of the motherboard!
The highest motherboard frequency with 1.5 Volt was 1064 / 2128 MHz 9-15-15-39 2T.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z 1.58 with 1064 / 2128 MHz (DDR3-2133) and 9-15-15-39 2T with 1.5 Volt:

 

An inoffical overclocking test outside the manufacturer specification with approx. 2.00 V Vmem offered with the fast timings of 8-8-8-24 2T a maximum of 1667 MHz.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of CPU-Z 1.58 with 833 / 1667 MHz and 8-8-8-24 2T with 1.955 Volt unofficial voltage:

 

Here are the SiSoftware Sandra 2010 benchmark results:

Frequency
Timing
Speicher
Spannung
RAM Range
Int Buff'd iSSE2
Memory Bus Range
Memory
Latency
234 MHz * 6.66 = 1560 MHz
fix (8-8-8-24 2T)
1.53 Volt
13.95 GB/s
24.38 GB/s
79 ns
234 MHz * 6.66 = 1560 MHz
fix (8-8-8-24 2T)
1.53 Volt
13.95 GB/s
24.38 GB/s
79 ns
200 MHz * 6.66 = 1333 MHz
SPD (9-9-9-24 2T)
1.53 Volt
11.36 GB/s
20.84 GB/s
94 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.
For own comparisons with the values from older Sandra versions before Sandra 2011 it is important to know, that starting from the version 2011 the memory performance in SiSoftware Sandra is differently calculated and one must convert the value, in order to get identical results: Sandra 2010 value /1024/1024*1000*1000 = Sandra 2012 result.

 

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 Elite PC3-14900 memory modules reached with this great result the top of all benchmark results currently tested DDR3 with standard JEDEC voltage at ocinside.de !

 

Result and general impression ...

The Crucial Ballistix Elite PC3-14900 16GB RAM kit 1x BLE2CP8G3D1869DE1TX0CEU or 2x BLE8G3D1869DE1TX0CEU reached very fast the maximum overclocking frequency - not the maximum of the memory kit, but the maximum frequency of the motherboard, just with the standard voltage of approx. 1.5 Volt.

Thanks to the integrated XMP-1866 profile it should be also for laymen absolutely no problem to setup the proper values with a XMP capable motherboard, even if it is on some motherboards necessary to do small adjustments as we have seen in our test with the ASRock Z68 Pro3 motherboard.
Alternatively of course one can enter all these values also manually in the BIOS and it was not necessary to increase the DDR3 voltage for this Crucial Ballistix Elite PC3-14900 16GB kit to run the modules stable at DDR3-1866.

All in all these new Crucial Ballistix Elite PC3-14900 modules sets new standards and are in the truest sense of the word the Elite modules from Crucial.

 

Discuss in our forum and exchange experiences ...

Here you can buy Crucial DDR3 modules ...

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

Up

All pictures and article copyright 2012 www.ocinside.de