It’s been two months since Crucial launched launched their first Crucial Ballistix DDR3 memory modules and while they were months behind other DDR3 manufacturers their 1600MHz kit has been a success. Since Micron and Crucial are one and the same it shouldn’t be a surprise that Crucial memory kits are able to perform above average. Legit Reviews first spotted their 1600MHz DDR3 memory kit running 2000MHz back at the Intel Developer Forum and knew from that second on that these kits would be a contender on the high performance desktop market. The kit we are looking at today is part of the Ballistix line, which is a higher performance series that is specifically built for enthusiasts who want to push the performance envelope of their system.
The kit that Crucial sent out for review is the 2GB DDR3 PC3-12800 (1600MHz) Ballistix Series Kit. Since that is hard to remember, the part number is BL2KIT12864BA1608. This kit works on Intel P35 and X38 Express platforms and will also run just fine on upcoming months Intel X48 Express chipset. The Intel X48 Express chipset will be the first on the market to support 1600MHz Front Side Bus (FSB) processors and 1600MHz memory clock frequencies from the get go.
Before we get into the details of this new Crucial memory kit, be sure to read our previous DDR3 memory articles to make sure you know what the changes in DDR3 are and how it performs compared to DDR2.
If you feel you have a firm background on DDR3 modules and what the performance level was on various kits, then let’s take a look at what Crucial has done on thier first ever DDR3 memory kit.
The new Ballistix DDR3 modules sport a new look thanks to the redesigned heat spreader with a clip-less design, giving the modules a cleaner look. The new Ballistix heat spreader design also features a Micron company logo on the heat spreader, which means that the modules use Micron memory IC’s. Crucial also uses black Printed Circuit Boards (PCB’s) on their Ballistix series, which give the modules a a tougher look over traditional green PCB’s. When it comes to warranties, Crucial warrants the original end customer of its products that their memory kits are free from defects in material and workmanship affecting form, fit, and function for life. So, all Ballistix modules carry a lifetime warranty.
The 1600MHz dual channel memory kit comes rated with 8-8-8-24 at 1.8V and it was able to run either a command rate of 1T or 2T with no issues at this clock frequency. This is due to the fact that Crucial’s 1600MHz memory kits use highly screened Micron ICs that have been found to offer great timings and high clock frequencies. The kit is manufactured using lead-free solder, so this memory kit is ‘green’ so to speak. Since Intel P35 and X38 chipsets don’t officially support 1600MHz memory kits the SPD is programmed at looser timings and frequencies. When we first ran this kit on our ASUS P35 motherboard the BIOS shows a SPD (default) of 1066Mhz at 7-7-7-20. This is for motherboard compatibility precautions as you want your system to post. You then need to manually go into the memory settings and set the timings to 8-8-8-24 1T at 1.8V for them to run at their labeled speeds.
Now that we know what kit we are looking at today, let’s move on to testing!