Crucial Ballistix 2GB 1600MHz DDR3 Memory Kit Review

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Overclocking

For overclocking we changed test systems from the ASUS P5K3 motherboard (P35 chipset) to the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe (X38 chipset) and had some issues at first.  When we first put our 2GB Crucial Ballistix kit on the motherboard it failed to post.  The fans would come on, but the post screen never would come up.  We used another kit of DDR3 memory and set the board to default settings and to the specific timings for the kit and neither seemed to work.  We then noticed my board had  BIOS version 0504 (10/23/07), which was a couple versions old.  After updating to BIOS 0702 (11/17/07) the board posted with the Crucial kit and overclocking went on. 

Crucial 1600MHz DDR3 Overclocking

To start overclocking we kept the FSB the same and tried to see just how tight I could get the timings to see what I could get. At the stock voltage of 1.8V, the system was able to post with 7-6-6-14 timings and a command rate of 1T, but CPU-Z 1.42 never did display the correct command rate.  This 8-8-8-24 memory kit can easily do 7-6-6-14 timings at 1600MHz!

Crucial 1600MHz DDR3 Overclocking

Now that we know tight the timings can get with no changes let’s see how far we can get with the stock 1.80 Volts on the memory and CL8 timings.  With the default timings of 8-8-8-24 and an aggressive 1T Command Rate we were able to reach 1800MHz, which is an extra 200MHz over the stock clock frequency of 1600MHz. 

Crucial 1600MHz DDR3 Overclocking

Now that we know how tight we can get the timings and how far they can go on stock voltages the next step it to increase the voltage and find the new max of the memory kit. We increased the voltage from 1.80V to 2.20V.  This increase in voltage got the kit an extra 160MHz on the memory as our new stable max is 1960MHz.  We couldn’t hit 2GHz with stability at CL8 timings, but we tried!

Crucial 1600MHz DDR3 Overclocking

Instead of using 8-8-8-24 timings we wanted to see what happened with 7-7-7-20 timings and the results were impressive.  With the Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 processor running at 450MHz Front Side Bus, we were able to reach 1800MHz at 2.20V with 7-7-7-20 1T timings.  It was stable at these settings and 1800MHz at CL7 timings offers nice performance increases over 1600MHz at CL8.

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