The 2GB DDR3 PC3-12800 (1600MHz)Crucial Ballistix Memory Kit is one of ten 2GB DDR3 memory kits (by five different memory companies), that we have tested over the past couple months. It doesn’t stand out from the crowd when it comes to performance, but that was never expected from this kit. All of the high performance DDR3 memory kits from Corsair, OCZ and Crucial use Micron D9 IC’s, which means performance should be close to the same. It’s obvious from our testing and overclocking that Crucial was very conservative with their ratings on this kit as it was able to do tighter timings and higher frequencies. The Crucial Ballistix memory kit does include Intel Extreme Memory Profiles (XMP), which is nice for those that don’t want to manually set their memory timings and voltages in the BIOS. In order to use Intel XMP the modules must be installed into a motherboard that supports it like Intel P35 and X38 based motherboards.
When it comes to picking DDR3 memory kits companies are selling kits at a variety of frequencies, which can be a bit overwhelming for those that are new to DDR3 and the chipsets that use it. Right now there are six speed grades that DDR3 memory is available in: 1066MHz, 1333MHz, 1375MHz, 1600MHz, 1800MHz and 1866MHz. Which is the right kit to invest in? Keep in mind that the Intel only officially supports 1333MHz on the Intel P35 and X38 Express chipsets. When it comes to density all Intel P35 Express chipsets support up to 8 GB of memory addressability, so density is certainly not a limitation these days when it comes to selecting a kit. So, why buy a 1600MHz memory kit when the chipsets are only rated to run at 1333MHz? Because motherboard makers like ASUS and Gigabyte have included the dividers to reach these speeds and it has been shown to improve performance. This also means that the memory kit can be used again in upcoming motherboards. When Intel releases the Intel X48 Express chipset series it will feature some memory tweaks in the chipset and support for 1600MHz memory. With a 1600MHz kit you will exceed the specifications of today’s chipsets and meet the next generation that is due out in the coming weeks.
The price tag on this memory kit is enough to scare many folks off, but it comes in lower than a number of the 1375MHz and 1800MHz kits that we have reviewed in previous months. The 2GB kit that we reviewed today will normally set you back about $479.99, but there is a $100 rebate on this kit right now at Newegg. At $379.99 plus shipping this is one of the lowest priced 2GB 1600MHz DDR3 memory kits on the market. It overclocks with the best of them and comes from a well known company based in the states, so if anything does go wrong with the kit the lifetime replacement warranty should be easy to use. With the rebate Crucial beats the price on other brands and is building these kits with the same exact Micron D9’s that others are using. Micron D9’s are by far the best memory IC on the market for reaching high clock frequencies.
Legit Bottom Line: The 1600MHz Crucial Ballistix DDR3 memory kits are built to go fast even though the factory timings don’t reflect that. They overclock with the best of them and feature a sexy black PCB and a neat clip-less heat spreader!