Crucial Ballistix Sport LT SODIMM Kits Aimed At Enthusiasts

Last month our friends over at Crucial announced the availability of Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 SODIMMs that are aimed gamers and performance enthusiasts looking to get the most from their mobile platforms. The modules feature a 'stealth digital camo' design, Intel XMP 2.0 profiles, speeds of at least 2400MHz and a black PCB design. Crucial knows that these improvements will increase overall system performance, especially mobile platforms running Intel integrated graphics, over their standard Crucial DDR4 memory series. Crucial Ballistix Sport LT SODIMM Kit  

Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 SODIMMs Dual Channel Kits

Density Part # Speed Latency Voltage Price
8GB Kit (2x4GB) BLS2K4G4S240FSD DDR4-2400 CL16 (16-16-16) 1.2V $43.99
16GB Kit (2x8GB) BLS2K8G4S240FSD DDR4-2400 CL16 (16-16-16) 1.2V $79.99
32GB Kit (2x16GB) BLS2K16G4S240FSD DDR4-2400 CL16 (16-16-16) 1.2V $179.99
The Crucual Ballistix Sport LT SODIMM series is only available at this time at 2400MHz clock speeds, but you can pick from 8GB, 16GB and 32GB dual-channel DDR4 memory kits. All the kits have the same timings and voltage, so you just need to simply pick with the memory density that you need for your PC needs. Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 2400MHz DDR4 SODIMM We were able to get our hands on the Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 2400MHz CL16 260-pin SODIMM memory kit to benchmark for this review. The part number on this memory kit is BLS2K16G4S240FSD. This kit features a lifetime warranty and  SPD settings to run at 2400MHz with 16-16-16-39 timings with a 2T command rate. Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 2400MHz DDR4 SODIMM Crucial went with Micron DDR4 memory chips that were marked with FBGA Code C9BDG. This part marking was decoded to being CT40A1G8PM-083E:A, which means these 8Gb density chips come from Micron rated at 2400MHz with CL11 (16-16-16) timings at 1.20V. The product data sheet also notes that these IC's are backward compatible to 2133MHz with CL15 timings, 1866MHz with CL 13 timings and 1600MHz with CL11 timings. [caption id="attachment_182286" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 2400MHz DDR4 SODIMM Sticker Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 2400MHz DDR4 SODIMM Sticker[/caption] It may look like the Crucial Ballistix Sport LT SO-DIMM modules have a silver aluminum heat spreader on them, but that is just a thin sticker! Companies have tried to use heat spreaders on SO-DIMMS for almost a decade, but there always seems to be thickness issues and in recent years most all memory makers have stopped using them. nuc6i7kyk 2400mhz ddr4 We'll be using this memory kit the Intel NUC NUC6i7KYK 'Skull Canyon' mini PC to see how it performs versus the 32GB (2x16GB) 2400MHz DDR4 CL14 memory kit we previously tested. Let's see how the Intel NUC NUC6i7KYK performs with a different brands 2400MHz (PC4-19200) DDR4 dual-channel memory kit!

2400MHz Memory In The Intel NUC NUC6i7KYK

Crucial Ballistix XMP Profile After installing the modules into the Intel NUC NUC6i7KYK we were able to go into the UEFI/BIOS and select the 2400MHz Intel XMP 2.0 memory profile and we were off and running without any issues. You can also manually set timings in the UEFI if you like and can try overclocking the memory modules or tightening up the timings if you'd like to get better performance. Crucial Stock Info We ran a handful of benchmarks on the Intel NUC NUC6i7KYK and rather than making a chart for each specific test scenario we simply placed them into the table below. We ran Cinebench R15, 7-zip, 3DMark Sky Diver, Handbrake, Sandra 2016 SP2 Memory Bandwidth and AIDA 64 v5.70. Ballistix Sport versus HyperX Impact DDR4 For comparison sake we will be the Crucial Ballistix Sport LT kit to  the Kingston Technology HyperX Impact 32GB Kit (2x16GB) 2400MHz DDR4 CL14 260-Pin SODIMM Laptop Kit (part number HX424S14IBK2/32). Performance Results
Intel NUC6i7KYK HyperX Impact 32GB DDR4 2400MHz CL14 Crucial Ballistix 32GB DDR4 2400MHz CL16 % Difference
Cinebench R15 OpenGL  86.66 fps  86.72 fps  +0.1%
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi  713 cb 709 cb  -0.6%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single  149 cb  146 cb  -2.0%
 7-Zip  20,348 MIPS   20,251 MIPS  -0.5%
 3DMark Sky Diver  8596 pts 8586 pts  -0.1%
 Handbrake - 1080P  45.04 FPS  45.85 FPS  +1.8%
 Sandra 2016 SP2 Memory Bandwidth  28.4 GB/s  28.22 GB/s  -0.6%
 AIDA64 Memory Read  44,498 MB/s  41,712MB/s  -6.3%
 AIDA64 Memory Write 62,679 MB/s 62,287 MB/s  -0.6%
 AIDA64 Memory Copy 56,679 MB/s 55,566 MB/s  -2.0%
 AIDA64 Memory Latency 57.8 ns 58.2 ns  -0.3%
  We were shocked to find that the Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 32GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory kit with rather loose CL16 timings was able to perform better than the HyperX Impact 32GB 2400MHz DDR4 kit with tighter CL14 timings on a couple of the benchmark tests. The performance numbers were pretty much as wash as only the AIDA64 Cache & Memory Benchmark Read test had a significant performance difference of greater than 5% shown. It should be noted that both modules are using similar PCB designs, but they are from different manufacturers with different brand components being used. More importantly, Kingston is using SKHynix memory ICs and Crucial is using Micron memory IC's.

Gaming Performance & Overclocking

Intel says that the Intel NUC KIT NUC6i7KYK doesn't need an add-in graphics card for amazing 3D graphics performance, so we put those claims to the test! We used Intel Graphics Driver version 15.40.23.4444 for Windows 10 to do our testing with. These drivers came out on April 29, 2016 for the 6th Generation Intel Core i5/i7 processor series.

Battlefield 4

bf4-screenshot Battlefield 4 is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) and published by Electronic Arts. It is a sequel to 2011's Battlefield 3 and was released on October 29, 2013 in North America. Battlefield 4's single-player Campaign takes place in 2020, six years after the events of its predecessor. Tensions between Russia and the United States have been running at a record high. On top of this, China is also on the brink of war, as Admiral Chang, the main antagonist, plans to overthrow China's current government; and, if successful, the Russians will have full support from the Chinese, bringing China into a war with the United States. bf4-settings This game title uses the Frostbite 3 game engine and looks great. We tested Battlefield 4 with the medium graphics quality preset . We used FRAPS to benchmark with these settings on the Shanghai level. All tests were done with the DirectX 11 API. bf4-memory Benchmark Results: Average FPS performance went from 37.9 FPS with the kit running 2133Mhz with CL14 timings to 39.4 FPS with the kit running its default speed of 2400MHz with CL14 timings. This is a 4% performance difference, but keep in mind this test is GPU heavy as we are running medium IQ settings at 1080P. Is running a 2400MHz kit over a 2133MHz worth it? It is if you want to get the very best performance. The performance difference between the Kingston and Crucial 2400MHz kits was less than half a FPS.  Aida Tight Timings The good news for Crucial is that we were able to run this kit manually at the same tight timings used by Kingston's 32GB 2400MHz DDR4 SO-DIMM kit without any issues.
Intel NUC6i7KYK HyperX Impact 32GB DDR4 2400MHz CL14 Crucial Ballistix 32GB DDR4 2400MHz CL14 % Difference
 AIDA64 Memory Read  44,498 MB/s  42,130MB/s  -5.3%
 AIDA64 Memory Write 62,679 MB/s 62,510 MB/s  -0.3%
 AIDA64 Memory Copy 56,679 MB/s 57,893 MB/s  +2.1%
 AIDA64 Memory Latency 57.9 ns 57.4 ns  +0.8%
 Price $260.00 $179.99  -30.8%
  With the same exact timings run on both kits we can see Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 32GB 2400MHz SODIMM kit was able to perform at a higher level in some of the benchmarks and it just so happens to cost $80 less! We wouldn't call the performance differences major with the same timings being run, but the price difference certainly is. We tried overclocking the Crucial BLS2K16G4S240FSD memory kit by manually increasing the memory divider to 20 in the UEFI and the system failed to post with looser CL18 timings and higher 1.35 V settings. It looks like 2400MHz is about all this kit has in it on this particular system! Let's wrap this review up!

Final Thoughts and Conclusions:

We found the Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 32GB 2400MHz DDR4 SODIMM memory kit to perform admirably and the price point on the kit is pretty competitive at $179.99. 32GB DDR4 dual-channel SODIMM memory kits are the largest you can get right now, so they are selling for top dollar and you should expect to pay a premium for such a kit. You get a better value for your money when you move down to 16GB for $79.99, but if you need 32GB of memory for your PC there really is no way around spending the extra money.
Kit HyperX Impact 32GB DDR4 2400MHz CL14 Crucial Ballistix 32GB DDR4 2400MHz CL16 G.Skill Ripjaws 32GB DDR4 2400MHz CL16 Corsair Vengeance 32GB DDR4 2400MHz CL16
 Price $260.00 $179.99 $154.74 $145.50
  There are several memory companies offering high performance 2400MHz DDR4 SODIMM memory kits for laptops and mobile platforms and we found prices ranging from $145 all the way up to $260 this very second. The Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 32GB 2400MHz DDR4 SODIMM memory kit is priced somewhat in the middle of the road, but pricing is fluctuating wildly right now. For example at the end of May 2016 the HyperX Impact was on Amazon for $139.99 with from Amazon themselves and now it's still in-stock from Amazon and is $260.00. Keep an eye on pricing as DDR4 SODIMM kit pricing is all over the place! nuc6i7kyk 2400mhz ddr4 If you are building a brand new PC powered by an Intel Skylake processor and need to go with DDR4 memory we've found 2400MHz memory to be rock solid in the platforms that we have tried the kits out in. We suggest giving a 2400MHz kit a closer look if you plan on building a new system! Legit Bottom Line: The Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 32GB 2400MHz DDR4 SODIMM memory kit has solid performance and you can easily manually tighten the timings if you'd like to get slightly better performance out of the kit! Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 2400MHz DDR4 SODIMM