Turn off the Ad Banner  

To print: Select File and then Print from your browser's menu.

    -----------------------------------------------
This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
-----------------------------------------------


Appeared on: Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Crucial BallistiX Tracer PC3-10600


1. Features

Crucial, a sub-division of Micron, recently released a new memory kit in its BallistiX Tracer series. The Crucial BallistiX Tracer PC3-10600 (1333MHz) is specifically built for performance enthusiasts and case modders who want to push the performance envelope while adding flash appeal to their boxes.

The Ballistix line of high-performance memory modules features advanced speed grades, low latencies, and integrated aluminum heat spreaders. Ballistix Tracer memory features a black PCB, black integrated heat spreaders, and one or two rows of eight "chasing" red and green LEDs atop the module, circulating in a random pattern based on memory utilization. A custom-designed circuit relays bus activity to the LEDs, allowing them to accurately reflect usage of each memory module. In addition, eight blue ground effects LEDs emit a constant glow near the pins.

What is a Ballistix Tracer DDR3 240-pin DIMM?

Ballistix Tracer 240-pin DIMMs are found in DDR3 memory. DDR3 boasts an improved architecture allowing very fast data transmission.

A Ballistix Tracer dual inline memory module (DIMM) consists of a number of memory components attached to a black printed circuit board. Gold pins, found on the bottom of the DIMM, provide a connection between the module and a socket on a larger printed circuit board. The pins on the front and back of a DIMM are not connected to each other.

To use DDR3, your system motherboard must have 240-pin DIMM slots and a chipset that supports DDR3 — which is a different technology than that of than its predecessors, DDR2 and DDR. DDR3 incorporates different sockets; they are not interchangeable or backward-compatible. (Information about which memory technology your system uses is included in the Crucial Memory Advisor tool.)

The number of black components on a Ballistix Tracer 240-pin DIMM can vary, but it always has 120 pins on the front and 120 pins on the back, for a total of 240. Ballistix Tracer 240-pin DIMMs are approximately 5.25 inches long and 1.18 inches high, though the heights can vary. These 240-pin DDR3 DIMMs have only one notch within the row of pins, and each technology has the notch in a slightly different location on the module.

- Main features


2. Opening the box

Crucial provided us with the retail package of the 2GB kit (1GBx2), Ballistix Tracer (BL2KIT12864TA1336), which is currently sold at Crucial's online store for ~$110.

The kit arrived in our lab in a common box, with the memory modules packed into antistatic plastic bags.

The memory modules are placed between the aluminum heatspreaders.

What is unique for the BallistiX Tracer memory kits is the series of LEDS placed at the top side of the modules that circulate in a random pattern based on memory utilization.

A custom-designed circuit relays bus activity to the LEDs, allowing them to reflect usage of each memory module. In addition, eight blue ground effects LEDs emit a constant glow near the pins:

We installed the memory and fired up the CPU-Z utility that provides some information about the modules.

According to the software, the Crucial BallistiX Tracer PC3-10600 2x1GB memory does not support either Nvidia's EPP profiles nor Intel's XMP profiles, meaning that you should expect only the standard JEDEC timings for 444, 593 and 667MHz, which of course are very relaxed... Hopefully the memory modules will perform much better, as we will see the later in the overclocking tests.

Even more information is provided by Lavalys Everest edition:


3. Overclocking tests

We installed the memory kit in the following PC:

The Asus motherboard offers several ways to boost memory clocking , either via the Memory Level Up feature or even manually. We followed the manual overclocking method.

During all the tests, we kept the CPU clock at 333MHz and after un-linking the FSB/DRAM we were able to boost the memory only and we measured its overall performance using the Everest Ultimate Edition.

The table below includes the speeds we managed to achieve and of course the corresponding timings. Note that we generally kept the voltage to 1.80V and increased it to 1.90V for maximum speed:

Memory Frequency/Timings
Real Frequency (MHz)
Voltage (V)
DDR3 1333 CL6-6-4-6
666,50
1,80
DDR3 1600 CL7-7-7-8 (1.90V)
800,00
1,90
DDR3 1600 CL8-7-7-8
800,00
1,80
DDR3 1777 CL8-8-8-8
888,50
1,80
DDR3 1833 CL9-9-9-9
916,50
1,80
DDR3 1926 CL9-9-9-9 (1.90V)
963,00
1,90

Starting from the base, CL6 with DDR3-1333 is very easy with the voltage set to 1.80V. In fact you can get even tighter timings than the 6-6-6-16 Crucial promises. Rising up the speeds we get to the DDR3-1600 with CL8 with the default 1.80V. Not very bad performance, and if we rise up the voltage to 1.90V we can also get CL7 @ DDR3-1600, which is a common performance for the various DDR3 memory modules.

From that point we got a top roof for CL8 at around 888MHz and moving to the relaxed CL9 gave us 916.50MHz. If you decide to rise the voltage to 1.90V you will get an additional 47MHz with a top and stable roof of 963MHz.

Keep in mind that these results may vary across different motherboards.


4. Summary

Like any other Crucial product we have reviewed here at CDRInfo.com, the BallistiX Tracer PC3-10600 is an attractive memory solution and also comes at a good retail price - an important factor that sometimes Crucial forgets to bring on the table.

The 2x1GB BallistiX Tracer PC3-10600 costs around $110 as found over Crucial's website. While the memory specs are minimal, meaning DDR3-1333 rated with CL6 @ 1.80V, this memory product can easily go up to 916.50MHz, which is 250MHz higher than the default speed. Increasing the memory voltage you will get you additional performance, an interesting feature for overclockers.

The "cool" look of the activity LEDs is a subjective issue, not our favor if you ask me, but again modders will appreciate them. On the negative side, we should mention the lack of support for Nvidia's EPP and Intel's XMP memory profiles, which could trouble the amateur users in their overclocking attempts.

Concluding this review, we can safely say that the the Crucial BallistiX Tracer PC3-10600, memory modules are great performers and also affordable for almost everyone.



Home | News | All News | Reviews | Articles | Guides | Download | Expert Area | Forum | Site Info
Site best viewed at 1024x768+ - CDRINFO.COM 1998-2014 - All rights reserved -
Privacy policy - Contact Us .