Following on from our last Crucial Memory review on the Ballistix Sport 2400MHz Kit, today, we will be taking a look at their Ballistix Elite 3200MHz kit. This will be the fastest stock rated kit we will have currently tested and are eager to see the results. RAM is an essential part of every PC build and with the introduction of DDR4 last year, we are starting to see some amazing speeds coming our way. Companies like Crucial are pushing the limits and giving us RAM speeds we used to only be able to dream of. I remember when I first upgraded from a standard 1333Mhz kit to a gaming based 1600MHz kit that had LEDs in it a couple years back. Boy, you couldn’t tell me anything back then on my trusty old AMD Phenom 1090T and my blazing fast RAM! These days, we are starting to see companies break the 4000MHz barrier which is absolutely amazing.
- Manufacturer Website: Crucial
- Product Page: Ballistix Elite DDR4 3200MHz
- Purchase: £130.79 From Crucial UK At the time of review
The great thing about theCrucial Ballistix Elite Memory is that it actually comes in various speeds. Today, we will be looking at the 3200MHz variant, you can also get it in speeds of 2666MHz and 3000MHz depending on your need and budget. The first thing I noticed about the RAM was the weight of it, the heatsinks crucial have gone with not only look amazing but they are also quite heavy, much heavier than any other RAM kit I have personally held before. The Ballistix Elite also comes available in both 4GB and 8GB modules, allowing for up to 32GB on RAM on a Skylake based build and up to 64GB of RAM on a Haswell-E based build.
Crucial definitely know their way around a kit of RAM. With many different style heatsinks across their memory ranges, the Ballistix Elite has to be my favourite. The black heatsink paired with the black PCB of the memory just looks amazing! The actual aesthetic of the heatsink with its rigidness is also very appealing.
As with most memory these days, there are a couple of small stickers to one side that informs users of the speed and timing of the RAM amongst other things.
There is a bit of branding on the heatsinks which is to be expected. On one end there is a small Crucial by Micron logo and on the other, is the BALLISTIX Elite DDR4 branding. In this case, I personally think the branding helps out with the appearance as if the heatsinks were all black, it may look a bit overdone.
One of the major differences of DDR4 over DDR4 is that it has 288-pins instead of just 240. The pins on DDR4 also have a slant to them on each side of the small slot whereas DDR3 would be straight.
Peformance and Usage
To test the RAM, I ran a series of different benchmarks so we could put performance into an easy to understand graph. While I don’t currently have any other comparisons, this will soon change and not only will I, but you will also be able to see the differences between different makes of RAM. I’ve also gone ahead and run the benchmarks at both stock speeds and overclocked (OC) speeds so you can see the differences. While the OC results may not be much better than standard stock results, there is definitely a noticeable difference, well at least in the benchmarks.
“AIDA64 implements a set of 64-bit benchmarks to measure how fast the computer performs various data processing tasks and mathematical calculations. Multi-threaded memory and cache benchmarks are available to analyze system RAM bandwidth and latency.”
When it came to overclocking, there wasn’t too much head room. Given that the Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4 kit we have on test is already rated at 3200MHz from stock, this does make perfect sense. However, I set off to have a bit of a play with it and see what could be done. First, I was able to tighten the timings to 15-16-16-35 but this didn’t produce as good of a result as the actual overclock in speed did. I managed to hit 3300MHz using the stock timings and this produced the best results from the benchmarks I ran. Even this small boost off 100MHz had some pretty noticeable results when it came to the benchmarks results. This will allow users to get that extra bit of performance out of their RAM without having to touch too many settings should they want too.
Being the fastest clocked memory we have yet to test at Enos Tech, I was really looking forward to seeing what type of performance the Ballistix Elite would offer. Needless to say, if you’ve looked at the benchmarks, this kit is amazing and the difference in speed does make quite the difference in our findings. While there is always debate that faster RAM doesn’t offer that much of a difference, we seem to have proved this theory a bit wrong here today.
The performance on offer from the Ballistix Elite is truly amazing. This is, hands down, the best memory kit we have yet to test and rightly so. Offering 16GB of 3200MHz RAM in a quad-channel configuration seems to do some pretty impressive things in terms of benchmark results. Looking back to the Overclocked HyperX kit we reviewed at 3200MHz and it doesn’t come close. This could very well be the difference between dual and quad channel memory on the X99 platform, but either way, there is no denying the significant difference in results.
While we weren’t able to achieve major overclockers, even just boosting the speed up 100MHz to 3300MHz we could see some slight improvements in the overall results. Overclocking the Ballistix Elite to 3300MHz was easy and did not require touching the voltage or timings at all. Simply put, this means there is a bit of extra performance to gain from this memory with very little effort required to achieve it, which is great!
From a purely aesthetical standpoint, the Ballistix Elite DDR4 is a very good looking kit of RAM. Much better than the old DDR3 variant if I may say so. It seems as the memory has matured, so has its design which is truly nice to see. The black PCB and heatsink compliment each other nicely and the white lettering/branding from Crucial helps set it all off. Without the branding, the RAM may have looked a bit plain in my opinion. It’s great to see companies taking users input into concern when designing RAM and the black PCB is truly much better than the old green PCB we had for years.
While this is far from the cheapest kit of RAM out there. The Ballistix Elite DDR4 kit offers great performance as well as a pleasing design. Looking back at the benchmarks and there is no denying the performance it has to offer. The design is also top notch, Crucial have gone with a much heavier heatsink than what I am personally used to seeing which has worked out very well for them. Not only is the heatsink a bit heavier, it looks great as well and the black colour should help it fit in with most any build unless you are going with a white-out theme. The Ballistix Elite is a top-tier kit of RAM and it’s price reflects this and that is just fine. Generally speaking, most enthusiasts don’t mind paying a bit more for something, especially when it looks and performs as well as the Ballistix Elite DDR4 does!
Many thanks to Crucial for sending in their Ballistix Elite DDR4 Kit of Memory for this review!