Introduction

Today we will be taking a look at the Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR4 2666Mhz 16GB(2x8GB) kit. RAM, also known as memory can be one of the most crucial and also most overlooked parts when it comes to a new PC build. RAM stored operating systems and programs that are currently being used and is much faster to access than more standard types of storage such as hard drives and CD/DVD drives. The only thing with RAM is once you finish a task, or turn your PC off, everything is lost. There are a couple debates when it comes to RAM, how much is really need and does the speed and timings really offer any difference? Well, we will take a look at that in a little bit and find out just how important speed and timings are.

As mentioned, today we have the Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR4 2666Mhz 16GB(2x8GB) kit on the chopping block. The Ballistix Tactical kit features a black PCB and a very aesthetically pleasing heatsink. As with most types of RAM, the Ballistix Tactical also comes in different sizes, you can get either a single 4GB or 8GB stick allowing for 4,8,16 and 32GB kits. Crucial has an extensive lineup of RAM, so if the Ballistix Tactical isn’t quite for you, for whatever reason, make sure to check out the rest of their offerings.

 

Product Specifications
Brand Ballistix
Capacity 16GB kit (8GBx2)
Specs DDR4 PC4-21300 • CL=16 • Dual Ranked • x4 based • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR4-2666 • 1.2V • 1024Meg x 64 •
Series Ballistix Tactical
Form Factor UDIMM
ECC NON-ECC
Kit Qty 1
Speed 2666 MT/S
Voltage 1.2V
DIMM Type Unbuffered

Closer Look

The Ballistix Tactical RAM is very pleasing to the eye, at least in my opinion anyways. It plays very well on the ‘Tactical’ name and has a gunmetal colour to the heatsink. The actual RAM modules themselves are black which is something we are starting to see a lot more of, thankfully. Almost long gone are the days of those horrid green sticks of RAM ruining your precious build.

crucial ballistix tactical ddr4 2666mhz ram_1

The heatsinks definitely have a tell-tale look to them with the slanted lines going across the middle and the holes on the top. Once you know what this RAM is and looks like, you would definitely be able to notice it amongst other types of RAM.

crucial ballistix tactical ddr4 2666mhz ram_2

crucial ballistix tactical ddr4 2666mhz ram_4

Desktop DDR4 RAM features 288 pins and the actual pins are not flat like we have seen with previous DDR2/3 RAM modules. The pins have a slight curve in them, making them easily distinguished from previous versions.

crucial ballistix tactical ddr4 2666mhz ram_5

With DDR4, there are both advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages being RAM modules such as the Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR4 that we have on review here today features a 2666Mhz clock speed with only need 1.2V. Previous versions of DDR3 may have need 1.5V or even 1.65V to achieve these same speeds. One of the disadvantages DDR4 faces is the higher timings, as you will see in the below photo, this RAM is CAS16 and runs at 16-17-17-38 whereas with DDR3 you may be able to achieve the same 266MHz on CAS 10 or 11 timings. While both speed and timing are important, it’s long been debated which is the best and to put things simply, there is normally minimal real world difference but in a perfect world, you want the higher speed (MHz) and the lowest timing (CAS) together to get the best performing RAM.

crucial ballistix tactical ddr4 2666mhz ram_6

Test System

  • Motherboard: MSI X99s SLI PLUS
  • Processor: Intel i7 5820K
  • Ram: 16GB (2x8GB) Crucial Ballistix Tactical  2666Mhz
  • SSD: 2x HyperX Fury 120GB SSD’s
  • PSU: be quiet! Straight Power 10 600w
  • CPU Cooler: be quiet! dark Rock 3
  • Case: Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 5
  • Monitor: Ben Q XL2730z

Peformance and Usage

Software

Crucial offers a nice Memory Overview Display software for their RAM. This software allows you to view the timings of your RAM, temperatures and even control the LEDs a bit should you be lucky enough to have LEDs in your RAM. It’s fairly simple, yet effective which is great to see.

crucial mod

Overclocking

One of the great things about DDR4 is the low voltage it runs at. The Crucial Ballistix Tactical kit on review today runs at 1.2V at which I could not up the speed at all, I was stuck with just the stock 2666MHz at 1.2V. However, what I was able to do was tighten the timings a bit, I managed to go from 16-17-17-38 to 14-14-14-34 as seen below all while staying at 1.2V. While this may not seem like a major thing, it is nice and there is a small bit of performance to be gained from doing this. The major thing it tells me is that with time, companies like Crucial will be able to lower the CAS Timings on their RAM so end-users will be able to benefit from high speeds and low timings at low voltages.

14141434

Benchmarks

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.

Aida 64

aida readwritecopyaida readwritecopyOCaida latency stock aida ltencyOC

SiSoftware Sandra

    sis bandwidth sis latency

3DMark Firestrike

sis throughput

Final Thoughts

The Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR4 RAM definitely looks the part, but does the performance match the aesthetics? Well, I would say, yes! The normal performance of the Ballistix Tactical is on point and while major overclocks weren’t achieved, there is room to tighten the timings up a bit without having to touch the voltage at all, which is great. I was quite pleased with the Ballistix Tactical DDR4 so let’s go ahead and recap on our findings.

Performance

The Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR4 RAM had more than ample performance at both stock and OC settings. The difference in real world noticeability between RAM is pretty much non-existent which is why we run the benchmarks so we can equate the performance into easy to read graphs and numbers. Looking back on those benchmarks and we can definitely see a nice little difference between the stock and OC results where we actually just tightened the timings up a bit. For 2666Mhz RAM, I was happy with the overall performance and when combined with the design and value, you really can’t go wrong.

Design

The name says it all to me, ‘Ballistix Tactical’ and Crucial have hit the nail right on the head. This RAM definitely looks as its name would suggest it does which is great. While I love a good heatsink on RAM, I do prefer the lower profile ones as I generally just feel they look better if nothing else and let’s not even get into compatibility issues with coolers and the likes. The black modules and gunmetal grey heatsinks really go great together and give off that rough and rugged look we would hope for. Looking at this RAM really makes me wish I could MOD as I would love to see this in a ‘Tactical Forces’ mod of some type.

crucial ballistix tactical ddr4 2666mhz ram

Value

This is where things always get a bit fun. The Crucial Ballistix Tactical KIT of DDR4 we have on review here today is priced in the middle of similar RAM. Basically, a quick search returned results both cheaper and more expensive for 2666Mhz RAM. This put Crucial right where they probably want to be, offering great RAM at a competitive price. While the difference in some cases may only be a couple of pounds, this will allow the looks to pay a bigger part in the consumers choice when picking out their next kit of RAM. Also, the tightened timings at stock voltages help get just that much more performance from the Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR4 which makes it even better value for money!

Enos Tech Must Have Award

Major thanks to Crucial for sending in their Ballistix Tactical DDR4 for review. 

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