Crucial Ballistix Finned DDR3-1600 - Test Setup and Software

Article Index
Crucial Ballistix Finned DDR3-1600
Test Setup and Software
Benchmarking the Ballistix Temp Kit

Test Setup:

In this section we will show the setup of the test system for our memory testing. I have provided separate configurations for each of the speeds we have tested 1600MHz CL8 (stock) and the fastest CL8 speed.  This memory was not able to run stable at DDR3-1600 CL7 nor was it able to achieve CL8 at 1T like many other Crucial kits we've tested.  It runs fine at the rated 8-8-8-24 2T, and has some more room for overclocking if you're not afraid to bump the voltage.  Also, it is important to note that in order to achieve some of these speeds we have tested this memory kit at; it required overclocking the FSB, which in turn increases our CPU clock speeds.  For the Patriot Viper Triple-Channel reference tests, we used the EVGA X58 motherboard and keyed in specific timings in order to keep everything comparable.  The memory we're testing today is sitting on the ASRock H55DE3 motherboard and is only a dual-channel kit.  By mere math, we can deduce that we should be seeing at least a 33% performance hit in some tests.

 

Test System:


Intel Core i7 - 860
CPU
Intel Core i7 860 - 2.8GHz
Motherboard
Memory
4GB Crucial Ballistix DDR3-1600 Kit
Graphics
1x Radeon HD 5870
Cooling
Hard Drives
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
ATI Drivers
10.4 Drivers

 

We only used two main memory settings for testing the Crucial Ballistix DDR3-1600 memory.  We use the timings on the label - 8-8-8-24 2T at 1.65v as well as the fastest clock speed available at CL8.  Our fastest CL8 speed ended up being DDR3-1872 at 2T with a voltage of 1.75v.  CL7 settings never provided stable results - nor did running the memory at 8-8-8-24 1T.  When doing most of our memory tests, we don't over volt the memory, but as this memory has temperature monitoring and large heat sinks, we figured that we'd take a go at it.  At 1872MHz the memory has proved itself to be rock stable during a week of testing and temperature logging.

Stock Speed
Stock Speed
SPD Timings
SPD Timings

As you can see, the memory comes with several SPD values that should make it work in pretty much any system.  At DDR3-888 it clocks in at CL6, DDR3-1184 is set at CL8, DDR3-1333 comes in at CL9 and the XMP Profile of DDR3-1600 is locked in at CL8.  As we'll shown below the memory has a bit more to offer though.

Overclocked
Overclocked

 

Software:

While the Ballistix M.O.D. (Memory Overview Display) software is still in Beta, it appears to have the functionality working and the only thing I really hope they do is to beef up the temperature logging and have it display each DIMM in its own column.  This would allow third-party charting of each module's temperature much easier that with them alternating in the CSV file that it generates.  That being said, please take a look at the screenshots of the software below.

BallistixMOD - Main
Ballistix M.O.D. - Main
BallistixMOD - Settings
Ballistix M.O.D. - Settings
BallistixMOD - Temps
Ballistix M.O.D. -Temperature

 

As you can see above, the main screen of the software shows pretty much the same information as CPU-Z.  The settings page allows you to log temps, open the log or delete the log.  Each time you choose to log temperatures, it appends the file and it could get quite large over time.  The temperature screen shows each module individually and gives you the option here to log as well. 

The screen capture above on the right shows the memory at first boot and running quite cool in the air conditioned office.  When pushing it at DDR3-1872 and looping memory benchmarks, it heated up to 45C and felt barely warm to the touch.

On the next page we'll jump into some benchmarks and find out how fast this dual channel kit is when compared to a triple-channel kit.