Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP DDR3-1600 16GB Kit

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Product: Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP 16GB Kit
Provided By: Crucial
Price: $89.99 (estimated) at Launch

Introduction:

Today I'll be taking a look at Crucial's line of low profile RAM. Crucial is a well known name when it comes to RAM. They are a brand of Micron, a very large manufacturer of RAM, so they spare no expense to maintain a superior level of quality. They also produce other storage products like Solid State Drives and USB storage. You can check out more of their products here.

The sample I'll be reviewing today is Crucial's Ballistix Tactical LP Series DDR3 PC-3 12800 @1600MHz.  This kit contains 2 x 8 GB sticks, they are rated at 1.35 Volts (1.5 volts XMP2), and has a timing of 8-8-8-24 1T. I used XMP1 (eXtreme Memory Performance) mode to get listed timings. I'm running an Intel based rig, so it was a simple BIOS change.

 

First Impressions:

Package Front Package Back

The Ballistix Tactical LP came packaged in a standard, plastic clamshell. A removable inner tray helped protect the sticks, and everything seemed securely in place when I inspected it. There is also a sticker on the front telling you what is contained so there is no confusion.

Profile RAM Modules

 

The Ballistix Tactical is definitely a low profile design, but the heat spreaders look like they can definitely help dissipate any excess heat. This coupled with the lower voltage used in default and XMP1 modes makes cooling a breeze.

They also feel pretty high quality. The heat spreaders are aluminum with cutouts to create more surface area. It is also emblazoned bright yellow with the Crucial Ballistix logo.

Specs

 

On the next page we'll cover installation and test system specifications before we begin testing.

 


Installation:

Installation is pretty simple. Locate your Memory slots, insert the RAM, and once completely seated make sure your latch is fully engaged.

Test  Setup:

 
Ivy Bridge
CPU
Intel Core i7 3770K @ 3.90Ghz
Motherboard
EVGA Z77 FTW
Memory
* 16GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 12800 (1600MHz) 2T (4x4GB)
* 16GB Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP DDR3 12800 (1600MHz) 1T (2x8GB)
Graphics
EVGA GeForce GTX 550Ti 2GB
Cooling
NZXT Havik 120
Hard Drives
Western Digital  Black 1TB (SATA III)
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GeForce Drivers
306.97 WHQL

 

For these benchmarks I will be using Aida64 and SiSoftware Sandra. I will also be using CPUID CPU-Z to show the changes and timings in each setting.

I used my Corsair XMS3 as a starting point for my benchmarks to gauge where the Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP will place with similar RAM. I placed both in default (Auto) mode for the first set of benchmarks, then bumped the setting to XMP1 mode for each. My Corsair XMS3 RAM only supports one XMP mode, but Crucial's supported an XMP2 mode with the same timings but a higher voltage. I did benchmarks in this mode as well and there wasn't a noticeable difference in Aida64 or SiSoftware Sandra.  I decided to leave it in XMP1 and utilize the lower voltage settings.

Benchmark Setup:

CPU-Z

As you can see this ram comes preloaded with default settings, for compatibility, as well as two XMP modes. There really isn't much difference in these other than the voltages. I'm sure someone with more knowledge in overclocking might find the higher voltage settings handy though.

The Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP defaults to a lower setting of 1333 MHz @ 1.35v with timings of (9-9-9-24) 1T. When put into XMP1 Mode the settings are increased to 1600 MHz @ 1.35v and timings of (8-8-8-24) 1T.

My Corsair XMS3 was in a similar boat. At default settings it was registering settings of 1333 MHz @1.5v with timings of (9-9-9-24) 2T.  After I put it into XMP mode the only change was the clock speed jumping to 1600 MHz where it was originally advertised to be. Timing remained the same.

Crucial Ballistix Tactical SP Default CPU-Z XMP CPU-Z

 

On the next page, we'll jump into the benchmarks and see how this memory stacks up against another 16GB kit.

 


SiSoft Sandra:

This benchmark is used to test memory speed. Under default settings both sets of RAM had nearly identical results, with Corsair having the slight edge. For the second set of benchmarks with both sets in XMP1 mode, we find a gap starting to appear. While both Crucial and Corsair had similar results, Crucial took a definite advantage over Corsair.

SiSoft Bandwidth

AIDA64:

This benchmark measures latency, utilizing read, write, and copy speeds to produce the results. I didn’t feel this benchmark really illustrated much of a difference in either of these sets. There were subtle differences in the read, write, and copy speeds. In default modes latencies were almost identical, and in XMP1 the memory latency of Crucial's RAM ended up being 1.2ns faster.  Not really any major upsets here.

AIDA64 Performance

 

Final Thoughts:

I felt the Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP performed well.  It didn’t exactly blow my corsair ram out of the water but it did score a few points. It also has the advantage of using less power while still performing very well.

Profile Installed

The Crucial site lists these at ~150$, but I was able to locate the same ram on Newegg for ~110$ which isn't a bad price for (2 x 8 GB) sticks. This pricing puts it right in the middle of RAM that is the same size and speed. These are quality modules that I would definitely recommend picking up if you are in need of some RAM. 

Pros:

  • Lower voltage
  • Good quality
  • Low profile for tighter component situations

 

Cons:

  • None

 

BCCRating

Silver

If you have any question or comments regarding this review, please post it at the link below.  I'd also like to thank Crucial for sending this kit over for us to review.