Battle of the 16GB SODIMM - Crucial PC3-10600 vs. Ballistix PC-14900

Article Index
Battle of the 16GB SODIMM - Crucial PC3-10600 vs. Ballistix PC-14900
Features, Specifications and Setup
Test Setup and System Information
Let the Benchmarking Begin!
Real-World Benchmarks Continued
Final Thoughts

Product: 16GB SODIMM Battle - Crucial PC3-10600 vs. Ballistix PC-14900
Provided By: Crucial
Price: ~$172 - ~$184 MSRP at time of publication


It's been a while since I got a chance to look at computer memory. Let's face it, memory is not that "sexy" anymore. It has become one of those things that we take for granted as most memory is fast enough and there are other things that we can do to improve our systems performance. Today I'm looking at some SODIMM kits from Crucial and putting their mainstream DDR3-1333 kit up against their Ballistix-flavored DDR3-1866. In theory, we obviously expect the faster kit to perform better, but there are a few things we should consider.

While faster memory sounds nice, not all systems can take advantage of the faster speed. Many laptops and some small systems similar to the Intel NUC, can't take advantage of faster memory. This is low-voltage DDR3L and operates at 1.35v instead of the traditional 1.5v and that too, can play a part into system compatibility. Lastly, the Ballistix 16GB Kit has XMP profiles that many systems won't recognize. Most of these smaller embedded or mobile units don't support XMP so this is a feature that could be wasted.

Crucial 1333 Package

DDR3-1333 Kit

1866 Package

DDR3-1866 Kit


With all that said, both of these kits promise good performance, lots of RAM and will probably improve your experience if you're currently using 4GB or 8GB of system memory. The biggest thing to note as we start this comparison is that the Ballistix kit will have lower compatibility and as such may not show the larger performance numbers in every system.


First Look:

As we take a look at both of these kits of memory, you’ll notice a couple of things right away. They are pretty small, and they aren’t all that flashy. Both come packaged in easy-to-open clamshells, but the 1333MHz kit comes in two separate sticks that have been matched and then paired together. The Ballistix kit on the other hand comes all wrapped up in a single package.

Crucial 1333 Kit

Crucial 1333MHz Kit

Ballistix 1866 Kit

Ballistix 1866MHz Kit


1333MHz Rear

1333MHz Rear

1866MHz Rear

1866MHz Rear


Another physical difference is that the DDR3-1866 kit comes with a sticker that looks like a heat-spreader. The truth is that both of these kits are low-voltage at 1.35v and neither will likely generate enough heat to require a heat-spreader, but the Ballistix kit tries to look a bit fancier and edgier with their “Ballistix Sport” sticker. At the end of the day, the sticker isn’t worth the extra $12 – but hopefully the increased performance will be.

Closer inspection reveals that the basic DDR3-1333 kit comes with Crucial RAM with clear markings where we don’t really see any markings on the Ballistix kit – other than the Ballistix markings on each package.

1333MHz Chips

1333MHz Chips

1866MHz Chips

1866MHz Chips


Each chip is a 512MB package that is teamed up with another 15 identical packages to make up the 8GB per stick capacity. The chips cover both sides of the modules and there is little room for much else on the PCB. As you can see in the images below, they are laid out well and we’ve included a couple of close-ups of the actual chips.

With all of that out of the way, we’ll take a quick stop and check out the features and specifications for these kits before we jump right into testing.