Crucial Smart Ballistix 4GB DDR3-1600 Kit - Benchmarks and Lights

Article Index
Crucial Smart Ballistix 4GB DDR3-1600 Kit
Test Setup and Software
Benchmarks and Lights

Benchmarking - AIDA64:

Because there is a lot of system tweaking that goes along with clocking up memory to non-standard speeds, we haven't included a lot of "real world" benchmarks.  Often, in order to get the memory to run at speeds other than 1066MHz, 1333MHz, or 1600MHz, the motherboard bus and CPU must be clocked up in order to achieve these speeds.  As we've shown before the CPU plays a huge roll in benchmark performance and so it's not fair to compare WinRAR compression when the CPU is clocked up 400MHz faster.  Of course the "RAM" will look faster, but in reality the CPU is the one doing the work.

With that being said, the new Sandy Bridge Core i5/i7 platform has a native 1333MHz memory controller and many motherboards have options that allow you to change the memory multiplier to achieve fast memory speeds (up to 2133MHz on the P67A-UD3 from Gigabyte) without overclocking the CPU or bus.  This will allow us to show how simple memory speed improvements affect total system performance...or how little it affects performance.  The results are below.  First up is AIDA64 (formerly known as Everest).


When it comes to memory performance in AIDA64 - the higher number the better in terms of read/write/copy and lower latency numbers are better.  You can see that the Crucial Smart Tracer kit does very well - and in fact wins many of the benchmarks against the Patriot DDR3-1600 CL9 kit at stock speeds.  When overclocked, the Crucial kits wins everything - except the read test where once again the Patriot Viper Extreme DDR3-1866 kit edges it out.

The other two tests are Cinebench and SuperPi.  We used SuperPi to calculate Pi to 1 Million decimal places using different memory speeds to see if memory speed affects programs that are largely CPU dependent.  The results pretty much speak for themselves.   Cinebench 11.5 was used in both CPU rendering as well as GPU / OpenGL modes to see how memory speed affects workstation performance.  I was surprised to see CPU scores stagnate while OpenGL score improved as the memory became faster.  



At stock speeds, all CPU scores are pretty much the same with Cinebench, but they do open up a bit as the clock speed increases.  Crucial does very well up against the Sandy Bridge optimized memory from Patriot, but the faster-overclocked DDR3-1866 kit edges out Crucial once again.  SuperPi shows the identical story.  Stock performance is almost identical, but overclocked performance gives the win to the faster DDR3-1866 from Patriot.

The Ballistix Smart Tracer has some good performance, but it's not all about performance.  Below is a video clip of the memory in action as I adjust the lights with the M.O.D. Software.


Final Thoughts:

Crucial has taken one of their Ballistix Tracer kits, integrated an interesting chip, licensed alien technology and offers lighting control, temperature monitoring and more into an affordable kit of DDR3.  The kit itself isn't all that insane in terms of performance, but the bonus features will likely appeal to enthusiasts.  In our original review of the Ballistix M.O.D. kit, we mentioned the need for alarm or shutdown capabilities and they have included this on the updated Ballistix Smart Tracer.  This makes for a very appealing package - that will cost you more than a standard 4GB DDR3-1600 kit, but it adds a lot more bling to the ring.

If you have a dual-channel Core i3/i5/i7 system that you want to pimp up and push to the max, the Crucial Smart Ballistix Tracer has some pretty nice overclocking capabilities and throws in some sick lighting control.  I'm a fan.  It's worth a look if you need a dual-channel 4GB kit and want to impress your enemies at the next LAN party.


  • Awesome custom lighting
  • Software monitoring of DDR3 temperatures!
  • XMP profile
  • Decent overclocking kit at CL9



  • Doesn't overclock much at CL8 
  • Only 2GB sticks available currently






If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.