Ballistix Tracer (with LEDs) DDR2 PC2-6400 Memory Module Review


Upgrading your memory can improve your PC’s performance by an incredible amount for a minimal price. Back in the day going from 16 MB to 32 MB ram meant an extreme performance jump. With ram kits hitting the 12 and 16 GB mark, performance is becoming even more impressive. The question that comes into play: is all ram created equal? The frequency we are seeing memory modules hitting is getting more and more impressive and in order to get just a little bit more out of your ram, we are starting to see some very impressive timings. The Ballistix Tracer 4GB kit from Crucial supports a crowd-pleasing 4-4-4-12 timing along with DDR2 800 speeds. How well will this ram really perform? Let’s find out:

Provided by: Crucial

Closer Look:

The packaging for the Crucial Ballistix Tracer 4GB kit is very well designed and simple. All of the information you need as an enthusiast is right on the packaging and all of the features this ram has over others is included as well. I love the fact that the company uses a windowed package as I have mentioned many man times this is my favorite feature of packaging because I like to see what I am buying before I take it home.

What comes with the Crucial Ballistix Tracer 4GB kit? Everything you see to sticks of ram and the manual, what more do you need? I could not for the life of me get a decent picture of the LED’s in action so I scooped one from ThinkComputers you can view here. As for the RAM itself I love the look of the red Ballistix Tracer’s they are a rich color with chrome lettering and these are by far the nicest looking stick I have ever owned. I have had many extreme and enthusiast grade ram sticks but these look pretty slick in comparison. The heat spreaders have a nice amount of space in between them and the module to insure proper airflow and cooling.

Let’s check out the specs and testing:

Specifications:

BL2KIT25664AL80A
  • Module Size: 4GB kit (2GBx2)
  • Package: Ballistix Tracer 240-pin DIMM (with LEDs)
  • Feature: DDR2 PC2-6400
  • Specs: DDR2 PC2-6400 • 4-4-4-12 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR2-800 • 2.0V • 256Meg x 64 •

What is Ballistix Tracer memory? Ballistix Tracer memory is specifically built for performance enthusiasts and case modders who want to push the performance envelope while adding flash appeal to their boxes. The Ballistix line of high-performance memory modules features advanced speed grades, low latencies, and integrated aluminum heat spreaders. Ballistix Tracer memory features a black PCB, black integrated heat spreaders, and one or two rows of eight “chasing” red and green LEDs atop the module, circulating in a random pattern based on memory utilization. A custom-designed circuit relays bus activity to the LEDs, allowing them to accurately reflect usage of each memory module. In addition, eight blue ground effects LEDs emit a constant glow near the pins.

For more information about the Ballistix memory line, please visit the Ballistix section of our Web site.

What is a Ballistix Tracer 240-pin DIMM?

A Ballistix Tracer dual inline memory module (DIMM) consists of a number of memory components that are attached to a black printed circuit board. The gold pins on the bottom of the DIMM provide a connection between the module and a socket on a larger printed circuit board. The pins on the front and back of a DIMM are not connected to each other.

Ballistix Tracer 240-pin DIMMs are used to provide DDR2 SDRAM memory for desktop computers. DDR2 is a leading-edge generation of memory with an improved architecture that allows it to transmit data very fast. Ballistix Tracer 240-pin DIMMs are available in DDR2 PC2-5300 (DDR2 667), SDRAM, DDR2 PC2-6400 (DDR2 800), and DDR2 PC2-8500 (DDR2 1066).

To use DDR2 memory, your system motherboard must have 240-pin DIMM slots and a DDR2-enabled chipset. A DDR2 SDRAM DIMM will not fit into a standard SDRAM DIMM socket or a DDR DIMM socket. (Information about which memory technology your system uses is included in the Crucial Memory Advisor™ tool.)

The number of black components on a Ballistix Tracer 240-pin DIMM can vary, but it always has 120 pins on the front and 120 pins on the back, for a total of 240. Ballistix 240-pin DIMMs are approximately 5.25 inches long and 1.18 inches high, though the heights can vary. While 240-pin DDR2 DIMMs, 184-pin DDR DIMMs, and 168-pin DIMMs are approximately the same size, 240-pin DIMMs and 184-pin DIMMs have only one notch within the row of pins. The notch in a 240-pin DDR2 DIMM is closer toward the center of the module.

Testing Setup:

  • Processor: Intel Core2 Quad Q9450
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X48-DQ6
  • Memory: PAtriot Viper 4GB set and Crucial Ballistix Tracer 4GB set
  • Video Card: Nvidia 260 GTX
  • Power Supply: In Win 850w Modular Power Supply
  • Coolmax USA 950w Modular Power Supply
  • Hard Drive: Seagate 750GB SATA
  • Optical Drive: LG DVD-RW
  • OS: Windows Vista Ultimate

Testing:

For this round of testing I will just be testing the Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR2 PC2-6400 Memory Module against the Patriot Viper Series PC2-8500 (1066MHz) Memory. I will be testing the Crucial Ballistix Tracer at 4-4-4-12 and 800 MHz as well as testing the Patiot Viper Series 800 MHz (4-4-4-15) and 1066 MHz (5-5-5-15). The benchmarks I will be using today will be PC Mark Vantage Memory Test, Super Pi using an 8MB calculation, Sisoft Sandra using the Memory Bandwidth Test, the Cache Memory Test, and the Latency Test. I will also be testing the gaming quality using Crysis Warhead Benchmark program on no AA, Gamer Settings, and 1280 x 1024 resolution.

These are the best memory bandwidth and benchmarking programs I have found and should give us a great view of the range of each modules capability. I will not be overclocking the ram for this test.

PCMark Vantage(Higher Number is Better):

Memory

Result

Crucial 800MHz

3680

Patriot 800MHz

4070

Patriot 1066MHz

4148

SuperPi (8MB Test in Minutes Lower is Better):

Memory

Result

Crucial 800MHz

3.30

Patriot 800MHz

3.40

Patriot 1066MHz

3.30

 Crysis Warhead (In FPS Higher is Better 1280 x 1024):

Memory

Result

Crucial 800MHz

29.36

Patriot 800MHz

23.09

Patriot 1066MHz

29.8

  Sisoft Sandra (Higher is Better Except for Latency):

Test

Crucial 800MHz

Patriot 800MHz

Patriot 1066MHz

Memory Bandwidth Integer

5.89

5.49MB/s

6.10MB/s

Memory Bandwidth Float

5.93

5.50 MB/s

6.11MB/a

Cache Mem

41.36 MB

41.45MB

43.68MB

Latency

97ns

97ns

90ns

Even though I was unable to get a stable 1066 clock on the Crucial (it is possible on other boards) the Crucial Ballistix Tracer 4GB kit performed better and in some cases just as good as the 1066 clock on the Patriot memory. The timing on the Ballistix memory definitely helped in getting some of these scores. The most notable in my opinion is the real world test of FPS on Crysis Warhead if I were to base buying ram on gaming I would reach for the Ballistix over the Viper Series. Let’s see the final thoughts:

Conclusion:

Overall the Crucial Ballistix Tracer 4GB kit performed very well in everything but the PCMark test. I was able to get a 5-5-5-12 1066 OC on this ram but it wasn’t stable enough to complete the Sisoft Sandra Cache mem test no matter how much voltage and timing fluctuations I tried. The DQ6 from gigabyte and most X48 boards seem to have an inherent problem with getting specific memory OC’s that make sense. The way they do their CPU to ram calculations sometimes gives you very obscure ram speeds. Motherboard rants aside I was able to achieve notable increases in every test going to 1066, but again the only test Patriot won in was the PCMark Vantage test. The Crucial out performed the 1066 clocks on every other test.

Would I recommend this ram? Yes, it is awesome looking and very unique. On top of esthetics this ram performs extremely well in every test that matters, if you want bragging rights for PCMark go for Patriot but if you love gaming reach for the crucial.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Quality
  • LED’s
  • Gaming Performance
  • Bandwidth at 800MHz
  • Multiple Color Choices
  • SuperPi Speeds

Cons:

  • PCMark Vantage Score 

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