Crucial Ballistix Tracer PC2-8500 DDR2 1066MHz (2 x 1GB) RAM

Makaveli - 2007-06-23 18:21:12 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: Makaveli   
Reviewed on: June 28, 2007
Crucial Technology
Crucial Technology
Price: $217.99 USD

Introduction:

People usually go ballistic when something absolutely amazing happens or something completely unexpected occurs. Can a set of memory make you go ballistic in disbelief of its performance? With some of the overclocks that I have pulled off, it takes a lot to impress me, so let’s see how Crucial’s Ballistix Tracer 2 x 1GB PC2-8500 DDR2 1066 RAM affects my computer’s performance and gauge just how far it can go when pushed. Will it be able to compete against some high-end memory modules? Let’s dig in and find out!

Crucial Technology has been around for quite some time now and has sent shockwaves throughout the gaming and enthusiast world when it came out with its Ballistix RAM for DDR1. Now that everyone is moving to the DDR2 scene, it's good to see this great lineup of memory modules back in action. Crucial Technology keeps producing innovative products to keep itself amongst the elite of the memory industry.

 

Closer Look:

The RAM was shipped in a rather small cardboard box that had the Crucial Technology logo sticker holding the box shut. Once you look inside, you’ll notice the sticks are in anti-static bags and are propped up by a piece of cardboard cut with two slits.

 

 

At the bottom of the box, you’ll find the instructions folded up neatly. Below is a picture of what’s included.

 

The sticks themselves have a very nice black finish on them with silver lining. The Ballistix logo is painted in yellow with an orange outline to really make the logo stick out. On the sticks you’ll find Crucial's website URL painted on the heatsinks. Notice the orange sticker with the statistics of the RAM on it.

 

Here you can see the LEDs on top of the sticks. This is one of the special features on this particular set of memory. These are 240-pin sticks and the picture on the right shows the underside of the RAM where the pins are.

 

Installation:

Installing these sticks couldn’t be easier because they use EPP technology, which basically allows the user to plug and play with the memory and EPP automatically adjusts to your system and creates an optimal setting for the sticks. To get the memory in, pop the white memory slot clips outward and firmly push the Ballistix into your 240-pin slots. Once they are in, you just need to pop the memory slot clips inwards to secure the RAM into place.

 

 

 

Most motherboards can recognize EPP profiles, and on my Abit IN9 motherboard, it showed the memory as being SLi-Ready.

 

Here are some shots of the LEDs lit up. They light up whenever they are doing work. There are also 8 blue LEDs under the sticks that light up the motherboard very nicely.

 

 

 

Specifications:

 

Brand
Crucial
  Series
Ballistix Tracer
Model
BL2KIT12864AL1065
Type
240Pin DDR2 SDRAM
Capacity
2GB (2 x 1GB)
Speed
DDR2 1066 (PC2-8500)
Cas Latency
5
Timings
5-5-5-15
Voltage
 2.2V
Modules
128Meg x 64
 

 

Features:

Testing:

To test these sticks, I'm going to put them through a range of benchmarks to be able to draw a conclusion about them. I'll be using stock timings (5-5-5-12) to test the sticks at 400MHz (DDR2 800), 533.3MHz (DDR2 1066), 572MHz (DDR2 1150), and the maximum overclock achievable using my test setup. Let's see if these sticks can handle OCC's rigorous tests. We will be comparing this set with a 2 x 1GB set of Mushkin XP2-6400 and a set of 2 x 1GB Mushkin XP2-9200 to be able to get a good idea of how the Ballistix stack up.

Test System:

 Benchmarks:

 

CPU-Z:  This program is very popular because it gives very accurate readings on memory modules. So let's take a look at what these sticks are at the stock frequency of 533.3MHz (DDR2 1066).

 

Windows Task Manager:  This program allows the user to see the system's physical and kernel memory. It also allows you to see how much RAM is available for use.

Testing:

PCMark05:  With PCMark05, we ran the system suite, as well as the memory suite, so that we could get an overall score for the system and a score for the memory alone. I will be comparing the RAM at DDR2 800 and DDR2 1066. Higher is better in all of the following scores.

 

 

 

 

 

SiSoftware Sandra XI: In this program, we'll be doing the following benchmarks: Cache and Memory, Memory Bandwidth, and Memory Latency. Again, I'll be comparing the sticks at DDR2 800 speed and their stock speed of DDR2 1066. Higher is better in all tests except for Memory Latency, where lower is better.

 

 

 

 

 

I can't explain what's going on. The Mushkin XP2-6400 set does very well when the frequency is upped, but the Ballistix had some slightly inconsistent results that don't make too much sense. Let's continue on to see how the Ballistix will do in the other tests.

Testing:

CacheMem:  In this test, we'll gauge the Ballistix's read/write spead at DDR2 800 and DDR2 1066. Higher is better.

 

 

 

 

Far Cry: For this game, we'll be using the Hardware OC 1.8 benchmarking program and the scoring will be in FPS, so higher is better.

  • Maximum quality option, Direct3D renderer
  • Level: Volcano, demo: Volcano.tmd
  • Pixel shader: model 2.0b
  • Anti-alising: 4×
  • Anisotropic filtering: 8×
  • HDR: disabled
  • Geometry Instancing: disabled
  • Normal-maps compression: disabled


It's clear that the Ballistix's does much better at its stock rating of DDR2 1066.

Overclocking:

I knew these sticks were going to be able to hold a decent overclock. After a few hours of failing MemTest over and over again, I finally found that I could hit 600MHz (DDR2 1200) with timings of 5-5-5-15 and with a voltage of 2.2v.  Since the Mushkin XP2-6400 couldn't make it up to 600MHz, I also got results at 572MHz (DDR2 1150). I am going to run the same benchmarks as before, but this time with the overclocked results.

CPU-Z: Here is a shot of CPU-Z with the Ballistix's 600MHz overclock.

 


PCMark05: The same tests were administered. Don't forget that higher is better in these tests.

 

 

SiSoftware Sandra XI: In this program we'll be doing the following benchmarks: Cache and Memory, Memory Bandwidth, and Memory Latency. Again, I'll be comparing the sticks at DDR2 800 speed and their stock speed of DDR2 1066. Higher is better in all tests except for Memory Latency, where lower is better.

 

 

 

 

 

It is now evident that the Ballistix does very well when overclocked.

Overclocking:

CacheMem: 

 

 

 

 

Far Cry: For this game we'll be using the Hardware OC 1.8 benchmarking program and the scoring will be in FPS, so higher is better.

  • Maximum quality option, Direct3D renderer
  • Level: Volcano, demo: Volcano.tmd
  • Pixel shader: model 2.0b
  • Anti-alising: 4×
  • Anisotropic filtering: 8×
  • HDR: disabled
  • Geometry Instancing: disabled
  • Normal-maps compression: disabled


Conclusion:

To say that I'm absolutely thrilled with the performance of these modules would be a lie. I felt like they weren't consistent, and in tests where I would have guessed that they would have recieved higher marks, they got lower marks. The thing that definitely saved this RAM is its overclocking ability. To be able to take a set of DDR2 1066 and turn it into DDR2 1200 is simply awesome. The sticks made a noticeable difference in my computer. The LEDs are very fun to watch because they flash when they are being used and the blue LEDs on the bottom of the RAM definitely adds a really cool look to the inside of my computer. You should have seen the lights in MemTest! They were going absolutely nuts because of all rigorous tests being done. I had no problems  with these sticks and I found that the voltage wasn't too high, especially with being able to hit 600MHz. I would recommend these sticks if you're going to be using them to overclock because they put out some real good numbers.

 

Pros:

 

 

Cons: