The Bottom Line
Feb 13 2013 - The Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB memory kit offers slightly improved performance over standard stock memory modules but nothing that is really huge when it comes to user experience in software. Instead it offers a good level of stability. Crucial also puts heat spreaders on the modules that thankfully aren't over the top which can cause problems it some systems with limited clearance. The problem is the pricing generally makes the Crucial some of the more expensive modules in this class. Of course prices fluctuate often so if they are on sale or below others, they will work just as fine.
- Heatspreader Doesn't Go Over the Standard Module Height
- XMP Support
- Not Designed For Overclocking
- Slightly More Expensive Than Similar Memory From Other Companies
- Matched 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 DIMM Modules For Dual Channel Performance
- 9-9-9-24 Latency @ 800MHz (9-9-9-24 XMP)
- 1.5v Operating Voltage
- Aluminum Heat Speaders
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
Review - Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2x4GB) PC3-12800 DDR3 Desktop RAM
Feb 13 2013 - Crucial's Ballistix line of memory was originally developed for those looking at higher performance memory. They have recently split this product lineup into three distinct varieties: Sport, Tactical and Elite. The Sport modules that I'm looking at here are designed for the more mainstream users interested in slightly improved performance. The modules has a lower profile than most performance memory modules as the aluminum heat spreaders attached to the chips do not extend over the top of the module board. This is useful for those that might have clearance issues with some air coolers that go over the motherboard memory modules. Not that these are not low profile modules, they just don't have heat spreaders that extend above the standard module height.
Testing of the Ballistix Sport memory was conducted with the ASRock Z77 Pro3 motherboard and an Intel Core i3-3225 processor with the XMP SPD settings using the AIDA64 software. Memory read bandwidth was the slowest at 17,789MB/s while writes achieved 18,260MB/s and copes and impressive 20,014MB/s with a latency of 49.7ns. In comparison, the same hardware and software but with G.SKILL Ripjaws memory resulted in 18,029MB/s read, 18,221MB/s write, and 19,706MB/s copy with just 47.8ns latency. The overall results of these differences is extremely small at roughly one and a half percent. In real software tests rather than bandwidth benchmarks, the results are imperceptible to the end user.
Overclocking of the memory is not what the Ballistix Sport memory is designed for. That is why Crucial offers the higher Tactical and Elite memory modules. It is possible to push the memory a bit over the stock speeds but it requires increasing the voltage above 1.5 volts and increasing the latency numbers. The result is slightly higher bandwidth but at a reduction of latency. Those interested in such overclocking should really look at buying more expensive memory that is already tested at clocks speeds above 1600MHz.
So is the Crucial Ballistix Sport a solid choice for desktop memory? Those looking to overclock their system will definitely want to go with a faster rated memory module but this is a fairly small group of buyers. They certainly perform well at stock speeds but they don't provide much more than similar 1600MHz DDR3 memory from other companies with the same timings. The issue comes down to price. Their base price is slightly more expensive than some of the competition. While writing this review, they are priced between $50 and $60 for the kit. Most similar offerings from other companies were priced between $45 and $50.