Crucial Ballistix PC3-12800 2GB DDR3 Kit
Test Setup, Settings & Overclocking
With DDR3 speeds ramping up on an almost weekly basis, It's extremely difficult to obtain two or more memory kits with similar specifications to perform any kind of worthwhile comparison. Therefore, the Crucial Ballistix PC3-12800 kit will be reviewed as a standalone product using the hardware specified below.
Crucial Ballistix PC3-12800
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 "G0" 2.4GHz 2x4MB|
|Motherboard||Asus P5K3 Deluxe|
|Graphics Card || Sapphire Ultimate X1950 Pro 256mb PCI-E|
|Hard Disk ||Hitachi Deskstar 80GB 7K80 SATA2 7200RPM 8mb|
|CPU Cooling ||Stock Intel Aluminium Cooler|
|Operating System ||Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate (Latest Updates)|
|Graphics Drivers ||ATI Catalyst 7.4.44981|
|Motherboard Drivers ||Intel INF 8.300.1013|
To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities will be used:
Synthetic Memory Subsystem Settings & Overclocking
• Sisoft Sandra XII 2008c
• Lavalys Everest 4.0
File Compression & Encoding
• 7-Zip File Compression
• River Past ViMark
3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• Cinebench 10
• Quake 4
As with all memory reviews on Overclock3D the Ballistix PC3-12800 modules were subjected to a series of benchmark tests under several different configurations. The configurations used tested the memory's ability to run at high frequencies with stock timings, high frequencies with loosened timings and also ensured that that the modules could run with 100% stability at their advertised speed, latency and voltage settings.
Stock Frequency & Latency
DDR3-1600 / 8-8-8-24 /1.8v
Crucial have always been a "safe-bet" when it comes to modules that work flawlessly out of the box and the Ballistix PC2-12800 kit is certainly no different. Even with a fairly low stock voltage of 1.8v, the kit managed to pass several hours of Prime95 stress testing at 8-8-8-24 timings on our Asus P5K3 test bed. This is very good news for those of us who are looking for a DDR3 memory kit that can installed and forgotten about, but the Ballistix range is all about overclocking! So let's get down to the nitty gritty and see what this kit is capable of...
Stock Frequency @ Lowest Latency
DDR3-1600 / 6-6-6-12 / 2.1v
Bumping the voltage up to 2.1v allowed for some serious tightening of the timings on the Ballistix kit. Both the CAS# Latency, Delay and RAS# Precharge effortlessly came down by 2 clocks, with the Cycle Time also accommodating a considerable reduction down to 12 clocks. This is actually the tightest timings we've managed to obtain from any DDR3 kit tested on Overclock3D so far (Previous kits have only managed 6-7-7-12), and certainly goes to show that the Ballistix kit has been given quite conservative stock timings.
Maximum Frequency @ Stock Timings
DDR3-1820 / 8-8-8-24 / 2.1v
With most of the other DDR3 modules we've tested recently hitting close to DDR3-2000 I was certainly expecting something very similar from the Ballistix kit. However, after several hours of tweaking, trying the memory in different slots and applying extra cooling to the modules, the highest overclock I was able to obtain at the 8-8-8-24 stock timings was DDR3-1820. This certainly isn't anything to be sniffed at; as it's still a good 110mhz increase from the stock 800mhz speed, but unfortunately it falls just a little short of some of the other DDR3 kits tested on Overclock3D recently.
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