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Old 10-27-2010, 02:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Crucial Ballistix Tracer


Crucial Ballistix Tracer 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory w/ Blue LEDs
BL2KIT25664TB1608
By: Lamar Trotter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crucial's website
Crucial is a key brand in the Lexar Media family of products. As the Memory Experts™, we're the only DRAM supplier that's part of a major memory manufacturer.

A wholly owned subsidiary of Micron Technology, Inc., Lexar Media, Inc. boasts one of the most comprehensive offerings of memory product lines in the industry. We deliver high-quality, award-winning products in every memory category: USB flash drives, all popular form factors of memory cards and card readers, DRAM computer memory for PCs and Mac systems, and solid state drives (SSD). We back our products with outstanding customer support and industry-leading warranties, and we strive to expand our offerings to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers — customers just like you.

The Lexar brand has long been synonymous with reliable, high-performance products, which is reflected in the award-winning memory products and USB flash drives sold under the Lexar name.

Our Crucial brand reflects our status as the only consumer memory upgrade supplier that's part of a major DRAM manufacturer. We sell high-quality memory that has been qualified and approved by most major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The Crucial.com website features innovative online tools and an intuitive design that makes it easy to find compatible memory and recommended upgrades. And because we carry over 250,000 upgrades for more than 40,000 systems, we've got options for nearly every system out there.

Lexar Media has more than 10 years experience in the memory industry. Our strong retail brands, along with our direct online and OEM presence, make Lexar Media a global player in every major customer channel, including value-added resellers, system builders, and e-commerce. And we've built a name synonymous with quality, innovation, and customer service.

Lexar Media. when memory matters.

For more information about Lexar products, visit www.lexar.com.

Source
Specifications (from Crucial’s website):
  • DDR3-1600 PC3-12800
  • CL 8-8-8-24 (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS)
  • Unbuffered
  • 1.65V
  • 256Meg x 64
  • Lifetime Warranty

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crucial's website
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. And, Ballistix Tracer memory is available in variety of colors depending on technology.

DDR3 Ballistix Tracer has been updated with more LEDs (up to 32 total) with one or two rows of 12 activity-indicating LEDs along the entire top length of the module. The wider spacing and pattern moves from the center toward the outside of the module and creates some interesting light patterns and effects in your case. Eight constantly illuminated ground effects lights along the bottom edge will light up your motherboard. DDR3 Ballistix Tracer is available in classic black, as well as red, all blue or all green (PCB/heat spreader/LEDs). Show the world your true colors by picking scheme that suits your style or matches your rig.

Source

Packaging

Crucial’s Ballistix Tracers come packaged in a sturdy plastic hanger.The front features Crucial’s name and logo, as well as the Ballistix Tracer logo. It also displays an identifier for exactly what memory is contained within the hanger, in this case a 4GB kit of” 2-2GBDDR3 Ballistix PC3 – 12800 CL8, 1.65V Tracer Blue.” The back of the hanger details the features of the Ballistix Tracers in English, French, and Spanish. The actual DIMMs are secured inside the hanger in a three slot plastic tray, allowing Crucial to utilize the same basic packaging for both two and three DIMM sets.

]

The Ballistix Tracer DIMMs are encased in blue heat spreaders, giving them a very neat appearance. The LEDs are not initially obvious as they are on the DIMMs themselves and not on the top of the heat spreaders as I had thought they would be.


I was rather surprised by the amount of light generated by the LEDs. I was under the impression that they would be rather muted, but instead discovered that they are full-fledged LEDs and capable of lighting up a case rather well. My first thought was, “Instant bling!”


Test System and Hardware

In spite of an initial hardware problem with my test system involving a faulty memory controller, I was able to complete the review using a backup processor. Necessity really is the mother of invention.

System
  • AMD Phenom II x4 B35
  • Asus M4A785TD-V EVO
  • Crucial Ballistix Tracer 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600
  • G.Skill Ripjaws 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600
  • EVGA GTX 260 Core 216
  • Corsair 650W PSU
  • Seagate Barracuda 250GB SATA II 7200.10

Software
  • EVEREST Ultimate Edition
  • Performance Test (64-bit)
  • SiSoftware Sandra Lite 2010
  • SuperPI/mod1.5 XS

Everest and SuperPI were run in safe mode. Performance Test and Sandra would not run in safe mode as they required a network connection, so they were run in regular Windows 7.

Testing

My initial battery of tests were abysmal, both for the Crucial Ballistix Tracers and my own RAM. I was rather confused by this, and upon investigation I discovered that I was running in single channel as I was only using one brand at a time for testing. This was due to a misprint in the manual for my motherboard. I rectified this situation immediately only to discover that my computer would not boot if the RAM was installed in dual channel. Through an hour of trial and error I finally discovered that it was my processor to blame. I then “borrowed” the CPU from my wife’s computer so I could complete the benchmarks (nobody tell her, OK?).

Once I had the B35 in place all of the testing went smoothly.









Conclusion

The Crucial Ballistix Tracers equaled or beat my current G.Skill Ripjaws in 13 out of 16 benchmarks using identical speeds and timings. The G.Skill Ripjaws series are the current local darlings being recommended for computer builds, but I can see the Tracers quickly encroaching on that space.

Price-wise, this set sits on the upper end of the spectrum. This is to be expected as they are more than just performance memory; Ballistix Tracers are also an instant light mod for any case.

Pros
  • Great performance
  • Well priced for the performance/bling combination
  • Overclocking headroom
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Lower profiles than many current RAM sets

Neutral
  • Plain packaging
  • LEDs blinking can be distracting to some

Cons
  • Costs a little more than other RAM in the same performance range

Final Thoughts

I have to say that I have been rather pleased and surprised by the performance of the Crucial Ballistix Tracers. I honestly did not expect them to compare with the G.Skill Ripjaws, even though I had no basis for the thought. While I have had previous experience with the Crucial brand, it was mainly through the components and computers of clients rather than that of owning it myself. After this review I know that Crucial will be up at the top of my memory list.

Not only did they perform admirably, the sheer beauty of the DIMMs is amazing. This coupled with the LEDs that light up as the RAM works, make the Tracers something to behold. I can see them as great additions to any gamer’s rig from a performance standpoint, and the bright LEDs are sure to appeal to those who want to make their own statement through their computer hardware.

Rating

The Crucial Ballistix Tracers are an excellent product that is worth every penny. They offer a combination of high performance and attention-grabbing looks as well as the on-DIMM LEDs. I highly recommend the Crucial Ballistix Tracers with a five star rating.


I would like to thank Crucial for allowing Tech-Forums to review the Ballistix Tracers and I look forward to evaluating more of their products in the future.

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Old 11-04-2010, 09:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Crucial Ballistix Tracer

Great review mate!
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Crucial Ballistix Tracer

I pray quality control is better than the earlier batchs that came out for the DDR2 line... Me and several friends bought the DDR2-800 line with the black heat spreaders, not a single one of us have a stick left that doesn't error out like crazy.

Though, when they DID work, they was BEAUTIFUL in both performance, overclock-ability in my case, and the looks.
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Crucial Ballistix Tracer

Those early batches did have problems, that's true. From everything I could find Crucial seems to have learned from that. Other than the occasional DOA that all RAM have they seem to be solid.
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Old 11-14-2010, 07:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Crucial Ballistix Tracer

Good review, but no overclocking?! lol
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Crucial Ballistix Tracer

Not this time, mate. I wasn't on my own CPU and the misses wasn't too keen on me doing anything along those lines with HER processor.
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Crucial Ballistix Tracer

Ahh, yes. That makes sense.

And thanks soul for catching my typo. lol.
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Old 11-15-2010, 04:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Crucial Ballistix Tracer

In this day and age overclocking your memory is really pointless. Running your memory at an overclocked speed will generally lower your cpu overclock and that's where your power is most beneficial.
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