When purchasing a computer, RAM generally is the last component that you tend to think about and when you do come to think of it; quantity is the only real factor you tend to consider. That is if you don’t have a colour scheme or a limited amount of DIMM slots to accommodate RAM. Since the early days of computing, RAM has come a long way, the most recent format DDR has seen four iterations. The latest being DDR4, which has surpassed DDR3 as the new mainstream RAM type and has introduced memory speeds up to and surpassing 3333+MHz.
Crucial are one of the big players in the RAM game, providing us with a solid performance at a more affordable price. Today’s kit is the Ballistix Sport 2400MHz, one of Crucial’s cheaper options on the market, providing us with minimal heat spreader size and design and the base unit to adopt the use of black PCB. Let’s see how this set compares in today’s review.
Packaging and Accessories
The packaging is almost exactly the same design as the rest of the current Crucial RAM range. A basic clamshell style case with small amounts of information on the single sticker on the front; allowing for maximum exposure for the DIMM’s within.
A Closer Look
Something that the Ballistix Sport range is understated. The black PCB and gold fingers are a nice contrast with a rather small silver heat sink on either side of the DIMM; Personally, I think a splash of gold could have been added to the corners and the logos.
RAM is an often overlooked part of the system, but it’s always nice to see how it looks when installed into a motherboard. Here is the set installed into our base motherboard, the ASUS RAMPAGE V X99. The Ballistix Sport kit fits in well with the colour scheme of our base motherboard.
Testing & Methodology
Before we delve into any testing we would like to take this opportunity to review our test system.
- Motherboard – Asus Rampage V Extreme X99
- Processor – Intel Core i7 5960X at Stock With Turbo Enabled
- RAM – Varies By Review
- Graphics Card – Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X 4GB Graphics Card
- CPU Cooler – Thermaltake Water 3.0 AIO unit with Gelid GC-Extreme thermal paste
- Power Supply – Be Quiet Power Zone 1000W
- Main Storage Drive – Crucial MX100 256GB SSD over SATA III interface
- Chassis – Lian Li T80 Test Bench
- Operating System – Windows 8.1 64 Bit
In our RAM reviews, we keep things relatively simple. We put the RAM kit that is being tested into our test system and we benchmark it at its primary XMP profile using a variety of benchmarks and tests. Once complete we then overclock the kit to see how far we can push it in raw frequency terms, then benchmark it again using the same combination of tests with a CPU-Z validation of the overclock.
- Cinebench R15 Multithreaded Test
- AIDA64 Engineer Edition Memory Bandwidth and Latency Test
- SiSoft Sandra Tech Support (Engineer) Memory Bandwidth Test
- WPrime 32M Calculation Test
- 3DMark Fire Strike Physics Test
Overclocking and Performance
Overclocking this memory kit was relatively straight forward. While increasing to 2666MHz was easy, trying to achieve a higher stable result was hard. 2800MHz was achieved but failed at the first stress test. The timings were slightly increased to 17-16-16 to remain system stability.
While Cinebench focuses more on the CPU performance, memory tweaks do play a small role in the increase and decrease of performance. In this test, in particular, the overclock presented a worse result, however, the result is well within the margin of error for the CPU.
Aida64 is on of the more thorough and simpler to read tests that we perform. The overclock gave some better figures here, although it still lags behind the Kingston 2666MHz 32GB set.
Memory latency is key for the execution of any data stored on the RAM. While a 4 nanosecond drop isn’t considered much, that is around a 5% decrease in latency speed
SiSoft Sandra is slightly harder to read, but the performance figures show a truer representation of the overall performance of the RAM itself. Between stock and overclocked, there is a gain of around 4GB/s, but it still falls short of the Kingston memory.
WPrime is fairly sensitive to memory frequency changes, however, due to the high performance of the CPU; tangible differences are hard to see. In this test, similar to Cinebench, the performance was impacted negatively; however, this is well within the margin of error for the CPU score.
3DMark Fire Strike
There is very little impact to gaming performance when selecting your memory, although a difference could be witnessed between a 2133MHz and 3300+MHz kit. The Physics test within 3DMark Firestrike is the most sensitive to memory changes, but as displayed below, a jump of 266MHz didn’t give a massive performance boost.
Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB 2400MHz memory kit is currently available in the UK for £179.99 from OverclockersUK and for $229.99USD from Newegg. DDR4 RAM prices have considerably in recent weeks thanks to the release of Intel Skylake.
While the Ballistix Sport memory kit isn’t the best-looking set on the market, it is a vast improvement over the horrible stock green PCB and black memory chip designs of early models. The small silver heat spreaders add a great contrast to the black PCB; although there could have been a small amount of gold added to tie in better with the gold highlights on the PCB of the memory. With all this in mind, however, this is one of the cheapest, not ‘stock’ memory kit available with a capacity of 32GB; so bear that in mind when you come to comparing products.
Performance is marginally better than the 16GB set, which is thanks to the slightly better timings allowing for smoother and quick processing of information. The read speed is around 2Gb/s faster than the 16GB set, although the copy speeds see a huge boost of almost 5Gb/s when compared to Aida 64. The performance in other tests proved less fruitful, with only minor increases and even some decreases in the more CPU focused tests such as WPrime and Cinebench.
The overclock achieved by this set is same as the 16GB set, just an increase to 2666MHz. This offered a nice boost in performance over the standard speeds; however, it lacked slightly behind the Kingston memory set at the default. That being said the lower price makes this set a more attractive option with a huge £50 price difference.
While most games and applications do not use more than 8GB of RAM, some are starting to push the boundaries of 16GB. This means that 32GB is almost completely pointless for the general or even moderate user, or so it would seem. With most motherboards and even as a purchase online, you can buy RAM Caching software; this allows you to use the unused RAM to speed up your current storage drives massively.
- Low profile design
- Lifetime warranty
- DDR4 Prices are dropping
- Overclocking was limited
“Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB memory kit is an excellent, wallet-friendly option into the high-capacity DDR4 game, with a simple heatsink, low power consumption, and competitive pricing.”
Thank you Crucial for providing this sample.