The overwhelming majority of gaming builds revolve around a red and black colour scheme which makes it relatively difficult for hardware manufacturers to produce other colours in large numbers. Any niche section of the market isn’t prioritized as companies attempt to maximize sales and cater to the mainstream customer. On the other hand, white components have become more popular in recent years and look absolutely stunning. For example, the ASUS Sabertooth Mark S compliments the Avexir Sabranco memory in a beautiful way. Sadly, it’s pretty rare to see memory kits with a white PCB especially on the DDR4 platform.
One of the more affordable DDR4 memory kits comes from Crucial and even implements a gorgeous white PCB! Crucial’s LT branding is slightly confusing as the DIMMs utilize an identical specification to the standard Sport range. The only difference is the revised heatspreader design. This particular memory kit operates at 2400MHz, and requires 1.2V. Additionally, the timings are fairly tight for DDR4 at 16-16-16-39 but this is to be expected compared to higher frequency alternatives.
Packaging and Accessories
The memory kit comes in a traditional blister pack and outlines the key specification. I also found it quite easy to remove the modules without applying too much force.
A Closer Look
Here we can see the aesthetically pleasing heatspreaders which adopt a low profile design to enhance compatibility with large air coolers. More specifically, the modules measure 40mm in height and you shouldn’t experience any clearance issues. From a visual standpoint, the white PCB, central Ballistix logo and retro-inspired decal looks phenomenal. Additionally, the edges feature a textured finish which enhances the memory’s unique appearance. I’m also quite fond of the stylish cutouts which are easily visible once the DIMMs have been installed.
Motherboard Installation Pictures
The memory kit doesn’t really suit our red and black themed testing motherboard although it’s not a terrible fit. Ideally, I would highly recommend purchasing the MSI Z170A KRAIT Edition motherboard to properly complement the white colour scheme.
Test System and Procedure
Before we delve into any testing we would like to take this opportunity to review our test system.
Test System (Intel X99 DDR4)
- Motherboard – Asus Rampage V Extreme X99
- Processor – Intel Core i7 5960X at Stock With Turbo Enabled
- RAM – Varies By Review
- Graphics Card – Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti
- 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
I was pretty surprised by the overclocking headroom given the memory’s budget price and attained a maximum frequency of 2794MHz while increasing the voltage from 1.2v to 1.35v. Also, notice the timings were tweaked slightly from 16-16-16-39 to 16-16-16-36. This is a very impressive overclock as 1.35V is well within DDR4 limitations and the large frequency increase didn’t come at the expense of looser timings.
Memory speed doesn’t have a substantial impact during heavy workloads, but there’s enough of a difference to distinguish between various products. Here we can see, the Sport LT dual channel kit at 2400MHz achieved an excellent score and competed exceedingly well against the competition.
Once overclocked, the memory received a substantial boost and reached first place by a decent margin.
As expected, the dual channel configuration results in significantly lower bandwidth than other quad channel DIMMs. Additionally, it also falls behind the higher frequency G.Skill TridentZ. Despite this, the overall bandwidth is much better than you might expect for a dual channel 2400MHz kit.
The hefty 2794MHz overclock greatly enhances performance in AIDA64’s memory bandwidth benchmark and illustrates the benefits of a manual frequency increase.
At stock settings, the Sport LT dual channel features a very respectable memory latency of 70 nanoseconds and exhibited identical performance to the quad channel variant.
The overclock’s tight timings allows for a major drop in latency time. This is an impressive feat and I was surprised to see a large overclock remain stable and utilize tighter timings than the stock 2400MHz frequency.
In a similar vein to AIDA64, the 2400MHz rate limits the memory bandwidth compared to other high-end solutions. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t affect real world scenarios in a noticeable manner.
Once overclocked, the Sport LT dual channel demonstrates clear performance gains and edges closer to the TridentZ.
Here we can see the fantastic compute time in WPrime which showcases the memory’s capabilities. Although, please note the gap between these results is tiny and within a margin of error.
The overclocking headroom allows for the best compute time we’ve seen and even managed to outperformed higher frequency modules.
3DMark Fire Strike
3D performance is predominately GPU bound and NVIDIA’s latest driver updates have dramatically improved scores in this particular test. Despite this, at stock settings, the memory kit almost matches the higher-end G.Skill TridentZ.
Bizarrely, the overclocked run actually resulted in a poorer Physics score. This isn’t a cause for concern though as the drop off point is tiny and within a margin of error.
The Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 2400MHz 16GB memory kit is available from Overclockers UK for the very reasonable price of £82.99. However, USA customers cannot select the white model which appears to be discontinued or simply not sold in this particular territory. For example, Amazon.com only stocks the silver variant which is a crying shame. In terms of value, the memory’s white PCB, attractive design and solid timings come at a really competitive price point. This is certainly one of the best value DDR4 packages I’ve seen and well worth your consideration.
Before the release of Intel’s Z170 chipset, memory manufacturers opted for pretty safe, and professional designs which catered to the expensive X99 platform. As a result, to acquire the enhanced bandwidth, customers had to settle for pretty mundane aesthetic choices and pay a huge premium for a Haswell-E CPU and X99 motherboard. Thankfully, DDR4 is now a mainstream product and manufacturers like Crucial are more open to lavish heatspreaders and bold colour schemes. However, it’s quite rare for memory modules to utilize a white PCB which makes colour coordination an arduous task if you stray away from the typical gaming theme.
Crucial’s Ballistix Sport LT is the only DDR4 memory kit with a white PCB I’m aware of which makes it an enticing proposition. Furthermore, the modules also incorporate an absolutely gorgeous heatspreader design featuring a textured finish and intricate cut-outs. This combines to create a very sophisticated look and compliments a black or white motherboard extraordinarily well. On another note, the 40mm module height provides more than enough room to fit air coolers like the Noctua NH-D15, but it’s important to always check the maximize clearance before purchasing.
In terms of performance, the memory at stock values attained excellent results and compared quite well against the elite-tier G.Skill TridentZ 3200MHz dual channel kit. Once overclocked, there is a significant improvement, and enhanced memory bandwidth. Speaking of overclocking, Crucial have opted for premium ICs which provides a great deal of headroom to reach higher frequencies. In this case, I attained an overclock just shy of 2800MHz, while tightening the timings to 16-16-16-36. This was achieved with only a small voltage boost, and exemplifies how easily the RAM reaches a 200+MHz increase. Furthermore, I was surprised to see the memory remain stable at this frequency while utilizing very respectable timings. Throughout the stress testing procedure, I tried to reach 2800MHz, but this wasn’t possible even with 1.45v and much looser timings. Nevertheless, for an affordable memory kit, the overclocking headroom is great and much more than I anticipated.
- Beautiful heatspreaders
- Good compatibility with beefy air coolers
- Great price
- Large overclocking headroom
- Lifetime warranty
- Superb performance
- Tight timings
- White PCB
- XMP uses stock 1.2V
- White version not available in the US market
“The Crucial Ballistix Sport LT is the perfect choice for any system builder looking to construct a truly unique and thought-provoking setup. Additionally, the potent overclocking headroom, and strong stock results makes this particular kit superb value-for-money and a great choice for any hardware enthusiast.”
Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 2400MHz 16GB (2x8GB) Dual Channel Memory Kit Review
Thank you Crucial for providing us with this sample.