When DDR4 memory first came into the market, you had to pay a premium price but DDR4 memory has now become mainstream and with so many memory brands releasing hundreds of memory kits to
the market, it's become hard to choose a reliable memory brand.
Crucial/Micron is well respected in the memory and storage industry and has years of experience in this field and their products are known to be reliable and well-engineered.
Crucial has sent us a sample of their Ballistix Elite DDR4-3000MHz 16GB memory kit which runs at 1.35V.
The Ballistix Elite is Crucial's premium memory line and comes with speeds ranging from 2666MHz to 3200MHz and memory capacities from 4GB to 32GB in single to quad channel kits.
Crucial has equipped the Ballistix Elite DDR4 memory kit with a thermal sensor and you can use the Ballistix M.O.D. utility for real-time temperature monitoring. The Crucial Ballistix Elite 3000MHz DDR4 16GB (2x8GB) memory kit retails for $139.99 and comes with a limited lifetime warranty and has a stock rated timings of 15-16-16-35-2T. The Crucial Ballistix Elite product line is aimed at gamers and enthusiasts and the menacing black heat spreader design does a good job of portraying that.
The Ballistix Elite memory is also certified for Intel XMP 2.0 for easy setup and configuration. Once you turn the Intel XMP 2.0 profile on in the BIOS, it will automatically adjust to the fastest safe speed and you'll get great, reliable performance while maintaining full data integrity. At the time of writing this review, you can find the Ballistix Elite 3000Mhz (2x8GB) 16GB DDR4 memory kit for $139.99 on Newegg and Amazon which is about $5 to $15 more expensive than most 16GB (2x8GB) 3000Mhz DDR4 memory kits out there such as the Patriot Viper 4 16GB (2x8GB) 3000Mhz and G.SKILL Aegis 16GB (2x8GB) 3000Mhz memory kits.
|Capacity:||16GB (2 x 8GB)|
|Type:||288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM|
|Speed/Timings:||DDR4 3000 (PC4 24000) - 15-16-16-35-2T|
|PCB Type:||10-Layer Design|
|Features:||Intel XMP 2.0 (Extreme Memory Profile) Ready|
Crucial uses the same basic packaging on all their memories. Crucial's packaging is composed of a clear plastic leaving the RAM on full display so you can see exactly what you are getting. On the back of the package, you will see a description of each memory series from Crucial in different languages. The memory kit features a sturdy design with a nice, clean, black paint which makes the memory kit very attractive. The Ballistix Elite line is available only in black color so if you are into modding and are looking for other color options, you will not find that with the Ballistix Elite line.
The heatsinks are made out of aluminum and are removable which can come in handy if you are trying to install a big air CPU cooler such as the NH-D15. The memory kit stands 41 mm tall and there's four screws which you need to remove if you want to get rid of the heatsink. Removing the heatsink will give you a few more millimeters to work with when installing big air CPU coolers.
Here is a close view of the aluminum heat spreader that stands approximately 10mm above the PCB. The heat-spreaders are fairly thick but they also allow for airflow to flow through. You can see that the heat spreaders don't touch each other and this is important because you want each heat spreader to cool the ICs separately and not combine the heat load.
In this picture I'm comparing the Ballistix Tactical to the Ballistix Elite memory module. The heatsink on the Ballistix Tactical memory extends to just about 5mm above the PCB whereas on the Ballistix Elite, it extends to 10mm.
|Processor:||Intel i7-6900K Stock|
|Motherboard:||ASUS X99 Deluxe II|
|RAM:||Crucial Ballistix Elite 16GB (2x8GB) 3000Mhz|
Crucial Ballistix Tactical 16GB (4x4GB) 3000Mhz
Kingston HyperX Savage 16GB (4x4GB) 3000Mhz
G.Skill RipJaws V Series 16GB (4x4GB) 3000Mhz
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (4x4GB) 3000Mhz
|Graphics Card:||Sapphire R9 390X|
|Storage:||Samsung 840 Pro 256GB|
|Power Supply:||SilverStone ST80F-TI|
|OS:||Windows 10 Home 64-Bit|
|Thermal Compound:||Noctua NT-H1|
The testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 10 64-bit. We made sure there were as few processes running as possible during the testing.
We'll be using an Intel Ivy Bridge i7-6900K CPU that will run on stock settings. We're using the ASUS X99 Deluxe II motherboard with the latest BIOS version 1401 from ASUS.
Installing and using memory is pretty straight forward, simply enable the XMP profile and you should be good.
Each memory kit will be tested at default speed and timings. As far as benchmarking software goes, we'll be using AIDA64 (Read, Write, Copy, Latency), SuperPi v1.55 32M, wPrime v1.55 32M and we'll finish it off with PCMark 8 Conventional.
Looking at the AIDA64 memory benchmark, we can see that the Ballistix Elite performed nearly the same as the Ballistix Tactical.
In the AIDA64 latency benchmark, we once again see the same thing. The Ballistix Elite memory performed the same as the Ballistix Tactical.
Looking at the SuperPi 32M benchmark, the Crucial Ballistix Elite fell slightly behind the Ballistix Tactical.
The Crucial Ballistix Elite again performed similar to the Ballistix Tactical.
In the PCMark 8 Conventional benchmark, all memories performed about the same but the Crucial Ballistix Elite memory came on top with the highest score.
I have to be honest here, I had high expectations of the Crucial Ballistix Elite memory kit since it
is Crucial's premium memory line and in the end, it did not impress me as much as I was hoping.
It performed nearly identical to the Ballistix Tactical memory which was not what I was expecting.
Also, if you are looking to purchase a 16GB (2x8GB) 3000Mhz memory kit, you will find cheaper brands out there and this memory kit is
anywhere from $5 to $15 more expensive. The aluminum heat spreaders extend to about 10mm above the PCB so you if you are using a dual-tower CPU cooler, you will have to remove the heatsinks to fit in the CPU cooler.
+ Headroom For Overclocking
+ Aesthetic Design
+ Removable Heatsink
+ 10-Layer PCB
- Identical Performance To Ballistix Tactical
- Slightly More Expensive Than Other Memory Kits
The overall build quality of the Ballistix Elite is superb and it feels high quality when holding it and I do have to admit that I have never seen a memory module as aesthetic as the Ballistix Elite. The Ballistix Elite memory is easily one of the most well-engineered DDR4 memory stick on the market. Another thing that I want to mention is that there's headroom for overclocking with this memory kit. After playing around with the timings and increasing the memory voltage by 0.1V in the BIOS, I managed to get the timings to 14-14-14-35 1T and it was stable. Overall, I believe the Crucial Ballistix Elite 3000Mhz 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 memory kit deserves our recommended award.
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