Micron is a well respected company in the memory and storage industry and their consumer products are marketed under the brands of Crucial and Ballistix. I do want to point out that the Ballistix brand is now independent of the Crucial brand and goes by the name of Ballistix Gaming. A few months ago I interviewed Jonathan Weech and Jeremy Mortenson, Micron's senior marketing managers, and asked them some questions about memory, storage and other upcoming products from Micron. Head over here if you are interested in reading my interview with Jonathan Weech and Jeremy Mortenson.
The Ballistix Gaming memory line consists of the Elite, Tactical, and Sport memory series. The Sport is Ballistix's entry-level memory, while Tactical is their mid-range memory and Elite is their premium memory line. Ballistix's Elite series comes with speeds ranging from 2666 MHz and up to 3466 MHz and memory capacities from 4GB to 32GB in single to quad channel kits. Today we are reviewing the Ballistix Elite DDR4 3466 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) memory kit which runs at 1.35V and has a stock rated timings of 16-18-18-36.
Ballistix has equipped their Elite DDR4 memory kit with an integrated temperature sensor and you can use the Ballistix M.O.D utility for real-time temperature monitoring. Most DDR4 memory kits don’t have thermal sensors so it’s nice to be able to monitor the temperature of your memory modules. 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.
The Elite memory line features a black metal anodized heat spreader with an aggressive militaristic styling which looks really attractive. The build quality is top-notch here and you can definitely feel it when you are holding the RAM in your hands. At the time of writing this review, the Ballistix Elite DDR4 3466 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) memory kit retails for $214.99 and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. I searched on Amazon and Newegg for this memory kit and I was not able to find it so it seems it's not available in the US yet so you will have to purchase it directly from Crucial's store page.
Depending on where you live, the Ballistix Elite DDR4 3466 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) memory kit is much cheaper than the competition and this is based on the prices from Amazon and Newegg in the US. So compared to other 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3466 MHz memory kits from Corsair and G.Skill that are out there, the Ballistix Elite DDR4 3466 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) memory kit is anywhere from $15 to $35 cheaper than the Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR4 (2x8GB) 3466 MHz and G.Skill TridentZ DDR4 16GB (2x8GB) 3466 MHz.
|Capacity:||16GB (2 x 8GB)|
|Type:||288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM|
|Speed/Timings:||DDR4 3466 (PC4 27700) - 16-18-18-36|
|PCB Type:||10-Layer Design|
|Features:||Intel XMP 2.0 (Extreme Memory Profile) Ready|
A few months ago I reviewed the Ballistix Elite DDR4 3466 MHz 32GB (4x8GB) kit which arrived in a plastic clamshell packaging but this time Ballistix has significantly improved their packaging. I was not a fan of their previous packaging but now I'm very impressed to see that they have listened to user's feedback and updated their packaging to a more premium look and feel. Ballistix's packaging is now composed of a sturdy custom designed box with visually striking graphics and a clear view of the RAM on the top right corner.
When you open up box, you will be presented with the RAM on full display. The majority of the manufactures use the same basic plastic clamshell packaging on their memory kits but Ballistix has raised the bar. I must say that a high-quality packaging leaves a long and lasting impression on users so Ballistix has done an amazing job creating a unique packaging.
The Elite memory kit is available only in black so if you are into modding and are looking for other color options, you will not find that with the Ballistix Elite line. 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. The heatsink is removable and removing the heatsink will bring the height down to 32mm which can come in handy if you are trying to install a big air CPU cooler such as the Noctua NH-D15.
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.
Installing the memory was very simply and here's a picture of the two DIMMs installed. I'm using the Noctua NH-D15 air cooler and I was able to install both DIMMs without having to remove the cooler.
Above is a screenshot from Thaiphoon Burner showing more details and as you can see, the memory IC used here is based on the Samsung B-die. Samsung B-die's are known for high overclocking and normally respond better when you increase the voltage and can also tolerate much tighter timings and higher temperatures. The B-die has a superior lithography compared to the competition which explains why it's in high demand from enthusiasts.
|Processor:||AMD Ryzen 7 1700X|
|Motherboard:||MSI X370 Gaming xPower Titanium (BIOS v1.9)|
|RAM:||Ballistix Elite 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3466 MHz|
Ballistix Elite 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3000 MHz
Ballistix Tactical 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-2666 MHz
Kingston HyperX Savage 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-2666 MHz
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3000 MHz
|Graphics Card:||Nvidia GTX 1070|
|Storage:||Crucial MX300 1TB|
|Power Supply:||SilverStone ST80F-TI|
|OS:||Windows 10 Pro (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 the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X CPU that will run on stock settings and we are also using the MSI X370 Gaming xPower Titanium motherboard with the latest BIOS installed. XMP profile worked without any issues and as far as AMD Ryzen processors go, if you are using memory that is based on the Samsung b-die, you can expect up to 3466 MHz on AGESA 126.96.36.199 or up to 2933 MHz with Samsung D/E/S-die on AGESA 188.8.131.52. Most Hynix A/M-die are working at 2933 MHz with AGESA 184.108.40.206+.
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), HyperPi 32M, Cinebench R15 and Battlefield 1.
Looking at the AIDA64 memory benchmark, we can see that the Ballistix Elite DDR4 16GB (2x8GB) 3466 MHz memory performed exceptionally well in this test.
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 HyperPi 32M benchmark, the Ballistix Elite DDR4 16GB (2x8GB) 3466 MHz once again offered the best performance.
The Ballistix Elite DDR4 16GB (2x8GB) 3466 MHz performed the best in Cinebench R15.
Here we are testing Battlefield 1 at 1440p and the Ballistix Elite DDR4 16GB (2x8GB) 3466 MHz came on top with the highest FPS.
Currently, there are no other brands on the market offering memory with such a high build quality and fantastic performance. The Ballistix Elite DDR4 3466 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) kit is currently the best memory kit we have reviewed. Ballistix has set itself apart from the competition by creating a truly perfect product in every category. If you are looking for a memory kit with amazing speed and top-notch build quality, then definitely get the Ballistix Elite DDR4 3466 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) kit.
On top of all that, the Ballistix Elite DDR4 3466 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) kit is also much cheaper than the competition.
You can expect this memory kit to be somewhere between $15 and $35 cheaper compared to other brands depending on where you live.
Aesthetics-wise, the black militaristic styling gives the memory a sleek and sturdy look and feel.
Most manufactures equip their memories with plastic housing which feels cheap but the Ballistix memory line feels like a premium product due to its metal design.
+ Cheaper Than Competition
+ Excellent Build Quality
+ Fantastic Performance
+ Top-Notch Packaging
+ Removable Heatsink
+ Samsung B-Die
The aluminum heat spreaders do a good job of keeping the memory run cool and will come in handy if you decide to overclock the RAM above 3466 MHz. Also, they extend to about 10mm above the PCB so you will be able to install large air coolers without having to worry about interference. After I finished doing my benchmarking, I spent some time tweaking the timings in the BIOS and I managed to lower the timings down to 15-16-16-36 1T and it was fully stable at 3466 MHz. Overall, I believe the Ballistix Elite DDR4 3466 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) memory kit deserves our Elite award.
Final Score 10