In the last three years, Micron's Ballistix memory has set five overclocking world records for the fastest DDR4 memory frequency. The Ballistix Max memory scored a new DDR4 world record of 6666 MHz using liquid nitrogen (LN2). Micron has shown that their e-die is able to handle extreme voltages and high temperatures very well which makes their Ballistix Max memory the new choice for memory overclockers.
Today we are reviewing the Crucial Ballistix Max 4400 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) memory kit which runs at 1.40V and has a stock rated timings of 19-19-19-46 and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Crucial has two Ballistix memory lines which consists of the Ballistix Max and the regular Ballistix memory series. The Ballistix Max series is designed for hardcore gamers or overclocking enthusiasts who want the absolute top-tier RAM speeds and it is available in either RGB or non-RGB mode. On the other hand we have the regular Ballistix memory series which is Crucial's mainstream line and is available in multiple color options (red, white, or black).
Crucial equips their Ballistix Max DDR4 memory kits with an integrated temperature sensor which means you can use the Ballistix M.O.D utility to monitor the temperature in real-time. Most memory kits do not come with a thermal sensor so it’s nice to be able to monitor the temperature of your memory modules. The Ballistix Max memory is optimized for Intel XMP 2.0 and AMD Ryzen for easy setup and configuration. This means that once you turn on the Intel XMP profile in the BIOS or AMP for AMD system, it will automatically adjust to the fastest safe speed without having to manually change anything.
Visually, I love the look of the Ballistix Max memory and the build quality is fantastic with a nice premium feel to it. The black metal heat spreaders give the memory module an aggressive militaristic appearance which looks really attractive. I absolutely love that the Ballistix Max does not use any flashy LEDs because I tend to leave my PC on all the time and I hate having bright LEDs on at night.
Price-wise, the Ballistix Max DDR4 4400 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) kit retails for $220 on the Crucial store but you can find it for around $210 on Amazon which is still expensive compared to other 4400 MHz 16GB kits that are out there. You can find many 4400 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) kits that are up to $30-$60 cheaper than the Ballistix Max 4400 MHz 16GB kit. For example, the Patriot Viper Steel 16GB (2x8GB) 4400 MHz kit costs $150 while other kits such as the the G.SKILL TridentZ Series 16GB (2x8GB) 4400 MHz cost $190.
|Capacity||16GB (2 x 8GB)|
|Type||288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM|
|Speed||DDR4 4400 (PC4 35200)|
|PCB Type||10-Layer Design|
|Features||Intel XMP 2.0 & AMD Ryzen Ready|
Crucial ships the Ballistix Max 4400 MHz memory kit in a robust package with visually striking graphics and with a clear view of the RAM. The back of the package provides a description of the memory module and some basic product information in different languages.
When you open up the package, you will find the two memory modules in a clamshell package. The packaging overall is excellent and definitely feels high quality.
The Ballistix Max memory module is 40 mm tall which is great because it means you will be able to use a big CPU air cooler such as the Noctua NH-D15 without causing any interference issues. The small-form-factor community loves low-profile memory modules because they are easier to install into a cramped PC case.
Here is a close view of the aluminum heat spreader that stand approximately 10mm above the PCB. The heat-spreaders are quite thick and you can see that the they 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.
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 7 5800X all-core oc'd 4.8Ghz (1.35v)|
|Motherboard||ASUS ROG STRIX X570-F|
|RAM||Ballistix Max 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4400 MHz|
Ballistix Elite 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4000 MHz
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4000 MHz
G.SKILL Trident Z 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3800 MHz
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3600 MHz
|Graphics Card||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 FE|
|Storage||Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB|
|Power Supply||Seasonic Focus Plus 750W Gold|
|OS||Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit (20H2)|
|Thermal Compound||Noctua NT-H1|
|Ambient Temp||21°C / 70°F|
|Software||CPU-Z, AIDA64, 3D Mark TimeSpy, Cinebench R23|
Horizon Zero Dawn, RDR2
The memory kits listed above were tested with our regular system setup and that is with the Ryzen 5800X all-core overclocked to 4.8Ghz at 1.35 volts. Each memory kit will be tested at their default timings and voltage. For benchmarking software, we'll be using AIDA64 (Read, Write, Copy, Latency), 3D Mark TimeSpy, Cinebench R23, Horizon Zero Dawn and RDR2.
The testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (21H1) with all the windows updates and latest drivers installed. We have fully debloated Windows 10 and disabled a bunch of unnecessary services that run in the background. It's important to have as few processes running as possible during the testing to prevent any interference.
|Memory||Read (MB/s)||Write (MB/s)||Copy (MB/s)||Latency (NS)||Ballistix Max 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4400 MHz||54812||28941||49866||56.3||Ballistix Elite 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4000 MHz||53622||28753||49612||57.2||Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4000 MHz||53613||28741||49557||57.2||G.SKILL Trident Z 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3800 MHz||52882||28247||47611||59.4||Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3600 MHz||51562||27489||45730||61.7|
AIDA64 is a popular software that benchmarks the bandwidth and latency of the CPU caches and the system memory. In this test we are using the AIDA64 to benchmark the write, read, and copy speed. We are also testing the memory latency which is done by measuring the delay when the CPU reads data from system memory.
|3D Mark TimeSpy|
|Memory||Score||Ballistix Max 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4400 MHz||12539||Ballistix Elite 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4000 MHz||12477||Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4000 MHz||12471||G.SKILL Trident Z 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3800 MHz||12283||Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3600 MHz||12270|
3D Mark TimeSpy is a great benchmarking tool that is used quite a lot by the community to showcase how RAM frequency scales with Zen 3.
|Memory||Score (Multi)||Score (Single)||Ballistix Max 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4400 MHz||16187||1639||Ballistix Elite 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4000 MHz||16137||1635||Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4000 MHz||16138||1632||G.SKILL Trident Z 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3800 MHz||15913||1617||Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3600 MHz||15867||1587|
Cinebench R23 is one of the most popular tools out there for benchmarking your CPU and graphics performance and also testing system stability.
|Horizon Zero Dawn (1440P Max Settings)|
|Memory||FPS||Ballistix Max 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4400 MHz||94||Ballistix Elite 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4000 MHz||94||Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4000 MHz||94||G.SKILL Trident Z 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3800 MHz||93||Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3600 MHz||92|
Here we are testing each ram module by running Horizon Zero Dawn at ultra settings at 1440P. I did not notice any performance improvements when testing this game with different RAM speeds so there is almost no difference going from 3600 MHz and up to 4400 MHz.
|Red Dead Redemption 2 (1440P Max Settings)|
|Memory||FPS||Ballistix Max 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4400 MHz||76||Ballistix Elite 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4000 MHz||74||Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-4000 MHz||74||G.SKILL Trident Z 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3800 MHz||73||Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3600 MHz||71|
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game that scales well with high memory frequency. At 1440p ultra settings, the Ballistix Max 4400 MHz memory kit delivered the highest FPS.
I was able to overclock this memory kit to 4600 MHz without touching the stock timings and simply increasing the voltage to 1.42V to get it fully stable. DRAM timings were set to 19-19-19-46-1T and everything else in the BIOS was set to auto mode. RAM frequency is mostly limited by the CPU IMC and AMD's Ryzen 5000 series CPUs feature an improved IMC. I'm sure you could get this kit to run higher than 4600 MHz with a slight bump in the timings.
The Ballistix Mod Utility is quite useful if you are overclocking and want to check the temperature of your RAM modules. When I was running the memory at stock 4400 MHz 1.40v, the temperature was hovering around 35c during gaming and after overclocking it to 4600 MHz 1.42V, I saw the temperature go up to 38c. The metal heatsinks do a great job of keeping the modules running cool.
Thaiphoon Burner reports that the memory IC used here is the Micron E-die as expected. AMD's Ryzen CPUs work really well with Micron's E-Die and Ryzen benefits from faster RAM because the speed of the Infinity Fabric connecting the 2 dies together runs at the speed of the memory. If you are using a Ryzen 5000 CPU, you want to get your RAM to 3600 MHz or higher for optimal performance.
In conclusion, Crucial's Ballistix Max DDR4 4400 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) memory kit sports an amazing build quality and has a high overclocking potential which is great. Its black and white minimalistic design gives the RAM modules a sleek look which I really like. Most manufactures equip their memory modules with plastic housing which feels cheap but the Ballistix Max feels premium thanks to its sturdy metal design. The metal heat spreaders are quite effective at keeping the memory nice and cool.
Performance-wise, the Ballistix Max 4400 MHz performed excellent in all of our benchmarks.
I was able to reach the advertised speeds with ease and it was fully stable.
Being able to overclock it to 4600 MHz without touching the default timings is amazing.
If you are running a Ryzen 5000 CPU, you can easily push this memory kit to run much higher than the advertised speed.
+ Good Build Quality
+ Great Performance
+ Excellent Packaging
+ High OC Potential
+ No RGB LED
At $220, the Ballistix Max 4400 MHz memory kit sports a high price-tag which will push some people away. Most of the 16GB (2x8GB) 4400 MHz kits out there are about $30 cheaper and in some cases, you can them for $50 cheaper than the Ballistix Max 4400 MHz 16GB kit. If you are looking for a memory kit with great performance and top-notch build quality, we recommend the Ballistix Max DDR4 4400 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) kit. Overall, I believe the Ballistix Max DDR4 4400 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) memory kit deserves our Gold award.
Final Score 9.5