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Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666 Memory Review

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Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4 Memory Overview

The Curcial Ballistix Elite DDR4 2666MHz kit that I received is what I would call ‘entry level’ into the Elite lineup of memory kits. Crucial has built a factory overclocked memory kit using the standard 1.2V, while bumping speeds up to 2666MHz. Their 3000MHz and 3200MHz counterparts run at 1.35V, which is pretty standard for overclocked versions of memory at those speeds.

Crucial-Ballistix-Elite-Packaging

Crucial packages their Ballistix Elite memory in an easy to open plastic clam shell. Thankfully the tabs at the top of the packaging make removal of the kit nice and easy.

Crucial-Ballistix-Elite-Perspective

The Crucial Ballistix Elite RAM has quite a sleek profile. The black on black with white letter print will work in a wide variety of color schemes.

Crucial-Ballistix-Elite-Side

The Ballistix Elite heat spreaders are made out of aluminum, while not quite low profile, do have a removable heat sink on the top edge of the RAM.

Crucial-Ballistix-Elite-Heatsink

After removing the 4 tiny screws you can remove the heat sink on top of the Ballistix Elite module. This will give you a few more millimeters to work with if you are having clearance issues and save yourself a bit of weight in your PC case. This kit has a decent heft to them. The 2 modules together weigh in close to 1 pound.

Crucial-Ballistix-Elite-Ram-Clearance

I took a shot of the Ballistix Elite installed to show you the clearance (or lack there-of), with my Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler. I had to move the Noctua 120mm fan slightly higher on the cooler to get the RAM to sit underneath without sitting flush against the bottom of the fan.


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2 comments

  1. Olle P

    Overall a nice review!

    I use the “Tactical” version, with a more slender heatsink, myself (in a 4x4GB setup).
    When I got the new hardware this summer (around the same time this article was published) I ran similar tests, comparing different settings XMP on/off and also with variations in CPU speed settings.
    The main questions for me at the time were:
    1. Given that Intel officially states support for memory “up to” (only) 2,133 MHz; will faster memory work well at all, or will there be issues?
    2. Given that there are no issues, will faster memory increase the overall computer performance?
    My results matched the ones in this review: No issues. Faster memory will provide a performance increase that’s measurable in benchmarks but hardly notable in regular use.

    Back to your review:
    * The “Elite” heatsink is quite wide. To me it seems like there could be an issue with cooling when all four memory slots are occupied. Is that observation correct?
    * Based on the introductory statement, “In this article for Benchmark Reviews, I’m going to see if higher bandwidth memory makes a difference.”, I would have preferred the Corsair memory with XMP off (or any other memory at 2,133MHz) to be the opposition.
    * It’s refreshing to read a review where the emphasis isn’t on the hardware’s overclocking capabilities!

    Conclusions and recommendations:
    Is Ballistix Elite a good set of RAM? Yes, at least unless you want/need a set of four to run at maximum overclock.
    Generally, when buying RAM the considerations should be (in order of importance):
    1. A type that is compatible with the motherboard and CPU.
    2. Sufficient amount of memory. As of today 8GB is generally considered the minimum requirement (when used with a 64-bit OS) and up to 16GB can be beneficial. For video editing and other demanding tasks even more can be useful.
    3. Do buy RAM in matched pairs to get the most out of the “dual channel” capability.
    4a. For best price/performance buy the fastest RAM you can get at the same (or better) price as slower RAM. Don’t spend extra money to get faster RAM unless you want higher benchmark scores and/or better overclocking capabilities.
    4b. Looks (of the heatsink) is important to some users. Spending extra money to get the right look is fine as long as it doesn’t impede points 1 through 3 above.

    1. Jason Maxfield

      Olle P, There isn’t any cooling issue that I’m aware of when using 4 sticks of this RAM. My friend has 4 installed and we haven’t noticed any heat issues with it so far.

      Memory speed can increase performance a slight amount. But it largely depends on what application is being used. Video or image editing is usually more effected by the amount of RAM installed and not so much the speed. I did notice a slight improvement in my testing with gaming. Although, it’s mostly insignificant. You would not be able to tell simply by observing the game while playing.

      They are good sticks of RAM. They were slightly better than the Corsair RAM I put them up against in the article. Basically you have it right. What your PC is going to be used for will determine how much RAM you will need. Gaming, I’d recommend 16GB. Some games are becoming huge resource hogs and the extra RAM now will help in the future. If you do a lot of video editing, then more is even better.

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