Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666 Memory Review


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Testing & Results Continued

Time to change up the tests a bit. I wanted to throw in some GPU and rendering programs to the mix and get an idea of the extra speed the Crucial Ballistix Elite offers is worth it.

Handbrake 64bit

First up we have Handbrake. Handbrake is an open source video transcoder. Unlike some of the other applications used for testing, Handbrake is not a synthetic test. The results below are ‘real-world’.


I recorded a 5 minute 1080p video using my phone. The resulting transcode time from Handbrake is neck and neck, with a slight edge of 2 seconds going to the Crucial Ballistix Elite kit.

3DMark 11 Professional Edition

Futuremark’s 3DMark software has been around in various iterations for quite some time now.  Mainly for testing GPU and physics, this software can still bring modern PC’s to their knees with the 1080p Extreme preset.

3DMark 11 has quite a lot of tests to throw at any benchmarking computer. So many in fact, that I had to make two charts to manage the results.



In the first chart we have overall 3DMark scores. Graphics, physics, and combined scores. There is very little difference in the scores between the Crucial Ballistix Elite and Corsair Vengeance kits. However, the Crucial Ballistix Elite is the winner in every category, even if the numbers are relatively small.

The second chart focuses on the graphics tests. Scores show the raw FPS numbers, and as you can see the EVGA 980 Ti Classified did not trounce through the Extreme preset by any means. Again, we are seeing very tight numbers here. The results are essentially a tie. The Crucial Ballistix Elite does manage slightly better numbers, but in a real-world scenario you would not be able to tell a difference.

Heaven Benchmark 4.0 / Valley Benchmark 1.0

The folks over at Unigine specialize in real-time 3D technologies. They are heavily involved in simulations, virtual reality, and video gaming, just to name a few things.

Heaven Benchmark focuses on DX9,  DX11, and OpenGL 4.0 tests, with the ability to test tessellation. I ran Heaven in 1080p with Ultra preset, Extreme tessellation, and 8x AA.

Valley Benchmark 1.0 adds dynamic sky, volumetric clouds, sun shafts, DOF (depth of field), and ambient occlusion to pound your graphics card to the limit. I set Valley Benchmark to 1080p, Ultra preset, with 8xAA.

As with Handbrake these GPU tests are not synthetic. Although they are scripted tests, they are much closer to a real-world gaming scenario.



The verdict is a virtual tie. The Crucial Ballistix Elite again wins on both accounts, but only by the slightest of margins. Watching these benchmarks run with both memory kits there was no visual difference to be discerned.

Gaming performance is helped some-what by memory speed, but it’s mainly about having enough RAM installed to satisfy your games requirements. Too little RAM installed is going to be more of a hindrance by a long-shot than having higher speed RAM for marginal gains in gaming performance.


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  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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