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Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-3466 Memory Review

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DDR4-3466 Performance Final Thoughts

Building a high performance system requires some knowledge of and consideration for the way the various components interact. For example, you won’t get the full performance of an expensive, high end graphics card if it’s paired with a slow, lower-end CPU. The components that have the greatest effect on system performance are, in order of importance:

  • Storage (SSD vs. hard disk)
  • Processor
  • Graphics card
  • Memory

Of course, individual use patterns can rearrange this list. A dedicated gaming system would place more importance on a high-performance graphics card than an SSD, for example; while a video transcoding workstation would benefit more from a faster CPU.

But regardless of the use cases, the truth is that your memory performance is almost never going to be a limiting factor. The reason for this is simple: modern processors have megabytes of on-chip cache. The Core i7-6700K used in this test system has 8M of cache. This might not sound like much when put up against the 32GB Crucial memory kit, but it’s enough to satisfy 90% or more of all memory requests during normal use. This means that even infinitely fast memory with 1-clock latencies will still not have that much of an effect on system performance.

Synthetic benchmarks like AIDA64 that read large sequential blocks of memory show the true performance it’s capable of since caching isn’t involved. However, most real-world workloads don’t read or write large sequential chunks of memory, so you’ll see little noticeable performance increase.

The situation here is similar to that in the storage world: going from a hard disk to a SATA SSD yields dramatic and tangible performance improvements, but going from a SATA SSD to an PCI-E based m.2 SSD shows virtually no real-world improvement, even though benchmarks show the latter is much faster.

Crucial Ballistix Elite Conclusion

Crucial’s Ballistix Elite DDR4-3466 32GB memory kit provides a substantial step up in performance compared to standard DDR4-2133. The appearance, quality of construction, and synthetic benchmark results are all that we’ve come to expect from Crucial’s enthusiast-level products.

But at the end of the day, high-performance memory is really a niche product. For $371.99 (Crucial | B&H), the Ballistix Elite 32GB kit costs substantially more than a standard DDR4-2133 kit, which currently sells for about $220-$250. And the significant added cost will not translate into extra performance for most users, whose performance dollars would be better spent elsewhere.

But for those looking to add that last increment of system performance, whether for bragging rights or the rare workloads that can fully exploit the added bandwidth, will be thrilled with the Ballistix Elite DDR4-3466 32GB kit.

Pros:

Benchmark Reviews Recommended Product Award Logo (Small)

+ Quality construction
+ Impressive appearance
+ Amazing throughput on synthetic benchmarks

Cons:

– Expensive
– Real-world performance gains minimal for most users

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.50
  • Appearance: 9.00
  • Construction: 9.25
  • Functionality: 8.00
  • Value: 7.00

Final Score: 8.55 out of 10.

Recommended: Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval.


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