Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3 PC3-12800 Memory Kit Review

Memory by stefan @ 2011-03-21

The Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3 PC3-12800 BL2KIT25664ST1608OB memory kit comes with two interesting features: fully customizable lighting system, along with thermal sensors that can be monitored via the M.O.D. software utility.

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Test Setup and Extra Info

Test Setup

 

CPU : Intel I5 2500K Retail

CPU Cooler: Noctua U12P SE2

Motherboard : ASRock P67 Extreme6

RAM : G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL8D-4GBRM

Video : Sparkle X460 Calibre 1GB

Power Supply : Cooler Master 850W

HDD : Seagate Barracuda 320GB 7200.10

Case: Cooler Master ATCS 840

 

During the tests, the CPU speed was set at 3.3GHz and Turbo was disabled in UEFI. Testing with the same stock timings was possible until 1866MHz was reached. To make the system stable at this frequency, it was needed to relax the timings and the voltage was set first at 1.65V; the next step was to tighten the timings in small steps and for any modification I have ran HCI Memtest (Windows utility) with 4 instances for about a half an hour, to determine if the system was stable or not. When the most stable timings were found, I have started to decrease the voltage until the memory was giving errors again and raised it with one step in UEFI, to obtain the best timings at this frequency, at the smallest voltage possible, this time 1.53V.

I have tried multiple times to clock the modules at 2133MHz, by setting the voltage to 1.65V, relaxing the timings completely and upping the VTT voltage with no success (the system was not booting).

The CPU-Z tab where the memory timings and frequency are confirmed:

 

 

CPU-Z online validation at 1866MHz 9-9-9-24:

 

M.O.D. (Memory Overview Display) Ballistix Utility

After the Ballistix MOD software has been downloaded (it is offered in two flavours: 32 or 64bit), it can be installed very easy by following the instructions:

 

 

 

The application is split in multiple sections like: SPD Data, Temperature, Lights or Settings; in the SPD Data menu, we can see detailed information regarding each Ballistix module installed, along with the XMP Profile details:

 

 

 

In the Temperature menu, we get to see the reported temperatures from the internal sensors per module; a live graph is also drawn, and we have the option to log the values to a file, open a previous log or delete the current temperature log:

 

 

 

In the Lights menu, we can choose a light effect pattern per module, set the LED brightness or select the colors for the bottom and top LED SMDs to get very interesting light effects:

 

 

 

Finally, in the Settings menu, we can make some modifications regarding the Unit the temperature is displayed in, Chart Update Rate or File Update Rate; in the same menu we can set some alarms in case the modules reach dangerous temperature levels, but we can also launch a temperature widget:

 

 

 

 

 

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