Crucial Ballistix PC3200

Crucial recently introduced their Ballistix line of memory, a name they will use for memory aimed at the Enthusiast market. This is Crucial's first foray into this specialty market, and their first offerings are these DDR400 2-2-2 and DDR2 667. Ballistix is intended to compete with the best from Corsair, OCZ and other Enthusiast memory manufacturers. Kingston, another memory giant, has a similar Enthusiast line, which they call HyperX. Crucial supplies Ballistix PC3200 in both 256MB and 512MB DIMMs. While we had both DIMMs for testing, we used the 512MB DIMMs for comparison testing.

Test DIMMs were a pair of Crucial Ballistix PC3200 512MB modules.

Crucial uses distinctive orange-gold Ballistix aluminum heatspreaders with black lettering. Some will love the stand-out color of Ballistix modules, while others will hate them. Let's just say that they stand out from the crowd. At first, we assumed that the Ballistix were also using Samsung chips, but after testing, we realized from the performance data that these were likely a different memory chip. Crucial told us that their new Ballistix 3200 was based on Micron chips, and not the Samsung chips that others in this roundup are using.

We confirmed that Crucial is indeed using a new Micron "G" die chip for Ballistix 3200. This is the first time that we have seen this die in a production memory, but we have seen the "C" die version of this same memory chip in the excellent OCZ 3500EB and 3700EB. Since EB has also shown excellent performance and timings to over DDR500, it is no real surprise to see Crucial using a later version of the same chip in their Ballistix 3200.

Crucial Ballistix PC3200 Specifications

 Crucial Ballistix PC3200 Memory Specifications
Number of DIMMs & Banks 2 DS
Total Memory
512 MB
1 GB
Rated Timings 2-2-2 at DDR400
SPD (Auto) Timings 2-2-2-8
Rated Voltage 2.8V

As seen with the other very high speed DDR400 in this roundup, Crucial rates the Ballistix at a very high 2.8V. 2.8V is higher than the 2.5V to 2.6V that is standard for memory on most motherboards, but it should be available on most of the high-end boards that would likely be used with this memory. You should check your specifications to make sure that you can support the voltage needs of the new PC3200 modules. We should also mention that we had no problem whatsoever at DDR400 with 2-2-2 memory timings and a stock 2.5V memory voltage, so this may or may not be an important issue with your Ballistix PC3200.

Corsair 3200XL PRO Kingston HyperX PC3200 Low-Latency
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  • Anemone - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link

    Would love to see OCZ do further expansion on the EL or EB area of DDR2. I'm sure it's at lower limits (the timings of DDR2 stink really), but if anyone could push them as low as possible I'd expect OCZ to do it.
  • Anemone - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link

    Yeah OCZ seems to have their stuff where it counts.

    I'll note this highlights an issue that's caught my eye, and that is in the furor over the AMD64 chips, its less visible just sometimes how much "special stuff", ie choice memory modules, it takes to keep the AMD platforms running at top speed. On the Intel side of the fence you can plug just about anything in and get some speed, but in many cases that's still a guessing game for the AMD stuff. Given how that plays out a year or two down the line when you want to buy just an upgrade part or two, I'm kind of a fan of the "just buy the latest Superbytes mem module XXX and plug and go" kind of usefulness, which I see 'more' on the Intel side of things, and I do mean 'more' not 'only'.

    Also want to mention that lately tending to see more enthusiasts aiming for as much as 2gb of memory, and when you get there, the AMD controllers seem to not fly as much as with lower amounts, losing as much as 10% of their performance.

    Blah, no easy choices here imo.

  • ceefka - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link

    Great review. For those of us who want to build a 939, we'd love to see the next article. We apparently have a lot of RAM to choose from.

    Now on the theoretical side: How would the best DDR2 perform? What would the differences be? Can these results justify AMD's choice to ignore DDR2?
  • Bozo Galora - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link

    Another very timely review.
    You are now answering questions for me in advance - lol.

    Color changes for reviewed items better, but as a nitpick, it might be cool to continue colors to the names of mem also, not just the bar??? Dark green needs to be a lighter color - like pink. 2 greens not friendly.

    Anyway thanx fella.
  • cnq - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link


    Can you comment on the 2.5-2-2 timings past DDR500 of the Crucial? It seems slightly fishy, considering that you used their PC3200, which is lower-binned than their PC4000...and even the 4000 is only rated at 2.5-3-3 at DDR500.
    Is it possible that Crucial sent you a cherry-picked sample for review?
    Anyone else out there own a set of the Ballistix care to comment?
  • JustAnAverageGuy - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link

    catchy title


    A bit unprofessional maybe, but catchy :)
  • shady06 - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link

    OCZ = smokin

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