Test Results: Crucial Ballistix PC3200

To be considered stable for test purposes, Quake3 benchmark, UT2003 Demo, Super PI, Aquamark 3, and Comanche 4 had to complete without incident. Any of these, and in particular Super PI, will crash a less-than stable memory configuration. We have included results for RCW-ET using the Radar benchmark.

Crucial PC3200 Ballistix (DDR400) - 2 x 512Mb Double-Bank
Speed Memory Timings & Voltage Quake3 fps Sandra UNBuffered Sandra Standard Buffered Super PI 2M places
(time in sec)
Wolfenstein - Radar - Enemy Territory
fps
400DDR
800FSB
2-2-2-5
2.5V
329.6 INT 2906
FLT 2919
INT 4511
FLT 4511
129 70.5
433DDR
866FSB
2-2-2-5
2.65V
358.7 INT 3167
FLT 3193
INT 4923
FLT 4917
119 76.7
466DDR
933FSB
2.5-2-2-5
2.65V
384.3 INT 3287
FLT 3332
INT 5237
FLT 5251
111 82.4
500DDR
1000FSB
2.5-2-2-5
2.65V
410.2 INT 3481
FLT 3557
INT 5623
FLT 5638
104 88.4
514DDR
1028FSB
2.5-2-2-5
2.85V
419.3 INT 3600
FLT 3638
INT 5752
FLT 5779
100 90.7

It wasn't even a year ago that we considered 3-4-4 timings to be pretty good at DDR500, so what can we say about Crucial's Ballistix that does DDR500 at 2.5-2-2-5? The only word that comes to mind is "astounding"! Crucial is the only memory in the DDR400 2-2-2 roundup using Micron chips, and the performance across the effective range of DDR400 to DDR514 is incredible. Even the highest speed of 514 is achieved at 2.5-2-2-5 timings. What's more, nothing even came close to the 2-2-2 headroom of the Crucial Ballistix, as 2-2-2 timings were possible all the way to DDR460!

It is very interesting that the Micron chips do not really respond well to higher timings, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Seeing how these Micron chips perform, we understand why OCZ EB, based on the same family Micron chips, performs so well. We have seen reports of some variability in the performance of the Ballistix memory, and overclocking results are never guaranteed. However, our results with another pair of Ballistix DIMMs were very similar.

It looks like Crucial has a winner with their new Ballistix PC3200. What's more, Ballistix 3200 is also one of the more reasonable DDR400 memories in the roundup, which spells value in capital letters.

Test Results: Corsair 3200XL PRO Test Results: 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.
    Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • cnq - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link

    Wesley,

    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?
    Reply
  • JustAnAverageGuy - Thursday, August 5, 2004 - link

    catchy title

    =F-A-S-T=

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

    OCZ = smokin Reply

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