A Closer Look
I love the cosmetics of Crucial Ballistix memory modules, with their metallic paint and shiny chrome trim, but they sure are hard to photograph. The paint has “color changing” effects, so it looks a different shade at every angle, and the chrome picks up light and any color that may be in front of it, so it is a challenge to show what the memory really looks like in person. These photos don’t quite do the modules justice, so you’ll have to use your imagination a little.
The Ballistix logo and edges around the heatspreaders are raised. The PCBs are black, as all Ballistix memory.
Crucial Ballistix Tracer has LEDs at the top of the modules to create a light display while your rig is running, the LEDs light when the adjoining memory chip is accessed, and there are other lights at the base to give a glow to the entire module. Other models of Tracer have had the LEDs in a block centered on the module, but the Triple Channel modules have the LEDs located on the full length of the PCB, similar to the last DDR3 Tracer I reviewed. The LEDs on this memory are blue, matching the lighting that is usually in my rigs.
The memory is rated at DDR3-1600 8-8-8-24. The VDIMM, as required by Intel to prevent damage to the i7′s onboard memory controller is 1.65v. If you think about it, that requirement put some real limits on the memory manufacturers, considering the high performance dual-channel kits run from 1.8v to 2.1v. Enthusiasts definitely expect equal performance from triple channel kits, and that has to be attained at much lower voltage, just a hair over the DDR3 standard voltage of 1.5v.
Of course, Crucial, being a division of Micron, uses the cream of the crop memory chips for their Ballistix modules. If the Ballistix Tracer triple channel is anything like other Ballistix kits I’ve owned, we can expect memory clocks much higher than the rated speed.