by Rob Williams on June 20, 2005 in Miscellaneous
With so many companies now offering performance memory, it makes it harder to choose which one to buy. We are taking a look at Crucial’s offering, the Ballistix PC3200. Is their memory worth a purchase? Let’s check it out.
Here is the system that the memories being tested in. Everything in the table is stock, but a lot of overclocking is done to the CPU and Memory further in the article, and they will be noted.
AMD 64 3200+ S939 Venice @ 2.00GHz
DFI LanParty NF4 UT Ultra-D
BIOS is 510-3 Revision
512MB * 2 Crucial Ballistix DDR400 (2-2-2-6)
AC’97 7.1 Built-In
BFG 6800 GT OC 256MB
Video drivers are beta 77.50
Windows XP Professional with SP2
So what makes Ballistix qualify for the ‘Performance’ status in the memory world? The timings on the memory is 2-2-2-6 @ 2.8v, which is pretty standard for performance memory. They also boast that the module bandwidth is 3.2GB/sec, which is also on par with most PC3200 (DDR400) performance memory.
As you can see from the pictures, they have chosen to use pure black PCB for the modules, and it looks fantastic. For the heat spreader, they use a Gold colored aluminum style.
A few notes
There are a few things I must mention before jumping into the benchmarking and testing, basically a few issues I had from the get go. Using the stock settings, 2-2-2-6 @ 2.8v, naturally after getting the memory, I ran MemTest. I was surprised to see errors popping up within the very first test, and many more after the test ran for a while.
After toying around, and getting in contact with Crucial, they recommended that I lower the voltage. After lowering the voltage to 2.7v, amazingly, I was cut down from near 500 errors over a 10 hour period, to 1. With even more help, this time from a friend, I lowered the trc to 8 and the trcf to 10, and ran the test again with no errors.
The DFI UT Ultra-D is known for being picky with memory, so if you own one of these boards, you may have to do some simple tweaking. Crucial has one of these boards in their labs, and never experienced the same issues I have. Also, looking around the web, it seems I am the only person with this combo that encountered the problems. So, regardless of what the problem was, I found the perfectly stable setting was not 2-2-2-6 @ 2.8v, but 2-2-2-6-8-10 @ 2.7v. If you happen to have a similar set up as the one above, and encountered any of the similar problems I have, feel free to e-mail me and let me know, and I can add a quote to the review.
Here is a quick list of the configurations used throughout the review. We will get more into these later.
2-2-2-6 @ 2.5v / 200MHz, DDR400, 2.0GHz
1.5-2-2-6 @ 2.5v / 200MHz, DDR400, 2.0GHz
2-2-2-6 @ 2.8v / 218MHz, DDR436, 2.4GHz
1.5-2-2-6 @ 2.8v / 218MHz, DDR436, 2.4GHz
2.5-3-3-6 @ 2.8v / 229MHz, DDR458, 2.521GHz
2.5-2-3-6 @ 2.9v / 270MHz, DDR540, 2.7GHz
2.5-4-4-10 @ 3.2v / 260MHz, DDR520, 2.85GHz
2.5-4-4-10 @ 3.2v / 280MHz, DDR561, 2.80GHz