Ballistix Elite 3466MHz 16GB Kit Review
Once again I find myself in the safe hands of Ballistix, a name undeniably synonymous with Memory/RAM and a company with which pcG has long been associated with. Over the years we’ve seen various RAM kits from Crucial and Ballistix from DDR3 through to DDR4 and from 1600MHz through to kits running at an impressive 3200MHz. But this 3200MHz is about to pale into insignificance as today I will be taking a look at the Ballistix Elite 3466MHz 16GB Kit (BLE2C8G4D34AEEAK).
This particular (PC4-27700) 16GB Kit comprises of x2 8GB modules with Timings of 16-18-18-36. Modules in the Elite range are available in single sticks from 4GB and Kits up to 32GB with speeds from 2666MHz up to 3466MHz.
As you can see the Ballistix Elite modules arrived at pcG in their customary see through packaging. The advantage of Ballistix’s plastic packaging is that you can view the product inside before opening. There is a sticker on the front which tells us that we have a DDR4 16GB Kit (x2 8GB modules) with a rated speed of 3466MHz with the modules requiring a voltage of 1.35v.
With the packaging open we find that the pair of modules sit in a separate plastic blister. There is no need for scissors, penknives or lengthy trips to A & E as the packaging simply pops open and the inside blister is like an open tray. Looking at the cardboard insert that is inside the packaging. The featured information is all about the other Memory products in the Ballistix range. In eight different languages we can see that there is a Sport Series, Tactical Series and this the Elite Series. Apart from this there’s little else to be found here.
At the time of review, the Ballistic Elite DDR4 3466MHz 16GB Kit (BLE2C8G4D34AEEAK) is available from Amazon for approximately £178.00 and comes with a lifetime warranty.
courtesy of Ballistix
Form Factor: UDIMM
Capacity: 16GB kit (8GBx2)
Warranty: Limited Lifetime
Specs: DDR4 PC4-27700 • 16-18-18 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR4-3466 • 1.35V • 1024Meg x 64 •
Series: Ballistix Elite
Kit Quantity: 2
Speed: 3466 MT/S
DIMM Type: Unbuffered
Ballistix Elite Series Memory
Approximately 5.25 in. by 1.56 in. (133.35 mm by 40 mm)
Outplay. Outmatch. Outlast. The future of performance memory is here.
To max out performance in the final days of DDR3 technology, you needed the right processor, the right motherboard, a PhD in overclocking, and the willingness to surrender everything in your wallet. Not anymore. Feed your multi-cores and draw upon some of the fastest speeds and bandwidths available with Ballistix Elite DDR4 memory.
Outplay. Open fire with advanced speeds
While your opponents fight petty with slower DDR3 memory, obliterate them with DDR4 speeds starting at 2666 MT/s. Alongside these speed gains, draw on the improved responsiveness, increased frame rates, and optimized latencies of Ballistix Elite DDR4 technology and revel in an unreal gaming experience.
Outmatch. Subjugate the opposition with 21.3 GB/s bandwidth
Flood your memory bandwidth and process more gigabytes per second at rates that are nearly impossible to achieve with DDR3 memory. Leveraging the faster burst access speeds that are only possible on DDR4 architecture, Ballistix Elite DDR4 maximizes performance with four channel memory.
Outwork. Push your memory to the edge – using less power
Ballistix Elite DDR4 memory leverages the latest advancements in efficiency technology and is engineered to run at lower voltages for inherent energy gains. Armed with a thermal sensor and our high-end Ballistix M.O.D. Utility for real-time temperature monitoring, Ballistix Elite DDR4 wrings up to 40% more power efficiency out of your memory.
Outlast. Micron® quality: Pro gamer reliability
As the only major gaming brand that’s built and tested from start to finish as part of a major memory manufacturer, Ballistix DRAM delivers a higher level of performance than regular PC gaming memory. For more than 35 years, we’ve engineered old-school DDR memory all the way to Ballistix DDR4 modules, which empower the future of gaming performance. Backed by competitive warranties, a hardcore community of fans, and a dedicated gamer support team, Ballistix memory is ready to take your in-game performance to the next level.
First impressions of the Ballistix Elite modules are really very good, as I very much like the rugged, purposeful design that looks like it’s built to last. They’re also a good size, not what you’d call Low Profile but at 40mm they’re not too tall either and should fit in with most air cooled builds without issue. They’re also black (obviously) with a black PCB so will likely fit ion with almost and Rig build colour scheme.
As you can see from the image above the design is very rugged with lots of metal featuring in the design. In the centre of what I would call the front we find an inlaid strip that features the Crucial logo (in white) on the left and the Ballistix Elite DDR4 moniker on the right, also in white. The opposite side of the module (the back) is pretty much the same; we have the same Crucial logo on the left but the right hand side of the module is now (disappointingly) adorned with information stickers. These identify both the part number, the memory’s speed (3466MHz), Timings (16-18-18-36) and operating voltage (1.35V).
The top of the modules are particularly smart IMHO and is what most of us will likely see most of the time. The modules from this angle look very purposeful with their rugged design with a centrally mounted Ballistix Elite DDR4 logo. But hold on is this logo not printed the wrong way around… 😮
Installing the Ballistix Elite modules is as simple as installing any other memory modules. Just line up the slot in the connector to the motherboard DIMM slot and carefully push into place. In the image below the Elite modules are shown installed in the Asus Z270I as they were used in our recent ITX build inside the BitFenix Portal Case. But all of our speed/stability testing was done aboard our standard Test Rig listed below.
- Test Rig Setup
|Case||SilverStone Primera PM01||Power Supply||SilverStone ST60F-ES230 600W Strider|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 GAMING K6||CPU||Intel Core i5-6600K|
|CPU Cooler||ID-Cooling FrostFlow 120||RAM||Ballistix Elite DDR4 3466MHz 16GB Kit|
|Graphics Card||Asus GTX 1080Ti “Founders Edition”||SSD (M.2)||Samsung SM951 512GB|
I had no problems when booting up my Test Rig and after an initial boot I went into the ASRock UEFI to check the Ballistix Elite settings. As you can see from the first screenshot (below) the two modules were in RAM slots A2 and B2 and were running at their default speed of 2133MHz and not they’re rated maximum of 3466MHz.
As you can see from the image above left the two 8GB Elite modules defaulted to a speed of 2133MHz. This is normal as it is the nominal maximum speed recommended by Intel, everything from here on up is regarded as an Overclock.
The image above right shows what happens after enabling the XMP 2.0 setting (Profile 1) in the UEFI of our ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K6 motherboard. The memory is now running at its rated maximum speed of 3466MHz at 1.35v, perfect. 🙂
The Ballistix Elite DDR4 3466MHz 16GB Kit was tested on our ASRock based Z170 platform, using Windows 10 Home 64Bit (fully updated) with all relevant Drivers installed. Prime95 (Blend) was used to test stability and the following benchmarks were also used.
|Patriot Viper DDR4 2400MHz 16GB Kit @ 15-15-15-35||DDR4||X99 (Quad)||40550||37050||45891||71.9 ns|
|G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4 2400MHz 16GB Kit @ 15-15-15-35||DDR4||X99 (Quad)||40502||36974||45615||72.0 ns|
|Ballistix Elite 3466MHz 16GB @ 16-18-18-36||DDR4||Z170||46843||50442||44068||46.6 ns|
|Crucial Ballistix Elite 3200MHz 16GB @ 16-18-18-36||DDR4||Z170||43686||47800||42689||51.8 ns|
|Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz 16GB @ 15-16-16-35||DDR4||Z170||41771||45168||41002||50.9 ns|
|G.Skill TridentZ DDR4 3000MHz 16GB @ 15-16-16-35||DDR4||Z170||42559||44605||40599||53.2 ns|
|Ballistix Sport LT 2666MHz 16GB @ 16-18-18-36||DDR4||Z170||36224||38966||35221||58.9 ns|
|Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 16GB Kit @ 16-16-16-39||DDR4||Z170||34023||36352||33339||60.6 ns|
|Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 2400MHz 32GB @ 16-16-16-39||DDR4||Z170||32559||35683||33263||67.3 ns|
|Crucial Ballistix Elite DDDR4 2666MHz 16GB Kit @ 16-17-17-36||DDR4||X99||35829||19186||32148||73.9 ns|
|Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR3 2133MHz 16GB Kit @ 9-11-11-31||DDR3||Z97||32180||33437||31298||48.9 ns|
|G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4 2400MHz 8GB Kit @ 15-15-15-35||DDR4||Z170||34439||35588||31274||55.3 ns|
|HyperX Savage DDR3 2400MHz 8GB @ 11-13-14-32||DDR3||Z97||33409||34811||29523||48.9 ns|
|Avexir Raiden Series DDR3 2133MHz 8GB Kit @ 9-11-10-27||DDR3||Z97||30478||31445||28178||48.9 ns|
I have left the DDR3 RAM results and the X99 and Quad Channel based results in the benchmark table above for comparison purposes as obviously much has changed here for Z170 (new MB, new CPU and obviously new RAM). As you can see from the table above we find the Ballistix Elite 3466MHz 16GB Kit right at the top of the chart with only the X99 based Quad Channel kits putting in a better performance. It’s also worth noting the Latency of just 46.6ns the lowest Latency we have ever seen regardless of platform. In fact I was so shocked I had to rerun the test a few times just to prove my findings, and I did.
|Memory||3DMark (FireStrike Extreme)||Unigine Heaven||Metro Last Light|
|Ballistix Elite 3466MHz 16GB||8042||1098||120.00|
|G.Skill TridentZ 3000MHz 16GB||8037||1093||121.00|
|Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 2400MHz 16GB||8001||1097||117.00|
|Ballistix Sport LT 2666MHz 16GB||8021||1090||118.00|
|G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4 2400MHz 8GB||8023||1097||117.00|
|Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 2400MHz 32GB||8014||1090||117.00|
Does more memory (over 8GB) and or faster memory mean you will get better FPS in Games? Well, we’ve looked at this before and as a rule of thumb it’s safer to say No rather than Yes! Why? As you can see from the above tests, in the pure Gaming tests (Unigine & Metro) there’s no discernible difference between these Ballistix 3466MHz modules and our regular test 2400MHz modules (within reason). And, it makes no difference whether your using 8GB, 16GB or 32GB!
But. We need to be careful here: In more recent testing I have seen more system memory used when running at higher resolutions (Ultra Wide (3440×1440) & 4K (3840×2160)) with high levels of detail in Game. Therefore if you’re planning on playing at these extreme resolutions then 16GB or more is your best bet!
The Ballistix Elite 3466MHz 16GB Kit is easy to recommend to anyone looking for a high speed 16GB (x2 8GB) kit. The memory modules look good, will fit in within any rig build and are built like a tank. Add to this the fastest performance we have ever seen and we have a real force to be reckoned with…
The Ballistix Elite 3466MHz 16GB modules arrived at pcGameware in the (now standard) plastic wallet, with no scissors required to get at the modules within! Once out of the packaging it was obvious that these Elite modules are built to last. The build quality is simply excellent with the modules themselves having a very rugged feel to them. Being black also means that they’re likely to fit in with almost any Rig build and that’s always good.
Installation was, as you would expect, a breeze and the PC booted first time without issue. As is the norm once booted with ‘Load Optimized Defaults’ the Elite memory modules were, by default, running at the Intel maximum speed of 2133MHz. Setting the XMP profile in the UEFI to Profile 1 then, after a reboot, forced the modules to run at their Maximum speed of 3466MHz at 1.35v. Easy eh…
It’s easy to get excited by the performance that the Ballistix Elite modules demonstrate as they are the fastest modules that we have yet seen here at pcG. They also seem to have a phenomenally low Latency of just 46.6ns. But in Gaming and in real world benchmarks such as Ungine Heaven and Metro having this speed memory still has very little impact of overall Gaming performance.
The Ballistix Elite modules were already good, they are well designed look good and built like a tank. With the bump up to 3466MHz they are now some of the fastest modules on the market and the price seems pretty fair too.
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Many thanks to Ballistix for providing this sample for review