Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 8GB Memory Kit Review
Where once stood a giant in the world of DIMMs, now stands an even bigger giant in the world of SSD. That’s not to say Crucial don’t make DIMMs anymore, if that were the case we wouldn’t have these would we? Here is the Crucial Ballistx Sport XT 8GB Kit (BLS2C4G3D18ADS3CEU). This particular kit consists of two 4GB DDR3 DIMMs with a speed of 1866MHz at a latency of 10-10-10-30 and a big metallic blue heat spreader to help enable better thermal performance.
‘Ballistix Sport XT Modules: Aggressive performance.
Available as an option within the Ballistix Sport series, Sport XT memory offers faster and more aggressive performance. Designed for gamers who are comfortable changing BIOS settings to unleash their memory’s full potential, Sport XT modules offer blazing-fast DDR3 speeds up to 1866MHz and are available in higher 4GB and 8GB densities. With an expanded heat spreader that offers more surface area for heat dissipation, Sport XT modules enable better thermal performance. Coupled with an aggressive design and XMP profiles for easy configuration in Intel®-supported systems, Sport XT modules deliver no-hassle performance so you can own your opponents.’
The Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 8GB Ram Kit arrived in a fairly plain and simple clear plastic blister. As a result you can clearly see the DIMM sticks inside. The only branding and giveaway of the package contents is by way of a small sticker in the top left corner.
I’d assume the cardboard slip inside the blister is generic of the Crucial brand as in no less than eight different languages are brief descriptions for the other Ballistix DDR range.
Upon opening the clear plastic blister we gain a closer look at the Crucial Ballistix Sport XT, which is cuurently available in 8GB(2x4GB) and 16GB(2x8GB) kits with speeds of 1600MHz or 1866MHz. Our review sample is of course the 8GB(2x4GB) 1866MHz kit (just in case you didn’t read the title 😉 ).
As per the norm with DIMM kits these days, there isn’t a whole lot by way of contents. Two large metallic blue DDR3 sticks and that’s it.
At the time of writing, the Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 8GB Kit is available for £67.36 on Amazon and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
courtesy of Crucial
- Performance memory for gamers and enthusiasts
- Tall, aggressive heat spreader
- XMP profile for advanced speeds and timings
- Premium-quality DRAM
|Series||BallistiX Sport XT|
|Capacity||8GB (2 x 4GB) Kit|
|Multi-Channel Kit||Dual Channel Kit|
|height||46 mm / 1.81 inch|
|Warranty||Limited Lifetime Warranty|
|Features||Intel XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) Ready|
I’m not one for blue PC components, but the metallic azure blue heatsinks of the Ballistix Sport XT finned do look good.
The pyramid comb fin styling of the Ballistix Sport XT with the beautiful blue finish look good. They wouldn’t match in with every rig colour scheme, but would be a perfect fit with the likes of an ASRocks Z97 Extreme series based one. My only slight disappointment aesthetically is the green PCB, but it isn’t like we’re going to see them after installation. The front of the DIMMs look simple and uncomplicated, but without looking plain or boring. In all four corners (more or less) are textured metallic accents that follow the design of the heat spreader. Right in the dead centre in gunmetal grey print, is the Ballistix Sport brand name and to the left of this the Crucial logo.
How about the back of the fins? Well unsurprisingly they are identical, bar the specifications and product number stickers.
Installing the Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 8GB Ram Kit into our Test Rig was as easy as ever. The DIMMs measure a maximum height of 46mm and I had no issues with our test cooler the Raijintek Themis, which should mean you are unlikely to have issues with other CPU coolers either.
- Test Rig Setup
|Case||Cooler Master HAF XB||Power Supply||Corsair AX760i|
|Motherboard||MSI Z87-G45 GAMING||CPU||Intel Core i5-4670K|
|CPU Cooler||Raijintek Themis||RAM||Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 8GB Ram Kit|
|Graphics Card||MSI AMD Radeon R9 290 Gaming 4G||SSD||HyperX Fury 120GB|
The Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 8GB Ram Kit was tested as part of our normal Test Rig, using Windows 7 64Bit (Service Pack 1) with all relevant Drivers installed. Prime95 (Blend) was used to test stability and the following benchmarks were also used.
|Kingston HyperX Beast 8GB 2400MHz @ 11-13-13-30||35815||37514||34726||46.8 ns|
|G.Skill Sniper 8GB 2400MHz @ 11-13-13-31||35792||37453||34135||47.6 ns|
|Patriot Viper 16GB 2400MHz @ 11-13-13-31||35734||37212||34325||48.7 ns|
|Avexir Blitz 1.1 Original 8GB 2400MHz @ 10-12-12-31||34247||35303||31127||46.7 ns|
|Crucial Ballistix XT Sport 8GB 1866MHz @ 10-10-10-30||27868||28765||26482||53.2 ns|
|HyperX Fury 8GB 1866MHz @ 10-10-10-28||26870||27494||24500||55.8 ns|
|Avexir Core 8GB 1600MHz @ 9-9-9-24||23134||23751||21781||58.9 ns|
As you can see from the images above, AIDA64 shows the throughput and latency of the Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 8GB Ram Kit and that it is the fastest 1866MHz kit we’ve tested on our current test rig, in fact comparing them to the HyperX Fury 8GB Kit, shows they are by a fare margin. Which I find a little odd given given their slightly looser timings (tRAS 30 vs 28, lower is usually better).
|Crucial Ballistix XT Sport 8GB 1866MHz @ 10-10-10-30||27868||28765||26482||53.2 ns|
|Crucial Ballistix XT Sport 4GB 1866MHz @ 10-10-10-30||14223||14642||14577||53.3 ns|
For comparison sake we also recorded the benchmark results in for the Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 8GB kit as a single 4GB DIMM. Just to show how much of a benefit a dual channel kit is (whilst benchmarking at least 😉 ).
To give us some idea of the effect the increase in memory speed and capacity has on Gaming, the benchmarks below have been run at with both a single 4GB DIMM and as a dual channel 8GB kit. The Crucial Ballistix Sport XT were run at their native 1866MHz speed, whilst our test RAM the Kingston HyperX Beast were run on their 2400MHz XMP profile. Let’s see how it goes!
TEST SYSTEM: MSI Z87 G45/ Intel Core i5-4670K/ MSI R9 290 Gaming 4G (1007MHz Core/5000MHz Memory)
|Memory||3DMark (FireStrike)||Batman Arkham Origins||Tomb Raider||Unigine Heaven||Metro Last Light|
|Kingston HyperX Beast 8GB 2400MHz @ 11-13-13-31||9071||146||79.90||1342||77.00|
|Crucial Ballistix XT Sport 8GB 1866MHz @ 10-10-10-30||8953||146||79.70||1333||73.20|
|Kingston HyperX Beast 4GB 2400MHz @ 11-13-13-31||8938||146||79.80||1330||73.50|
|Crucial Ballistix XT Sport 4GB 1866MHz @ 10-10-10-30||8949||145||79.50||1325||72.88|
The results show that the synthetic benchmark results do show an increase in performance for both the higher capacity and the higher MHz, but do we play benchmarks? So checking through the Gaming benchmarks we can see that surprisingly there is not a huge difference in performance. Perhaps we don’t actually need high speed RAM or the extra capacity after all????
Through the door at pcG arrived a small package containing the reasonably well packaged Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 8GB Kit. The packaging itself was nothing too glitzy or anything to shout home about, but did show off the DIMMs inside well.
The RAM sticks themselves looked very clean with their metallic azure blue heat spreaders which I personally liked, but given every motherboard manufacturers shift away from blue to red and black, you may find it difficult to co-ordinate with the rest of your rig. Of course looking at it from a different perspective (see our Test Rig photos above), you could argue they actually stand out very nicely.
Performance wise the Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 8GB performed well, even beating our previous top performing 1866MHz RAM, the HyperX Fury. Surprisingly throughout the Gaming benchmarks they even gave our fastest RAM, the HyperX Beast a run for their money and they were set at 2400MHz via XMP, perhaps even more surprising was how little difference in performance between a single 4GB DIMM and the full 8GB kit!
We’ve known the sweet spot for DDR3 to be 8GB with 1866MHz for some time now, but it’s been proven over and over again, that any more than 1866MHz and you gain very little (if any!) benefit, it makes you wonder if us Gamers really need more than 4GB?
Then we have the pricing. At just shy of £70.00, they are pretty much the same value as any other 8GB 1866MHz DDR3 kit currently available. I really can’t see any reason not to recommend the Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 8GB Kit, just as long as you like the look of them and they fit in with your rig! 😉
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Where possible we always use Amazon’s price for Value…
Many thanks to Crucial for providing this sample for review