Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz DDR4 16GB Kit Review
   
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Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz DDR4 16GB Kit Review

July 25th, 2016 James Leave a comment Go to comments

Overview

 

Memory speeds in general are now faster than ever and more importantly cheaper and that’s good news for us Gamers. It’s also becoming more and more important to have your system memory speed match the rest of your system. This is especially true if you’ve got a new generation Graphics Card and your aiming for high frame rates (144Hz) this is because system memory speed is now beginning to play more of a part in overall system performance.

So over the next week or so we’ll take a look at a couple of high performance DDR4 memory modules from memory giant Crucial. The first one we will take a look at is the Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz 16GB Kit. This kit comprises of four 4GB modules that run at a XMP (eXtreme Memory Profile) speed of 3000MHz with Timings of 15-16-16-35 at 1.35v.

 

Crucial logo large
‘Winners and losers are often separated by fractions of a second. You pull the trigger first, and you win. That’s how it works when you’re using Ballistix Tactical DDR4 memory.

Engineered to deliver explosive speeds and lower latencies, Ballistix Tactical DDR4 is a big step up from standard gaming memory and allows you to strike first, faster, and more frequently than the opposition’

 

Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz - box front Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz - box back

 

Packaging is the now standard Memory/RAM affair (no scissors required) with all four modules arriving at pcG in a sealed clear plastic wallet.

 

Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz - box contents

 

On opening the wallet we find that the four modules themselves sit clipped into two separate plastic trays. Behind this tray there’s a cardboard Crucial folder that gives a basic guide on how to install the modules. And that’s it, nothing else, not even a sticker! For that I applaud you Crucial, I’m so fed up with everything coming with stickers… 😉

At the time of review the Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz 16GB Kit (BLT4C4G4D30AETA) is available from Amazon for approximately £145 and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

 

Specifications/Features

courtesy of Crucial

Series Ballistix Tactical
Memory Type DDR4
Capacity 16GB (4GBx4)
Multi-Channel Kit Dual Channel Kit
Tested Speed 3000MHz
Tested Latency 15-16-16-35-2N
Tested Voltage 1.35v
Registered/Unbuffered Unbuffered
Error Checking Non-ECC
SPD Speed 3000MHz
SPD Voltage 1.35v
Fan lncluded No
Height 37 mm
Warranty Limited Lifetime
Features Intel XMP 2.0 (Extreme Memory Profile) Ready

* Additional details available here

 

First Impressions

 

Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz

 

Not much has changed to the Tactical modules over the last year or so and the design remains basically unchanged. But it’s a decent looking module though with both a design, colour and height that will fit well within pretty much any rig. The modules according to Crucial are black, but in reality you can see they’re more of a gunmetal dark grey colour.

Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz - front

The design of the heat-spreader is the same both sides featuring a black PCB. The heatsink itself is angled and features indentations that graduate from left to right with the indentations going from large to small. The front of the heatsink also features a small (printed in white) Crucial logo on the left with a large Ballistix Tactical DDR4 in the centre.

Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz - back

The other side is effectively the same but this time there’s, unfortunately, are a couple of stickers. The one on the left seems to indicate very little apart from showing some part numbers, bar codes and made in China (no surprise there!). The one on the right shows us the model code the memory’s speed (3000MHz), the Timings 15-16-16-35 and the operating voltage 1.35v.

Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz - top

The top of the Crucial Ballistix Tactical module is actually quite smart and really adds to the memory’s aesthetic appeal. The two sides of the modules meet as they come together at the top, while the large oval cut-outs all line up together. The module height is also kept to a minimum measuring in at just 37mm high, meaning that should you be fitting a Air based CPU Cooler then you shouldn’t run into to any clearance issues.

 

Hardware Installation

 

Installation of the Crucial Ballistix Tactical modules couldn’t be easier as it is the same as installing any other memory modules. Just line up the slot in the Module with the key in the Motherboard DIMM slot and (carefully) push into place. Make sure the RAM can be secured by the clips, as this is a good way to know that the RAM modules have been pushed in far enough.

 

Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz - installed (above) Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz - installed (side)

 

The images above show that there’s plenty of clearance around the modules thanks to their relative low height (37mm) meaning that you are unlikely to run into any clearance issues with this Memory/RAM and an Air type CPU Cooler. As you can see our Noctua NH-U12S fitted with ease.

 

  • Test Rig Setup


Case Cooler Master HAF XB Power Supply Corsair AX760i 760W
Motherboard ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 GAMING K6 CPU Intel Core i5 6600K
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S RAM Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz 16GB Kit
Graphics Card EVGA GeForce GTX 980Ti Classified SSD HyperX FURY 120GB

 

Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz - defaults Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz - XMP settings

 

As you can see from the image above left the four Tactical 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 3000MHz.

 

Testing Methodology/Setup

 

The Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz 16GB Kit was tested on our new Z170 (Skylake) based platform shown above, using Windows 10 64Bit with all relevant Drivers installed. Prime95 (Blend) was used to test stability and the following benchmarks were also used.

 

Hardware Performance

 

Crucial 3000MHz - AIDA64

 

  • AIDA64 Benchmark Results
  • Memory Type Platform Read Write Copy Latency
    Patriot Viper DDR4 2400MHz 16GB Kit @ 15-15-15-35 DDR4 X99 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
    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
    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 in the benchmark results table for comparison purposes as obviously much has changed here for Z170 (new MB, new CPU and obviously new RAM). We’ve not yet seen any Memory/RAM here at pcG above 3000MHz and as we can see the Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz 16GB has topped our chart for a Z170 (Dual Channel) based test. With a Copy score of 41002 it narrowly beats the G.Skill Trident Z 3000MHz 16GB Kit, also note though that it has a far better latency of 50.9 ns compared to the G.Skill’s 53.2 ns. What we can also see is that this Z170 based setup still can’t catch the speed of the X99 quad channel setup, but it’s getting closer… 😉

     

  • Gaming Related Benchmarks (Z170)
  •  

    Memory 3DMark (FireStrike Extreme) Unigine Heaven Metro Last Light
    Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz 16GB 8206 1106 116.00
    G.Skill TridentZ 3000MHz 16GB 8037 1093 121.00
    Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 2400MHz 16GB 8001 1097 117.00
    G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4 2400MHz 8GB 8023 1097 117.00
    Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 2400MHz 32GB 8014 1090 117.00

     

    In recent testing and during Gaming using the pcG Test Rig we’ve seen that adding more memory can help when running higher resolutions such as 4K and Ultra Wide (3440×1440), we’ve also seen that that when running higher end Graphics Cards (especially the new GTX 1000 Series) faster memory can help especially when aiming for higher Frame Rates (144Hz). This is down to the fact that there’s now more asked of the MB/CPU/RAM subsystem; and this subsystem, if not up to the task can become a potential bottleneck.

    As you can see from the above chart performance does indeed increase in both 3DMark and Unigine Heaven, but is strangely down in Metro. I would say that this is down to an Nvidia Driver update more than anything else and can be treated as an anomaly in testing. The bottom line here is that if you’re planning a high end system with lots of GPU horsepower via a modern GPU or via two or more GPU’s then fast memory such as this is worth a look and 16GB should be the current sweet spot for price/performance.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Crucial have served up another great set of memory modules in the form of the Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz 16GB Kit. The kit offers great performance, good looks with a low profile but the price (at the time of review) is too high as there’s simply too much competition…

    Once out of the plastic wallet the four 4GB modules were found to be both smart and well made. The Ballistix Tactical modules themselves are black (well, very dark grey) and due to that are a good fit for most modern Rig builds. This is not only due to the colouring but also the CPU Cooler friendly height of just 37mm. Once installed the top of the modules also look quite smart although some LED lighting would be nice….

    Performance wise (when looking at AIDA64) the Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz 16GB kit puts in the best performance we’ve seen so far on our Z170 test platform. With an overall copy score of 41002 this 3000MHz kit comes close to matching the quad channel performance of an X99 platform. Now while we know that memory performance isn’t the ‘be all and end all’ of PC Gaming performance we have found in testing that the more you lean on your MB/CPU/RAM subsystem the more important it becomes.

    Therefore if you’re looking for some memory to compliment your latest Nvidia 1000 Series GPU, or your existingDual/Tri GPU setup then the Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz 16GB kit is a good choice for sure. But at the time of review the price (£145) seems too high, especially when some other 3000MHz 16GB are under £100 pounds…

     

    Verdict

    Please Share, Like & Comment below, we really value your thoughts and opinions…

    Design/Quality pcGameware awards the Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz 16GB Kit a Silver
    Performance
    Value
    Overall

     

    Many thanks to Crucial for providing this sample for review

     


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