Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer DDR3 1866MHz 8GB Kit Review
First RAM review for me coming up, and I’ve been given some really cool RAM to test. The Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer memory has LEDs across the top and along the bottom edge, these are going to look cool! The kit is comprised of 2x4GB DIMMs with a native speed of 1866MHz, latency timings of 9-9-9-27.
I’m looking forward to see what this RAM looks like running in my rig!
‘Crucial — Quality you can depend on.
Crucial is a trusted name when it comes to DRAM, and that’s no coincidence. As a brand of Micron, one of the largest manufacturers of DRAM in the world, we work with our engineers to design, refine, test, manufacture, and support our extensive line of memory modules. To ensure that you get a reliable memory upgrade, we test every single Ballistix Tactical Tracer module in our Systems Compatibility Group to make certain that it meets our exacting specifications. If it doesn’t meet or exceed the performance levels that we advertise, then it doesn’t leave our doors. Tactical Tracer DDR3 modules are available in the most popular densities and are backed by a limited lifetime warranty.’
The Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer 1866MHz 8GB Kit arrived to me in the familiar Crucial clear plastic wallet (2x4GB installed). Being transparent allows us to see the DIMMs inside. The front of each pack features a sticker giving us the model name, specifications and tells us the DIMMs are DDR3.
On the back of the pack we can see a black card giving a brief description of each of the Crucial Ballistix range and the Crucial web address, inside this card there’s pictorial instructions on Module installation.
Contents wise, there’s not much to see. Just the DIMMs and an installation guide.
At the time of review, the Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer DDR3 1866MHz 8GB Kit (BLT2CP4G3D1869DT2TXRGCEU) is available from Amazon
for £75.86 offering a lifetime warranty.
courtesy of Crucial
Module Size: 8GB Kit (4GBx2)
Specs: DDR3 PC3-14900 • 9-9-9-27 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR3-1866 • 1.5V • 512Meg x 64 •
Series: Ballistix Tactical
Part number: BLT2CP4G3D1869DT2TXRGCEU
Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer Memory
Features and benefits
- Designed for performance enthusiasts, gamers and case modders
- Enhanced heat spreader
- On-the-fly customisable activity LEDs
- Thermal sensor allows real-time temperature monitoring
- Custom Ballistix M.O.D. utility to change LEDs, and monitor temperature
- Advanced speeds and timings (XMP Profile)
- Premium quality DRAM
- Black PCB
- Proven stability and reliability
- Crucial: a trusted name in memory
- Limited lifetime warranty
More to love.
We’re upping the ante on our Ballistix Tactical Series memory. Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer memory delivers advanced speeds and timings, activity-indicating LEDs on the top edge and ground-effect LEDS along the bottom, and support for temperature sensor and M.O.D. utilities along with an integrated heat spreader. It’s the memory for serious gaming
The Ballistix Tactical Tracer is all about customisation. These modules are available in either orange/blue and red/green colour combinations. By utilizing our custom programmed Ballistix Memory Overview Display (M.O.D.) utility, you can manipulate the dual-colour LEDS in real time and switch between colour options. In addition,select from four different LED patterns, adjust brightness, or turn the LEDs on/off.
The Crucial Ballistix M.O.D. utility allows you to view uptime, voltages, and set alarms for temperatures, making it one of the most customisable, responsive modules you’ll find. In addition to the LED light controls, this tool also lets you enjoy real-time temperature monitoring, so you can keep tabs on your high-performance memory.
Ballistix Tactical Tracer modules are available in 2GB and 4GB module densities running at speeds up to DDR3-1866MHz. With lower latencies, they also support the latest Intel® and AMD® platforms. At Crucial, each one of our Ballistix modules passes rigorous testing to meet or exceed specifications. Price competitive, high quality,and reliable, Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer modules are backed by a limited lifetime warranty* and outstanding service and support.
Light up your gaming experience with the new Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer!
My first impression of the Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer 8Gb Kit is very good. Each of the DIMMs feature black PCBs with gold contact points. On each side of the DIMM there are Heat spreader plates (as opposed to a complete cover) which are branded Ballistix and look almost camo in style, the tops of these plates feature angled oval cut outs along the length of the plate to make the most of those great Tracer LEDs. These DIMMS look mighty cool!
In the top of the DIMMS we see the LEDs mounted on the boards, the general styling here is VERY gamer and although you won’t be seeing much of the front of them when installed, I’m glad to see some effort put in to making these DIMMS desirable.
Installing the Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer DIMMS is simplicity itself and the only real worry is getting them in the right way round so that the notch in them lines up with the tab on the DIMM slot. The DIMMS themselves are not quite low enough to fit under the fan of my Rajintek Themis cooler. On my test rig the DIMM slot closest to the fan is just in front of the fan anyway, so the DIMM fits, with another cooler this might not be the case. This was interesting as when I first looked at them I assumed they would fit fine! I guess this is down to those stylised Heatspreader plate tops (designed to show off the LEDs).
I think if I lifted my fan on it’s mountings a little I could just about get the DIMM under it, but I’d be worried about vibration noise.
- Test Rig Setup
|Case||Cooler Master HAF XB||Power Supply||Corsair AX760i|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer||CPU||Intel Core i5-4690K CPU|
|CPU Cooler||Rajintek Themis||RAM||Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer 8GB 1866MHz Kit|
|Graphics Card||XFX R9 290X Black DD Edition||SSD||HyperX FURY 120GB SSD|
I had no issue booting my Test Rig and everything worked a treat out the box. After an initial boot I went and checked the DRAM settings in my ASROCK UEFI BIOS and made sure that the “XMP 1.3 Profile 1” was selected and that the timings of 9-9-9-27 lined up with the DIMMs specified timings. All good here, so lets get on with some testing.
Those Tracer LEDs!
Of course the first thing you’ll notice when you first power on your Rig is the Tracer LEDs on the modules.
There are two sets of LEDs on the Tracer modules, activity LEDs which run along the top of the DIMMs and show memory activity, and the Running LEDs that are LEDs running along the bottom edge of the DIMMs that light down onto your motherboard almost like neon under modded cars!
These LEDs can be set to many differing configurations using a downloadable utility called the Ballistix MOD (Memory Overview Display).
This utility allows you to configure 4 activity light patterns, adjust the brightness of the LEDs (although it’s a sliding scale there only seems to be one setting at each end bright and dim) and to select the colours of the Activity and Running LEDs, these can be switched from either Red to Green, or Orange to Blue (depending on which modules you buy).
I felt it would be easier to understand the MOD utility if you could see it in action, so I made this small video to demo it.
We at pcG also received a second lower speed (1600Mhz) 8GB Tactical Tracer Kit from Crucial. These were Orange/Blue DIMMs and I just couldn’t resist installing all of the Modules into the Rig together to see what it would look like. The results look lovely, these modules are really VERY cool!
The Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer 8GB Kit was tested on our standard 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.
|HyperX Savage DDR3 2400MHz 8GB @ 11-13-14-32||33409||34811||29523||48.9 ns|
|Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer DDR3 1866MHz 8GB Kit @ 9-9-9-27||27733||29134||27014||53.3 ns|
Some interesting results from AIDA here with the figures showing that the Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer are running at 83% the speed of the HyperX Savage, which is interesting based on the Crucial MHZ ratings being approx 78% of the HyperX, its got to be all down to the tighter timings on the Crucial Ballistix.
To give us some idea of the effect of Speed over timings ratings on actual Gaming, we’ve run the benchmarks below on both the Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer and our HyperX Savage test memory. The Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer was run at its full rated speed of 1866MHz, whilst our DDR3 test RAM, the Kingston HyperX Savage kit was run using their 2400MHz XMP profile. Let’s see how they compare!
TEST SYSTEM: ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer/ Intel Core i5-4690K/ XFX R9 290X Black DD Edition
|Memory||3DMark (FireStrike)||Batman Arkham Origins||Tomb Raider||Unigine Heaven||Metro Last Light|
|HyperX Savage DDR3 2400MHz 8GB||9640||178||86.9||1417||80.67|
|Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer DDR3 1866MHz 8GB||9638||176||86.9||1418||80.67|
As can be seen from the above benchmarks, increasing your memory speed doesn’t necessarily mean that your games will run faster. Memory is probably one of the least impacting components you will have in your rig from a gaming point of view (as long as you get some reasonably good RAM that is). So we shouldn’t go chasing frame rate by buying faster and faster ram.
The Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer 8GB Kit kit arrived to me in a typical clear plastic wallet that protects the DIMMs and shows them off well. This especially important with the styling of the Heat Spreaders on these DIMMs.
Design wise the memory was very nicely presented and both sets of LEDs really made the inside of my rig glow! Okay so I realise that LEDs make no difference to the performance of the memory, but we have to be honest here, we all like a bit of bling in our rigs don’t we? The only issue I could see was the slightly tall heat spreaders that may cause installation problems with other coolers so caution should be used to check for available space.
Performance wise the Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer 8GB Kit did very well indeed, giving some very good AIDA timings in relation to the faster speed HyperX Savage memory, this down to it’s tighter timings.
From a gaming point of view there really was no discernible difference between the two kits, which re-affirms my personal view that speed isn’t everything and that timings are also key to note. It seems a standard that the faster the modules the looser the timings, so what you gain in one you lose in the other, and that when it comes down to it, buying slightly slower speed memory, with tighter timings, usually gives a good balance of cost against performance.
With a retail price of £75.86, the Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer 8GB Kit is very reasonably priced especially if you take into account how cool the LED system on them is, and those nice tight timings.
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Many thanks to Crucial for providing this sample for review