About a month and a half ago Crucial reached out to me about an upcoming update to their product stack. They were looking at updating their Ballistix Sport LT lineup with 3200MHz models and they wanted me to check them out. They sent over two engineering samples, one of their 8GB single rank kits and a 16GB dual ranked kit, both in dual channel for total capacities of 16GB and 32GB. They wanted notes on their new kits and some independent testing. Well, I did both and sent it over and they recently reached out to let me know that those same kits are now going out to the market. So today I’m going to check out the new kits and see how they perform.
Product Name: Ballistix Sport LT 3200 MHz
Review Samples Provided by: Crucial
Written by: Wes Compton
Pictures by: Wes Compton
Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE
The new Ballistix kits come in the same clamshell trays that Crucial and most memory manufacturers have been using for years. They let you see the kit inside and in this case you can also see the sticker that has all of the kits timing and speed information. Crucial has their sport branding across the front that is on top of a diamond plate background.
Around on the back, they do show that they have three product lines, the Elite, Tactical, and the Sport. They are in order from fastest to slowest or from least affordable to most affordable. The sport kits also are known for having more color options. They actually have a nice breakdown on their website HERE. There isn’t too much information here though beyond the Ballistix social media pages down at the bottom.
Inside of the tray, you can see there are notches designed to lock the memory in place to keep it safe and looking good in the transparent packaging. Our samples were engineering samples so it is hard to say if they ship with anything else, but in my experience, there isn’t much of a need for other documentation other than maybe a small paper that has warranty information.
While performance is important, to a lot of people shopping for memory aesthetics are just as if not more important. Especially with a lot of people sorting by lowest price once they pick out the clock speeds that they prefer. This is the area where I think the Sport LT 3200 kits are lacking. Part of me loves their look, but more in a nostalgic way. This is because I don’t feel like the Ballistix Sport kits have changed for a while now.
The big thing for me is keeping in mind what you will actually see when you have the kit installed in most builds and that is a top-down view. The current heatspreader design has that blade shape but even with the small bend on the top edge when you look down on the kit all you don’t see much. Corsair, G-Skill, HyperX, and other brands all wrap their heatspreaders around the top or fill in the gap with something. In fact, just looking right now at Newegg you can’t find a 3200MHz 2x32GB kit without that aesthetic. This is where the Tactical Tracer RGB really excelled, they filled in the top of the memory, in addition to the obvious lighting and the customization (which was my favorite part). So that would be my big suggestion for improvement, wrapping the heatspreader up around the top so it is more visible like HyperX kits and some Corsair kits or filling the gap in with a non-backlit plastic or metal bar like G-Skill and some Corsair kits would be huge.
Beyond that the grey anodized finish is a good choice, it will go with any build especially with most motherboards going more color neutral and using lighting for color choice. The white kit also fits this theme as well but I feel like a black kit is missing. It could even replace the red kit which I would imagine is losing popularity now that most motherboards have been moving away from the red and black theme. The digital camo on the sides is a little dated as well. A cleaner look with just the Ballistix logo on a solid color or etched into the heatspreader would look great.
Before getting into the performance I do want to point out my overclocking experience with the two kits. Interesting enough the experience was different from both kits. To keep things consistent I set my overclocking goals. I didn’t want to run at higher than 1.45 volts on the memory and I wanted to stick with the XMP profile timings, for both of the Sport LT kits that was 16-18-18-36. From there I was looking to see what I could safely turn each kit up to for clock speeds.
With the 2x16GB Sport LT kit, I started at 3600Mhz and booted up into windows. With that in mind, I went ahead and jumped up to 3800Mhz and wasn’t able to boot at all. I think tried 3733Mhz, I was able to boot into windows here as well so I attempted my testing but right away in my first test the PC crashed. I dropped back down to 3600Mhz again, this time booting into windows and jumping into my testing to see if it would be stable. This ended up working out, being my most stable clock at 1.45v and with the XMP timings.
For the 2x32Gb kit, I did the same thing only this time I started higher than I did with the 16gb kit. My first run was at 3733Mhz where I was able to boot before but not test. I got into windows and ran my first test without any trouble. With that in mind, I backed out and bumped the clocks up to 3800Mhz. Again windows booted and I was successful with my first test. I backed out and aimed for 4000Mhz at 1.45v but at that clock speed, the PC wouldn’t boot. I went back down to 3800Mhz and finished my testing to confirm that it was stable and it was.
For performance testing, I ran through a few of my preferred memory benchmarks. My favorite is AIDA64’s memory and cache benchmark. In that test, I focused on the read, write, copy, and latency tests. I ran this same test on the Kingston HyperX Predator 3000Mhz kit that we run in our test bench normally as a baseline. Then I ran all of our tests again on both Sport LT kits at XMP speeds and again with each kits max overclock speed. This brought a few interesting results. As you can see below, both kits responded very well with their overclocks, for example, the 2x32gb Sport LT kit saw a read speed improvement of just over 14%. The write speeds on that same overclock were a little less stellar, I think that overclock was pushing the limits at that voltage a little too much. The 2x16 kit was actually faster when overclocked. The latency results were even better though, the overclocks showed a big improvement over the stock speeds. When comparing the Sport LT to the HyperX kit, the 3200MHz clocks on both put the 2x26 kit on par and had the 2x32gb kit above the HyperX kit.
In Cinebench R15, this isn’t a memory specific benchmark. I just wanted to take a look at how the different memory capacities and speeds might change the CPU performance in both single and multi-CPU configurations. The overclocked 32gb kit showed that you can push too far, but the 16gb kit showed that you can see a big improvement with an overclock. The same goes for bumping up from the 16gb kit to 32gb kit at XMP speeds.
In Passmark’s Performance Test 9 I ran the full ram benchmark to get the overall Memory Mark score. Here the overclocked 32gb kit really pulled ahead. This benchmark does favor higher memory capacities to a point, that is why the 16GB kit didn’t do as well. But look at the Predator results compared to the 32gb Sport LT kit. Their memory threaded test did especially well when overclocked.
Lastly, I went to a classic, MaxxMEM² is a memory benchmark that overclockers like to run. I ran all three results and it is a similar benchmark to what AIDA64 runs. Here the overclocks made for less of a difference, it favors timings more than clock speeds.
While overclock testing the 32GB kit at 3800MHz I did do an AIDA64 memory stress test and get a few thermal shots. With the exception of the warm spot on the right side of the side, the memory ran especially cool. Most of the heat was coming out the top, not out of the heatspreaders.
Overall and Final Verdict
This isn’t the first 3200MHz design that Crucial has brought out in their Ballistix lineup. But I am happy to see them finally bringing 3200MHz into their cheaper Sport LT lineup. I think most people are looking in the 3200MHz range for mid-range to budget builds, especially with Ryzen being so dependent on memory clock speeds for performance. The two kits that they sent over performed as you would expect for a 3200MHz kit with a CAS Latency of 16. I was also happy to see that there is some room left for overclocking, even at our modest test setting of 1.35 volts.
My only complaint with the kits was more with the overall design of the Sport LT lineup in that their cooler design is starting to feel a little dated. Specifically wrapping the heatspreader around on to the top would be nice, most builds that is the only part you can even see. I also don’t particularly like the digital camo. But I do like that they have grey and also white kits. The red I don’t care as much about, but bringing in a nice black heatspreader version would be a nice addition that stays color neutral to match most of today's hardware.
While I think the aesthetics are starting to get a little dated. They do still have a cleaner look than any of the other kits on the low end of pricing when it comes to both the 2x16GB and 2x8GB kits that I tested. Kits like the Ripjaws are a little too aggressive with their heatspreader designs.
As for pricing, well the 2x8GB kit is listed for $124.99 which is a good price. There are a few kits that are cheaper, but most are in the $119/$125 range. Funny enough when I’m shopping for a budget build, once I decide on the speed and capacity that I want. I normally go for the cheapest good looking kit that is from one of the few companies I trust. This would be that kit, all of the kits that are cheaper aren’t all that good looking in my opinion.
Live Pricing: HERE