I’ve had the chance over the years to check out a wide variety of Crucial Ballistix branded memory. Being a part of Micron, they have always been priced well, and as far as memory goes been solid. Styling-wise I loved the old Ballistix designs and there are a few of the modern designs like the Elite and their Tactical Tracer RGB kits that I was able to 3D print and CNC carve custom designs for. But as a whole, their mainstream stuff, while not bad looking has looked dated for a while now. So back at the start of the year, they announced new memory kits with new heatspreaders and I was excited to see what Crucial had going on. It took a while to come in, but I recently finally had the Crucial Ballistix BL2K32G36C16U4B kit come in which is their 2x32GB dual channel kit running at 3600 MHz. The timing couldn’t be much better given my personal PC has been begging for more memory with Microsoft Flight Sim 2020 and chrome having full-on MMA fights for the memory. So today I’m going to check out the new design and see how this kit performs.

Product Name: Crucial Ballistix DDR4 2x32GB 3600MHz BL2K32G36C16U4B

Review Sample Provided by: Crucial

Written by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: Here

 

 

Specifications

Color Options

Black, Red, and White

RGB

Available with and without RGB

Speed

DDR4-3600

CAS latency

16

DRAM family

Ballistix

Density

64GB Kit (32GBx2)

Module type

UDIMM

Extended timings

16-18-18-38

Form factor

UDIMM

Technology

DDR4

Voltage

1.35V

PC speed

PC4-28800

Kit Qty

2

Buffered or Unbuffered

Unbuffered

ECC

NON-ECC

Warranty

Manufacturer's Limited Lifetime

 

 


Photos and Aesthetic

The packaging for the new Ballistix kit was a little surprising. I know they are focusing on the Crucial brand, but I expected the gaming-focused Ballistix kit to have packaging that matched that a little more. This looks like a Crucial kit with the exception of the mention of Ballistix which is smaller than the Crucial logo. Other than that the front does have a partial window that lets you get a small look at the new heatspreaders. Above that, they have a sticker that tells us the actual capacity and speed which for our kit is 64GB total capacity in a 2x32GB configuration at 3600 MHz. Around on the back there isn’t much going on, Crucial social media links are all there, a small icon at the top that mentioned the limited lifetime warranty. Beyond that, the dog tag is where they put the barcode does have the official model number. I’m surprised though that the timings of the kit aren’t included anywhere.

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Inside of the box, Crucial stuck with their normal clear plastic clamshell tray that locks the two sticks in place securely. Being clear helps allow the window in the outside packaging, but this is the same tray that gets used when they just use a sticker for branding as well.

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So here is the new Ballistix heatspreader design. The old kits, except the Elite kit all, used a more dated styling with heatspreaders that were only on the sides and nothing on top. Which if you think about it, is hardly visible once installed because normally all you can see is the top of the memory. The new Ballistix design addresses that with a new design. The sides have almost a car grill look to the embossed areas with the Ballistix branding in the middle in white on both sides. To go with that the memory itself is on full black PCBs as well. The black for our kit isn’t the only option, they do also offer it in red and white as well. Then for the top edge you can pick between RGB and non-RGB. Our kit is all blacked out with no lighting, but it is cool that you can get all three colors with the RGB option. Corsair which has a similar looking kit just has the black and the white, while those are the traditional good looking colors. I love the red simply for being something completely different.

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The side profile gives us a better look at the heatspreader design as well. You can see how they are able to offer all of the kits with or without RGB lighting. At the top, they have filled the space with a black bar, but for RGB they just have to remove that and add the translucent white diffuser. They have to add the lighting to the PCB as well of course. But the modular design has to help keep costs down by being able to use the same side heatspreaders.

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Below the Ballistix branding on one side they have the Crucial by Micron logo but on the other, they do put on the normal sticker. This has the actual model number as well as full details on the memory like the sticks capacity, clock speed, and XMP profile information like timings and voltage. Our kit isn’t an ultra-high clock speed at 3600 MHz, but the timings aren’t bad especially for the high capacity.

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Test Rig

 

Test Rig

Motherboard: Asus Crosshair VIII HERO WiFi

Cooling: Noctua NH-U12S for cooling

 Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Paste

Storage: Corsair MP600 2TB

Cooling - Noctua NH-U12S

Power Supply - Corsair AX1200w

Case - Primochill Wetbench

OS - Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

 


Performance and Thermals

The new look for Ballistix is looking good but this isn’t a fashion show, they have to perform as well. The kit that Crucial sent over is their 3600 MHz kit with 16-18-18-38 timings. Which in itself isn’t crazy, but with 32GB sticks, in dual channel the 16 CAS latency is impressive. There aren’t any other 3600 MHz kits running it on Newegg right now this kit isn’t even on there as well. There aren’t ANY 32GB stick kits listed that are running over 3200 MHz with a CAS latency of 16. To start things off I did take a look at the memory using Thaiphoon and CPU-Z. Thaiphoon has the kit listed with its 1802 MHz (which is 3604 Mhz) and the correct timings at 1.35V and the pre XMP speed at 2666 with 19-19-19-43-62 for a safe boot. These are 16 GB B-Die from Micron of course. CPU-Z just confirms the clock speeds and timings as well as that we are running in Dual channel. I included the full CPU-Z readout to also show our test configuration (which is also listed in the test rig section) as well as the BIOS revision for our motherboard.

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To start the testing off I went with AIDA64’s memory tests for read, write, copy, and latency and I have the last few DDR4 kits that have come through the office for comparison numbers. With the 3600 MHz clock speed, I wasn’t expecting to go out and beat some of the higher clocked kits and they didn’t. But they did run right with the Trident Z Royal kit which because of its lower capacity has lower timings and you can also see just how much faster the kit was compared to the Dominator kit running at 3000MHz. Only on the copy test did the larger capacity kit outperform the Trident Z Royals.

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Now I did run Cinebench R20 and R15 as well but somewhere between our last memory review and this one the results went crazy and were slower across the board including from the Trident kit so I had to toss out the old results and only go with what I had retested which as you can see the Ballistix kit did great here. Cinebench R20 loved the extra capacity for its heavy workload.

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Then in Passmark Performance Test 9 the big capacity of the dual 32GB kit helped put it ahead of the rest by a healthy margin.

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For thermal testing, I just wanted to see how the new heatspreaders would handle some heat. I used AIDA64’s stress test on the memory setting for a half hour to heat things up and then got a picture with the Flir. As you can see below, they didn’t heat up much, even compared to the motherboard itself next to the memory.

thermal

 


Overall and Final Verdict

Between chrome gobbling up memory any time you turn your head and new games like Microsoft Flight Sim 2020 needing crazy amounts of memory. It is finally time for a lot of people to start looking going with big capacity kits like the dual 32GB dual-channel kit of the new Ballistix memory that Crucial sent over. I was excited to finally see the new Ballistix styling in person and I wasn’t disappointed. Other than not getting to also check out the cool white and red models that they have available as well as the RGB which is available in ALL of the colors. Crucial went with a heatspreader design that lets them use the same heatspreaders for both RGB and non-RGB which in my opinion makes more interesting colors like the bright red kits a possibility. Maybe orange can come in the future!

Looking past just the new aesthetic though, I was surprised that this kit has a CAS latency of 16. That isn’t a bad CAS for a smaller kit, but in a big capacity like this, all of the other kits with a CAS of 16 or 15 are running clock speeds at 3200 MHz or lower where this kit is running at 3600 Mhz. Again not a crazy high number, but when you put the whole package together it isn’t bad. It’s also always interesting to see how we can now get 64GB’s with dual-channel where I was running 8 sticks for the same capacity what seemed like just a few years ago.

As for pricing, I expected this kit to be crazy expensive and I think when Crucial initially priced it, it was. But It is now listed at $299.99 on their website and you can find it for 279.99 on Newegg right now which isn’t the cheapest 2x32GB kit listed but with 3600MH and a CAS of 16, I wouldn’t expect it to be. But what is surprising, is what even though as far as specs go it is cheaper than most. Of course, a lot of the more expensive kits are also RGB, and adding RGB to this kit bumps its price up $60 to $359.99. I expected the bump to be a little cheaper given the modular heatspreader design. Overall though, I like the direction Crucial is going here with their styling which was one of the main things that I felt was holding them back before.

fv5recommended

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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