A few weeks ago, Taiwanese overclocker bianbao set a new world record: DDR4-6666. This extraordinary speed used an AMD “Renoir” Ryzen 7 4700GE, Asus ROG Strix B550-I Gaming, and a then-unreleased Crucial Ballistix Max DDR4-5100 memory module. Now, Crucial’s latest record-breakers are finally available to buy.
Meet the Crucial Ballistix Max DDR4-5100
Carrying the part number BLM2K8G51C19U4B, Crucial Ballistix Max DDR4-5100 comes as a 2x8GB kit. Timings are 19-26-26-48, with a high rated voltage of 1.5V. This is the highest rated speed ever to be put on the market for DDR4.
Now, DDR4-5100 is an extreme speed. Running high memory speeds isn’t just a matter of the memory – the memory controller in the CPU has to keep up. While the failsafe “JEDEC” settings should run fine on anything, actually hitting the rated speed is a major memory controller overclock and likely only possible with the latest top AMD and Intel gear. The market for this kit is extreme overclockers who are going to use it to shoot for records. For the rest of us, it exists mainly for Crucial to show off their engineering prowess.
Crucial and Micron – Vertically Integrated Memory
Crucial are something special among enthusiast memory brands. Rather than buying chips or even complete modules in for final assembly and testing, Crucial are a division of memory manufacturer Micron. This means tight co-operation between the engineers designing the ICs and those designing modules. Crucial have leveraged this for quality and reliability, and have historically made some fantastic memory. Now, as the DDR4 era continues, Crucial have been catapulted into the enthusiast consciousness once more.
Last year, Micron’s high-performance DDR4 appeared on the overclocking scene. The 8Gbit Revision E IC, nicknamed “E-die”, first smashed the raw frequency record on the 16th of May 2019. Around the same time, overclockers were finding that even the cheaper Crucial sticks had impressive headroom. Crucial memory with Micron ICs seems to be easier to run than some other RAM, and helped even older “Zen 1” and “Zen+” CPUs to DDR4-3600 and above easily.
Since then, Crucial and Micron together have built on this success. Micron have introduced higher capacity 16Gbit Revision B, which seems to overclock just as well as “E-die” while allowing for 16GB single-sided and 32GB double-sided sticks. Crucial, meanwhile, recently revamped the entire Ballistix lineup. The new Ballistix Max sticks bring more aggressive pricing for mainstream kits, but also higher rated speeds. In addition, Crucial have been working hard on subtle tweaks to tune their PCBs for speed and performance.
DDR4-5100, then, is the apex of this revamped Crucial. You can’t get faster than the fastest memory on the market. Crucial want you to know that when it comes to enthusiast DDR4 they’re not just in the picture, they’re at the top.
Pricing and Availability
A limited initial run of Crucial Ballistix Max DDR4-5100 is available directly from Crucial for an eye-watering $899.99, for a 2x8GB kit. On the Crucial UK site, the price is £824.39 including VAT. This extreme price is mollified somewhat by the fact that Corsair’s then-fastest DDR4-5000, also built on Micron ICs, launched at $1200 for 2x8GB and currently costs $944.99 on Newegg. Crucial are also planning to make their kits available through “select global channel partners”.