Introduction & Closer Look
On the Play3r DDR4 test bench today is a quad channel kit from the guys over at Ballistix; a silvery grey 3000MHz CL15 16GB kit to be exact. Ballistix have been busy over the years and Micron has remained one the DRAM industries top companies, not just in DRAM, but in storage too. Of course we are focusing primarily on DRAM today and for Crucial memory kits, 3000MHz is some of the fastest they offer and usually Ballistix memory features Micron ICs; they have opted to use Samsung to attain their high speeds with this kit.
Taking a closer look at the Ballistix Tactical DDR4 modules, at first glance they do look pretty low profile in comparison to some of the other Ballistix modules on offer; the heat sinks measure at 38.6mm which is quite low, but not officially low profile!
The heat sink itself features a nice gunmetal grey coloured finish, with an accented white Ballistix Tactical memory logo across the centre of each module. The PCB is fully black and as you may/may not be aware, we despise green PCB here at Play3r!
The specifications of this particular kit on test today are as follows:
Speeds of 3000MHz and latency timings of 15-16-16-35 at 1.35v aren’t exactly blisteringly amazing in terms of specs, but for regular systems and general consumers, this kit would be subjective for a perfect balance of price and performance. CL15 at 3000MHz and 1.35v is actually quite normal across the broad spectrum of manufacturers.
- CPU: Intel Core i7-6700k @4.2GHz
- CPU Cooler: Cooler Master TX3I
- Motherboard: ASUS Z170 Maximus VIII Hero Alpha
- PSU: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 1000w 80PLUS Platinum
- OS: Windows 10 Professional 64 bit
- SiSoftware Sandra
- Cinebench 15
In our MaxxMem tests, the Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz CL15 kit does very well indeed, although it doesn’t replicate the performance of the Ballistix LT modules in write performance.
Latency performance is strong with the Tactical themed kit, but memory bandwidth is the lowest we have seen since we started testing on DDR4 kits; almost 9GB/s off the performance of the KLEVV CRAS with the same speed/timings.
Not the best score in Cinebench R15’s CPU test, but certainly not the worst we have seen… The Ballistix LT still tops the pile however!
Overclocking memory can be a tedious task if you’re not familiar with the process, or at least semi experienced. XMP (Extreme memory profiles) essentially eliminate the need for manually overclocking memory, but there are those who love to tweak and push modules to their absolute limits. Micron isn’t as widely known for overclockable memory in comparison to their rival counterparts (G.Skill, HyperX and Adata), but any gain to performance is still a gain nonetheless.
I didn’t have any issues in overclocking the Ballistix Tactical kit further than the XMP 2.0 rated profile at 3000MHz CL15 and it was quite open and shut. I hit a brick wall of 3333MHz fair quickly at 1.5v with latency timings of 17-18-18-36. I did try and work on tighter timings, but my efforts proved fruitless due to instability or a sheer lack of ability to boot once applied in the BIOS. Even tightening the timings at the rated speeds of 3000MHz lacked any improvement and consistently crashed when running benchmarks. I stuck with the settings below and ran MaxxMem to see if there was any noticeable improvement.
As you can see, performance actually suffered a hit when compared to the XMP 2.0 profile of 3000MHz CL15, although memory copy did seem to improve fairly dramatically; nothing worth noting. In all honesty, you would be as well leaving this particular kit at the XMP settings rather than pushing them yourself. Silicone lottery does play a big part in memory, but I have found these Samsung ICs to be fairly average in terms of overclocking and it shows here today.
Overall the Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz CL16 16GB (4x4GB) DDR4 kit might not have the sparked appeal of some of the other brands on the market, they might not even have RGB either, but Ballistix memory does exactly what they say it should do. The only major caveat here is the price; £145.71 via Amazon UK is very expensive indeed. At the price point, there is a massive amount of competition on the market with some models offering a much better value aspect than here, but others like Corsair having the opposite effect.
Focusing on the design, I quite like the small and low factor of the Ballistix Tactical heat sinks that Ballistix have used and I’m a big fan of the gunmetal grey finish. When in operation at XMP speeds, the memory doesn’t get warm and although a negatable factor depending on the heating/airflow of your system, cool is good!
Performance all round is relatively average in all honesty and the Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz kit isn’t going to be breaking any world records or amazing people with results, but Ballistix aren’t marketing the kit as the ‘be all’ kit on the market. If you’re looking for a kit designed purely on performance, speed and tight timings, you better be prepared to pay through the nose for it!
If you’re looking for a solid kit of memory with no glaring issues and you specifically want Ballistix memory, then this kit is surely going to take your fancy. The only issue really is the pricing and with similar kits in other brands going for more than £40 cheaper, it’s hard to fully recommend…
Huge thanks to Ballistix for sending the Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz CL15 16GB (4x4GB) DDR4 kit in for review.
– Backed by a limited lifetime guarantee
– Looks good with the gunmetal grey heat sink
– Samsung ICs are reliable (in my personal experiences)
– Very expensive
– Availability in the UK is questionable
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