Last week we showed off the new Crucial Ballistix Elite PC3-14900 8GB Kit which was the latest rendition of the Ballistix series. At the same time, though, we saw Crucial expand the line with the new Tactical series as well.
While Crucial say the Elite series are aimed at the more extreme user, the Tactical series seemed more so aimed at the main-stream gamer or general performance enthusiast and that's shown when we look at the speed of the kit today.
Before we look at the speed on offer, though, let's have a closer look at what exactly we're looking at today. You can see on the front of the kit we've got some clear Ballistix Tactical labelling and the heatsink design is a little different to what we've seen before from Crucial, but that similar color scheme is still used.
On the other side of the module, the look is very similar with the addition of a few stickers that help give us a bit more detail on the kit. Something that probably really stands out, though, is the black PCB which looks great. There's not a lot of PCB, but you'd be surprised at how easy a green one can stand out.
Moving in closer to the kit, we can get a better idea of what's going on in terms of the speed and timings. Having a look, you can see we're dealing with a PC3-12800 kit which means the default speed is 1600MHz DDR. On the timings front we've got a pretty good looking 8-8-8-24 setup that requires only 1.5v to operate.
We're of course dealing with a P67 / Z68 dual channel kit and the two modules we've got both come in at 4GB each, making for an 8GB kit. Firing up our motherboard, getting into the BIOS and setting up the Ballistix Tactical, we knew that at stock we wouldn't have a problem. You can see our CPU-Z validation here. Up and running in Windows, it was time to check out the performance we could get.
Under AIDA64 we ended up with Read / Write numbers of 18,540 MB/s / 17,538 MB/s, Copy speed of 20,018 MB/s and latency of 46.5ns.
Fairly standard numbers on the performance front with what we'd expect out of a 1600MHz DDR kit coming in with the CL8 timings. As always, we take the time to overclock the kit to see what exactly we can get. Leaving everything the same including the 1T rating we'd set, we just changed our memory divider to 1866MHz DDR and bumped the voltage to 1.65v.
Not expecting it to post at 8-8-8-24-1T, I was shocked to see it did. I figured while we might get a post, we probably won't get into Windows. We did, though, so I figured well, we probably won't be able to run AIDA64. Again, though, it did with no effort at all. You can see our CPU-Z validation here. Up and running in Windows, it was time to check out the performance we could get.
Under AIDA64 we ended up with Read / Write numbers of 20,307 MB/s / 17,941 MB/s, Copy speed of 21,445 MB/s and latency of 42.2ns.
GO TO TOP OF THE NEXT COLUMN ^
Compared to the stock 1600MHz DDR setup, we can see a nice boost in performance with an overall drop in latency as well. Since that worked so well, I figured we'd head back into the BIOS to see what we could do via some BCLK overclocking since 2133MHz DDR wasn't happening.
With the BCLK pushed to 103MHz, we ended up back in Windows with our RAM running at 1923MHz DDR with an 8-8-8-24-1T @ 1.65v setup, which is really amazing. You can see our CPU-Z validation here. Up and running in Windows, it was time to check out the performance we could get.
Under AIDA64 we ended up with Read / Write numbers of 20,882 MB/s / 18,483 MB/s, Copy speed of 22,093 MB/s and latency of 41.0ns.
Across the board you can see we manage to see a nice boost in performance with a nice overall boost in bandwidth. With our overclock looking so strong, in normal fashion we head back into the BIOS and crank our CPU speed right up. Normally we'd opt for the 52x multiplier which in conjunction with the 100MHz BCLK would result in a 5.2GHz clock.
Because we were running of a 103MHz BCLK, though, we opted for just a 51x multiplier. Thanks to the BCLK increase, we can see that brought our CPU speed in at 5245MHz, so just a little up on what we would normally see with the 52x multiplier. With everything up and running, it was time to head back into Windows and see what was going on in the performance side of things.
Under AIDA64 we ended up with Read / Write numbers of 23,477 MB/s / 26,006 MB/s, Copy speed of 25,584 MB/s and latency of 37.3ns.
As always, thanks to the massive overclock on offer from our CPU we see a really nice boost in performance which improves our numbers across the board, including a nice drop on overall latency.
To be honest, I found myself quite surprised with the speed we managed to achieve out of the kit because like I mentioned in the Elite review, Crucial isn't a company that comes to mind when thinking about strong overclocking performance. For the most part it's more about compatibility and stability with them. Today, though, we get proven wrong yet again, who show us they can perform well in those two areas that we've grown to love, while also offering us some memory that's capable of offering us fantastic speed.
Coming in at $78.99 US through the Crucial website, this is a well-priced kit that we know will be priced even better when it hits the normal e-tail channels like Newegg.com. Considering the OC potential from this kit, the fact it's 8GB and the simple fact that it's just that typical Crucial quality, this is going to be a great kit for anyone looking for something that ticks all the right boxes.