In a time where power builds are all the rage it can be hard to determine which parts are best for your new rig. When it comes to RAM, not all are created equal. If you’re a gamer that is looking for solid performance and high durability, Ballistix Sport AT Gaming Memory might just be the right piece, especially if you’re using an ASUS TUF motherboard.
- MSRP: $403.99 (8GBx4)
- Density: Up to 16GB modules available
- Speed: DDR4-3000
- Voltage: 1.35V
- Latency: 17-19-19-38
- Bandwidth: 24,000
- Illumination: Yes, RGB
- Warranty: Limited Lifetime
- Form Factor: UDIMM
As with several other of the Ballistix kits out there, the Sport AT carries a rugged, utilitarian look and feel and is colorized to match the ASUS TUF aesthetic. The black body of each stick is accented with shades of grey and yellow making the whole kit pop when socketed into the motherboard. With the added outer metal shell which both protects and acts as the AT’s new heat spreader, the memory feels solid to handle which makes the install process smooth and simple. This is especially nice for new builders who can sometimes worry about damaging parts while installing.
Some may argue that the design may be a little less flashy with so many RGB kits on the market but personally I find the Ballistix rugged look appealing when placed on the motherboard. The aforementioned yellow accents allow the memory to stand out without being overbearing. As an added bonus my Z270 Mark 2 motherboard also sports some nice yellow accents so the whole thing works well together.
The Ballistix Sport AT modules come Micron Quality Certified which means that its has been tested from the ground up. Unlike other DRAM kits on the market the Ballistix Sport AT is designed for gamers first. As part of the focus in design, this kit is built for easy plug and play and almost instantly performs at its top speeds. The idea here is to offer gamers a RAM kit that puts the game ahead of any other tasks the system has to perform. This does not mean that other tasks suffer but rather that your gaming won’t suffer if other tasks are being performed at the same time. As a streamer and video editor I’ve worked hard to put the memory through its paces and the above mentioned feature really does deliver on offering a smooth gaming experience without other things suffering.
Test system: Asus TUF Z270 Mark 2 motherboard, Intel Core i5-7600 CPU 3.8 GHz, Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR4 3000 MT/s Ram, AMD Radeon R9 390 8GB GPU, Thermaltake ToughPower 750 Watt 80 Plus Gold power supply.
Editor’s Note: As Matt builds up his own test data, we’re placing his results next to those from our usual RAM benchmarking system, running an i7-7700K. As a result, please note these are not apples to apples comparisons, notably in PCMark 8; however, should be without bottlenecks otherwise.
When we run RAM through our gauntlet of benchmarks, we use a series of software to test its functionality. It has to be understood that there are many factors that impact the overall numbers but what we really focus in on when looking at the numbers is whether or not the kit we are reviewing works well in real-world scenarios. In regards to the tests performed on the Ballistix Sport AT when compared to other kits on the list, it should be noted that the Ballistix was specifically tested with a Asus TUF motherboard so as to see how it performed in the environment it was designed for. As a result we had to use a different system than with our normal ram tests and as such the numbers will be impacted by the system spec differences. With that noted let's jump into the data.
At first glance, the Sport AT RAM does seem to fall slightly behind some of the other kits with similar specs across the board. The PCMARK tests are designed to focus on low power tasks like everyday computing as opposed to gaming. As a result the test looks at speed more than capacity.
Note that we would expect the Battilistic Sport AT Gaming Memory to perform similarly to the HyperX Predator kit listed above if we were able to compare in our usual benchmark system. Again, we would usually avoid doing putting data together but due to some internal needs, Matt is now building his own test database.
The AIDA64 benchmark focuses in on memory speeds and latencies and is communicated in GB/s. After running the AIDA64 tests several times I found that the Ballistix Sport AT was slightly slower than the other competitors, which we can again attribute to system differences. When I compared The Ballistix Sport AT to the Ballistix Tactical 32GB kit, the Sport AT runs about 5 nanoseconds slower on latency. Although these numbers to look fairly large initially it's important to note that we are dealing with very small difference in overall speed.
The final Benchmark I ran on the AT RAM kit was SuperPi, which is a fun little program that essentially times how long it takes your system to render the digits of Pi. We tell it to render to 32 million digits and then time how long it takes to get there. As this is a more all encompassing testing of the whole hardware things like CPU speeds will impact results. As the other kits tested were done with a i7-7700k at 4.5GHz vs the i5-7600 CPU 3.8 GHz, it should be expected that it would take longer to finish the process. However despite the difference in CPU, the Ballistix Sport AT kit still held up fairly well during testing.
As I was testing this kit on a different system from a regular benchmarks I decided to run the RAM through a series of practical tasks to see how it would hold up under a regular daily workload. It should be noted that my results are not measurable down to the nanosecond but they are more in line with what the daily user would experience. This may be a bit unorthodox for a hardware review but if we never think outside the box, we’ll never learn new things.
The first test had to do with how the RAM handled multi-tasking gaming and other light tasks. So while playing through Doom 2016 in fullscreen at full 4K resolution, I ran several different programs including Spotify, youtube, and discord in the background. At random intervals I switched between programs to see how the ram could handle the multiple tasks happening simultaneously. I have to say that at no time did I experience any slow downs while switching programs and the responsiveness was practically instantaneously.
The second test I ran was to have a rather lengthy HD video rendering while playing World of Warcraft at highest resolution in full screen mode. I intentionally jumped back and forth between the two programs and experienced no lag between transition, no issues with the render, and most importantly no frame rate issues while gaming.
The final test was to play Rend while recording the video gameplay through OBS. As this game is in early access I figured it would be a solid stress test for the ram. The whole experience was fluid and smooth and despite some issues with the game server (unrelated to my testing) everything ran exceptionally well.
Though the charts in this review are necessarily not to be used to an apples to apples comparison, the Ballistix Sport AT RAM handled everything I could think to throw at it without batting an eye. From multi-tasking to heavy processing, this kit is built to manage it all well. Coupled with the my z270 TUF board mark 2, this kit holds its own against some of the toughest tasks. Its a solid offering with a quality build. It isn’t the prettiest kit we’ve reviewed and, you’re not going to be hosting dance party as there are no RGB options, but with easy plug and play, Micron quality standards, and tough tested for the Asus TUF gaming boards the Ballistix Sport AT DDR4 32GB 3000 MT/s ram kit is a solid option for gamers that want to game and not worry about other tasks slowing them down.
- Quality built components that feel and look rugged
- The price point makes sense for what you’re receiving
- Handles gaming and multi-tasking well (It ate our real world tests for breakfast)
- Only one option for color and design
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.