Building a decent gaming machine is never an easy task, nor an inexpensive one. Typically, when people hear the term “gaming PC” they imagine a top of the line, fully loaded computer, with all the bells and whistles imaginable. But you don’t need to purchase the crème de la crème of parts, especially when companies like Crucial are releasing items like Ballistix Tactical memory.
For the last few weeks I’ve been testing out the new Ballistix Tactical 8GB DDR3-1600 memory and I’ve been blown away by its performance. The Crucial Tactical series of RAM isn’t the top of the line, that would be the Elite series. This series is designed more around average gamer who aspires to be a top end gamer.
The Ballistix sticks have a timing of 8,8,8,24 with a voltage of 1.5. That’s pretty impressive, especially for the low voltage. One of the core things I try to achieve when building a computer is keeping its overall power consumption low. I leave my computer on and rarely turn it off unless it’s for a restart and having to pay more money on my Hydro bills just doesn’t work for me. These 1.5volt sticks with that latency is perfect.
Before you all start commenting that 1600Mhz isn’t the best speed for a gaming machines, when you could opt for an 1866Mhz or 2133 you need to remember the company behind this is Crucial. While they’re not typically the company you think of for performance RAM, they are the company you think of when it comes to stability and reliability. After all, they do come with a lifetime warranty.
Crucial Ballistix Tactical memory has some incredible stability when I was overclocking the sticks. I pushed it to 1866MHz with voltage 1.65 and it posted and loaded windows without any issues. I didn’t go further than this strictly because my system isn’t fully optimized for overclocking and it needs much better air flow. However, looking online I have noticed many people have pushed these sticks well past what I did without any issues.
If the stability of the overclocking isn’t enough, these sticks are priced at a surprisingly low $38.88 per 8GB stick. I say surprisingly low, but that price is very comparable too other 1600Mhz sticks, but the sheer fact of what these sticks can do when pushed to the limits is why I say low price.
After seeing my own results and reading of others online, I feel as if Crucial has underclocked these sticks for a reason I don’t see. Perhaps, at the stock speeds Crucial believes the sticks will truly provide the end user a lifetime of use (or least until they upgrade the entire PC). After my own tests by overclocking just a little I don’t foresee any complications down the road. But remember, overclocking does void warranties so do not do it unless you are comfortable with your own abilities to do so.
All in all, these sticks have performed well above my expectations. At non-customized settings these sticks aren’t much different than that of the competitors with the exception of the low voltage and smaller profile design. It’s the stability that Crucial is known for that sets these sticks apart from everyone else. If Crucial continues to release RAM of this type and performance it will easily be the brand you think of for performance and stability when it comes to memory.
Editor’s Note: Two 8GB Units of the DDR3-1600 were provided to Ryan for review by Crucial’s PR Firm.