Crucial Ballistix Elite 16GB RAM
Type: Memory upgrade
Specifications: Click here for full specs
Price as reviewed: £128.39 direct from Crucial
A power-user’s dream, Crucial’s Ballistix Elite RAM packs offer great overclocking potential and neat temperature management. Check our findings on the 16GB pack in our full review.
Aside from installing an SSD into your ageing desktop PC, there are a few better upgrades that can be made than by popping a few extra gigs of RAM into your machine. While 4GB of RAM is enough for the average user, anyone looking to do some hardcore gaming or video processing work should be looking to squeeze in as much RAM as they can possibly manage.
For PC gamers, 8GB has been the standard for the last few years, with the current crop of console’s relative lack of memory leading to constrained RAM requirements for console-to-PC game ports. However, with the next generation of consoles on the horizon, complete with improved RAM allowances, it’s only a matter or time before 8GB is the bare minimum. 16GB of RAM now looks to be the safest future-proofing option for enthusiast PC gamers looking to smoothly play the next few year’s top games.
To this end, we’ve been testing out Crucial’s 16GB DDR3 Ballistix Elite RAM pack, made up of two 8GB sticks, and aimed at overclocking enthusiasts with the most stringent of performance requirements.
With high-end PC cases as much an excuse to showcase your components aesthetically as in terms of performance, we’ll spare a quick paragraph on the looks of the sticks. Black PCBs with a mirrored strip on front edge, the Elite has a sizeable finned heat spreader that stands quite tall, making for a tight-squeeze into small form factor cases or those already busily crammed with components.
Stock speeds and voltages are phenomenal. Using two 8GB modules, you’d expect to see higher timings and voltages at slower speeds, but this dual-channel kit rings in at 1866 MHz with flat timings of 9-9-9 at just 1.5v. At this level the Elite is already performing admirably, but it wasn’t particularly difficult to get the modules at 2133 MHz at 9-9-9 timings with the Vdimm at 1.65. Tighter clock speeds at lower frequencies didn’t cause much of a problem either.
Those heat spreaders work a charm too, keeping ambient temperatures down even when the voltages were pushed. Crucial’s Ballistix MOD temperature tracking software never wen’t above 30C even when pushed hard.
As far as a RAM upgrade goes, the Elite isn’t exactly the cheap options, but it’s definitely among the more powerful and flexible module packs you can buy, which enthusiasts tinkerers will appreciate.
Crucial’s Ballistix Elite 16GB pack is a lot of money, but money well spent. If you’re looking to future-proof your system’s RAM for the next few years, there’s few module packs we’d recommend more highly, if any.