Introduction

When you think of memory, there are several brand names that any self respecting overclockers will spew forth. Corsair, OCZ, Kingston. However one name that is never missed off that list of greats is Crucial. Their memory modules are known the world over for their high Overclockability and their blisteringly tight timings. Recently Crucial were kind enough to send me their 1gb PC4000 DDR500 kit, this is how it performed.

A First Look

Well boys and girls the box with this kit is nothing special, plain cardboard with a little blue sticker to let you know who you are dealing with. (Stock Photo taken from www.newegg.com).

Once I opened the box it was clear Crucial really do go OEM stlyley on their kits, wrapping the sticks themselves, not in blister packs as some vendors do (allowing for cut hands all round I might add) but in static proof bags so that anyone who decides to try skidding these kits across their statically charged carpet wont be able to damage them.


Down goes the cardboard to protect the kits from the carpet and out comes the stylish yellow sticks. They are a bit pretty aren’t they? It is at this point out that as a guy who usually uses product weight as a little quality test, the heavier they are in my mind the probable better quality, these kits were extremely light. So although they are perfect for those of you who like to keep their case weight down, those of us who prefer something a big weighty in your hand… NO puns intended here people… may find these a bit on the light side.

The heat spreaders are a fetching yellow colour, with the words “Ballstix” emblazoned across each side in a gorgeous black colour. The specs of the sticks are also present on little stickers on each module so that you always know what kit you are dealing with, a plus if you are the kind of person that goes through memory changes quite often.


Installation

After taking a few pictures of the sticks out of the box for you lot to drool over, I popped these bad boys in my rig and began the testing to see if these sticks would live up to their press.

NB: These are the same sticks, but due to my case lighting the heat spreaders turned a bronze colour. Also, for anyone wondering why I have the modules in slots 2+4, on my board these slots yield the best overclocking performance.

Testing

Test Rig:
Amd 64 3500+
Dfi Lanparty NF4 SLI-DR
XFX PCX6600
Hiper TypeR 580W

For testing I decided to put the sticks through their paces in Sisoft Sandra, Everest Home Edition, SuperPi and the FEAR graphics test. I did these with different timings at different clock speeds to show what kind of performance gains can be got from these sticks as higher clock speeds.

First Test was Sandra Bandwidth Test:


Click to enlarge

It’s obvious that these sticks love a nice Overclock, but they weren’t too friendly with the tighter timings, actually registering a lower score than the stock timings which were looser. The 260FSB mark was the highest I could hit without using a divider. I could get slightly higher on 2.9v but it wasn’t stable enough to bench.

Next Up was Everest Home Edition:

Unsurprisingly the trend was the same, the trend was the same. The tighter timings did nothing and the Overclock helped kick out some awesome scores.

SuperPI mod 1.4 :

Interestingly, in this test, the tighter timings did make a slight difference, though it’s nothing to scream about. I was quite impressed with the scores obtained here. The top score was not the fastest score I have ever got compared to when I have used some other kits, but those were at least $200 more expensive so that is understandable.

For a quick real world test, I kicked out a few Fear Benchmarks. As usual these were done at MAX CPU Load detail, and Medium GPU Load detail:

In this test the ram obviously had very little effect on the outcome FPS as this game is much more GPU intensive than anything else.

Conclusion

As you can see, these sticks kick out some awesome figures in the test performed. However for those of you used to tightening those timings to the limit, you may find that you actually take a performance hit rather than gaining performance from that area. However, these modules are chaffing at the bit to be overclocked, so anyone who enjoys a good OC, and let’s face it, if you’re buying these sticks you will do, will not find themselves disappointed.

ProsCons
Tightist timingsToo light for my taste
Good overclockabilityTimings are hard to tweak
Good looking heatspreadersNot suitable for uber voltages

8/10

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