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Crucial Ballistix PC8500

Introduction

Crucial has been one of the top memory manufacturers for a while now, and their Ballistix kits are some of the best loved performance products on the market. Today I have their PC8500 2gb kit, hopefully it can live up to the standard we have all come to expect of products wearing the Ballistix tag.

Specifications

  • Module Size: 2GB kit (1GBx2)
  • Package: Ballistix 240-pin DIMM
  • Feature: DDR2 PC2-8500
  • Configuration: 128Meg x 64
  • DIMM Type: UNBUFFERED
  • Error Checking: NON-ECC
  • Speed: DDR2-1066
  • Voltage: 2.2V
  • Memory Timings: 5-5-5-15

Bits and Box

The memory comes in the typically boring Crucial box with just the little blue sticker to brighten it up. On the bright side this probably keeps the cost down as you aren’t forking out for expensive printing work.

Crucial Ballistix PC8500 Box

Along with the kit you get a manual; ooh.

The Crucial Ballistix 8500

Both modules come in the usual static proof bags:

Crucial Ballistix PC8500 in Bags

The sticks themselves feature the Crucial 10th anniversary heatspreaders (to read about heatspreaders, see our glossary entry here)

Crucial Ballistix PC8500 Modules

They also features the black PCB of other ballistix modules. This really fits in well with the black theme of the Asus board that these modules are being tested on.

Crucial Ballistix PC8500 PCB

Installation

The heatspreaders on the Ballistix 8500 are relatively thin compared to other high end DDR2 kits and therefore there was no problem installing them.

Testing

For testing memory, we run through a series of synthetic and real world benchmarks to ascertain the performance of the modules under their stock speed, their rated speed and at their fully overclocked speed. The tests we run are as follows:

Everest read and write tests, SuperPi mod 1.5, 3Dmark06, Sisoft Sandra bandwidth test, FEAR benchmark and X3 Reunion benchmark.

All tests were run 3 times and the average of the results taken to ensure that the scores were accurate. If there was a large anomaly in the testing we repeated the 3 tests again.

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
Asus P5W DH Deluxe
Sapphire x1900XT @ stock
Antec EarthWatts 500w

Overclocking

As previously stated, when testing memory modules we feel it is important to let you know their abilities at overclocking. That is especially true of memory kits that have rated speeds higher than PC6400/DDR2-800 as they will not be running at those speeds without overclocking. This particular kit, is rated at DDR2-1067 so we need to overclock it to 1067mhz to run it at its rated speed. This was no problem as you can see the results of this speed below. However, there is always a bit more to be gained out of memory, so up went the voltage and up went the FSB. After a while of booting, rebooting and Bus raising, I hit a wall at 1160mhz, a very respectable speed for an already very quick kit.

NB. For the stock (800mhz) and rated (1067mhz) tests the E6600 was running at stock but due to motherboard constraints for the fully overclocked (1160mhz) setting the CPU was overclocked slightly as well which will have had some effect on the benchmark scores.

Results

3Dmark06 Results

Sandra & Everest Results

SuperPI Results

FEAR Results

X3 Results

As you can see from the results, there is a pretty big increase from running these modules are their rated speeds in both the synthetic and gaming tests. It is especially interesting to see the effects of simply raising the memory bandwidth on SuperPI, where CPU speed is often seen as the be all and end all of decreasing your times.

Cost

There has been price crashes on this kind of memory recently with this exact kit being found for as low as £135 at some retailers; a ridiculous price for such a high performing kit.

Conclusion

The Crucial Ballistix PC8500 kit is a well performing, highly overclockable pair of modules. It comes with some sexy looking heatspreaders too which is always a bonus for those that like a good looking case. However, the kit doesn’t overclock that much more than the 6400 modules of the same name. Therefore, the reason to buy this kit (Priced about £30 more) is if you want a guaranteed memory speed of 1067mhz and probably a bit more. However, if you want a kit that will give you a good chance of hitting 1050mhz, but probably not more you should go with the slightly cheaper 6400 kit.

ProsCons
Good performanceOverclockers the same as cheaper modules
Overclocks more than stated speeds
Simple but eye catching heatspreaders

9star

I’d like to thank our sponsors Crucial for providing us with this kit.

To read our review of the Crucial Ballistix 6400 kit, click here.

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