Review: Ballistix Elite DDR4 3466mhz 32GB kit
Fast and smart, with gamer-focused styling – what’s not to love?
The description that Ballistix has on their website for this range is pretty ambitious (“Ballistix Elite fuels hardcore processors and crushes the memory bottleneck with some of the fastest speeds and bandwidths available”), but if the performance matches the look of the DIMMs, I can forgive a few superlatives. I mean, look at them.
The military-inspired styling is suited to almost any motherboard or overall theme, either as an accent piece or just as an industrial piece of hardware. They’re fairly mid-rise in height, and the Picatinny rail can be unscrewed in case you have one of those air coolers without an offset cavity for ram clearance. Once the rail is off, it’s fairly trivial to remove the rest of the heat spreaders if you were going to water cool your DIMMs on a custom build.
Honestly, I think I could just keep photographing these and not write anything, they’re mesmerizing.
Now, let’s dive into the specs and performance to see if their claims are true.
Now, as you can see in the above screenshot from Thaiphoon Burner, the kit is comprised of Samsung B-die IC. I also took a stick apart to confirm it was indeed Samsung parts, as Thaiphoon isn’t 100% conclusive (it mentions Hynix later on). This is a departure from the usual IC that Ballistix uses and should provide better performance. There’s a reason that B-die is so in demand from enthusiasts and overclockers, and I’m excited to finally have a kit on hand.
Ballistix has equipped their Elite DDR4 memory kit with a thermal sensor which is a really nice addition, as most DDR4 memory kits don’t have this and overclockers/watercoolers will benefit from this. The Ballistix Elite 3466MHz DDR4 32GB (4x8GB) memory kit retails for $547.99 and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro x64, installed on a Samsung EVO 960 m.2 drive. We made sure to run a bare minimum of services so nothing interfered with the test suite. One caveat: on bios 1701 on the ASUS Crosshair VI Hero, unfortunately, I can’t get 3466 on either 2 DIMMs or 4 DIMMs with the Ryzen 7 1800X I was testing with. I did manage a short time with a Ryzen 5 1500X and that was able to get 3466 with D.O.C.P. with 2 DIMMs installed. I was able to get a few Cinebench runs done in my time with that CPU.
The testing will be done at a frequency of 3200 and the XMP settings for timings (CL16–18–18–18–18–36). We will circle back and update this if/when we get the kit running at their full rated speed. As far as benchmarking software goes, we’ll be using AIDA64 (Read, Write, Copy, Latency) and Cinebench R15.
Respectable scores with the speed at 3200, which is a good speed with 4 DIMMs populated on the AM4 platform. Keep in mind that Ryzen usually gives slower ram speeds when all slots are populated vs just two. In this testing configuration, the results were the same.
Cinebench15 shows a multi-thread result that is just over 2x the 1500X benchmarked earlier (remember the ram on that was at 3466), and a single-thread score just higher (161 vs 146). These are respectable scores, and comparable to any other kit in this bracket.
Ballistix and their parent company Micron have another winner on their hands here. Smart, minimal, gamer-focused styling without being overly flashy; and solid performance metrics give a whole package that I’d recommend to anyone who needs the extra performance that kits of 3200+ bring, whether you’re a gamer, modder or professional there’s something about this kit that fits your needs.
Recently got hold of a Gigabyte K7 AX370 motherboard and was able to get the rated 3466 speed out of this kit. Very happy with this, and have adjusted my original scoring accordingly.
This post was originally featured on Medium.