The need for high-performance memory has never been higher. The average PC gamer may have noticed recent games and hardware pushing the recommended and optimal requirements for their systems above and beyond 8GB. The gameplay recorders and streamers amongst the PC community need as much power as possible to have an optimal gameplay experience alongside their media efforts. This is where DDR4 modules and in particular high-performance sets come in. The recent introduction of DDR4, which provides even more performance and control capabilities has kept firmly above and beyond the “recommended” settings. Crucial are long-standing figures of memory manufacturing, and they have proven on previous occasions that their memory is some of the best available on the market. The Ballistix sport LT DDR4 memory is defined as “memory for everyone who wants to get higher performance out of their system,” and it’s safe to say there is a clear focus on the enthusiast and gaming communities.
We’ve all done it. Sometimes you just have to admire how pretty hardware can be. I personally have spent far too much time on Reddit looking at rigs that are just astonishing. Some even make me question my own style. Design is certainly a sector where the Sport LT ticks all the boxes. The memory is available in both white and grey camouflage; the white set has a sleek camouflage white PCB whilst the grey edition (the one we are reviewing) sports a classy black PCB. The heat-spreaders area is a key feature of the Sport LT; they provide higher thermal performance and quite frankly look fantastic. The razor-like edges add an aggressive look to it, something which I appreciate. Often RAM can go unnoticed in a PC, so it is nice to see a set finally showing some flare. It is also nice to see a set of RAM that correctly advertises “Black/White PCB.” Not brown, not some dodgy cream color, but an actual black/white set. The only concern here is for air-cooled systems which need to ensure that they have adequate clearing from the attached fans, so be sure to check first. It is certainly notable for those high-end builders out there that the camouflage heat-spreader and PCB would look absolutely bad-ass on some of the recent camouflage boards that have released. However, I can imagine the camo look may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
The packaging isn’t perhaps the most appealing in the world; it actually somewhat resembles something you’d get from a DIY store. However, the real beauty comes from what is inside. There are some images below of both the packaging and RAM itself. I think you can probably agree; it is awesome.
When launched in September 2012, the new DDR4 technology featured a higher module density over DDR3 and at a lower voltage. The result is larger and cooler DIMMs giving the largest module size to date with feasible speeds in the 3500/4000Mhz region.
Crucial Ballistix Sport LT – DDR4 – 16 GB:2 x 8 GB – DIMM 288-pin
Product Type: RAM memory
Capacity: 16 GB:2 x 8 GB
Memory Type: DDR4 SDRAM – DIMM 288-pin
Upgrade Type: Generic
Data Integrity: Check Non-ECC
Speed: 2400 MHz ( PC4-19200 )
Latency Timings: CL16 ( 16-16-16 )
Features: Heat sink, dual channel, Black PCB, Intel Extreme Memory Profiles (XMP 2.0) , unbuffered
Voltage: 1.2 V
• Speeds start at 2400 MT/s
• Faster speeds and responsiveness than standard Crucial® DDR4 memory
• Ideal for gamers and performance enthusiasts
• Four channel memory architecture maximizes data rates
• Digital camo heat spreader and black PCB
• Easy plug-and-play installation
• Intel® XMP 2.0 profiles for easy configuration
• Optimized for the latest Intel X99 platforms
• Limited lifetime warranty
The Ballistix Sport LT comes with a number of benefits such as being well optimized and easily overclockable. There was a surprising amount of overclocking headroom, considering its budget price. Under testing it attained a maximum frequency of roughly 2756Mhz when the voltage was increased from 1.2v to 1.35v. However, as I can imagine, there won’t be many of you counting on overclocking your RAM. Stability is key and quite frankly the potential cons outweigh the benefits of a slightly higher frequency. The installation was quick and easy; it’s a simple plug-in and play. The RAM caused no issues on the MSI bios and performed well on RAM intensive applications. At one point – just to try and stretch its capability – I opened up Adobe After Effects, Photoshop and Premiere Pro just to see what problems I could provoke. All of these programs had a RAM allowance of 4-6GB. But, no matter how hard I tried, I never encountered any issues with the programs or the physical hardware itself.
Now here is probably the biggest consideration when it comes to upgrading or buying new RAM for a rig; what should you keep in mind for gaming? Well, in terms of performance RAM, it offers very little addition to your frame-rate in games. However, that is not to say your RAM performance doesn’t matter. Games can consume a lot of RAM, especially with recent titles that are amping up their requirements. As game engines get more complex, your machine will have to take the brunt of the changes. What really matters is how much RAM you have available, how well it performs and how stable it is. The Sport LT performance is consistent, staying at a wonderful 2400Mhz at a constant basis. The RAM also encounters absolutely no trouble in terms of stability. I never received any odd hitches that, believe me, happens with “plug-in play RAM”. Not too long ago 16GB RAM would have been considered “overkill”. Now however, that isn’t the case. Here is a list of recent titles minimum and recommended RAM usage:
With games like Star Wars Battlefront already sporting a 16GB recommended memory, now really is the time to upgrade. It is likely that Frostbite-run games that will follow like Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst and a possible Battlefield 5 will have the same requirements. Even with some of the 8GB titles such as XCOM 2, I personally prefer to have just above the recommended for decent headroom. That way, if I want to record, stream or run other applications on the side, I have that option without any potential limitations.
The final thing to consider really is price. DDR4 modules when they first launched were not cheap at all. However, over time they have decreased significantly. You always have to find a nice price to performance balance with any hardware. What makes the Sport LT even more wonderful is its price. At the moment, you can find the memory for between £77-£93 in the UK (Feb 2016). That is a great deal for RAM that performs well, especially 16GBs of it.
To conclude, the Crucial Ballistix Sport LT RAM is some of the best on the market. At a very modest price with excellent performance and stability, this is a great set to purchase for those looking to upgrade or build a new PC. It overclocks well, looks fantastic and the 16GB set is enough memory to provide you some comfort for the impending future of increased hardware requirements.