Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP 16GB Kit

1/8/2013 9:01:47 AM

Crucial offers Ballistix RAM in the scale of capacities that people once only dreamed of

Here's a question for you: how much RAM is enough? I ask this only because, having just received these new Ballistix Tactical LP dual-stick kit (each module is 8GB, making 16GB in a pair), it was a burning question in my mind.

Hoping that the answer is that you can never, ever have enough, these are modules the likes of which this reviewer has never previously experienced.

Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP 16GB Kit

Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP 16GB Kit

Bearing the now iconic Ballistix Logo and mustard color scheme, these are specifically made to combat the exceptionally poor ergonomic restraint of CPU cooler makers. As such, they're low profile (LP), and at just 24mm from edge connector up, they're some of the shortest modules I've seen.

The 'Tactical' part comes in the form of a sleek laser-cut heat spreader, which is actually two unconnected pieces that are glued to memory modules mounted on both sides of the DIMM.

The modules themselves are built from 64 memory modules each containing 1024 megabits, and they're PC3-12800 or 1600MHz rated. The timing on them is 8-8-8-24, which is reasonably fast. The beauty of the Ballistix brand is that modules made to this standard can be tweaked to either run at a higher clock speed than specified or with tighter timings.

Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP 16GB Kit

These are no exception, and the the SPD coding in them offers you a wide range Crucial offers Ballistix RAM in the scale of capacities that people once only dreamed of of automatic options, for those who don't like to hand crank their memory settings. At the low end of the JEDEC table, you can clock down to 914MHz, but embrace 6-6-6-23 timings, which is one of the four on offer in that set. The XMP modes are more numerous, having five possibilities, of which the de facto 1600MHz one is in the middle of the pack. The most extreme is 2000MHz with 10-10-10-30 timings, which just hints at what these modules might be capable of if pushed hard.

Speed options are nice, especially for overclocking, but the greatest aspect of these modules is the enormous size. On a typical PC motherboard, modules of this size would allow for 32GB of RAM. On my LGA 2011 test rig, which has no less than eight memory slots, 64GB is possible. If I was willing to part with the $619, that experiment would cost me.

It's worth pointing out to anyone interested in going that far or further, that you'll need a 64-bit version of Windows 7, and Home Premium only supports 16GB in total, where Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate editions will entertain a whopping 192GB.

Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP 16GB Kit

However, it's best feature is also its major weakness, because not all motherboards will accept 8GB modules, unfortunately. That's not a physical limitation, because they'll fit, but it's usually either a chipset or BIOS limit. They worked on my Intel X79 chipset test rig, but I've seen reports that some AMD 990FX motherboards don't care for modules this big.

Unless you research your particular hardware to check compatibility, you might well find that the system refuses to boot with these in place, or it works but you only get a maximum of 4GB or 8GB. Equally, it might work faultlessly, but don't assume anything.

It's for that reason only that I'm not yet sure that the world is really ready for these, which is a shame, because they cost relatively little for such for a massive amount of high quality memory.

The only complaint I have about them is that the spreader being split means that the edges of it stick into your thumb when you're pressing them down into the memory slots, which can be painful. The discomfort doesn't last long, and it's not like you'll be repeating that job often.

If you do own a system that will accept these, then fill your boots.


·         Price: $154

·         Manufacturer: Crucial

·         Website:

·         Required spec: System that accepts two DDR3 8GB modules

·         Part number: BLT2C8G3D1608ET3LX0CEU


·         Module Size: 16GB kit (8GBx2)

·         Package: Ballistix 240-pin DIMM

·         Rating: DDR3 PC3-12800

·         Timing 8-8-8-24

·         Memory Type: Unbuffered, NON-ECC

·         DDR3 Type: DDR3-1600

·         Default voltage: 1.35V

·         Memory Layout: 1024MB x 64

·         Physical Design: Low profile


·         Quality: 8

·         Value: 9

·         Overall: 9


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