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Review: Crucial Ballistix Elite 16GB DDR4-2666 (BLE4C4G4D26AFEA)

by Tarinder Sandhu on 9 February 2015, 15:00

Tags: Crucial Technology (NASDAQ:MU), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacoqg

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Testing methodology

Comparison Memory

  Crucial Ballistx 2,400
Crucial Ballistix Elite 2,667
Corsair Vengeance LPX 2,133
G.Skill Ripjaws 4 3,000
16GB (4x4GB)
16GB (4x4GB)
16GB (4x4GB)
16GB (4x4GB)
Cost per GB*
*Approximate, correct at time of writing

Test Platform

CPU Intel Core i7-5960X @ 4.0GHz
Motherboard Asus X99-Deluxe (1103 BIOS)
Storage Device Crucial MX100 512GB SSD
Graphics Card EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti (344.75 drivers)
Power Supply Corsair AX760i
Operating System Windows 8.1 64-bit


HEXUS.PiFast Our number-crunching benchmark stresses a single core by calculating Pi to 10m places
CINEBENCH R15 Using Cinebench's multi-CPU render, this cross-platform benchmark stresses all cores
HandBrake Free-to-use video encoder that stresses all CPU cores (64-bit)
AIDA64 v5.00.3308 beta Memory analysis tool supporting Haswell CPUs
3DMark DX11, Fire Strike default test
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor DX11, 1,920x1,080, 2,560x1,440, and 3,840x2,160, very high quality
Tomb Raider DX11, 1,920x1,080, 2,560x1,440, and 3,840x2,160, ultra quality


Comparing memory modules of differing speeds on an X99 platform is not as straightforward as it should be.

Motherboards tend to offer a maximum memory frequency of 2,666MHz when using the default 100MHz base clock. This is fine for memory like the Crucial 2,666MHz pack, but the only method of achieving higher speeds, for comparison modules, even if loftier frequencies are available in the BIOS, is to increase the base clock by inputting XMP parameters.

We want to lock the CPU speed to a a certain frequency and then see what effect memory timings and frequency have on our benchmarks, rather than what effect the CPU imposes. The way to do this is to select a CPU speed - 4.0GHz in our case - and toggle the other parameters to fit.

The Asus X99-Deluxe, updated to the latest BIOS, is able to run 2,133MHz and 2,400MHz and 2,666MHz speeds with the CPU set to 4.0GHz (40x100MHz, synced cores). We also want to see if investing in higher-speed DDR4 is worth it, so we use the 3,000MHz-rated G.Skill F4-3000C15Q pack. Obtaining the correct memory frequency via XMP 2.0 requires the motherboard to set the base clock to 125MHz and all-core CPU multiplier to a capped 32x, resulting in the same 4.0GHz final speed and 3.0GHz cache frequency.

Gaming benchmarks now use two games - Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, and Tomb Raider - that span three resolutions. The premise here is to see if memory-bandwidth gains translate well when the onus shifts on to the GeForce GTX 780 Ti graphics card.

We've also thrown in numbers from a Corsair DDR4-2,133 quad-channel pack that's imbued with tighter timings. Is spending more money on memory worth it on a very efficient quad-channel architecture present on X99? Let's find out if this is the case when operating the Core i7-5960X CPU at 4.0GHz. Benchmarks are run three times and the results graphed up on the following pages.


We've chosen three arbitrary speeds and timings in order to evaluate the overclocking potential of the Crucial modules. Voltage was increased to 1.35V.

Crucial @ 1.35V

The results are very similar to those obtained on the cheaper Ballistix Sport modules we took a look at recently. However, testing further shows that this 2,666MHz pack is able to lower the CAS latency rating to 12 cycles at 2,666MHz whereas the Sport manages 14 cycles.