Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
We have had a long history with Crucial, as we go back to the AMD 939 days. Trying much of what was affordable and accessible, it was not until our first set of Crucial memory that we got the most out of our Opteron 165 based system! Even when it came to new DDR2, the same was true. We had a set of 667MHz sticks that we not only took to 1300MHz, but we also ran stock speeds at 4-4-4-1 paired with an E6400. Man, does this take us back to good times! All the same, we even saw some of their memory in our DDR3 days that was just as much fun, as well as multiple versions of their DDR4 that we have seen for testing.
The reason behind our experience with them in the past is that in those days. At the same time, Ballistix Tracers were a thing, they were more expensive, compared to standard kits without lights, and sometimes, like the fact that we were using UV reactive DFI motherboards, it was easy to clash lighting schemes back then. That said, the same can be said today, where depending on RGB and ARGB implementations, things may not look as good as expected. Some buck the trend of LED lighting in general, and would also prefer performance without all of the glitz and glamour that many RAM kits offer currently.
Crucial digs way back into the list of names of series' they have used in the past and decided it was time for a new version of Ballistix. While they do offer RGB versions of these kits, they do have a different heat spreader design as well, so that the Ballistix stand on their own. In hand today is the 32GB kit of 3200MHz memory from the Ballistix line of DDR4 from Crucial. Hopefully, Crucial can still deliver what we recall from yesteryears past and are the same all-around good deal that we knew them to be.
In the chart above, which we borrowed from Crucial's product page for the BL2K16G32C16U4B that we have, we can see all of the specifications. The speed is 3200MHz and comes with a limited lifetime warranty, and there are no error correction capabilities. CAS latency is set to 16 for almost all of the kits on offer in the Ballistix family, and within this 32GB kit we have, the full timings are 16-18-18-36, set in the XMP profile. Thus is UDIMM DDR4, and all Ballistix DDR4 from this series uses 1.35V no matter the speed. As the chart continues, we see that there are two sticks in the 32GB kit, we see the RAM specs all lined up nicely, and lastly, we are told this is unbuffered. The last thing, which the chart does not show, is that our Ballistix from Crucial is black.
If 3200MHz, 32GB of density, or it being black is not your thing, the Ballistix line has options. First, let's deal with the color options. Reflected in the last letter of the part number, there are the B's for black, W's for white, and R's for red heat spreaders, all of them stuck on top of black PCBs no matter the color of the spreader. As to speeds, you can get 2400MHz, 2666MHz, 3000MHz, 3200MHz, and 3600MHz kits, and density does depend on speed. The 2400MHz kits can be had in 8GB and 16GB kits, where all others are offered in 16GB or 32GB. There are some standouts to these generalizations, such as the fact that there is a set of 64GB 3200MHz and 3600MHz, and that the 3000MHz kits use CAS15 rather than the CAS 16 of all of the other options.
As we shop around for these kits in the wild, the BL2K16G32C16U4B we are about to test is shown to be $159.99 at Amazon, and keep in mind that this is a 32GB kit, not a 16GB kit! We also found, while at Amazon, that color of the heat spreaders does not affect the pricing at all. Those that prefer Newegg, the pricing is identical, and color choice does not raise the cost there either. Considering speed and density when looking for comparable kits, on the low-end of price are the Vulcan Z from TEAM at $129.99, and the upper end of the group drives the cost to near $1000 for the CAS14 TridentZ's, which put Crucial well within the very affordable range of the current market.