Ballistix Elite PC4-28800 4x8GB Review (Page 2 of 10)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Test System

The Ballistix Elite PC4-28800 4x8GB, being a part of the latest enthusiast DDR4 line from the company, utilizes a set of medium profile heatspreaders. It is not designed to draw attention with its black heatspreaders and white inscriptions. I found it quite conservative looking, but the aluminum pieces are distinctively shaped and molded to accentuate its rugged military look for a little more visual flare and complexity. Aluminum is lightweight and serves as a decent heat conductor, while the ventilated heatsink design is for heat dissipation. The Ballistix Elite is only about a centimeter taller than modules with no heatspreaders at all. This is useful for systems equipped with side mounted CPU heatsink fans adjacent to the memory slots, as it can piggy-back off the generated airflow. Since the heatspreader height is very moderate, it is still extremely likely for the Ballistix Elite to fit under a well-designed cooler with sufficient clearance room. Whether you like to call it marketing gimmick or whatnot, it is impossible nowadays to find performance memory without any form of a heatspreader attached, haha. They do undeniably serve a purpose in dissipating heat, but for most memory modules, unless run at a voltage significantly over designed voltages -- which you will not, special thanks to integrated memory controllers on Intel processors -- this feature is certainly not a requirement. But I will admit they look pretty cool in any windowed chassis. Ballistix's M.O.D. utility gives you real time temperature monitoring if you are worried.

The heatspreader design of the Ballistix Elite modules is symmetrical when looked at straight on and between sides, which is logical, because memory can be installed in different directions depending on your motherboard manufacturer and design. Besides functional purposes, it also improves the look. The Ballistix logo in white is printed on the right with the Elite designation on the left. A specifications label is found on the other side. It lists the model number (BLE4K8G4D36BEEAK), frequency, CAS latency, and voltage. The Ballistix Elite PC4-28800 4x8GB's assembly location is Mexico.

As you can see more clearly in our photo above, the Ballistix Elite PC4-28800 4x8GB has a very nice black PCB. The heatspreader is composed of three separate pieces. The top piece locks the two sides together and can be slid off upon the removal of four screws. After taking off the top piece, the two sides are held on to the module itself by strips of thermally conductive adhesive and are not physically locked together. The adhesive force between the two heatspreaders and memory ICs is pretty strong, so if you ever do take them off, keep your hair dryer around.

From our above photo, it should also be clearer on how the heatspreaders are designed. After removing the piece at the top, the heatspreaders are bent along the edge at the top and are mirror images of each other. Since the pieces are made from thin aluminum -- but thick enough to resist easy bending, so it feels solid in the hand -- it does not hold a lot of heat, therefore dissipating the heat energy relatively quickly into the surrounding environment. Either way, you will probably never remove the heatspreaders, and most aftermarket CPU heatsinks should easily accommodate memory modules of various height profiles in the last little while.

A closer look at the memory chips on the Ballistix Elite PC4-28800 4x8GB quad channel memory kit. The photo above should be quite clear -- it says "C9BJZ" on each IC. These are Micron manufactured chips identified as CT40A1G8SA-62M:E decoded from the FBGA inscription, with eight 1GB chips on one side only for a total of 8GB on each DIMM. As mentioned on the previous page, these RAM modules run at a frequency of DDR4-3600 with 16-18-18-38 latencies. They operate at a stock voltage of 1.35V, which is right at the Intel maximum safe limit of 1.35V. Here are the listed features for the ICs, as obtained from Micron's website:

• VDD = VDDQ = 1.2V ±60mV
• VPP = 2.5V, –125mV, +250mV
• On-die, internal, adjustable VREFDQ generation
• 1.2V pseudo open-drain I/O
• Refresh time of 8192-cycle at TC temperature range:
– 64ms at -40°C to 85°C
– 32ms at >85°C to 95°C
– 16ms at >95°C to 105°C
• 16 internal banks (x4, x8): 4 groups of 4 banks each
• 8 internal banks (x16): 2 groups of 4 banks each
• 8n-bit prefetch architecture
• Programmable data strobe preambles
• Data strobe preamble training
• Command/Address latency (CAL)
• Multipurpose register READ and WRITE capability
• Write leveling
• Self refresh mode
• Low-power auto self refresh (LPASR)
• Temperature controlled refresh (TCR)
• Fine granularity refresh
• Self refresh abort
• Maximum power saving
• Output driver calibration
• Nominal, park, and dynamic on-die termination (ODT)
• Data bus inversion (DBI) for data bus
• Command/Address (CA) parity
• Databus write cyclic redundancy check (CRC)
• Per-DRAM addressability
• Connectivity test
• JEDEC JESD-79-4 compliant

Our test configuration as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.60GHz
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-D15 (Single fan)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z170X-UD5
Graphics: Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 970 4GB
Chassis: NZXT H700i
Storage: OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB; Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB; SanDisk Extreme PRO 480GB
Power: Seasonic PRIME Ultra Titanium 850W
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

Compared Hardware:
- Ballistix Elite PC4-28800 4x8GB @ DDR4-3600 16-18-18-38
- Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB PC4-24000 4x8GB @ DDR4-3000 16-18-18-38
- GeIL EVO X GEX416GB3200C16DC 2x8GB @ DDR4-3200 16-16-16-36
- GeIL Super Luce RGB SYNC GLS416GB3200C14DC 2x8GB @ DDR4-3200 14-14-14-34
- G.Skill Ripjaws V F4-2400C15D-32GVR 2x16GB @ DDR4-2400 15-15-15-35
- Kingston HyperX Fury HX426C15FBK4/32 4x8GB @ DDR4-2666 15-17-17-35
- Kingston HyperX Savage Black HX426C15SBK4/64 4x16GB @ DDR4-2666 15-15-15-35
- Patriot Viper Elite PC4-24000 2x8GB @ DDR4-3000 16-16-16-36
- Patriot Viper LED PC4-24000 2x8GB @ DDR4-3000 15-17-17-35
- Patriot Viper RGB PC4-25600 2x8GB @ DDR4-3200 16-18-18-36

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Test System
3. Benchmark: AIDA64 CPU
4. Benchmark: AIDA64 FPU
5. Benchmark: AIDA64 Memory
6. Benchmark: PCMark 10
7. Benchmark: 3DMark
8. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 9.0
9. Benchmark: SuperPI 1M, Cinebench R20
10. Overclocking and Conclusion