Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 2x32GB Review (Page 2 of 10)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Test System

The Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 2x32GB, being a part of the latest enthusiast DDR4 line from the company, utilizes a set of medium profile heatspreaders. My above photo shows two kits for a whopping 128GB of DDR4 glory. Meanwhile, the RAM itself 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 industrial or 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 is only about 0.75cm 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 hard to imagine the Ballistix will interfere with any modern processor cooler. 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. 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 controller voltage limits on Intel and AMD CPUs -- this feature is certainly not a requirement. But I will admit they look pretty cool in any windowed chassis.

The heatspreader design of the Crucial Ballistix 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 right in the middle along with Crucial's logo underneath it. A specifications label is found on the other side. It lists the model number (BL2K32G36C16U4B), capacity, frequency, latencies, and voltage. The Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 2x32GB's assembly location is Mexico.

As you can see more clearly in our photo above, the Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 has a very nice black PCB. The heatspreader is composed of two separate pieces; one for each side. The two sides are held on to the module itself by strips of thermally conductive adhesive and are interlocked together at the top for alignment. 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. 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 Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 2x32GB dual channel memory kit. The photo above should be quite clear -- it says "C9BLG" on each IC. These are Micron manufactured chips identified as CT40A2G8VA-55M:B decoded from the FBGA inscription, with eight 2GB chips on each side for a total of 32GB 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 and AMD recommendation 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
• TC maximum up to 95°C
– 64ms, 8192-cycle refresh up to 85°C
– 32ms, 8192-cycle refresh at >85°C to 95°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
• sPPR and hPPR capability

To make it fair to everyone, we only used two sticks for 2x32GB in our benchmarks, since that is reflective of what comes in one standard kit. Our test configuration is as follows:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X @ Stock
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-U12A
Motherboard: ASUS Prime X470-Pro
Graphics: MSI GeForce GTX 1070Ti Titanium
Chassis: be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 rev. 2
Storage: Western Digital Blue SN500 NVMe SSD 500GB, OCZ ARC 100 240GB, Patriot P200 512GB
Power: Seasonic FOCUS Plus 850 Gold 850W
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

Compared Hardware:
- Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 2x32GB @ DDR4-3600 16-18-18-38
- Ballistix Elite DDR4-4000 2x8GB @ DDR4-4000 18-19-19-39
- Ballistix Elite DDR4-4000 2x8GB @ DDR4-3600 16-16-16-38
- Gigabyte AORUS RGB Memory DDR4-3200 2x8GB @ DDR4-3200 16-18-18-38
- Patriot Viper Elite PC4-24000 2x8GB @ DDR4-3000 16-16-16-36
- Patriot Viper RGB DDR4-3600 2x16GB @ DDR4-3600 17-19-19-39
- Patriot Viper 4 Blackout DDR4-3600 2x8GB @ DDR4-3600 17-19-19-39

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 10
9. Benchmark: SuperPI 1M, Cinebench R20
10. Overclocking and Conclusion