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Crucial Ballistix 2GB (1GBx2) PC2-6400 DDR2 Memory Kit
Author: Jason Kohrs
Manufacturer: Crucial
Source: Crucial
Purchase: PriceGrabber
Comment or Question: Post Here
Page: 3 of 6 [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 ]
Crucial Ballistix 2GB (1GBx2) PC2-6400 DDR2 Memory Kit
October 20, 2006

Installation and Operation:

Before putting this memory kit through the paces of a few benchmarks, I ran it in the system for a few days to see if anything unusual jumped out at me. The test system used consisted of the following additional hardware:

ABIT AW8D Intel 975X motherboard
Intel D-840 3.2GHz Dual Core processor
Tuniq Tower 120 CPU cooler
Hitachi Deskstar 500GB SATA 3Gbps hard drive
Enermax Liberty 500W power supply
Windows XP Professional SP2

There was nothing significant to report, but the BIOS on the test system and two diagnostic software applications disagreed with the rated timings of 4-4-4-12. With the motherboard's BIOS set to SPD, it reported these modules as having timings of 5-5-5-15. I am unsure I believe this data, as those are the exact specifications of the memory pulled from the system to make room for the Crucial PC2-6400. With the BIOS left at 5-5-5-15, I booted into Windows in order to use both Everest Ultimate Edition 2006 and SiSoft Sandra 2007 to provide their assessment of the timings. As you can see in the images below, both applications agreed that the timings were 4-4-4-18.

Click Image For Larger View Click Image For Larger View

With the BIOS set manually to 4-4-4-12 timings, the system operated just fine, but the two applications shown above still insisted on 4-4-4-18 timings. Considering there were no issues over the first few days at default speeds and the rated timings of 4-4-4-12, I'd say this issue is trivial. Just be sure to check your BIOS to make sure you are running at the timings you paid for!

The only other things worth noting is the voltage supplied to the memory. The specifications list 2.2V, but at default speeds I found that 1.9V and higher was just fine. I settled on 2.0V for the default speed testing, and there was never an issue.


Overclocking:

Previous experience in overclocking PC2-6400 DDR2 comes thanks to a recent reviewof a 2GB kit from Transcend. The defaut timings of 5-5-5-15 may not be the most impressive on that kit, but I was able to maintain them from 800 MHz all the way up to an overclocked speed of 960 MHz. Anything higher, regardless of timings, voltages, and other settings was just unstable. Considering how well the plain jane kit from Transcend overclocked, I had great expectations for the Crucial Ballistix kit and adjusted the BIOS right up to 900 MHz DDR2.

The first move was to see if the system boot with the memory overclocked to 900 MHz with the timings left at 4-4-4-12... No dice. I then proceeded to take baby steps from 800 MHz an work my way up until 4-4-4-12 was no longer possible. It didn't take all that long to reach the stock timing ceiling, and at 880 MHz, the system was no longer stable. I first raised the voltage from 2.0V to 2.1V, but that was not enough... A bit of tweaking had the system back up and running quickly, and all that was required was to drop the timings to 5-4-4-12. At these relaxed timings the system was able to climb up to 900 MHz, but then more tweaking was required to go any higher. 920 MHz wound up being the highest overclock achieved on the Crucial Ballistix PC2-6400, regardless of timings, voltage, or other system settings that were adjusted. I have to say I was a bit disappointed considering the rather bland Transcend kit was able to go to 960 MHz on the same system.

I consider overclocking to be a highly subjective mix of art and science, and results will vary from system to system, and from user to user. Wondering if 920 MHz was really the best that this memory was capable of, I scoured the Internet to see how others may have fared on different systems. One other site, PC Stats had great success overclocking this memory (although on an AMD based system), and was able to overclock all the way to 1104 MHz. So, despite overclocking not scoring big points in this review, it is obviously possible, which is good to know (especially for AMD owners).

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