Thursday, 26 May 2016

Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4-2400 32GB Kit

Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4-2400 32GB Kit

Crucial unleashes a memory monster of mythic proportions

As a seasoned technology reviewer I’m rarely shocked these days, but the arrival of this memory kit from Crucial truly blew my mind on numerous levels. I’ve covered Ballistic Sport products before, and as before, these are turned out marvellously.

My review modules came in with heat spreaders in a rich red colour, with silver highlights and a digital camo motif. You can also get these in white or grey, if that better suits your system.

The heat spreaders don’t extend beyond the edges of the UDIMM, so these are just 32mm from top to bottom – not quite low profile but jolly slim all the same.

Where I started to swoon was when I realised that for less than £120 this kit consists of four 8GB modules, providing a total of 32GB of memory. That’s a huge amount of RAM for a desktop PC, whatever you’ve decided to do with it.

Comparing that to my first computer that had 16384 bytes of RAM, a PC built with these would have more than two million times more memory. Sheesh!

It’s worth noting that not all systems can accept four modules, and the ones that could probably make the most of this configuration are those with an X99 chipset. However, I tested them on a Z170 motherboard, and they worked flawlessly.

They also don’t need much in the way of setting up, due to the numerous SPD profiles that they contain. I’ve seen modules with lots of SPD settings before, but nothing quite like this. There are no less than ten JEDEC speed settings from 675MHz to 1200MHz, and 14 XMP ones, going from 530MHz (7.0-7-7-17-25) to 1200MHz.

A reason for so many is that there are eight, at 1200MHz each with different timings, although interestingly all the XMP ones utilise 1.2 volts.

Out of the total of 24 timings, you’d be pretty unlucky to not find one that your system liked, and ironically that would probably be the default XMP profile that requires zero tinkering.

The only real caveat to using this much RAM is that you need an OS that can address more than 4GB (i.e. a 64-bit one). Those who picked a 32-bit installation, you mucked up.

There is one real question about using these: do you really need this much RAM? If I’m honest, then the answer is probably no. And I have reservations about even Windows 10’s ability to effectively use this much memory other than allocating it to disk caching. But at this price the temptation is just to load the machine up, and then forget about RAM as a possible upgrade.

Yes, there are some platforms that can accept 64GB or 128GB, but then we’re going super-silly, aren’t we?

As for these modules, I can’t fault the design, the massive capacity or the price. The world of PC memory officially just went places I never considered it ever would, and where it might go from here is rather daunting. Mark Pickavance

Big memory option at a relatively low cost.