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Crucial Ballistix DDR2-1000
By Vijay Anand
Category : Memory
Published by Vijay Anand on Monday, 15th August, 2005
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  

Crucial Goes Ballistix With DDR2-1000

Slowly and surely, DDR2 memory technology is picking up the win as quantity and variety are plenty and prices have come down a fair bit in recent times. Considering today's very best DDR2 memory prices are about the US$300 mark, that's pretty favorable as opposed to top DDR2 and DDR memory modules that often saw prices of US$400 not too long back. No doubt AMD purists believe that standard DDR memory is fast enough and has lower latencies, scaling frequencies and maintaining signal integrity in DDR parts is a tough act and is being outrun by speedier DDR2 low latency modules. Though AMD's CPUs are doing great with just normal DDR memory parts, they would probably fare even better with the right DDR2 memory modules. AMD already has plans for Athlon 64 CPUs with integrated DDR2 memory controllers, but according to their current roadmap, it's not due till at least a year later. Till then, it looks like AMD enthusiasts might have to contend with the relatively costlier and older DDR memory technology.

Coming back to the present state of DDR2 technology, recently we had the pleasure of test-driving the fastest memory modules by the way of Corsair's TWIN2X1024-8000UL 1GB memory kit, which are low latency DDR2-1000 modules. This was quite a shocker since most vendors were still validating their DDR2-1000 modules at that period of time. Just a month later, Crucial Technology's enthusiast series Ballistix DDR2-1000 memory made its way into our lab and we eagerly put them to test.

The Crucial Ballistix DD2-1000's shiny gold colored heat spreaders go well with its charming black PCB.

Though they are rated for 5-5-5-15 memory timings and don't quite seem to be in the same league as the Corsair pair, don't judge them off yet. Right from the beginning, we managed to get the Crucial memory to match Corsair's memory timings with relative ease and we even managed to go a little further actually. More details of the settings are highlighted on the following page.

Prying the heat spreaders off, we found the Crucial Ballistix DDR2-1000 memory configuration to be a single sided module with eight of Micron's fastest memory chips for a total of 512MB capacity.

Although Crucial branded their Ballistix series name on every memory IC chip, it was merely printed over Micron's original chip markings. Not clearly visible in this picture, the original chip marking is 5KAHD9DQT-2F.

Prying off the heat spreaders to get a good look at the handsome black memory module, we found that the Crucial Ballistix DDR2-1000 uses Micron's memory parts. On careful inspection, we managed to obtain the memory IC part number as listed in the captions above, but these are not listed on Micron's website (yet). Studying Micron's existing IC part numbering scheme, we deciphered that the Ballistix is using true 500MHz rated memory chips, which in DDR terminology equates to 1000MHz. Let's move on to the test segment and find out how well this high speed memory pair faired.

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