DDR2 The Second Round :: Crucial Ballistix Tracer PC2-5300

03-18-2005 · Category: Hardware - Memory

By John Chen

In the last roundup, Crucial's "regular" Ballistix was a great performer. It provided great performance but came with a hefty price. That was actually the only downside. Price is a very crucial factor in making hardware purchase and the Ballistix was one of the most expensive available. The Tracer we've received is Crucial's new addition to the Ballistix line. Like Corsair's Pro series, the Tracer features LED lights to show memory activity. Near the bottom of the gold pins are blue LEDs that show a very attractive glow. The top of the memory sticks have red and green LEDs that light up to show memory usage, with no specific order. If you're testing the memory under Memtest, the red and green LEDs will light up and rotate in a circular manner.

The Ballistix Tracer is rated to run at 331MHz with latencies of 4-4-4-10 at 1.9v. Crucial was a bit conservative with the rating, and from the last roundup, we found that it was able to run PC2-5400 like the rest without a single problem.

DDR2 The Second Round
DDR2 The Second Round

The Ballistix Tracer was actually the most attractive memory in this roundup. Sure it may not have the large heatsinks like the Corsair Pro or the shiny reflective platinum finish like the OCZ but the sexy black heatspreaders paired with the black PCB is a winner for me. Depending on the motherboard of your choice, a combination with the Ballistix Tracer cannot go wrong.

While the Tracer was rated at 331MHz with latencies of 4-4-4-10, I backed it down to 266MHz (PC2-4200) to see the lowest latencies it would allow. The lowest it ran at perfect stability was 3-3-3-8. Latencies of 3-3-3-8 are definitely lower but that's what most PC2-4200 already run at. I upped the memory frequency to 337MHz (PC2-5400 since we've found that it's certainly capable) and found the lowest latencies allowed were 4-4-3-10. I relaxed it back to the specified ratings and proceeded to find the highest overclock. The memory hit a high of 367MHz without a problem. At that speed, the FSB was at 275, with the CPU at 3.85GHZ. I could have gone further and the motherboard was capable, but this time my limiting factor was the CPU. I've done tests with overclocking the CPU and it would only allow me to go the 3.9GHZ range. The core on this processor must have been one of the earlier editions and doesn't allow very high processing speed.

DDR2 The Second Round

  • 266MHz 3-3-3-8
  • 337MHz 4-4-4-10
  • 337MHz 4-4-3-10
  • 367MHz 4-4-4-10