The Ballistix PC2-6400 modules we will be reviewing today came to us in a small non-descript cardboard box, sealed off with a sticker from Crucial. While such packaging is a far cry from the flashy blister packaging that many manufacturers utilize these days, it provides a piece of mind in knowing that there's an extra layer of protection between the harsh outer world and your precious modules in the case something should happen during shipping. After we slit the packaging open, we find the same thing as always, our pair of modules held safely within a cardboard inset, each wrapped in its own form fitting anti-static bag, flanked by a basic installation manual. While this is the same time tested packaging as always, we have a lone complaint, and that's about the contents. While all of Crucial's Ballistix modules feature that sexy golden heatspreader straddling a golden PCB, it would be nice to have stickers denotating speed and timings affixed to the side of the modules, as is done on Corsair's XMS line. While this is a minor gripe, it would help alleviate the confusion and frustration that comes when you have to choose a pair of modules out of a bunch when they all look the same.
Gripes aside, let's return to the aesthetics aspect of these modules which we have already touched so briefly upon - as always with the Ballistix series of modules, these stick are composed of a mixture of a jet black PCB covered with an attractive golden heatspreader, silk screened with the Ballistix logo. While we firmly believe that a heatspreader is vastly un-necessary on DDR2 modules, it still does make them that little bit more attractive, but at the cost of inflexibility. Some of you may be wondering what I mean when I say this, and in essence, these heatspreaders will be permanently attached to the memory modules, as due to the weaker solder bolds of DDR2 chips, there is too much of a risk of damaging said modules to justify seeing what's under the hood. With the appearance of these modules in mind, it's time to examine just what they're rated to do. Thanks to a small evolution in DDR2 technology, these sticks are now capable of DDR2-800 speeds at the same latencies as their forefathers could operate at, while only cruising along at DDR2-667 frequencies, essentially 4-4-4-12 at 2.1V. Beyond this, our set of memory proved capable of operating at DDR2-667 frequencies and beyond at the impressive latencies of 3-3-3-12 at 2.1V. What remains to be seen however is if this memory will be capable of operations at PC2-8000 frequencies, something which we will determine in our later stages of the testing sequence. If these modules are in fact capable of these speeds, then it will be a perfect compliment to their versatility, as they already allow for high speed, low latency operation at an impressive array of frequencies. With the ability to appeal to both niches, we're undoubtedly excited to just see what else these modules can do for our system. After all, faster is always better when it's stable.