Recently OCmodshop was sent a brand new product from Crucial Technology, a 1Gigabyte kit of its latest Ballistix Tracer PC4000 modules. Crucial, a division of Micron, produces memory products that cross the gamut from the high performance enthusiasts level Ballistix modules to SD flash memory.
Crucial has had a line of Ballistix PC4000 on the market for quite some time. They have been tested by hardware review sites and the enthusiast community alike, and can be touted for performance as well as excellent hardware compatibility.
Although the particular modules we are reviewing today are a bit special. Crucial has taken their bulletproof PC4000 modules and revved them up a notch to target a consumer who is part of an emerging trend in enthusiast computing, case modders, who like a little show with their go and look to blend style and flare with performance. These memory modules are clad with small LED’s (light emitting diodes) to display memory usage and some just for bragging. How’s that for cool.
The memory modules came in Crucial’s traditional plain white box. Breaking the seal we find: a 512meg memory module, a multi-lingual installation manual as well a 6” Ballistix sticker. We are reviewing a 1Gigabyte kit of this memory so each stick was contained in a different box. The modules are sealed inside of a static bag with pertinent information such as make/model, latency and batch codes.
Note: Ballistix memory isn’t sold in matched pairs like many memory manufacturers sell theirs. Matched pairs are geared towards those using hardware capable of dual channel memory configuration. Paired modules are tested together assuring that they will work at the same speeds and the same latencies, together. Crucial however claims that any two exact Ballistix memory modules rated at the same speeds and timings will work together at their specified ratings. Coming from a company as reputable as Crucial I would tend to believe this.
As stated before these modules are the standard Ballistix PC4000 modules at the following ratings: DDR500, PC4000, CL2.5-4-4-8, 2.8v. They feature a slick jet black PCB and they are clad in custom semi gloss black aluminum heat spreaders with gunmetal clips. Painted onto the spreaders are the Crucial.com logo, the orange and yellow Ballistix emblem and an orange sticker marking the batch code and serial numbers of each module.
At first look these look like normal memory modules, but if you look very closely you notice the additional LED’s mounted across the PCB. On the bottom edge of the memory, there are 4 surface-mount LED’s. If you check Crucial Ballistix Tracer website (here) they are calling these “Ground Effects” LED’s, coining the phrase straight from the custom car industry. There are 4 LED’s on each side of the PCB, and when the modules receive power they emit a blue glow that backlights the memory. Aptly named by Crucial.
In addition Crucial has added an array of 16 LED’s across the top of the PCB. These LED’s, according to Crucial, interface with a custom circuit that monitors memory bus activity and lights the array to indicate that usage. This is similar to what Corsair has implemented with their XMS Pro line of memory which featured usage lights integrated into the heat spreader. They would light up in a line from green to red according to usage, giving a quick bar graph interpretation of usage.
What is neat about these however is that they interpret bus usage into a tracing light pattern in the array, and the speed at which the light trace along the array is proportional to the bus activity. Again, aptly named by Crucial. So the lights should theoretically be moving slowly when the system is at idle, and when you boot into your favorite game or do some memory benching, the lights should be constantly moving. That’s one way to one-up Corsair as these should be very flashy if you want to draw some attention to your case at a LAN or just put something unique in your case.