In the world of computer components, RAM is rarely ever a hot-topic, unlike processors and graphics cards that see new products come to market every couple of months, with new product generations every year. RAM is essentially always RAM; not much changes very often. Having said that, the last few months have been historic, as computer memory is more exciting than ever. Why? Next-generation DDR4 memory standard has reached mass-market availability and consumers want to know what, if anything has changed.
Well, today we’re going to try to answer some of your questions as we get the pleasure of reviewing Crucial’s Ballistix Sport DDR4-2400 32GB quad-channel memory kit.
PACKAGING, PRICING & SPECIFICATIONS
The kit comes in a simple clear plastic packaging. It’s fairly simple, which is common for RAM as it is cheaper to ship in large quantities. Our kit is a quad-channel, 32GB (8GB x 4) rated for 2400MHz with a CAS Latency of 16 (16-16-16-39) at the standard 1.2v. You can find it under the part number BLS4K8G4D240FSA, it is priced at $469.99 and also comes it kits of 16GB for $261.
The rear of the box lacks specifics about the memory, displaying only some marketing information for all Ballistix branded memory, including the Tactical and Elite series as well as the Sport series. This is obviously another maneuver to keep packaging costs down, one we wont’ fault Crucial for, since it keeps costs down for consumers as well. This is substantiated by Crucial’s very competitive DDR4 pricing.
The RAM features a low-profile design that is ideal for use with coolers that do not provide clearance for high-profile RAM. The heat spreader is all silver and displays the Ballistix logo. It is a rather simple design, especially when compared to other brands offerings, but that is usual with Crucial’s Ballistix Sport line. However, that simple design and lack of primary colors means that this RAM kit will match with virtually any color scheme, if you’re into that.
If you’ve read along this far, you might be wondering what is DDR4 and how is it different from what was available before? – Well, to put it simply DDR4 is the next-generation in DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random-access memory). It is as the name states, the fourth-generation and successor to DDR3.
Its advancements over previous generations include higher module density, lower voltage requirements and higher data rate transfer speeds. This means that you can not only theoretically have more RAM in your system than ever before, but that it will use less power and perform faster as well. Of course, how much these improvements effect actual usage depends the application. Server and Enterprise users will see the most benefit from adopting DDR4 than pretty much any other market.
As it stands, the only consumer platform that currently supports DDR4 memory is Intel’s X99, which you can find out more about in our reviews for both the Intel Core i7 5960x CPU, as well as the ASRock X99 OC Formula motherboard.