“Believe the Hype, DDR4 is a game changer!”
By Kyle “Rumble” Bousquet
Not long ago I wrote a review of the Ballistix Elite RAM. To me it was a very nice improvement over my previous RAM. I’m fortunate enough to have their Ballistix Elite DDR4 RAM to test and review now and I was pretty excited to try it out. Not because I am just trying new RAM, but because this is DDR4 I am building a whole new system to try it out in.
My new review rig is going to be based around a Core i7 7700K and ASUS TUF Mark 1 motherboard. Since DDR4 RAM came out people have been hyping that it will improve every aspect of your computing experience. Better gaming, better encoding, better editing. I have been looking forward to this build for a while.
The memory sent for this review and the new test system was the Ballistix Elite 32GB kit part# BLE4K8G4D30AEEA. The hard numbers are;
DDR4 PC4-24000 • 15-16-16 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR4-3000 • 1.35V • 1024Meg x 64 (as per the Crucial website).
Looks can be deceiving
After installing the RAM the first thing that struck me was that uses exactly the same aesthetic in all their Ballistix Elite RAM. I felt at ease with the new RAM for this reason. I understand it’s a psychological trick of the mind, my thinking this RAM will be awesome just because the last Ballistix Elite was. Its all part of branding, and it worked on me. My expectations were high.
The DDR4 class of RAM from Ballistix Elite line may look just like the DD3 sticks, but it is a heck of an upgrade. I will say that my ASUS Z270 TUF Mark 1 had a much easier time detecting and configuring my memory than when I first installed the DDR3 in my previous system. This was as plug and play as I could have hoped for. I installed the RAM set the BIOS to X.M.P. and I was off to the races. So overall it was a more pleasant install and configure than the previous iteration to be sure.
Fast and Faster
I’m constantly amazed at how much fast things can get with newer technology. I went from a 2133MHz DDR3 kit to a 3000MHz DDR4 kit and the jump in speed from a MHz standpoint certainly doesn’t tell the whole tale. This system obviously is an upgrade from my 4790K system, however I had read a lot of reviews that said moving from my 4790K with DDR3 to a 7700K with DDR4 would not lead to huge changes in performance and speed. I say they were perfectly wrong. I found boot times, program load times and performance (as detailed below) to be better and better the more programs I tried. Granted gaming saw the smallest improvement out of everything I did, but overall the new system, with the new RAM, was noticeably faster and gave me a warm fuzzy feeling all over.
On the performance side, I was happy that World of Warcraft zone changes and Call of Duty map loads continued to improve. I didn’t see any real improvement in Battlefield 1 or Rainbow 6 Siege. So overall I called it a draw. Overall things got better with half the games, and nothing got worse on the others. So from purely a gaming standpoint I wouldn’t call the improvement in gaming something that would compel me to say go out and replace your DDR3 system immediately. I would however say if you’re building a new system only the tightest of budgets would see any reason to use DDR3 instead.
All the other testing I did was in the form of video editing, photo compositing and running Turbotax to do my taxes. This is where new architecture really shines. I got stellar performance out of Adobe Premiere, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom. I had already run my taxes for myself on my old system, but I did do the taxes for both of my teenagers on the new system and even that software ran its calculations quicker. Overall the non-gaming programs all performed much better than on the old system.
So what determines whether you should buy this RAM? Certainly, if you are a person like me who splits their time between gaming and other CPU/RAM intensive activities this kind of RAM kit can be a real boon. If all your rig is for is gaming it is unlikely you’ll be buying a 32GB kit to begin with. There are smaller Ballistix Elite kits. So, performance should be the same in smaller kits and I would recommend them just for the ease of install and consistent performance I got.
If you’re about to build a new computer and want some well performing memory I can’t recommend Ballistix Elite line enough. This is the second kit we’ve had to review and performance and they have both performed phenomenally. Crucial really does a nice job with their Ballistix Elite kits. I’m also very happy that they are simple, black and classic. I’m really not into having my RAM be all RGB lit up so this memory is a nice break from the trend of EVERYTHING in your PC lighting up in a rainbow of colors.
As with my previous review of the DDR3 kit; If you’re on a budget obviously that kind of money is better spent on SSDs or better Video Cards, or maybe a better CPU. For the high end PC enthusiast, I would highly recommend you invest in fast RAM and Ballistix Elite fits the bill.
Quality of Construction: 9
Tech and Features: 9
I’m hard pressed to give anyone a 10 lately, but this was as close as I’ve come twice in a row now with memory products.