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Crucial Ballistix Tracer 1,333MHz review

The aesthetic lover's dream RAM

Our Verdict

If spangly LEDs are your bag, look no further. If not, look elsewhere.

For

  • Bright lights, bright lights!
  • Performance is okay

Against

  • But there's not enough for the money
  • Better value to be had elsewhere

What price do you put on appearance? To even consider Crucial's Ballistix Tracer 1,333MHz triple-channel DDR3 DIMMs, it needs to be high, possibly bordering on the stratospheric.

This is a very pricey 6GB memory kit by any standard, but it's rated at a lowly 1,333MHz. It's also devoid of substantial cooling apparatus. Forget lush alloy fins or miniature fans. Cheapo heat spreaders are all you get.

What the Ballistix Tracer does have, however, is lights. Lots and lots of pretty lights. In fact, across the top of each stick are two rows of piercingly bright blue LEDs. Powered up, they burst into action. At first, you get a slow blinking pattern with a satisfying 80s sci-fi rhythm.

But wind up the workload and all hell breaks loose in the form of various high-speed patterns and sequences. It does absolutely nothing for performance, but what the hell, it's completely mesmerising.

At this price point, the Crucial Ballistix Tracer 1,333MHz has its work cut out. The fancy LED light show may look great, but it does push the Tracer's pricing up and in turn its performance off-target.

Running at 1,333MHz, they're actually pretty decent. 22.55GBps of raw bandwidth is certainly on the pace. Likewise, 71 frames per second in World in Conflict is as good as it gets. But then, most 6GB DDR3 kits deliver very similar numbers at that rather mundane frequency.

The real performance deltas begin to appear when you begin to really crank up the clocks. On paper, the Crucial Ballistix Tracer 1,333MHz have little in hand compared to similarly priced or cheaper 6GB triple channel kits.

Nearly all, including Corsair's XMS3 2000MHz or the Kingston HyperX 1600MHz, have significantly higher official operating frequencies and many are tuned to hit even high speeds when overclcoked.

By contrast, the Tracers are all about style. With that in mind, an overclocking result of 1,866MHz is actually pretty impressive. Certainly, it means this kit has enough headroom for most overclocking needs.

You also get great performance in applications that feed off bandwidth, such as games. But then so does the Kingston HyperX 1,600MHz kit, and that's yours for £40 less.

In that context, we're probably preaching to the converted by pointing out the cost implications of the Tracer's LED frills. If flashing lights are your bag, the Tracers will twinkle with the best of them. For everyone else, the price premium is impossible to justify.

Tech Specs

Product TypeRAM Module
Product FamilyBallistix Tracer
Memory StandardDDR3-1333/PC3-10600
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Memory Size3 GB
Brand NameCrucial
Form FactorDIMM
Memory Speed1333 MHz
Error CheckingNon-ECC
Number of Pins240-pin
Signal ProcessingUnbuffered
Width30 mm
Length133.4 mm
ManufacturerCrucial
Product ModelBL3KIT12864TB1337
Product NameBallistix Tracer BL3KIT12864TB1337 3GB DDR3 SDRAM Memory Module
Product LineBallistix Tracer
Manufacturer Part NumberBL3KIT12864TB1337
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.crucial.com
Marketing Information

Ballistix Tracer memory is specifically built for performance enthusiasts and case modders who want to push the performance envelope while adding flash appeal to their boxes. The Ballistix line of high-performance memory modules features advanced speed grades, low latencies, and integrated aluminum heat spreaders. And, Ballistix Tracer memory is available in variety of colors depending on technology.

Number of Modules3 x 1 GB