Review: Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000 MHz [English]
Here is the english version of the Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000 MHz review. The sample was provided by Crucial/Micron and without them, it would not have been possible to test this product.
Let us begin.
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000 MHz and Crucial BX300 SSD
Who manufacture RAM modules for consumers?
The main three ones are:
-Micron (the Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB are by Micron)
Then what Kingston, G.Skill, Corsair, Ballistix, etc do?
These companies are “memory assemblers”. This means, that they buy RAM in big quantities (under the requirement they need) and they are in charge of things such as:
-Heat spreader implementation
-Software and validation
Unlike other brands, Micron sell directly to the final user under their Gaming brand, Ballistix (although they have low-end models under the Crucial brand).
Ballistix is the gaming brand of Micron, and they do have sub-brands with different characteristics such as Ballistix Sport, Ballistix Tactical and Ballistix Elite.
Sport is focused on good performance while giving you bang for your buck; Tactical a better performance than Sport, but still under a good pricing criteria.
Elite is focused for maximum performance and overclock and are meant for enthusiasts and high-end gaming rigs.
Micron is an American company and their products are manufactured in Boise, Idaho, United States.
The memory modules under review are the latest entry of Micron, the Tactical Tracer RGB and brings both performance and aesthetics (RGB).
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000 MHz Specifications
The Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000 MHz have two presentations:
Today we are testing two DIMM modules (2x8GB) so they work in Dual Channel.
The principal traits are the 3000 MHZ CL16 rated speed, which they can be applied using XMP profile. These memories use Micro D-Die and they are single rank.
Here is the complete specification.
The Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000 MHz come with 16 LED lights per module and they can be controlled through their software, DDR4 Ballistix MOD o using the motherboard software by each brand (ASUS Aura, GIGABYTE AORUS Graphics Engine, MSI Mystic Light, etc).
Those who want to personalize their memory modules; it is possible to 3D Print custom designs and change their pre-installed material.
The main tests were done in an Intel system, but those who are interested on their performance on AMD Ryzen; we have a section dedicated for it.
As you might have known, in Intel systems, the latencies between the CPU and RAM are lower than AMD Ryzen, so the results will favor the blue platform.
Here are the specification for our test bench:
CPU: Intel i7 8700K
Motherboard: EVGA Z370 FTW
RAM (what we are testing): Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000 MHz CL16 (2x8GB)
Graphics card: EVGA GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti FTW3
SSD: Crucial BX300 120GB
HDD: Seagate 2TB
Power supply: Thermaltake Smart Pro RGB 750w Bronze
Remember the pricing at the moment of this review for this kit is: Newegg 150 USD, Amazon 160 USD.
Gaming benchmark: The Witcher 3
We use this game since it is actually very memory sensible in comparison to other games. You can notice the difference between using 2133 MHz frequency versus higher ones. In addition, primary, secondary and tertiary timing do have some impact.
The Trident Z RGB 3600 MHZ CL16 are on top of the chart, but you have to consider their price is way much higher compared to other SKUs.
The Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000 MHz have a good performance under a good price.
You can overclock the RAM and get some extra juice with little effort, by increasing the memory strap.
The performance numbers of this kit overclocked can be found on the benchmark results. We will explain the simple steps you need to do in BIOS:
-Modify the memory “strap” from 3000 MHz to 3200 MHz.
-Modify the BCLK from 100 MHz to 104.90 MHz (if your motherboard has a Clock Gen).
-Increase the RAM voltage to 1.45v (you can choose a lower voltage; we do not suggest over 1.5v for daily usage).
We tested the memory under 3300 MHz but it did not pass stability tests.
Those who are not too experienced overclocking RAM you can do the following:
-Modify memory strap from 3000 MHz to 3200 MHz.
-Increase RAM voltage to 1.38v-1.4v. You can try not modifying the voltage but you it might not be stable.
Unlike Samsung B-Die modules, Micron D-Die are not susceptible to temperatures for stability purposes. Samsung B-Die when it gets hots (while overclocking) they stop being stable under certain criteria.
Normally RAM temperatures do not generate too much worry (compared to CPU/GPU). If you personally think they do worry you, we suggest adding a decent airflow.
The Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB has temperature sensors and one can monitor them through HWInfo64 as it shows on the image.
We stress test the memory modules with a stability test for an hour and if the memory modules count with a temperature sensor, we measure the highest reading. The results shown are delta over ambient temperature. Lower is better.
Even though the Tactical Tracer RGB overclocked get relatively warm, it does not stop being stable, which is good.
Software: Ballistix MOD
DDR4 Ballistix MOD is the name of the proprietary software by Ballistix. If you want to download it to access the RGB effects, it is easy to use. Let us see the different options:
In the SPD Data tab, there is general information on the DIMM module.
If you do not use a monitoring software such as HWInfo64, Ballistix MOD have temperature monitoring on it.
The most relevant option for users is the LED Control tab. This model have the following effects:
-Water Wave (Color Blending)
You can check the following video to see each effect.
The software configuration has the following options:
-Software auto-start when Windows boots up.
-Rename a specific DIMM module.
-Sync LED effects (Software Timing Sync).
The software works really well, although it is somewhat annoying that one need the software to be open so the LED effect be coordinated.
Ballistix could use a synchronization service instead of running the MOD software, and use the MOD software to edit the service settings.
If you want to check a TLDR version on this section:
-No issues with AMD Ryzen (2700X).
Here is our test rig for AMD Ryzen tests:
CPU: Ryzen 7 2700X (PBO enabled)
Motherboard: GIGABYTE X470 AORUS Gaming 7 Wifi
RAM: Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000 MHz CL16
The memories were both stable (by overclocking) using the 3200 MHz memory strap and with 3194 MHz using PBO + BCLK overclock. The memories were almost stable using 3266 MHz frequency but ultimately failed after many hours of stress testing.
Here is an AIDA64 Memory Latency test while using 3194 MHz + PBO and BCLK OC.
The ending result is good.
The Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000 MHZ is Micron’s first attempt to enter to the market segment of “RGB modules”. At the time of translation of this review, RAM prices have gone lower and it is attractive to make a purchase now.
On Amazon, the price is 160 USD and 150 USD on Newegg (plus some extra savings).
We are not sure if the pricing might go lower, but DRAM pricing has been gone down the last couple of weeks.
The memory kit has a good performance and has the quality that Micron brings since they are direct manufacturers.
The overclock headroom on both Intel and AMD for daily usage is moderate, offering 200 MHz extra on our sample kit.
Some users might find the ability to personalize models with 3D impressions a plus, although for most users this might not be relevant.
We tried this kit on two different brands of motherboards, EVGA and GIGABYTE and they did not have any issues.
The Ballistix software works really well and easy to use and that is hard to get right on your first attempt. The only issue we have with the DDR4 MOD software is the necessity to have it active on the taskbar so the memories work in-sync.
I hope that Ballistix brings an update fixing this flaw, which I believe it is easy to fix.
-Pricing right now is attractive.
-Aesthetically looks good and has many RGB effects on its software. You can custom 3D print the cover.
-Decent/moderate overclocking headroom on our sample.
-Worked on both platforms (AMD Ryzen/Intel) without issues.
-It requires to have the software open in case you use Ballistix solution for RGB software with this RAM kit. I hope that this changes in a future update.
In XanxoGaming we give our seal of approval and a gold rating on the Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000 MHz CL16.