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Crucial Ballistix PC2-5300 (2 x 512K)

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Pence Per Megabyte - 13.8
Torture Test at 266MHz – Passed
Torture Test Overclocked - Passed

Launched in 1996, Crucial Technology is the retail arm of Micron, a memory manufacturer with some 26 years experience in the field. Crucial Technology Europe appeared a little later in 1999.

Ballistix is the name Crucial have used to for its enthusiast level memory modules, a market sector that Crucial seemed happy to stay out of prior to July 2004.

The modules tested here are among the most expensive in the entire group test, though when I raised this issue with Crucial it was at pains to point out that it doesn’t just sell memory modules, it sells a whole package that includes free delivery on all UK orders over £25, genuine Micron memory chips and a comprehensive customer support service.

First Impressions:

As with Corsair, Crucial have stayed with the tried and tested strategy of making its DDR2 modules in the image of its DDR chips. Cloaked in the same anodized yellow/gold heat spreaders with a pair of silver coloured flat-type retaining clips, the modules look good yet remain light.

Testing – 266MHz:

Rank When Tested at 266MHz: 3rd from 9

Stock performance was very good with an overall third place ranking, and as one of the modules that finished above it was Corsair’s own excellent new 5400UL rated to run at 3-2-2-8, this is all the more creditable.

Testing – Overclocking:

Maximum Frequency - overclocked using timings of 4-4-4-12: 386MHz
Rank – based on maximum operating frequency joint: 2nd from 10
Rank – based on overclocked benchmark performance: 2nd from 10

At 386MHz, the Ballistix were the joint second highest clocked modules on test. While they shared the second place honours for maximum frequency, a superior benchmark showing gave them an outright second place ranking for overclocked performance.

Verdict

Overall Rank: Joint 1st from 9

It seems that Crucial’s decision to move into the enthusiast sector was a wise one. It caused a stir with the unexpectedly high-end performance of its Ballistix DDR range, and now it seems set to do it all over again with its DDR2.

It overclocks well, and performs impressively too. What really swings it for the Ballistix is that it's relatively affordable price. If you plan on overclocking your memory, this is the best value way to do it in this group test.

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