For the average home users, RAM is just RAM right? Sure, if you’re an average home user. For someone who is looking for higher performance from their PC, getting the right RAM for your rig is critical to the final outcome. Over the years I’ve had some really good systems and I can honestly say RAM can make or break a system.
The problem that users face with the huge range of options in the current market is what RAM should you buy?
What is it?
The Ballistix Elite 3600 is really high performance memory for your PC. Very specifically it’s aimed at gaming and performance PCs for the fast load times and continued high performance and has a higher clock speed (where other hardware is compatible) of 3600 MHz. Given the Ballistix memory recently broke world records for speed, then if you’re after even a slight edge in your gaming this will be the go-to.
For those who aren’t across the technicalities of RAM speeds, Jayz Two Cents have done a really solid breakdown. Grab a coffee and check out this video – be warned though, it’s about 13 minutes long.
The immediate impression when opening the package is that this is some serious kit. The retail packaging is really well presented and the modules are really good looking – somewhat understated in comparison to some of the RBG lit options, but they look great. They’re also pretty hefty, sporting a whopping heatsink which stands to reason with the 3600 MHz frequency the RAM operates on. It’s carrying a lot of electrical signals and will get pretty darn warm without a good heatsink.
But it doesn’t end there – having faster access RAM means that programs load faster, perform better and your PC in general will be smoother.
How much of a difference can it really make?
My gaming PC at home normally has 32GB of another well recognised brand of RAM in it, the review sample from Ballistix was half that at 16GB. Despite some long FPS sessions and a couple of long(er than intended) sessions of online racing – I didn’t actually notice any major performance degradation despite the reduction in RAM. There was some minor issues when it came to performance and multitasking, but that’s to be expected when you’re halving the amount of memory in your system.
My setup is an Intel system with Nvidia graphics and I don’t (these days) tend to play around with the hardware core settings ie. overclock the hardware because there’s less and less need for that these days. However if you’re putting together a new AMD Ryzen system then this could be a serious option for you given the core setup that the platform offers.
Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) is a specification serving as an extension to the standard JEDEC SPD specifications developed by Intel. XMP is intended to make overclocking easier and more accessible to new users through profiles and predefined overclocking configurations that are known to be stable.
For most users, getting hold of really high quality RAM like this isn’t going to make as much difference to your system performance as extra memory would. The upshot here is that if you’ve got a price difference of $50 between having 16GB of Ballistix Elite RAM and 32 GB or more of a different option – You should think about your options very carefully from a bang for buck perspective.
The question we usually get asked doing reviews on hardware like this is “Should you buy it?” and I’m going to answer that with another question. Do you need this? For most users, I’m going to be somewhat harsh here and say probably not.
That’s not because it’s a bad product. Far from it, it performs admirably. But the majority of users just won’t use the raw speed and capability of it. Many who are looking for a bit of an upgrade to their current system won’t see benefit because their mainboard doesn’t support the higher speed.
The Ballistix Elite 3600 is really good quality memory for your PC. It’s quite reasonably priced, will perform exceptionally well but it’s aimed at a higher end of the market. This isn’t an investment that most users will actually use, it’s for gamers who want to tweak their system to get every last ounce of performance they can from it and power users who are editing large media files on a regular basis.
Back to should you buy this RAM?
If you’re in the target market with capacity in your current hardware or potentially building a new PC then absolutely – Provided your motherboard supports the higher clock speed, this is going to be one of those extra costs you’re going to be very happy you’ve taken.
RAM is very sensitive, the hardware cannot be re-used for review or sale after being installed then removed from a PC.