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RAM: Crucial Ballistix DDR3-1600

Tom's New Reference System

New DDR3 products are hitting the market every week. While the motherboards don't support anything above DDR3-1333 at this point, most premium brands already have DDR3-1800 RAM available.

We selected an enthusiast product by Crucial, the Ballistix DDR3 for 1600 speeds. Two 1 GB DIMMs should do it for now, although more and more 4 GB memory kits using four 1 GB DIMMs or two 2 GB DIMMs are available as well. The DDR3-1600 Ballistix RAM is still rather expensive at almost $500, but we expect prices to drop by the beginning of next year.

In looking at the modules, you will recognize their orange-painted aluminum heat spreaders. Unfortunately, Crucial failed to provide very basic information such as the memory speed and timings - every enthusiast will ask for these details, and an additional sticker or imprint on the head spreader would not have been too expensive.

This product hasn't been optimized to run at short timings and we don't consider that too important at this point: low latency DDR3 memory will further increase your memory cost, and won't add much performance to your system. We'll have an article available soon that addresses this very topic.

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