4GB kits of DDR2 are becoming the staple diet for gamers and enthusiasts – basically those who are heavy multitaskers or power users. While we will be revisiting the rhetorical question of “Is more memory better?” again at a later date, those who already know they want 4GB of memory in their system but are searching for something special will no doubt want to know if Crucial’s recently-released Ballistix Tracer Red is worth a look.
Although the Ballistix line has been around since DDR, it has never really made the same impact that Corsair’s Dominator or OCZ’s FlexXLC and Reaper ranges have done. The Tracer sub-range turns the focus to bling, featuring two rows of eight red LEDs that flicker and run around in a way that reflects memory load.
Unfortunately if you’re States-side, you can’t buy the red ones we’re reviewing today just yet,but you can still buy the cheaper black version of the modules. These feature a combination of red and green LEDs in the top instead of just the red LEDs. In the UK, the black modules are also available and they all have the same chips underneath, but it seems red is now the new black.
The box is, well, pretty basic. If you’ve ever ordered Crucial memory before from its website (with free delivery on everything, that's quite an incentive) you’ll be familiar with the boring cardboard box and Crucial sticker over the top, to keep it from opening. You'd have thought that buying premium modules would get you a premium package, but this isn't the case. Or, box.
Inside, both memory modules are individually packaged in anti-static bags and held in place like toast in a rack – it’s simple and works well, but it’s not that aesthetically appealing. Although, who really cares these days – your memory arrives safely and the box goes in the bin, right?
The memory itself looks really very nice – the “diamond cut” metallic look that’s used around the edges and for the text is certainly unique and doesn’t look too overwhelming. It certainly doesn’t look that cheap either – it’s layered on top of red aluminium heatspreaders that are “meat” of the sandwich between this and the memory chips. Finally, both sides of the DIMMs get heatspreaders, which are attached to the memory chips on the red PCB with some thermal tape.