The shipping container that Ballistix are using for their Gaming Memory series is very reminiscent of what Crucial uses for their various Solid State Drive series. That is to say it is a carboard sleeve style shipping container that some may find a bit on the conservative side, but we think is very elegant. The combination of black with light ‘digital camo’ accents just plain works. It is toned down enough to not be off putting yet at the same time speaks to our inner child who loves a dash of flair. Mix in a plastic film window which allows potential buyers the luxury of actually seeing the product – and not just a graphical representation of the RAM – before they even open the box up and overall it is pretty good shipping container.
The only issue with it is that the cardboard is rather thin. To get cardboard thick enough to stop an errant knife one has to step up to the ‘Max’ series… aka the replacement for the ‘Elite’ series with a noticeable bump in asking price. On the positive side, the internal protection configuration is basically the same as previous generations of mid-tier Ballistix Tracer memory series. That is to say more than ‘good enough’ and generally speaking, these plastic clamshell style protectors keep each of the RAM sticks separated, protects against ESD damage, and is more than enough for the vast majority of shipping related issues. The only time this level of protection will prove to be ineffective is if something really, really bad happens. For example, if a warehouse worker drops it, kicks it and then walks over it. In such cases the box is probably going to transfer a lot of that blunt force trauma on to the sticks of RAM. Below that level of abuse however your new online purchase should be safe while in-transit.
Moving on. As made mention in the introduction, the new Ballistix Gaming Memory series comes in three different color options with two different levels of lighting abilities. Six options per tier is impressive and if you can not find the perfect match, the light the LEDs give off should take care of things nicely. Since the white option was not available in non-RGB option we opted for kit of white in RGB and black in the non-glowy style – though in retrospect we should have requested the red as it is rather stunning in person. For those interested in knowing the ins and outs of Ballistix’s latest product stack, the Ballistix Gaming Memory series basically replaces the Tactical and Tactical Tracer lines. Obviously, those with integrated LEDs cover the latter’s models and those without cover the former. This comes with a bevy of good and less than optimal ‘baggage’.
On the positive side, they are rather low profile and should easily work with a wide range of systems with varying height air-based CPU cooling solutions. Also like the Tactical Tracer, the RGB enabled models come equipped with a decently sized glow bar that is not only removable via two small retention pins but can be reprinted in any color you wish via your 3D Printer. Just be careful on what plastic you use as not all will handle heat the same. The same holds true for the non-LED equipped models, with the only difference being the latter’s plastic topper is made of solid plastic and the same color as the aluminum heatsinks.
Much like the Tactical Tracer series, Ballistix uses 8 ‘zones’ for light effects with 8 LEDs per side of the PCB on the “L” variants of their Gaming Memory series. In practical terms this means that each LED is paired with its corresponding opposite for ease of controllability.
To control the onboard LEDs all one need do is either fire up your motherboard manufacture’s LED controller software or download the Ballistix M.O.D. utility. Either option will pick up your fancy new RAM and start talking with their integrated LED controllers. We prefer the dedicated M.O.D. software for simpler builds, but for more… colorful builds we like the idea of integrated control over all the various LED lightbars in a given system.
Either way the M.O.D. software does come with some nifty bonus features and is worth the bandwidth. With it you can not only choose from a wide variety of options and colors for the LEDs, but the M.O.D. utility also allows you to see in real-time the temperatures of each RAM stick… as Ballistix includes temperature sensors right on the RAM’s PCB. Regardless of RGB LEDs or not, both kits work with M.O.D. The only difference is the non-LED models obviously can not offer lighting abilities.
Depending on your point of view, the downside to carrying over much of the Tactical series to the new Gaming series is the anodized aluminum heat sinks are a touch on the thin side. With 32GB RAM kits this is a non-issue. You are not going to be pushing insane voltages and do not need uber-thick heat spreaders. Put simply, these thinner but not thin, heat spreaders are more than up to the task of keeping the RAM IC’s housed underneath cool in all but the most internal airflow constrained cases.
The only ‘real’ issue is that because they are not as wide as the older Elite or newer MAX models the glowbar on the top is not as wide. This does make installation and removal easier but light output is a bit more narrowly focused than some may like.