Recently we took a long hard look at Crucial’s new ‘Pro’ series and walked away very impressed with what the T700 NVMe was, is, and will be offering consumers for years to come. However, when most people think of Micron’s Crucial brand the first thing they think of is not “Excellent Solid State Drives”; Rather they immediately think back on all the amazing RAM options Crucial has offered over the years. Which should come as no surprise as Micron was, is, and always will be first and foremost famous for RAM… and so too will Crucial be the RAM choice for experienced system builders. As such it should come as no surprise that the T700 (and future) Crucial PRO branded SSDS are more… flankers to the Pro RAM lineup. A lineup that consists of multiple technology options, capacities, and even performance. To highlight the breadth and scope of the new Pro lineup today we will be taking a close look at two vastly different options. The first is the Crucial Pro DDR5-5600 32GB kit (16GBx2), and the Crucial Pro DDR4-3200 64GB (32GBx2).
As these are part of Crucial’s newly released Pro series… certain expectations must be met for these new Pro models to make a favorable, and lasting, impression. After all, every experienced system builder has already used their “Classic” (or what was once called their “Value” series) RAM options in the recent past… and without fail have had walked away with a favorable impression. Put simply, for most builders, Crucial’s previous existing lineup “Just Work” and are the benchmark for stability and value that all other options must be judged against. That is indeed a high threshold for greatness and one that the Pro series must clear given the (admittedly minor) increase in asking price that goes along with the ‘Professional’ moniker.
To be precise, Crucial’s Classic DDR5-5600 32GB kits cost about $104 (USD or about $3.25 per GB), whereas the new Pro DDR 32GB kits cost $115. An increase in ten dollars or about an additional 31 cents per Gigabyte. That may not sound like much, but for system builders that can add up when talking about 100 or more builds a year. The same is ironically even more true for the DDR4 Classic option versus their new ‘Pro’ option… with the Pro costing a whopping $25 dollars more. Yes, $140 USD for 64GB kit of DDR4-3200 is darn reasonable, but an extra ~40 cents per Gigabyte in more “value orientated” builds is going to raise a few eyebrows to say the least.
Further making things more interesting for the Pro lineup is the fact that they do not come with improved timings or warranty. The latter of which is impossible as all Crucial RAM models come with a lifetime warranty. The former however is eminently possible. Many of the other companies, using Micron RAM ICs, do offer tighter timings on their flagship series. To be blunt, by DDR4-3200 standards 22-22-22 is slow. Even for 32GB sticks it is ‘slow’ and more in line with the DDR4-4000 competition. Likewise, by DDR5-5600 standards 46-45-45 is a bit pokey and more what we have come to expect for DDR5-6K (and higher) mainstream kits.
So how does Crucial intend to make both their new Pro DDR4 and Pro DDR5 standout in an already crowded marketplace? In a word: reliability. Crucial are doubling down on what they are best known for and with the Pro lineup intend to own it. This is why the Pro RAM models come clad in, arguably unnecessary, heat spreaders. It is why they use only the best of the best of the best of each of Micron’s production runs. It is why they are rated fairly fast and yet are guaranteed to run at bog standard JEDEC voltages. Now that is a combination to make professional system builders stand up and take notice… especially given the minute increase in asking price compared to the ‘other guys’ and their noticeably large increase in MSRP on their flagship models.