Crucial Shows Off Flashy New DIMMs
Crucial Technology today took the wraps off its Ballistix Tracer memory -- designed to appeal to performance enthusiasts and the bells-and-whistles-hungry PC mod crowd.
The 184-pin DIMMs feature two rows of eight alternating red and green LED lights that flash to indicate activity, varying at speeds relative to usage. A custom-designed circuit relays bus activity to the LEDs, allowing them to accurately reflect usage of each memory module by the rate of change of the LED indicators.
Admittedly, the feature is of limited usefulness (in troubleshooting, perhaps?) But that's clearly not the point. Instead, it's all about high performance, low latencies, and style.
"The introduction of the Ballistix Tracer memory series takes Crucial's high-performance memory to a whole different level," said John Stroozas, Crucial's director of engineering. "Tracer modules are for the hard-core enthusiasts demanding not only the best possible stability and performance, but also the revolutionary visual effects that set Tracer modules apart from the competition. The activity-indicating LEDs offer our customers the opportunity to identify which games and other applications make their Tracer memory work the hardest."
The memory module design also includes eight always-on, glowing blue ground-effects LEDs as well -- driven by the power supply. The LEDs, which Crucial says don't require any additional power considerations above the Ballistix' usual voltage, are all placed on a black printed circuit board which also includes black, integrated aluminum heat spreaders for cooling.
Exactly what a user sees, however, might vary. Because systems' BIOSes and motherboards control memory activity, different configurations can result in different behavior. Crucial on its Web site indicates that it's observed "nearly synchronized operation" between the memory's two modules -- but in other cases, the behavior seems to be random. Nevertheless, the company promises that the LEDs do provide "an accurate indication of how often memory in each rank is being accessed."
So far, the feature is offered on one part: the Crucial Ballistix Tracer PC4000 DDR-500 module, which is available in a 512MB configuration, at 2.5-4-4-8 latencies. That unit is priced at $159.99. The product also may be made available in a 1GB configuration, with 3-4-4-8 latencies.
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