Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer PC3-12800
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 03-24-2011
Provided by: Crucial
Installation / Testing

The Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracers were installed with the following hardware:

AMD 1090T X6 Phenom II BE
Swiftech H20-320 Edge
128Gb Crucial C300 RealSSD
Icy Dock 2.5" Adapter
1Tb WD Caviar Black
1Tb Hitachi Deskstar
LG 8x BD-RE 16x DVD-RW
ASUS EAH5870 V2 1G
Zalman VF3000A
OCZ Fatal1ty 750w
Cooler Master HAF 932 AMD Edition
Windows 7 Home 64bit

As the Smart Tracer memory is operationally identical to previous sets of Tracer Red and Tracer Black DDR3-1600 we've reviewed, today we're going to focus on the new Smart features only.

When installed, the Smart Tracers will initially default to one primary color, in this case blue, maximum brightness and the same activity pattern we've seen before in the standard Tracers, now named Inside-Out.

By downloading and installing the free Crucial M.O.D. utility we can gain further insight into the workings of the Smart Tracers. For starters, M.O.D. will show all SPD information that has been programmed on the sticks. M.O.D. can also be used to monitor the operating temperature of the memory, as displayed on the Temperature tab. Settings allow you to adjust the temp for Celsius or Fahrenheit as well as set an alarm action for overheating.

The real jewel of the M.O.D. utility however lies in the Lights section, where the activity pattern, brightness and color can be independently set. In addition to the Inside-Out we're already familiar with, Crucial introduces Stereo, Lava and Streaming for our viewing pleasure. The top-mounted Activity LED color can also be set separate from the bottom-mounted Running LED color, in case you want to use a mix of both.

Here I've tried to capture the three alternate patterns, from left to right above they are Stereo, Lava and Streaming. Stereo works like the output level indicators on many audio devices and software, staying bright in the center and flashing up and down simultaneously in response to activity level. Lava appears to be the opposite of the original Inside-Out, starting at the outer end of the DIMM and working towards the center. Streaming simulates a "Matrix" like effect, with blocks of LEDs falling/sliding from top to bottom.

To wrap up the different options available, above we show the effects of adjusting the Brightness slider down to a minimum level, as well as selecting the alternate orange color. In addition to dimming the LEDs, they can also be turned completely off if desired.

Finally Crucial offers a Temperature Widget that can be used on Windows Vista or 7 Sidebar to keep track of how hot your memory is running. In addition to the Windows 7 64bit OS used in the system above, I also attempted to install the M.O.D. utility on 2003 32bit, which unfortunately would not work. Although the program indicates a motherboard compatibility, Crucial reports that the OS is probably to blame, as the utility was not tested on Server operating systems.

Let's wrap things up with some final thoughts and conclusion.

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