Intro

T-FORCE DARK Z 3600MHz DDR4 2x16GB Kit Memory Review – is 32GB RAM Becoming the ‘New 16GB’ for Gaming?

T-FORCE DARK Z DDR4 3600MHz desktop memory is a fast high-capacity 16GBx2 gaming memory kit that we are reviewing to see if 32GB brings anything extra for gamers over 16GB system memory.  We also will overclock it to see if we can get additional performance.

BTR currently uses 2x8GB of T-FORCE XTREEM DDR4 3600MHz CAS16 memory at 3866MHz for our benchmarking PC.  For years, 16GB RAM has been considered the optimum capacity for higher-end PC gaming.  Recently some gamers appear to promote 32GB as the new 16GB and necessary for “future proofing”.  It is true that if a gamer multitasks while gaming – perhaps content streaming or creation, downloading/uploading, or with memory intensive programs working in the background – then perhaps 16GB may not be enough.  And extreme gamers  who are aiming for photorealism by modding games using ultra high textures may need more than 32GB of RAM.

From our testing with Ivy Bridge, Haswell, Skylake, and Coffee Lake platforms, using fast DDR over slower DDR brings only limited performance improvements for a few CPU-dependent games.  However, we found that using faster memory results in extra overall performance gains for many other tasks and applications.

Here are the five memory kits that we are comparing:

  • T-FORCE  Vulcan DARK Z PC4 28800 DDR4 3600MHz CL18 (and overclocked) 2x16GB kit
  • T-FORCE  XTREEM PC4 28800 DDR4 3600MHz CL16 2x8GB kit
  • HyperX Predator PC4 26600 3333MHz DDR4 CL16 2x8GB Kit 
  • T-FORCE Night Hawk PC4 25600 3200MHz DDR4 CL16 2x8GB kit
  • T-FORCE T-1 Vulcan Z PC4 24000 DDR4 3000MHz CL16 2x32GB kit

The T-FORCE DARK Z DDR4 3600 2x16GB kit is $131.22 and $69.99 for the 16GB kit at Newegg.  Team Group currently has special pricing from a promotion with Newegg that is ending in a few days together with a contest giveaway that anyone can enter.  The ‘Fantastech’ sale is so good that we just bought a 1TB Team Group GX2 SATA III SSD for $80.99 shipped (!)

Click on the banner or here for the link.  Scroll to the bottom for the contest giveaway rules.

Testing Platform

Our testing platform is a very recent clean installation of Windows 10 Home 64-bit, using an Intel Core i7-8700K at 4.80GHz in an ASRock Z390 Extreme 4 motherboard, a Team Group MP33 NVMe PCIe SSD, and with 32GB T-FORCE DARK Z DDR 3600MHz, 64GB of T-FORCE Vulcan Z DDR 3000MHz, 32GB of T-FORCE XTREEM 3600MHz, 16GB of Night Hawk 3200MHz, or HyperX DDR4 at 3333MHz.  We used the RTX 2060 SUPER Founders Edition at stock clocks for our testing.  The settings, benchmarks, testing conditions, and hardware are identical except for the three DDR4 kits being compared.

Except for the DARK Z at CAS18, the other four memory kits use CAS16, the voltages are set at a common 1.35V, and all Command Rates are set at 2T by their respective default XMP 1.0 profiles in the BIOS.  The default XMP 1.0 Profile 1 of the T-FORCE DARK Z 3600MHz is CL18-22-22-42, while the T-FORCE Vulcan Z DDR4 3000MHz timings and the T-FORCE Nighthawk DDR4 3200MHz timings are both 16-18-18-38, but the HyperX 3333MHz default profile is 16-18-18-36.  So we may expect that the DARK Z DDR4 3600MHz memory will offer slightly less performance than the XTREEM DDR4 3600MHz memory which has tighter timings.

We will compare the performance of all five DDR4 kits, and we will also overclock the DARK Z’s memory to chart the effects of multiple memory speeds on the performance of three modern games at a maxed-out/ultra 1920×1080 resolution. We benchmark using many of the recognized memory-related benchmarking tools including AIDA64, SANDRA, RealBench, PCMark 8 and 10, 3DMark, Cinebench, Novabench, Star Swarm demo, and Wprime.

This is BTR’s last review using our i7-8700K as we have just upgraded to Core i9-10900K.

Product Specifications & Features

Here are the memory specifications of the available DARK Z DDR4 SKUs from the Team Group website:

Source: Team Group

Using the XMP profile 1, voltage is automatically set at 1.35V for 3600MHz but may be manually adjusted in the BIOS from between 1.2V to 1.4V – or higher.  XMP Profile 2 sets the memory speed at 3200MHz at 1.2V with tighter timings.  Here are the DARK Z features also quoted directly from Team Group’s website:

Features

  • Armor design for perfect protection
  • Aluminum alloy heat sink with high performance
  • High thermal conductive adhesive
  • Supports Intel & AMD motherboards
  • Selected high-quality IC
  • Supports XMP2.0
  • Energy saving with ultra-low working voltage

Team Group offers a lifetime warranty for their T-FORCE desktop memory and DARK Z is available in gray or red.

Let’s unbox the memory kit on the next page and take a closer look.