Overclocking & Performance Results

Overclocking the T-FORCE DARK Z FPS DDR4-4000MHz 2x8GB Kit

Before accepting the DARK Z FPS 2x8GB DDR4-4000MHz CL16 memory kit for review, TeamGroup warned us that they do not guarantee the rated XMP frequency of 4000MHz on our Z390 CPU platform. So, we were asked to investigate how high the frequency can go on our Z390 platform, and we gladly accepted their proposal.

DARK Z FPS 4000MHz XMP Profile

First, we tried the DARK Z FPS 4000MHz 16-18-18-38 at 1.45V using its XMP profile, but we can confirm this isn’t a viable option on our CPU platform. We enabled the XMP profile through our UEFI BIOS, but our system systematically either refused to POST or automatically reverted to default JEDEC specs. So, we decided to use a manual memory overclock approach.

DARK Z FPS Manual Overclock

We used the DARK Z FPS default XMP timings and reduced its clocks from 4000MHz until we reached its maximum stable speed at 1.450V. As we aim for the highest overclock that the DARK Z FPS memory can reach on our Z390 platform, we fine-tuned the stock XMP timings and voltage for maximum memory performance by lowering the primary timings to CL16-16-16-36 and increased the DRAM voltage to 1.460V.

Here is CPU-Z showing the DARK Z FPS’s default JEDEC and XMP profile timings and frequencies:

DARK Z FPS 2x8GB – JEDEC & XMP Specifications

Below is the DARK Z FPS operating at its default 2400MHz JEDEC specifications:

DARK Z FPS 2x8GB @ 2400MHz JEDEC specs

Here is the DARK Z FPS manually overclocked to 3600MHz with CL16-16-16-36 timings at 1.460V for stability:

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DARK Z FPS 2x8GB @ 3600MHz CL16-16-16-36 1.460V

We used our own self-imposed hard limit of 1.460V to stabilize the memory overclock. After much trial and error, we finally settled on a maximum stable overclock of 3600MHz.

We tested our overclock by using AIDA64 System Test, Karhu RAM Test, and OCCT Memory Test. These tests stress the memory and also the CPU in search of memory errors. We also confirmed that our overclock to 3600MHz was stable by playing games and running other benchmarks.

We believe that overclocking +1200MHz from JEDEC-2400MHz specs to 3600MHz CL16-16-16-36 @1.460V may be a good overclock for Z390 users wanting safe daily use, stability, and high performance.

Next, the summary charts and performance notes.

Intel Z390 Performance Results

Below you can find the summary charts of our representative selection of 5 PC games and 8 synthetic and 3 hybrid benchmarks. We select games that are CPU-dependent and use a display resolution that makes them overall more CPU-bound.

You can see the list of games’ graphics settings on the charts, and we run each built-in or custom game benchmark’s sequence at 1920×1080 (Full HD). You may click on each chart to open a pop-up for the best viewing.

We mark significant performance changes (higher than 3%in bold and use purple or orange font for the significant improvements or regressions respectively.

Synthetic & Hybrid Summary Charts 

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AIDA64 Extreme – Memory Tests
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SiSoftware Sandra 2021 – Memory Tests
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Cinebench R23 Benchmark – CPU Multicore (MC) Test
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3DMark Fire Strike Benchmark – Physics & Combined Tests

Performance Summary Charts with 5 Games

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Built-in Game Benchmarks – Raw Performance (Avg FPS) Tests

Notes on T-FORCE DARK Z FPS DDR4-4000MHz Performance

From the charts, we see significant score improvements between the default DARK Z FPS 2400MHz JEDEC profile and our custom DARK Z FPS 3600MHz OC profile in most synthetic and hybrid memory-related tests. However, when we compare the DARK Z FPS 2x8GB memory kit overclocked to 3600Mhz versus our HyperX Predator 2x16GB kit using its 3333Mhz XMP profile, we only see significant improvements in AIDA64 memory read and latency tests and in Sandra 2021 cache and memory latency test.

For the built-in game benchmarks, although all 5 PC games show notable performance improvements (approximately +14% avg) when we move from the default DARK Z FPS JEDEC-2400 profile to our custom DARK Z FPS 3600MHz OC profile, we found no significant differences between the DARK Z FPS 2x8GB memory kit overclocked to 3600MHz and our HyperX Predator 2x16GB kit using its 3333Mhz XMP specs. A hypothesis to explain these minor performance improvements in games may be that DDR frequencies in the 3333MHz to 3600MHz range are on the limit that my particular IMC can correctly handle.

The performance improvements in games we saw after manually overclocking the DARK Z FPS would also support TeamGroup’s claim that the DARK Z FPS one-click 4000MHz XMP overclock improves FPS by up to 20% in games.

Please be aware that the following results, notes, and the corresponding product recommendation are valid for similar i9-9900K/Z390 gaming platforms on Windows 10 v20H2. Its representativeness, applicability, and usefulness on different CPU platforms, testing benches, and MS Windows versions may vary.