Intro

The Team Group T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz 16 GB kit review

T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz desktop overclocking memory is not flashy RGB like the 3200MHz Night Hawk memory, nor it is fast like their XTREEM 3600MHz memory.  Rather it is mainstream memory that we shall test against T-FORCE’s other two memory kits to see what performance it brings for gamers.  We also will overclock it to see if we can get some free performance.

Team Group has been creating high-quality memory products for almost two decades, and their Team T-FORCE T-1 Gaming line-up is aimed at the value conscious gamer.  We received a 16BG kit from Team Group, and we will test how well this T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz 16GB CAS18 memory kit performs at stock and at overclocked speeds compared with the RGB 16GB Nighthawk DDR4 3200MHz CAS16 memory kit and with the enthusiast grade T-FORCE XTREEM DDR4 3600MHz CAS18 16GB memory kit.

Memory pricing has softened since last year and there are some good deals to be found.  The T-FORCE T-1 Gaming PC4 21300 DDR4 2666MHz CL18 2x8GB kit can be found at Newegg or on Amazon for $74.99; the T-FORCE Night Hawk RGB PC4 25600 DDR4 3200MHz CL16 2x8GB kit is available at Amazon for $139.98; and the T-FORCE XTREEM PC4 28880 3600MHz 2x8GB memory kit sells for $145.99 at Amazon.  We want to determine if the $75 DDR4 2666MHz kit is worth buying compared to faster and more expensive RGB or high-performance DDR4.

From our testing with Ivy Bridge, Haswell, Skylake, and Coffee Lake platforms, using fast DDR over slower DDR memory brought limited gains to a few games.  However, we found that using faster memory resulted in extra overall performance gains for many other tasks and applications.

Here are the three 16GB kits that we are comparing:

  • T-FORCE T-1 Gaming PC4 21300 DDR4 2666MHz CL18 (and overclocked) 2x8GB kit
  • T-FORCE Night Hawk PC4 25600 3200MHz DDR4 CL16 2x8GB kit
  • T-FORCE XTREEM PC4 28880 3600MHz DDR4 CL18 2x8GB Kit 

Testing Platform

Our testing platform is a recent clean installation of Windows 10 Home 64-bit, using an Intel Core i7-8700K at 4.80GHz in an EVGA Z370 FTW motherboard, a HyperX 480GB A-1000 NVMe SSD, and with 16GB of T-FORCE DDR2666 (also overclocked), 16GB of Night Hawk 3200MHz, or T-FORCE XTREEM DDR4 at 3600MHz .

The Nighthawk memory kit uses CAS16 while the other two T-FORCE memory kits use CAS18, and their 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 T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz timings are 18-18-18-43 The settings, benchmarks, testing conditions, and hardware are identical except for the three DDR4 kits being compared.

We used either the RTX 2060 SUPER Founders Edition at stock clocks or the Core i7-8700K’s CPU graphics for our testing.  We will compare the performance of all three grades of DDR4, and we will also overclock the 2666MHz T-1 Gaming’s memory to chart the effects of multiple memory speeds on the performance of nine 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, Star Swarm demo, and Wprime.

Product Specifications & Features

Here are the T-FORCE T-1 Gaming memory specifications from Team Group’s website:

Using the XMP profile, the default command rate is 2T and the timings are CL18-18-19-43.  Voltage is set at 1.2V but may be manually adjusted from between 1.2V to 1.4V – or higher.  Team Group informed us that although they use both Hynix and Samsung memory chips, our sample uses Hynix.  These features are from Team Group’s website.

Features

  • Eye-catching visual design
  • Exclusive color printing with utility model patent
  • Supports Intel & AMD motherboards
  • Selected high-quality IC
  • Supports XMP2.0
  • Energy saving with ultra-low working voltage
  • Utility model patent number M563643

Team Group offers a lifetime warranty for their T-FORCE desktop memory.  Let’s unbox the memory kit on the next page and take a closer look.

Unboxing

The T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz 2x8GB memory kit comes in a anti-static blister pack with an insert that advertises its features.

Team Group’s T-FORCE logo is of a stylized hawk symbolizing a gamer’s independent spirit of flying free.  The insert explains the history of T-FORCE and lists its product features.

After we removed the memory out of its anti-static blister pack, we placed it next to the rest of the contents.

The installation guide is presented by illustrations and it is easy to follow. 

Here it is pictured on the front. Here is the obverse with no heatsinks to cover the Hynix memory.  There is plenty of room in most cases and motherboards for this memory unlike with the much taller, bulkier, and heavier Nighthawk and XTREEM memory modules.

In the BIOS

The T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz XMP profiles show up properly configured by the EVGA Z370 FTW motherboard’s BIOS.  We used the XMP 1 Profile associated with the kit, and it properly configured itself automatically until we manually overclocked it.  There are a wide range of BIOS options presented to fine-tune and to overclock memory in most fully featured motherboard BIOSes.

The T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz memory timings are a rather loose 18-18-18-43.  From our experience, it is generally preferable to choose faster memory clock speeds over tighter timings although some benchmarks appear to favor memory with tighter timings.  As mainstream DDR4, it nominally uses 1.2V while the Nighthawk and XTREEM kits use 1.35V.  However, the memory voltage can also be manually set from below 1.2V to 1.4V (or higher at your own risk) in the BIOS.

First, let’s look at our test configuration.

Test Configuration – Hardware

  • Intel Core i7-8700K (HyperThreading and Turbo boost are on to 4.8GHz for all cores; Coffee Lake DX11 CPU graphics).
  • EVGA Z370 FTW motherboard (Intel Z370 chipset, latest BIOS, PCIe 3.0/3.1 specification, CrossFire/SLI 8x+8x), supplied by EVGA
  • T-FORCE T-1 Gaming PC4 21300 DDR4 2666MHz CL18 (and overclocked) 2x8GB kit, supplied by Team Group
  • T-FORCE Night Hawk PC4 25600 3200MHz DDR4 CL16 2x8GB kit, supplied by Team Group
  • T-FORCE XTREEM PC4 28880 3600MHz DDR4 CL18 2x8GB Kit, supplied by Team Group 
  • RTX 2060 SUPER Founders Edition 8GB, at stock FE clocks, on loan from NVIDIA
  • 480GB A-1000 HyperX NVMe SSD, supplied by HyperX
  • 1.92 TB San Disk enterprise class SSD
  • 2 TB Micron 1100 SSD
  • Seasonic 850W Gold Focus power supply unit
  • EVGA CLC 280mm CPU water cooler, supplied by EVGA
  • EVGA Nu Audio stereo PCIe sound card, supplied by EVGA
  • Edifier R1280T active desktop speakers
  • Grado SR60e headphones
  • EVGA DG-77, mid-tower case supplied by EVGA
  • Monoprice Crystal Pro 4K

Test Configuration – Software

  • Nvidia’s GeForce 431.60 WHQL drivers.  High Quality, prefer maximum performance, single display.
  • VSync is off in the control panel.
  • AA enabled as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified with 16xAF always applied.
  • Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
  • Windows 10 64-bit Home edition.
  • Latest DirectX
  • All games are patched to their latest versions at time of publication.
  • MSI’s Afterburner, latest version.
  • OCAT, latest version
  • CPU-Z
  • MemTest64
  • Windows Memory Diagnostics
  • 3DMark Physics Test
  • SiSoft Sandra 2020
  • AIDA64
  • PCMark 8 (Creativity Suite)
  • PCMark 10 (Extended)
  • Real Bench
  • Cinebench R20
  • WPrime
  • Star Swarm Demo
  • Yet Another ARMA Benchmark

PC Game suite 

  • ARMA III
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Fallout 4
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 Siege
  • Project CARS 2
  • Total War: Warhammer II
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Civilization 6
  • Anno 1800

Nvidia Control Panel settings:

We used MSI’s Afterburner to set the power and temp limits to their maximums.

The Texture Filtering has been set to High and Vertical Sync has been disabled.  Let’s head to our benching results.

Overclocking

Before we look at our benches, let’s explore overclocking our T-FORCE 2666MHz DDR4.  We used the default timings of the T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz memory to increase its clocks until we reached its maximum stable speed at 1.4V.  Tightening DDR’s timings tend to bring less performance gain than increasing clock speed and should probably be left until after the preliminary overclocking stability tests are complete.

Here is CPU-Z showing the T-FORCE 2666MHz DDR4 timings and speeds:

Here it is overclocked to 3100MHz with the same timings as at 2666MHz:

We used our own self-imposed hard cap of 1.4V which we used to stabilize the memory overclock.  After much experimentation, we finally settled on an overclock of +434MHz to stably reach DDR4 3100MHz speeds which are many speed grades above 2666MHz.  Trying 3200MHz speeds at 1.4V, it refused to post and it would probably have required more voltage than we are willing to use.

We tested our final overclock using AIDA64’s System Test which also shows the voltage used at 3100MHz remained under our BIOS limit of 1.399V.  This AIDA64 test really stresses the memory and also the CPU.  We confirmed that our final overclock was stable by running MemTest64 and Windows Memory Diagnostics overnight, as well as by playing games and running BTR’s other benching suites.

We believe that our overclock of +434MHz from 2666MHz to 3100MHz may be a great middle ground for many enthusiasts wanting great value, long memory life, complete stability and increased performance.  It will also show that this memory scales by simply increasing memory clocks.  Some hardcore enthusiast overclockers may want to aim for the highest overclock that their own memory will reach, and afterward they may fine-tune the timings for maximum memory performance.

It is important to look at synthetic benchmarks to highlight the differences between our three memory samples and also note what happens to application and game performance as we increase the T-FORCE T-1 Gaming memory’s clock speeds from 2666MHz to 3100MHz as well as to compare with higher performance DDR4.

Benchmarking 

Synthetic Benches

All of our synthetic benches were performed using our Core i7-8700K’s integrated CPU graphics except as noted with Real Bench which used a RTX 2060 SUPER as well as in our gaming benchmarks.

SiSoft Sandra 20/20

Before we get to gaming, we want to see exactly where memory performance results differ, and there is no better tool than SiSoft’s SANDRA 20/20.  SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an complete information & diagnostic utility in one complete package. It is able to provide all the information about your hardware, software and other devices for diagnosis and for benchmarking.  In addition, Sandra is derived from a Greek name that implies “defender” or “helper” – a PC Wonder Woman.

There are several versions of Sandra, including a free version of Sandra Lite that anyone can download and use.  It is highly recommended! SiSoft’s Sandra 20/20 is the very latest version, and we are using the full engineer suite courtesy of SiSoft.  The latest version features multiple improvements over earlier versions of Sandra.  It will benchmark and analyze all of the important PC subsystems and even rank your PC and give recommendations for improvements.

We run the very latest SANDRA memory intensive benchmark tests.  Here is the chart summarizing the results of our memory speed testing.  T-FORCE T-1 Gaming memory performance scales with overclocking and it compares favorably once overclocked with the higher speed grades.

We next feature AIDA64.

AIDA64 v6.00

AIDA64 is the successor to Everest and it is an important industry tool for benchmarkers.   Its memory bandwidth benchmarks (Memory Read, Memory Write, and Memory Copy) measure the maximum available memory data transfer bandwidth. AIDA64’s benchmark code methods are written in Assembly language, and they are extremely optimized for every popular AMD, Intel and VIA processor core variants by utilizing the appropriate instruction set extensions.  We use the Engineer’s full version of AIDA64 courtesy of FinalWire.  AIDA64 is free to to try and use for 30 days.

The AIDA64 Memory Latency benchmark measures the typical delay from when the CPU reads data from system memory. Memory latency time means the time is accurately measured from the issuing of the read command until the data arrives to the integer registers of the CPU.  It also tests Memory Read, Write, and Copy speeds besides Cache.

The T-FORCE T-1 Gaming 2666MHz DDR4 is first.

Next we overclock the T-FORCE T-1 Gaming 2666MHz memory to 3100MHz:

Here is the T-FORCE Night Hawk 3200MHz DDR4.

Here are the T-FORCE XTREEM 3600MHz DDR4 results.

Here is the summary of the multiple AIDA64 memory benchmarks using a single chart that were harvested from the more detailed individual memory tests:

Faster memory scores higher and T-FORCE T-1 Gaming memory continues to scale with overclocking.  Let’s look at PCMark 8 next to see if its benchmarks can reflect memory speed increases.

PCMark 8

PCMark 8 has an Creative test which uses real world timed benchmarks including web browsing, video group chat, photo, batch, and video editing, music and video tests, and even mainstream gaming.  The PCMark 8 Storage Test does not test the CPU nor the memory, and there is almost no difference from increasing memory clock speeds.

First up, let’s look at the T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz results using the Creative test.

The T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz scores 5406.

Next we overclock the T-FORCE T-1 Gaming 2666MHz memory to 3100MHz:

The T-FORCE T-1 Gaming 3100MHz DDR4 scores 5489 overall which is a relatively large increase over using it at stock 2866MHz clocks.

Here is the T-FORCE Night Hawk 3200MHz DDR4.

The overclocked T-FORCE T-1 Gaming memory overclocked to 3100MHz clocks scores the same as the T-FORCE Night Hawk 3200MHz DDR4.  Next are the 3600MHz memory scores.

Surprisingly, the T-FORCE XTREEM 3600MHz DDR4 lost seven points – and we tested it over multiple runs.

Here are the overall results for easy reference:

Let’s look at our next synthetic test, PCMark 10.

PCMark 10

PCMark 10 benching suite is the follow-up to PCMark 8 and it also uses real world timed benchmarks which include web browsing, video group chat, photo, batch, and video editing, music and video tests, and even mainstream gaming.  The PCMark 10 test offers two overall tests and we chose the extended version.  In all cases, we show the test results from the desktop first, followed by the online results.

First up, let’s look at the T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz results using the extended test.

The T-FORCE DDR4 T-1 Gaming 2666MHz scores 3409.

Next we overclock the T-FORCE T-1 Gaming 2666MHz memory to 3100MHz:

The overclocked T-FORCE 3100MHz DDR4 memory scores 3428 overall which is a decent increase over using it at its stock 2666MHz speed.

Here are the T-FORCE Night Hawk 3200MHz DDR4 PC Mark10 results.

The T-FORCE 3200MHz DDR4 memory scores 3432 which is a 4 point increase over the memory overclocked to 3100MHz.

Here are the T-FORCE XTREEM 3600MHz DDR4 results.

Here are the overall results for easy reference:

The PCMark 10 benching suite show a consistent increase in the overall score as the T-FORCE memory speeds get faster.  Overclocking DDR4 2666MHz to 3100MHz bring the biggest single performance increase.

Let’s look at our next synthetic test, RealBench.  This time we installed our RTX 2060 SUPER.

RealBench v2.56

RealBench is a benchmarking utility by ASUS Republic of Gamers which benchmarks image editing, encoding, OpenCL, Heavy Multitasking, and gives out an overall score for easy comparison off or online.  Some of these tests are affected by CPU and memory speeds.

First up, let’s look at the T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz results.

The T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz scores 165,156.

Next we overclock the T-FORCE 2866MHz memory to 3100MHz:

The overclocked T-FORCE 3100MHz DDR4 memory scores 169,857, a solid increase with a quicker Image Editing time courtesy of the overclocked memory clocks.  Next the Nighthawk 3200MHz memory.

The T-FORCE Night Hawk 3200MHz DDR4 scores less than 1000 points more than the overclocked 3100MHz memory. Now here are the T-FORCE XTREEM 3600MHz DDR4 results.

Here are the individual tests summarized.

Just like with PCMark, the individual results are inconclusive but the overall score increases with higher memory clocks.

Next we benchmark using Cinebench.

Cinebench

CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s professional 3D content creation suite, CINEMA 4D. This latest R20.0 version of CINEBENCH can test up to 64 processor threads accurately and automatically.  It is an excellent tool to compare both CPU/memory and graphics OGL performance.  We are going to focus only on the CPU which is given is cb, and higher is always better.

First up, let’s look at the T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz:

The T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz scores 3577/468 cb.

Next up, overclocked to 3100MHz.

The overclocked T-FORCE memory at 3100MHz scores incrementally higher with 3579/470 cb.

Next up, here are the T-FORCE Night Hawk 3200MHz DDR4 Cinebench scores.

There is almost no difference between the 2666MHz T-1 Gaming memory overclocked to 3100MHz and the T-FORCE Night Hawk 3200MHz DDR4 results – just one point. Now here are the T-FORCE XTREEM 3600MHz DDR4 results.

Another small performance increase with memory speed scaling is evident by overclocking even over a limited range. Here is the chart summarizing the Cinebench Release 20 benchmarks.

On to Wprime for number crunching.

WPrime v2.10

WPrime is a multi-threaded benchmark which can show the differences in IPC between CPUs, and faster memory may also make a difference.  Here are the tests using 6 threads, and we choose to calculate 1024 million digits and 32 million digits showing multiple runs.

As usual, the T-FORCE T-1 Gaming 2666MHz DDR4 is first.

The T-FORCE DDR4 2666MHz achieves its best scores of 5.295 sec for 32M and 160.509 for 1024M.  Next, overclocked.

Overclocked, the T-FORCE T-1 Gaming at 3100MHz achieves its best scores of 5.265 sec for 32M and 160.087 for 1024M.  Next we look at 3200MHz.

The T-FORCE Night Hawk 3200MHz DDR4is marginally faster with its best scores of 52.248 and 159.105.  Now here are the T-FORCE XTREEM 3600MHz DDR4 results.

The T-FORCE memory clocked at 3600MHz achieves its best scores of 5.23 sec for 32M and 156.927 for 1024M which is faster than the other memory speeds.

Here is a Wprime comparison chart with the fastest numbers from each set of runs compared.

If you increase the memory speed, the CPU may crunch numbers a little faster.  Let’s look at game-related benchmarks starting with Star Swarm Demo next.

Star Swarm Demo

Star Swarm demo is the original genesis for Ashes of the Singularity – and unlike the finished game – it is very demanding on the CPU and will usually demonstrate increased framerates by using faster CPU and/or memory clocks.  We did not use a video card but instead used Intel’s CPU graphics.

the T-FORCE T-1 Gaming 2666MHz DDR4 is first.

The T-FORCE T-1 Gaming 2666MHz DDR4 memory averages 7.30 FPS. Next, it is tested overclocked to 3100MHz.

The overclocked T-FORCE T-1 Gaming memory at 3100MHz DDR4 scores 7.88 FPS which is about 0.5 FPS higher than the stock-clocked memory. Now we check out Night Hawk 3200MHz DDR4.

The T-FORCE Night Hawk 3200MHz DDR4 is faster at 9.15 FPS. Now here are the T-FORCE XTREEM 3600MHz DDR4 results.

The T-FORCE 3600MHz DDR4 scores 9.69 FPS, an increase of nearly 2.5 FPS over 2866MHz memory, everything else being the same.  However, the Star Swarm demo does not produce identical benchmark runs so there is some extra variability built in.

Here is the summary chart:

Next we check out the Fire Strike Physics test.

Fire Strike Physics

Fire Strike Physics depends a bit more on the CPU which can benefit from increased memory speeds.

Here is the summary chart.

There is some scaling from overclocking but the overclocked T-1 Gaming memory at 3100MHz is very slightly faster than the Nighthawk 3200MHz memory.

On to real gaming!

Game Performance Results & Summary Charts

Below is the summary chart of nine games which appear to be sensitive to scaling by increasing CPU speeds and possibly by increasing memory clocks using a stock RTX 2060 SUPER Founders Edition.

The highest settings are used, and the benches were run at 1920×1080.  All results show average frame rates.  Minimum frame rates are shown next to the averages but they are in italics and in a slightly smaller font, and higher is always better.  However, Civilization VI is benched using OCAT and the averages and minimums are expressed by .1ms frametimes where lower is better.  In addition, the AI benchmark of Civilization VI measures the turn time in seconds where lower is also better.

ARMA III and ANNO 1800 each show the largest performance increase of approximately 6 FPS by comparing the memory speeds from 2666MHz to 3600MHz.  Most of the other games show varying degrees of smaller performance improvements although the results are quite regular.  However, it is important to remember that although a benchmarking margin of error may cloud the results, there is a noticeable trend that faster memory may increase framerates for certain games.

Synthetic Summary Charts

Here are all of the Summary charts in one location. Unless noted on the charts, higher is better.

We generally see the performance increasing with faster memory speeds.  Let’s head to our conclusion.

Conclusion and Verdict

We have seen that that running DDR4 at a faster clock speed produces performance gains and saves time with some common tasks.  In addition, some modern games can also benefit from faster system memory with a fast CPU and a fast video card.

Is DDR at 2666MHz good enough for a gamer?  Probably, although it might be helpful for gamers to overclock it depending on the games they play.  If a gamer is buying a new CPU and motherboard now, faster RAM can make a performance improvement in gaming.  The gaming performance improvement with faster DDR4 isn’t dramatic, from zero performance improvement to perhaps adding a few framerates in some memory-sensitive games like ARMA III and Anno 1800.  Faster RAM benefits are mostly shown by memory intensive benchmarks.

T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz

Pros

  • The Team Group T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz RAM is mainstream DDR4 that is built for reliability and even for good overclocking.
  • Our sample is a value enthusiast’s dream. Fast, stable, and dependable, it overclocks multiple speed grades beyond its rated 2666MHz grade to 3100MHz at under 1.4V.
  • Once overclocked, it is nearly as fast as the Night Hawk DDR4 3200MHz kit which is almost twice more expensive.
  • It is conservative-looking with no frills, no external heatsinks, and no RGB which allows it to easily fit in most motherboards.
  • Voltage tolerances from 1.2V to 1.4V and even higher allow for overclocking.
  • It comes with a lifetime Team Group warranty.

Cons

  • At 2666MHz with CAS18 latency it may not take full advantage of a very fast CPU.

The Verdict

If you are a value or a budget-minded gamer with good quality components who wants high performance from your PC, then the Team Group T-FORCE T-1 Gaming DDR4 2666MHz is an excellent choice as it is reasonably fast at stock speeds coupled with an overclocked CPU, plus it overclocks very well.

Although it is not on sale currently, the T-FORCE T-1 Gaming 2x8GB 2666MHz RAM Kit is priced similarly to other DDR4 in its speed class and it is backed by Team Group who gives a lifetime warranty.   It is a decent performer at its default XMP profile and it overclocks extremely well.  We feel that the T-FORCE DDR4 2866MHz deserves BTR’s Good Value Award.

If you are on a tight budget, the T-1 Gaming 2666MHz RAM may be a good choice, and then try for an overclock.  For gaming, 8GB is probably still barely acceptable although for other tasks, 16GB is almost mandatory.

Stay tuned.  Our RX 5700 XT is scheduled to return from RMA next week as part of a VR performance evaluation using the Vive Pro and the Oculus Rift.  In the meantime, we are working on a Team Group Vulcan 500GB SSD performance review next.  In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to use Disqus below.

Happy Gaming!