Welcome into the second month of this new year and this means we have another review for you to enjoy. Today we have some DDR4 gaming memory from Team Group – the T-Force DARK Zα. This series is available up to kits of 32 GB and 4000 MHz while having this ‘batarang’ design from its aluminium heatsinks. Our test sample is the middle spec’d one, 16 GB (2×8) 3600 MHz at 18-22-22-42 and 1.35 V since 3600 MHz is marketed as the sweet spot for the new Ryzen processors. Hence why the “α” (alpha) symbol is used to denote its extra affinity with the AMD platform.
TeamGroup Inc. was founded in 1997 in Taiwan. TEAMGROUP Inc. possesses professional research and development capabilities, high quality products, rapid productivity, a tightly-knit global sales network and complete customer services. TEAMGROUP mainly produces its own brand of memory modules, memory cards, USB flash drives, solid state disks, peripheral series, mobile accessories and industrial applications. Gaming competitions have drawn worldwide attention in the recent years, so TEAMGROUP integrated its gaming memory modules into “T-FORCE” product line which is specifically designed for people who pursuit extreme high speed and excellent performance.
Prices and Availability
Our test sample (16GB 3600MHz CL18) is priced decently at $83 and it’s the first in the line-up below. The rest should cover most people’s needs all the way up to 32 GB 4000 MHz kits.
*20.02.2021 – Check out the video review as well !*
Presentation and Specification
*Courtesy of their website.*
* Series: DARK Zα DDR4 GAMING MEMORY (FOR AMD)
* Module Type: 288 Pin Unbuffered DIMM Non ECC
* Capacity: 16GB Kit (8GBx2)
* Frequency: 3600MHz
* Data Transfer Bandwidth: 28,800 MB/s (PC4 28800)
* Dimensions: 43.5(H) x 141(L) x 8.3(W)mm
* Latency: CL18-22-22-42
* Tested Voltage: 1.35V
* Heat Spreader: Aluminum heat spreader
Visual Inspection and Installation
The memory modules come in this classic minimalist transparent molded clamshell packaging. The branding is on point and it’s really easy to tell them apart with that red and white “T-Force” upper writing and the white on black “Dark Zα” on the opposite corner.
On the back we have a quick brand presentation and some of the main highlights of the memory kit. Also the lifetime sticker is present in the upper right corner.
As accessories goes, just a quick user’s booklet and a T-Force sticker.
This Zα series only comes in black as of the moment of writing. They have 0.8 mm thick aluminium heat spreaders with an aggressive design, very reminiscent of Batman’s armour.
On the right corner we have the Zα branding and the Team Group logo smack in the middle of the heatsink.
As per a top view, we have the T-Force branding present in the middle section.
On the back we have the information sticker that contains the detailed product code, specs and serial number for the memory sticks.
As for a size perspective here they are next to a low profile kit which is 32 mm tall (review here) vs the 43.5 mm height of the Dark Zα.
Given their all black paint job, these will do well with stealthier non-RGB builds.
We will employ a run of synthetic benchmarks at their X.M.P/D.O.C.P value of 3600 MHz for 1.35v @ CL18 and then try to overclock them further to see how much free performance we can squeeze out of them.
This been said, we managed a stable 4000 MHz for the same exact D.O.C.P values of 1.35v and latencies!
Then tried to take it to another level but anything above 4266 MHz even with 1.5v (VCCSA 1.35v and VCCIO to 1.3v) it became a bit of too on the limit and gave some hiccups with stability. Also, very few will ever keep them in day to day usage at these high risky voltages anyway, so our test today will have the hassle free ‘manual’ D.O.C.P overclock at 4000 MHz.
– CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3100 AM4 – 4c/8t @ 65W TDP
– CPU Cooler: Asetek 645LT 92mm AIO
– Motherboard: ASUS ROG STRIX B550-i Gaming mITX @ BIOS 0608
– RAM: 32GB (2×16) Corsair LPX Vengeance 3600 MHz CL18
– Boot SSD: T-Create Classic 1TB TLC PCIe NVMe
– SSD: T-Force Cardea Liquid 512GB TLC PCIe NVMe
– Video card(s): ASUS GTX 1080 STRIX A8G
– PSU: Corsair SF750 SFX Platinum
– Case: DAN A4-SFX V4.1 ITX
– Case fans 92 mm: Noctua NF-A9x14 HS-PWM.chromax.Black.swap
– OS: Windows 10 Pro x64 Version 20H2
– CPU-Z v1.92 – To verify the CPU’s and RAM’s statistics
– Aida64 Extreme v6.20 – Memory analysis and Benchmark suite
– Geekbench Pro v5.2.5 – Great overall benchmark suite of tests
– Cinebench R15 – Popular CPU benchmark
– Cinebnech R20 – The new revised version optimised for the newer multi-core CPUs
– 3D/Game(s) – Assassin’s Creed Valhalla set at FHD, with everything at Max quality Settings, no V-Sync
– NVIDIA Drivers – 461.40
Testing, Results and Analysis
Let’s start with the CPU intensive benchmark – Cinebench’s R15. We got some mixed results. The ‘simple’ OC behaves unoptimized maybe due to the higher (tRC of 91 vs 82) when compared to the stock D.O.C.P profiles. Nevertheless the out of the box Dark Zα takes the lead in the charts.
Things change in R20 to a more normal expectation. Thus here the bigger capacity kits take the lead.
Next up is the integrated memory benchmark from AIDA64 so we can inspect the overall read, write and copy bandwidth. There isn’t that much big of a difference between the stock and OC settings.
The last synthetic test come from Geekbench which gives us an overall performance index for both single and multi core scores. We see similar results to Cinebench R15 where the ‘easy’ OC setting loses to the stock profile, but again not much big of a difference.
Now for a gaming session, one benchmark run in the latest Assassin’s Creed title, Valhalla. Here we see the “easy” OC setting getting ahead quite nicely.
This new Dark Zα RAM kit truly hits the sweet spot for realistic general needs and considering the asking price for the sample in question, you can’t go wrong here. They blend in any build (besides specific VLP necessity), they look great and they should offer some decent overclock headroom if you take your time with tweaking the sub-timings. They feature a great all aluminium heat spreader that also looks cool but actually works. If you are looking for an overall performer and the best bang for your buck kit with the aim for a cleaner/stealthier build, well look no further than the Dark Zα’ !
+ Amazing price/performance ratio
+ Great build quality
+ Striking all-aluminium heat-spreaders
+ Tailor tuned for optimal results on Ryzen
– No other colour options for the heat-spreader
Glob3trotters “Excellent!” Award 4.5 out of 5
A lot of thanks to Team Group for supplying us with this kit !