Tom's Hardware Verdict
The Dark Z FPS DDR4-4000 C16 is a great alternative for Zen 3 CPU owners who want a kit that's faster than the sweet spot but don't want to break the piggy bank.
+ Quick out of the box
+ RGB-less design
+ Room for overclocking
Costs more than similarly-specced rivals
No RGB (a letdown for some)
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The Dark Z FPS DDR4-4000 memory kit comes to market to capitalize on the latest developments in the chip world. Like we see in other areas, continuous improvement is important in the processor world: If there weren't any generational uplift, we'd have no reason to purchase the next best thing. It's the job of memory makers to capitalize on those advancements and stay in step with the latest developments.
Zen 3, for example, brought a lot of interesting features to the table. One of its improvements is the ability to run faster memory without suffering performance penalties. It's general knowledge that AMD's Ryzen processors run the best with their Infinity Fabric Clock (FCLK) and memory clock (MEMCLK) in sync. As a result, DDR4-3800 was the practical ceiling for the majority of Zen 2 owners.
However, microarchitectural improvements have bumped the limit up to DDR4-4000 on Zen 3, allowing memory makers to put out kits that unlock another level of performance for Ryzen users. That's where the Dark Z FPS kit steps in.
The Dark Z FPS features the familiar wing-inspired design that TeamGroup is fond of. The aluminum heat spreader arrives in black with white lines that highlight the design. In fact, the Dark Z FPS is only available in the aforementioned color. The overall design is pretty clean, and TeamGroup's logos are kept to a minimum.
The heat spreader's extended wings give you the sensation that the memory is overly tall, but it's not. Coming in at 43.5mm (1.71 inches), the Dark Z FPS is conveniently sized. The memory is devoid of RGB lighting, which is a rare sight nowadays. That might be a pro or con, depending on your taste.
The Dark Z FPS is a 16GB memory kit, so you'll get two 8GB memory modules. Of course, these conform to a single-rank design. TeamGroup equipped the memory with an eight-layer PCB and the highest quality Samsung K4A8G085WB-BCPB (B-die) integrated circuits (ICs).
TeamGroup only offers the Dark Z FPS in the DDR4-4000 flavor. You'll find the memory running at DDR4-2400 with 16-16-16-39 timings at stock operation. The primary timings for DDR4-4000 are 16-18-18-38. To run at DDR4-4000, the Dark Z FPS requires 1.45V. For more on timings and frequency considerations, see our PC Memory 101 feature, as well as our How to Shop for RAM story.
|Memory Kit||Part Number||Capacity||Data Rate||Primary Timings||Voltage||Warranty|
|Thermaltake ToughRAM XG RGB||R016D408GX2-4600C19A||2 x 8GB||DDR4-4600 (XMP)||19-26-26-45 (2T)||1.50||Lifetime|
|Thermaltake ToughRAM RGB||R009D408GX2-4600C19A||2 x 8GB||DDR4-4600 (XMP)||19-26-26-45 (2T)||1.50||Lifetime|
|Predator Apollo RGB||BL.9BWWR.255||2 x 8GB||DDR4-4500 (XMP)||19-19-19-39 (2T)||1.45||Lifetime|
|GeIL Orion RGB AMD Edition||GAOSR416GB4400C18ADC||2 x 8GB||DDR4-4400 (XMP)||18-24-24-44 (2T)||1.45||Lifetime|
|Patriot Viper 4 Blackout||PVB416G440C8K||2 x 8GB||DDR4-4400 (XMP)||18-26-26-46 (2T)||1.45||Lifetime|
|TeamGroup T-Force Dark Z FPS||TDZFD416G4000HC16CDC01||2 x 8GB||DDR4-4000 (XMP)||16-18-18-38 (2T)||1.45||Lifetime|
|Klevv Cras XR||KD48GU880-40B190Z||2 x 8GB||DDR4-4000 (XMP)||19-25-25-45 (2T)||1.40||Lifetime|
|Thermaltake ToughRAM XG RGB||R016D408GX2-4000C19A||2 x 8GB||DDR4-4000 (XMP)||19-26-26-45 (2T)||1.45||Lifetime|
|TeamGroup T-Force Xtreem ARGB||TF10D416G3600HC14CDC01||2 x 8GB||DDR4-3600 (XMP)||14-15-15-35 (2T)||1.45||Lifetime|
Our Intel test system is based on an Intel Core i9-10900K and Asus ROG Maximus XII Apex running the 0901 firmware. Our AMD testbed, on the other hand, leverages the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X with the Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero that's on the 3501 firmware. We use the MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Trio for the gaming portion of our RAM benchmarks.
The T-Force Dark Z FPS put up a strong showing on the Intel platform. The memory kit ranked third overall, but excelled in various workloads, including the Corona ray tracing benchmark, LuxMark, and HandBrake conversion benchmarks.
The T-Force Dark Z FPS jumped up to the second position on the AMD platform, trailing only the brand's own T-Force Xtreem ARGB DDR4-3600 C14 memory kit. Nonetheless, the Dark Z FPS still put up a strong showing in numerous benchmarks.
The Dark Z FPS' gaming performance was consistent on both Intel and AMD platforms, outperforming the competition.
Overclocking and Latency Tuning
We couldn't get much overclocking headroom out of the Dark Z FPS without pumping lots of volts into the memory. Keeping the voltage increase at a moderate amount (0.05V), we pushed the memory to DDR4-4300 by loosening the timings from the default 16-18-18-38 to 17-17-17-37.
Lowest Stable Timings
|Memory Kit||DDR4-4000 (1.45V)||DDR4-4000 (1.50V)||DDR4-4300 (1.50V)||DDR4-4400 (1.45V)|
|Klevv Cras XR DDR4-4000 C19||18-22-22-42 (2T)||N/A||N/A||19-25-25-45 (2T)|
|TeamGroup T-Force Dark Z FPS DDR4-4000 C16||N/A||15-15-15-35 (2T)||17-17-17-37 (2T)||N/A|
Knowing that the Dark Z FPS employs Samsung's B-die ICs, we set out to see whether the memory's timings could go lower. At 1.50V, the memory had no problem operating at 15-15-15-35.
When it comes to AMD's desktop Ryzen processors, there's no argument that DDR4-3600 offers the best performance for your money. Nonetheless, the Dark Z FPS DDR4-4000 C16 memory kit is a good place to start if you want to experiment with faster memory. As long as your Ryzen 5000 chip can run a 2,000 MHz FCLK, the Dark Z FPS DDR4-4000 C16 will offer you performance that's pretty close to a DDR4-3600 C14 memory kit. You can easily decrease or eliminate the small margin by overclocking the Dark Z FPS down to C15, but as always, your overclocking mileage will vary.
TeamGroup priced the Dark Z FPS DDR4-4000 C16 well compared to other competing kits. The Dark Z FPS kit retails for $169.99, and it's significantly cheaper than some of the flashier DDR4-4000 options with sloppier timings.
The RGB-less Dark Z FPS design also means that you don't have to pay the RGB tax. There's only one rival that will really give the Dark Z FPS a hard time — G.Skill's Ripjaws V DDR4-4000 C16 memory kit that is $30 cheaper. Pricing fluctuates, though, so make sure to check your options before you hit the check-out lane.
Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.
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I'm confused. You mentioned G.Skill's Ripjaws V DDR4-4000 C16 at the end of the article, and point out that it's much cheaper, but you don't add it to any of the benchmark comparisons.Reply
mac_angel said:I'm confused. You mentioned G.Skill's Ripjaws V DDR4-4000 C16 at the end of the article, and point out that it's much cheaper, but you don't add it to any of the benchmark comparisons.
You've been around for a while based on your info under your name. Have you been away? This should come as nothing new to an old timer such as yourself. ;)