The Bottom Line
- + Pleasing aesthetic
- + Thermal pad on PMIC
- + Lower profile
- - No RGB / ARGB
- - Limited overclocking headroom
- - Cost
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
UPDATE - TEAM contacted us after we published our review to explain that this RAM kit performs best on an AMD DDR5-based platform. It was designed by TEAM to be run on an AMD platform, but since we only use an Intel-based DDR5 platform, we had little choice regarding testing. TEAM originally asked us to test on AMD, but we missed that part due to a miscommunication on our end. You may see better results with this RAM kit on an AMD-based PC.
Although we are not sure why we received the kit we are showing off today, we put it through the same ringer as any other kit of DDR5. TEAM has sent us kits previously, and at that time, they asked for the specifications of our test system but, for some reason, decided to send us a set of RAM designed for AMD rigs. It is so much designed for AMD systems that the box actually says "AMD Exclusive" on the front of it.
Over the years, we have realized RAM is RAM, no matter what it is designed to do. If you plug a kit into a system, it should work no matter what, in our opinion. Of course, sub-timings and the voltages may not be exactly what the other camp is looking for. Nonetheless, we have yet to have a kit specific to one side of the fence not working on the other side. That being said, we will stick to our methodology of testing, put this kit through the gamut of tests, and see if the newer kits from TEAM are worthy of running on our Intel-based system or if TEAM shot themselves in the foot by not paying close enough attention to the finer details.
We have already seen a set of TEAM Vulcan in the past, but at that time, speeds on offer tended to be slower, and what we had ran at 5600 MT/s. With the newer AMD-specific kits, we got a slight speed boost and the "?" symbol at the end. We can only assume it is the differentiation between kits designed for Intel and with the Vulcan ? we have now, denoted exclusively to AMD. Still, nothing is glaringly evident about the speed, timings, or voltages that would or should make someone wonder had they not seen the notation on the front of the packaging.
The TEAM Vulcan Alpha we have now is also found by searching the FLABD532G6000HC38ADC01 part number. While you can find these Alpha kits in two colors and currently in two speeds, we have the fastest option, and we got them with black heat spreaders on them. Speaking of heat spreaders, they are aluminum, and we mentioned they come in black but also in red. Speed options are 5600 MT/s or 6000 MT/s in their 32 GB kits.
Our TEAM 6000 MT/s set of DDR5 is shipped with a DOCP profile that sets the timings to 38-38-38-78 2T. That is not a mistake; we said DOCP on purpose. When we installed this kit, our Intel BIOS showed us DOCP as the naming, with nothing about XMP. However, most kits with these specifications made for Intel would likely need 1.30 - 1.35V to operate. TEAM set the voltage at just 1.25V, which is slightly impressive, to a point.
Aesthetically, the heat spreaders have a wing-like shape, and even though their color is a matte black, some angles and body lines help dress this kit up a bit more. The length of these sticks is slightly longer at 140mm due to the wing-like shape, but the height is kept low. At just 32.7mm in height, they are not much taller than naked sticks and will more easily fit under a wider swath of CPU air coolers. These sticks are also 7.5mm wide, taking up some of the gaps between the DIMM slots, but they are not the widest we have seen.
A hefty price tag comes with a lifetime warranty, at least for what you get. Looking at all of the CAS 38 kits we could find at this speed, you can find many more affordable kits, including RGB. If you want similar without lighting, pricing starts at $139 and goes up, and these are kits from some of the major players in the RAM world. The saddest part is that we can even get a similar set of Delta RGB from TEAM at $185. We realize that more time may have gone into making these AMD capable and that they are possibly not selling as many of these kits, but to find them listed at Newegg at just $134.99, they are out of stock, so the pricing there is irrelevant.
So, as we do, we ventured over to Amazon, and through the TEAMGROUP store, they are asking $199.99 currently. While that price seems high for what we got, there is a possibility that they are strong performers, and we are being narrow-minded this early in the game. Time will tell, though.
Packaging and Kingston Fury Renegade RGB
The packaging looks just like all the rest of the TEAM kits we have seen in the past, with the red top portion and the rest done in black. At the top of it all, we see that these are T-Force sticks, and they are part of the Vulcan series, but that Alpha symbol is the only thing that jumps right out to show anything has changed. The density and speed are found here as well.
In the middle, we can see the two options of the heat spreaders, and at the bottom, sort of small in our opinion is the bit where TEAM shows these are exclusive to AMD.
Around back, we are told that this is DDR5 and exclusive to AMD. It comes with AMD EXPIO support, with exquisite craftsmanship, and heat dissipation. It then continues about an included PMIC, on-die ECC, that TEAM uses high-quality ICs. In the center, we can see the product stickers on the back of the sticks, while the bottom offers company information, a code to drop you on their site, and boxes to the right above the part number, with a dot to denote which color is inside.
Once we cut through the anti-tamper sticker, we slid out the inner packaging to find the TEAM T-Force Vulcan Alpha resting between two layers of plastic. We also found a warranty insert along with a sticker.
Without the glare of the plastic in our way, we can see the wing-shaped design of the wide V shape of the center portion of the heat spreaders. Against the black, the white paint used for the T-Force name and logo in the center and the Vulcan Alpha DDR5 to the right really pop.
Instead of the T-Force name and logo, we get the sticker on the back. On it is the part number of the stick, not the kit, and it also delivers the speed, timings, and voltage. In the middle is the serial number, but on the right, we see that these are made in Taiwan and not to remove this sticker.
Standing up, both of the sticks have a nice presence, especially for those against the RGB/ARGB craze. The white paint pops as they would typically be installed, and we honestly cannot complain about the visual appeal, as it is sleek, lower-profile, and not the worst thing to look at when in your chassis.
At the top of the RAM, you can see the halves coming together and are helped with alignment by a pair of tabs that lock into the other half of the spreader. The center portion is not split like the rest, which allows TEAM to paint T-Force in large letters/
We removed half of the heat spreader covering the ICs and PMIC. You can see the eight SK Hynix H5CG48MEB0 chips running down the PCB. The spreader uses thermal tape to stick to the ICs, but it has a thermal pad over the PMIC.
The print on the PMIC did come off from using a thermal pad on it, but we got brighter light and a pair of cheaters out to see what is under the hood. We found out that this is a Ricktek 0D=09 unlocked voltage controller.
Installed on our APEX motherboard, the high contrast of this TEAM kit goes well with the rest of our system. One of the nicer things about these sticks is that anyone who looks into your chassis will know precisely who made the RAM, as that T-Force at the top edge is more prominent than many names we see there.
Test System Details
To obtain the Intel CPU-Z screenshots, you will see directly following this image; this is the system we used to do it, as well as in getting the results seen in the following pages. Thanks to Intel, be quiet!, ASUS, MSI, Corsair, and Sabrent for supporting us with this venture. Detailed specifications of the system can be found below.
After clearing CMOS and enabling the DOCP option in our Intel BIOS, we found the TEAM T-Force Vulcan Alpha running as intended. The speed shows at 6000 MHz, and the timings are 38-38-38-78 2T as expected, but if you look in the SPD tab, you will see the SPD extension is EXPO, and the Timings Table shows the same. Nothing about XMP was found anywhere.
As we do, we add a slight bit of voltage to the kit. This time, the VDD, VDDQ, and Tx were set to 1.35V, and we raised the SA to 1.00V and the memory controller to 1.20V. With the added love to the ICs, we were able to get the timings down to 30-36-36-78 2T. Anything lower caused an instant BSOD when attempting to boot.
With the additional voltage still applied to the kit, we attempted to get more speed from these SK Hynix ICs. We were able to get a bit more out of the Vulcan Alpha kit, but things stopped at 6400 MHz. While not much for Intel, it does end closer to what we know as the top end of AMD memory usage.
Chad's Intel DDR5 Dual-Channel Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus Z790 APEX - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i7 13700K - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Corsair iCUE H150i Elite LCD - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming Trio 24G - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Sabrent Rocket 4 PLUS-G 4TB - Buy from Amazon
- Case: Custom Thermaltake Core P3 TG
- Power Supply: be quiet! DARK POWER PRO 12 1500W - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Home - Buy from Amazon
TEAM does well in the CPU-Z single-threaded benchmark, landing in second place with the Vulcan Alpha. A few tenths of a point behind is the 6400 CAS 38 run, but very near the bottom of the chart is the 6000 C30 results.
A second-place finish in AIDA read performance keeps the ball rolling for TEAM. With an increase in speed, we attained a boost in the bandwidth of 6601 MB/s, but a reduction of the timings hurt the scores but was still faster than the Fury Renegade.
Write performance takes a rather significant drop in the chart, with the DOCP profile beat by all other 6000 MHz kits. Not until we clocked the kit were we able to get some good results that compete with the others, and it took all the speed we could get to top the chart.
The copy performance results are almost identical to what we saw in the previous chart. Again, the DOCP profile leaves us wanting, but for those willing to push things a bit, you can get a decent boost in the bandwidth, eventually topping the chart again.
Latency isn't horrible, but both Fury Renegade kits can deliver lower latency than these T-Force sticks. Third place is fine, we guess, but so far, we are not feeling the point of this kit on our test system.
Again, the TEAM kit is at the bottom of the chart's results from all 6000 MHz kits. While we were able to drop some time off the Super Pi runs by overclocking, we could not top the chart this time.
3DMark was brutal to TEAM on our APEX, as it landed with the worst score of the bunch. We were able to get some mid-range performance out of this kit, but you must be willing to push this kit to get even average results.
PCMark 10 was less abusive to the Vulcan Alpha, as it got another third-place finish. However, unlike in other tests, overclocking did nothing but lower the overall score in this metric.
File compression via 7-zip also does quite the job on the T-Force Vulcan Alpha, as it can only outpace the Viper Venom and the older Vulcan kit. Overclocking had its benefits this time, and we got the scores into second and at the top.
It seems like we are on a roll now, with the T-Force Vulcan Alpha results landing near the bottom of the chart. However, there is a vast difference between the DOCP settings and our overclocked settings, allowing TEAM back to the top of the chart.
Ending on a much better note, the Vulcan Alpha sits very near the top of the chart while using the DOCP profile. This time, a reduction in timings is the winner when overclocking, as the speed boost scored lower than the DOCP option.
As we said in the beginning, we are not sure why this kit was sent to us, but TEAM asked us to do it, and we did what we were asked. On the face of things, the Vulcan Alpha seemed up for the task. With a fair amount of speed, a slight reduction in timings from earlier kits, and with lower voltage needed, we thought these T-Force sticks stood a chance on our APEX. On top of that, the kit looks good, the color combination pops, and we like how it looks with the rest of our test system, but that is about as far as it goes.
The fact that the TEAM T-Force Vulcan Alpha only did well in four of our charts says all that needs to be said. We got good results from the Vulcan Alpha in many tests, but that is only if you are willing to push this kit past its EXPO/DOCP design. At least if you are using them on an Intel-based system. We have no idea if these would do much better on an AMD system compared to the others, but with as bad as some of those scores were in our charts, we lean towards it not being an excellent option for AMD either.
Any way we look at this, believing that TEAM wanted to show off the newest hotness no matter the results, we applaud them for taking the chance. However, it is tough to sell anyone a kit of RAM that does well forty percent of the time when comparing out-of-the-box experiences. We do hope that other reviews with AMD systems may counteract what we are about to say, but with what we have and what was requested, we can only look at it on one light, and that bulb is getting dimmer and dimmer.
Even as good as they look, and with the few times they performed relatively well, there are too many bumps in the road to overlook. More than half the time, just about any other kit would do better, as when these TEAM sticks failed, they did so hard. On top of that, even with the reduction in voltage needed, and the slightly lower timings, the cost is also preventing us from finding a bright spot in their future.
At 25% more, nearing the $200 mark, we can say that the TEAM T-Force Vulcan Alpha works as intended, just not very well. They do the job expensively, and with our setup, we would run these if we had a limited choice, but they would not be something we would rush out and look for as the best for our builds.