After seeing the news blast on Facebook for this new set of RAM, we immediately sent off an email to TEAMGROUP to see if we could obtain a set of this very attractive looking memory. We did also notice that once we went to their website to have a look at what they offered in speeds and color options, all of their posted results were with a notation disclosing that they used the ASUS Maximus VIII Hero motherboard. The exact motherboard that we test with, so we were all set to reproduce what they obtained.
TEAMGROUP shipped over the TDPRD44G3333HC17CBK kit, which is an 8GB kit of RAM sporting 3333MHz speeds, and timings of 17-18-18-39 2T timings, while requiring 1.35V of power. The kit we are looking at is only one of six current offerings, though. While we are looking at the black sticks with red accents, they also mirror the following speed options with kits opting for gray accents as well. These kits can be purchased with speeds of 3000MHz, 3200MHz, and currently, the fastest offerings are the 3333MHz kits, one of which we have now for testing. These are available in 8GB kits as well as 16GB kits, all of which are designed to run on Intel Z170-based motherboards and support XMP 2.0 profiles.
For us, looks are important, as most users will agree, the memory should fit the theme of whatever system you are building. That is not everything in a RAM kit, however. To us, there needs to be some pliability to the kit, and as some kits do, the ability to lower the overall height of a kit can make or break a decision to buy any kit being sold on the market today, especially for those using CPU air coolers. What you are about to see here is that the DARK Pro 3333MHz 8GB kit we were sent not only looks good, it also offers a bit of room to play around with timings and speed, and even offers removable tops to the design of their heat spreaders, widening the customer base.
Along with the company name at the top, we are offered the pattern found on the sides of these sticks. Below we find the DARK Pro naming and a couple of stickers denoting this is DDR4 overclocking RAM, and that it is compatible with Intel Skylake systems. To the right of that, we find one of each variation on color options shown front and center, and in the bottom left corner is a sticker denoting the full specifications of the set contained inside.
Our first look at the memory shows that there is a larger top section made in black to match the forged heat spreaders that cover the ICs on the black PCB. There are three lines down each side of the sticks that sport hexagonal holes showing the same accent color that the line at the bottom of the spreader offers. On this side of the memory, we simply find the DARK Pro naming in exposed metal lettering near the bottom of these spreaders.
On the reverse, the spreaders are identical in every facet. The one thing that does stand out on this side is the long blue and white product sticker. The sticker denotes that this kit is from TEAMGROUP, that this is a 4GB stick of 3333MHz, it covers the timings and voltage, and even provides the kits part number for reference later, just in case you have an issue and already pitched the packaging.
The top edges of the spreaders are angled at both ends and is flat across the majority of the top edge. This side is black to match the rest of the design and has the TEAMGROUP company name painted on them to offer something to look at once they are installed on the motherboard.
Fresh out of the box, these sticks are 44.15mm tall from the top of the spreader to the base of the gold fingers. However, as seen here, there are two 2.5mm hex screws that allow users to remove the top section. By doing so, this set of DARK Pro then only stands 37mm in overall height, possibly enabling them to fit under some of the enormous air CPU cooling options out there. This also exposes more of the red inner section of the heat spreader for an additional splash of color.
With the tips of the spreaders removed, we took this opportunity to remove one side of the spreader from these single sided sticks. After the tape had let loose, we found that the DARK Pro is based on Samsung ICs, which we have had very good luck with in the past.
With nothing more done than enabling the XMP 2.0 profile, the DARK Pro boots right up to the stated speeds and timings without incident. They required nothing more from us to enjoy the 3333MHz speed and 17-18-18-39 2T timings that the box states we should have in this 8GB kit.
Honestly, we didn't think that there would be much room to play with the timings on this set, but with just 0.05V added to the VDIMM, we were able to take the DARK Pro kit down. We ended up with 15-17-17-39 1T timings stable. We feel that there was more to go, but adding another 0.05V did not seem to offer more stability, so if you plan to take these lower, be prepared to add the volts as well.
Our last attempt at tweaking the DARK Pros leaves us with what you can see in this image. We were able to get the kit up to 3466MHz without issues, but anything more caused BSODs to no end. This was also accomplished with 1.40V, but in this instance, no matter the voltage applied, we could not get more megahertz out of this kit; we hit a wall at this speed.
Our AIDA64 results show that the slightly slower Tridents, Ripjaws, and the HyperX all come close to our findings. In the grander scheme of speeds, we feel that the DARK Pro is right about where we expected, though. Lowering the timings shows a marked improvement in our results here, but increasing speeds gets our DARK Pros much closer to the GeIL Dragons that we had expected.
With the XMP 2.0 profile active, Mem TweakIt shows us that the DARK Pro kit is right where it should be in the results, based on speeds of all of the kits. Reducing the timings takes us right into the realm of the much faster Dragons and past the Viper 4s. Increasing the speeds of this set does not bode as well, but still shows improvements over the default settings.
Running RealBench evens out the playing field. No matter how we set up the kit of DARK Pro RAM, it plays right into the mix. Additional speed is slightly better in two of the three benches, where a reduction in timings shows increased performance in all tests.
Looking at the kit installed on our motherboard, we found the naming on the top is running the right way and is easy to read at a glance, but we did not care for the fact that the product stickers are placed on the open side of the sticks. It may be easier to read if you were to run into an issue, but we feel it sort of plays against the styling that this kit should afford users from this angle of view.
What we accomplished in our testing shows that the DARK Pro kit delivers results on par with some of the faster kits we have tested, all using the XMP 2.0 profiles. We were pleased that this kit was able to drop the timings with very little effort or voltage required to accomplish this, and in every test, reducing the timings went a long way to improving performance numbers. As for maximizing the speed, we found this kit to be binned very near its maximum and going back to the charts, we found this did not always boost results.
Even so, with the results we have produced, we are pleased with what TEAMGROUP offered. With either gray or red accents, these RAM kits add much style to a build and providing removable tops allow TEAMGROUP to sell to even more customers than say those looking at a set of Super Luce RAM. We do wish that the product sticker was placed on the other side as well, as the sticker kills the aesthetics if you have a view from the right side of them. Of course, you could remove the sticker and show off all of the efforts in a design such as this, but in doing so, you also void any warranty you have when buying this set of memory.
What may make you forget about this sticker situation, though, is that we feel that for the speed and design of the kit we were offered, the $78.99 price that comes along with this kit is reasonable. Searching Newegg for this kit, as it seems the only place to find the DARK Pros, this is a dollar cheaper than the plainer looking Vengeance LPX kit at the same speed. The only benefit to opting for the Corsair set is that it comes with a fan that you do not need, to help dress up the plain looking RAM below it. With the TEAMGROUP DARK Pro 3333MHz 8GB kit, you get style, performance, flexibility, and in its class is still the more affordable solution.
Chad's DDR4 Dual-Channel Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus VIII Hero - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- CPU: Intel Core i7 6700K - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Cooler: Corsair H110i GTX - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Video Card: MSI GeForce N760 2GD5/OC ITX - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage: SanDisk Extreme II 120GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 5 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Thermaltake TPSG 1050W - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: CPU-Z 1.74.0 x64, MemTweakIt, RealBench 2.41, AIDA64 Engineer 5.50.3600
|Performance (including Overclocking)||90%|
|Quality including Design and Build||94%|
|Bundle and Packaging||93%|
|Value for Money||95%|
The Bottom Line: We like the design, we like the performance, and this kit can even lower its overall height. Our results are where they should be, and if not for the odd sticker placement, this kit could have scored better, but is a solid performer at this price point.
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