Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
While many may not even think to look to TEAMGROUP when it comes time for a new set of DDR4, but they are certainly a company worth the time to investigate. They have kept us busy over the years with many varieties of T-Force kits; some wide and tall, some less aggressive and more mainstream, but never have we seen what they have brought forth in this latest addition to the T-Force lineup. With all of the various designs and aesthetic options already available from them, it takes something special to top what they already offer. Still, TEAM came out swinging with this one, and is something well worth your attention!
The whole idea stems around the concept of "what can we do that nobody else has ever tried?" What TEAM came up with is unique, but will likely be knocked off by others, as the idea is that good! What they have done is designed the heat spreaders mostly of plastic, with a section of aluminum on just one side, over the ICs. The thing is, though, this is not like the ADATA idea of milky white plastic with LEDs behind it; it is entirely different! TEAM found a way to make the plastic blue in color, while being shiny, like a mirror, reflecting what is around it. However, blue plastic is not where it stops! As the name of this product eludes to, there are also ARGB LEDs on the PCB, which can be seen through the mirror-like plastic once the kit is powered up.
Of course, being a set of TEAM DDR4, we have high expectations, as all of our other samples were beastly, not just in the way they are designed and built, but in the use of top-tier ICs, and XMP profiles tuned tightly to extract every last drop of performance. In the kit we have in hand today, we seem to have a unicorn of memory! By that, we mean to say that while this is shown on the product page and in all of the literature, good luck finding it in any retail environment at this time. To add to that, we have had this RAM in hand longer than we typically do, and we still do not see this exact kit anywhere, no matter what Google-Fu we used, we found reviews of them, but nothing in the realm of availability on this big blue ball of ours.
The chart above, which we borrowed from the product page, contains the basics you might want to know. It states that these are 288-pin unbuffered DIMM-Non ECC modules that come in 16GB kits. The options for the lineup covers three speeds and what we assume are dual XMP profiles for a couple of them. It appears that the 3200MHz option runs with C16 on XMP 1 and CAS14 on XMP 2, both using 1.35V. The 3600MHz CAS14 at 1.45V is what we have in hand, but there is a C18 option at 1.35V too! Last is a set of 4000MHz DDR4 with its CAS18 profiles, but using just 1.35V for those XMP profiles.
While not the shortest memory we have seen, at just 48.7mm tall, it will fit in many use case scenarios, where kits like the Nighthawk from TEAM will not. Lastly, should you look to TEAM for a set of the XTREEM ARGB, it is backed with a lifetime warranty.
The specific T-Force XTREEM ARGB kit we have is the TF10416G3600HC14CDC01, and due to its rarity, the Amazon link we used takes you to the 3600MHz 18-22-22-42 set, as it is what is available right now! Even so, what we do have should do well in our tests with the XMP profile adjusting this DDR4 to 3600MHZ with 14-15-15-35, command rate dependent on the processor, using 1.45V to ensure the stability of this tightly tuned kit.
While many other companies are left with little choice of ICs to pick from, TEAM stuck with what we are used to, and must have a stockpile of this stuff, because once again they have built this kit with the help of Samsung B-die ICs! Typically with a kit tuned this tight, we do not see much movement when it comes to overclocking options, but for the real story on that, you will have to either wait or jump ahead to the "Test System Details" section. A bit of a spoiler though, we like what we saw there too!
The sad part about all of this, is that TEAM does not typically offer pricing with the release of memory, as it varies by location, and market fluctuations. We have always been able to locate previous kits though, so pricing was not this much of a guessing game. Doing a bit of guesswork based on pricing we are seeing, we assume the cost of this set of XTREEM ARGB will set you back in the range of $180. We based this on the fact that the lesser of the 3600MHz options is $159.99 on Amazon right now.
On the flip side, we also saw the 4000MHz kits on Amazon, and there the price is set at $169.99 for them. Seeing as this kit, in our opinion, is the best of the bunch, we can only assume the price reflects that and is why we say around $180 is to be expected for this 16GB kit if you ever find them in the wild that is!
Packaging and HyperX FURY
If you were to see this box on a shelf, there is no doubt you would instantly be attracted to it due to the contrasting colors, all of that RGB, as well as being something you likely never saw before. Beyond that, we see that this kit is from the T-Force line; it is DDR4 Gaming Memory, which is known as the XTREEM ARGB. In the middle is an unimpeded look at what you will find inside of the box, but it has been rendered with the illumination active. Compatibility is listed at the bottom, but even though compatible, there is no AMD or RYZEN notification just yet.
On the back of the box, the top is taken up with an explanation of the TF logo along with what it represents as a brand. The lower half shows off the name of the memory again, this time with a list of features. First is the full mirror light penetration, followed by mentioning ARGB, use of aluminum in the heat spreaders, and the first we are told of AMD support. TEAM uses high-quality ICs, there is OC profile (XMP) support, and all kits boot with 1.20V, sipping power, without the use of the XMP profile. The last thing to mention is the product sticker in the lower right-hand corner, where we can see the TF10D416G3600HC14CDC01 model number.
After sliding the outer sleeve off the packaging, TEAM ups the game and packs the RAM in this matte black box with foil used to show the LOGO, the T-Force name, and the tagline "the power from TEAM GROUP."
Once opened, we can see the clamshell plastic packaging containing the DDR4, which is resting on top of a thick layer of open-cell foam to ensure it gets to us in one piece. Taking it even further, TEAM uses a layer of cling plastic on either side of both sticks to ensure the surface they worked so hard to create is unblemished. Should you happen to smudge them when handling them, TEAM thought of that, and send a microfiber cloth along, in the box.
At first glance, we have to give TEAM credit for delivering something unique, yet something that many will fall in love with aesthetically. The play of that deep blue and its mirror finish against the polished metal strip and the white plastic of the TF logo. Use of black PCBs is a nice touch, and while these do not precisely match any motherboard makers known color schemes, with something that looks as good as these do, we would run these on anything out there, screw a "theme!"
Typically we are much closer to the product sticker, but we backed off so we could show this entire side of the stick. The top of the heat spreaders is more of that deep blue sexiness, while the lower section is covered with black textured aluminum. The aluminum is on top of the ICs, and since heat spreaders are mostly for style these days, this is fine for what heat can be transferred. As to the sticker, the model number is for an individual stick, 8GB worth of the 16GB kit. The speed, timings, and voltage are all present, and so is the serial number, should you need it.
We wanted to keep the T-Force name in a readable fashion, and not upside down, but how the top of the heat spreaders are angled, makes it a tough shot to get. Just like the TF logo on the side of the heat spreaders, the T-Force bit is backed with milky-white plastic to allow light to shine through those areas.
Since it is much safer than trying to remove the heat spreaders, we take the easy route with Thaiphoon Burner. Once we read the SPD file, we are presented with what you see above. Mainly, what we see is that this kit was manufactured late last year, and is indeed loaded with Samsung B-die, 20nm ICs. With our kit, it comes with only a single XMP profile to use, unlike a couple of the others in this lineup.
With the T-Force XTREEM ARGB installed in our Crosshair VIII HERO, we see no issues are had matching the ASUS AURA Sync, and it looks slick! Not only does the name and logo glow, but all of that deep blue plastic allows for light to penetrate and be seen. We also love the added touch of the XTREEM ARGB being lit in the metal accent strip as well!
With everything on our ASRock motherboard using the old system of POLYCHROME SYNC, which, to be honest, is not good, but even so, the lighting is very close between the AIO and the memory. A bit of green is starting to show at the top of the sticks, as the color washes from top to bottom, changing as the sync methods ask it to add another color. They do look nice so close together, but you lose all view of the metal strip and the LEDs behind it cannot be seen.
Test System Details
To obtain the AMD CPU-Z screenshots, you will see directly following this image, and this is the system we used to do it, as well as in attaining the results seen in the following pages. Thanks go out to Corsair, ASUS, and GIGABYTE for supporting this venture. For detailed specifications of the system, those can be found below.
Enabling DOCP in BIOS and returning to Windows has our memory running as intended. The speed is just shy of the rated 3600MHz, due to spread spectrum. Using 1.45 VDIMM and 1.08V for the SOC, the 14-15-15-35 1T timings are stable as can be.
To be honest, this was impressive, as we did not have it in our head that, with the use of 1.50 VDIMM and 1.18V to the SOC, we were able to get the timings down. So much so that 13-13-13-35 1T is rock solid stable and passed everything we threw at it.
Opting to try to raise the speed while keeping the XMP timings intact, using the same voltage as we did for the previous settings, we started pushing the memory dividers/straps higher. We did not get too far, but 3800MHz 14-15-15-35 1T is still impressive in its own right.
Chad's AMD DDR4 Dual-Channel Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair VIII HERO Wi-Fi - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Corsair H150i PRO - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER Gaming OC 8GB - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Corsair Force MP500 480GB NVMe - Buy from Amazon
- Case: Thermaltake Core P5 TG - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: Corsair RM750x 750-watt - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
To obtain the following CPU-Z images as well as the performance seen in the charts, we are using this Intel system to do so. For this system, we were helped by Corsair, and are using the same card from GIGABYTE seen in the AMD rig. Shout outs go to them for supporting us here as well!
Intel handles bus speeds better than AMD, and in doing so, our TEAM T-Force XTREEMs are sitting right where they should be. At 3600MHz with 14-15-15-35 2T timings, the BIOS decided that along with 1.45 VDIMM, our VCCIO needed to be 1.30V, and the VCCSA moves to 1.35V.
We were able to lower the timings, even if just slightly, but we feel this is down to the IMC on our aging Intel CPU. We were able to get 3600MHz stable at 14-14-14-35 2T using 1.50 VDIMM but leaving the VCCIO and VCCSA where they were.
The overall speed comes up a bit short of our AMD systems results, but 3733MHz at 114-15-15-35 2T is not bad at all! Again, even with the additional VDIMM, we couldn't break past this result while retaining stability.
Chad's Intel DDR4 Dual-Channel Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASRock X299 OCF
- CPU: Intel Core i7 7740X - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: LEPA NEOllusion - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 AMP! Extreme Core
- Storage: Samsung XP941 256GB
- Case: Thermaltake Core P3 - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: Corsair RM750 - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
The AIDA64 read performance is top of the chart for any of the 3600MHz kits there, not only beating the Xcalibur but also the NEO. Lowering to straight 13 timings did not do much for us at all, and we figured as much, but with a slight increase of speed, they swing way above their belt, beating one of the 4000MHz kits and just trailing the other.
It is a similar situation when it comes to write performance. The XTREEM ARGB is in front of the 3600MHz kits, but here, lowering the timings gave us a boost to the tune of 310 MB/s. Opting to run them at 3800C14 topped the chart this time, nearly 2000 MB/s faster than the DOCP profile option.
Even in copy performance, the XTREEM ARGB holds up to its name, as it beats all other slower kits on the chart. Lowering the timings is not the right move for these results, as we took a hit of losing around 600 MB/s. You just have to love that result for the 3800C14 run though, some 2400 MB/s advantage over DOCP, and beats all but one of the faster contenders.
If you are one who likes the lowest latency in AIDA64, without much effort to allow the XTREEM ARGB to do what it should, it delivered the best latency yet at 68ns. Lowering the timings made no change to the DOCP result, but we did take a penalty in latency here once we passed the If 1:1 ratio. However, that penalty in latency sure paid off in all other aspects of this benchmark, proving latency isn't everything!
Letting Super Pi loose on the XTREEM ARGB, we see the best results of any DOCP run to date. Proving the effectiveness of the programming of the OC profile, both of the overclocked runs did not do any better, but both runs were still better than anything else on the chart as well.
If benching 3DMark for the glory, this may not be the best kit to pick, as the DOCP run comes in just below average. What we did not expect was to see that the 3600C13 settings did the best, and adding the 200MHz did so little.
TEAM already has the top of the PCMark 10 chart with the Night Hawk, and the XTREEM ARGB took fourth place, just behind the Xcalibur. Added speed was not our friend here, but lowering the timings takes the kit into third place.
A third-place once again, as we go over the results from compression with 7-Zip. Just over seven minutes to complete the task, right out of the box, is a good result for any DDR4. Reducing the timings does have an advantage of almost three and a half seconds, but we took a near twenty-second penalty increasing the speed.
Second place in Cinebench is an excellent result, beat only by the TOUGHRAM! There is an ever so slight increase in points with the increased speed this time around, as we took the hit reducing timings, but again, just a slight difference in results.
For those who need to transcode 4K video and the like, Handbrake is a great test to level the field and expose any issues. The results speak for themselves with the second-place finish, just behind the slightly faster, but double the density, HyperX FURY. Otherwise, the next three spots are held by the three ways we opted to run this memory. Lowering the timings just beats the TOUGHRAM, and more speed did not deliver any benefits either.
The results seen in the read performance chart for AIDA64 has the XTREEM ARGB in third place using the XMP profile, only beat by the faster FURY and much faster XPG Z1. If you want a free boost of 600 MB/s, you can add some voltage and use straight 14 timings. However, getting them to 3733MHz delivered an increase of over 1900 MB/s!
Fourth is where TEAM falls in the write performance chart, where all of the 3600MHz kits except the TOUGHRAM do better. Lowering the timings delivered that same 600 MB/s advantage, and the same 1900 MB/s comes with more speed.
Topping the chart in copy performance, TEAM shows its strength again. 500 MB/s better than anything on the chart as it is, it can get better! Lowering the timings gives is a small free boost, but increasing the speed gives us nearly 1600 MB/s to enjoy.
Much like it did with the AMD test system, the XTREEM ARGB delivered the best latency again. Things can get faster when it comes to latency and overclocking, but both options are within a nanosecond of the XMP settings.
Super Pi pushed this TEAM RAM into fourth place, less than three seconds from the lead. Increasing speed reduced the time by nearly three seconds, jumping to the top, but gets another couple of tenths of a second reduction with tighter timings.
3DMark Physics scores look better in the Intel camp, with the XTREEM ARGB taking another fourth place overall. Either way, we tried to overclock the memory, we found the results took a hit, with both scores within a point of each other, yet both behind the XMP run.
PCMark 10 results slide the TEAM DDR4 down another slot this time, into fifth place, using the XMP profile. Lowering the timings gives us a loss of performance, but the 3733MHz with XMP timings rocketed to the top of the chart!
In 7-ZIP, TEAM takes another second-place finish, just over three seconds out of the lead. What is shocking are the results of the overclocked runs. There is an eleven-second advantage to lowering the timings slightly, but increasing the speed is almost twenty seconds faster than it is out of the box.
Nothing too shocking about another second-place finish, and it is only beat by something 400MHz faster than it is! Adding speed gave us another "CB," where reducing the timings meant we added lost a "CB" doing so.
Instead of a second-place like we saw on the AMD system, Handbrake testing results in a first-place finish for the TEAM XTREEM ARGB memory. Increasing speed give us slightly slower results, but we gained six seconds for every 4GB of data being transcoded.
There is so much to like with the new TEAM XTREEM ARGB DDR$ that we are having a tough time trying to sort out what to talk about first, or what we like the most. Starting with the latter, the uniqueness and sleekness of these sticks is something that cannot be ignored. Most of the DDR4 sold is based on looks without concession to other factors, and based on looks alone, not only are these super appealing, likely, all of your friends will not have them, making your build just as unique! The blend of deep blue against the polished metal, and once the ARGB kicks in under power and control of just about anything motherboards come with for RGB support; it is pretty much plug-and-play.
The name is not just something slapped on the side of the heat spreaders, either. Our results showed how strong the XTREEM ARGB is right out of the box, and with a kit of 3600MHz DDR4 tuned to 14-15-15-35 using 1.45V, we knew we were not looking at your average kit of memory. Rather something where the company took the time to screen ICs and program a finely tuned XMP profile to them, allowing users to get what they want with minimal effort!
Even though both sides of the sticks are not identical looking and maybe strange to look at on something like an X299 motherboard, for the mainstream users, we see little issue. We also appreciate the fact that we get all of that sexiness in a kit of RAM that is just 48.7mm tall. That, combined with all of the other factors we have shown across all of the charts and what we spoke of in the last paragraph, it is hard not to hold the XTREEM ARGB in high regard! There is a slight issue to all of this, though, as it seems we have a rainbow farting unicorn version of DDR4, where neither of them seems to exist at this time.
That is to say, they exist, as we have them in this review, but out in the wild, for the average user to obtain; good luck! Looking at the lineup and option available in the XTREEM ARGB lineup, we would gladly opt for the 3200MHz kit with 14-14-14-34 timings or the 4000MHz kit with 18-20-20-44 timings. We have a feeling, though, that the other options may not do as well as what we saw in this review, but that is just an educated guess on our part.
Depending on which in the lineup you are looking to buy, the pricing ranges from $150 to $180, but no mention of pricing on what we just tested. We know at the beginning, we guessed you would have to pay on the high-end of the scale, but with the looks, performance, and rarity, we would gladly pay in the range of $200 to get some of the best 3600MHz DDR4, not by spec, but just straight up killing it in the charts.
If the TEAM T-Force XTREEM ARGB wasn't kicking ass and taking names, it was in the top five in a few, and if not there, still above average in testing. It is almost like TEAM looked at our charts and went to the table with the idea to deliver something better than the rest while providing a look that nobody else has ever tried, and is likely kicking themselves for the lack of imagination. To us, this TEAM memory delivered in all aspects; we just wish it was more readily available!
The Bottom Line
With just one score below par, the TEAM XTREEM ARGB we have, are beasts! They look amazing, the stay at the top of our charts, and the only thing wrong with the situation is availability and an unknown price point. Still, we would gladly hold out a fist full of cash for it!