Team Group has been on the memory industry for many years now. I could still remember that one of my first (or my very first) high-end DDR memory was their Team Xtreem series many years ago. I’m glad to see that Team Group is still in the industry and keeping up with the competition. Team introduced several DDR4 memory kits designed for Skylake systems months ago, and some of their upcoming memory kits were even showcased last Computex 2016. We reached out to Team Group and ask for a kit to see how their new memory kits perform. They sent us one of their latest DDR4 memory kit, the Team DARK Pro DDR4-3000 16GB (2x8GB) dual channel kit for review. In this review, let’s see how good or fast their DARK Pro DDR4 memory kit is.
Team DARK Pro DDR4 3000MHz Review
Team Group is marketing the DARK Pro DDR4 series as their new overclocking memory. It’s a high performance memory module geared towards PC enthusiasts, gamers and system builders. The DARK Pro is also specifically optimized for Skylake Z170 motherboards. It features a fresh new look and is unique compared to their previous DDR memory kits.
According to Team Group, the DARK Pro DDR4 series are “developed and certified according to XMP 2.0 standard, Dark Pro provides absolute stability and reliability with laboratory-scale burn-in test and compatibility verification for major motherboard brands worldwide.”
The Team DARK Pro DDR4 memory series also features a “high-efficiency forged” heat spreader with matching red or grey highlights and overall black appearance. The DARK Pro DDR4 series is available in speeds of 3000MHz, 32000MHz and 3333MHz, with 8GB per DIMM and supports Intel XMP 2.0 profile.
Like most DDR memory kits, Team is offering a lifetime warranty for their DARK Pro DDR4 series. Below is a screenshot of the SPD information of this memory kit taken from AIDA64’s report, and its specs sheet. After that, let’s proceed to the next page and take a closer look at the memory itself.
Team DARK Pro DDR4 Memory Specifications
Packaging and Closer Look
I am quite impressed with the packaging of the Team DARK Pro DDR4. It came in a nice box as you can see from the photos above. This is the second time around I was able to unbox a DDR4 memory kit with this level of presentation.
You can take a peek at the DDR4 memory kit inside by flipping the front cover. There’s a small window for you to see what color theme is the kit inside (aside from the circle color at the back). Overall presentation and packaging is really nice, something that you don’t usually experience with DDR4 memory kits nowadays.
The DARK Pro heat spreader is composed of several layers of aluminum sheet. Both sides have identical design so you don’t have to worry if the stick is facing the wrong direction. However, one side has a sticker containing some details of the memory stick. The information on the sticker includes: the stick’s size, clock speed, timings, voltage, model number and serial number.
The heat spreader itself is somewhat thick and the whole stick itself is a little bit heavy compared to DDR4 memory with low profile heat spreaders. The top portion where the logo of the TeamGroup is imprinted is removable by unscrewing the two hex screws located on both sides.
Removing the DARK Pro DDR4’s heat spreader is easy. Simply unscrew the hex screws, remove the top bar and, gently and slowly remove one side of the heat spreader. In my case the adhesive was not that strong and I was able to remove it easily without damaging the prints on the memory chips.
There are a total of 16 SKhynix H5AN4G8NMFR chips per stick (8 chips on each side), for a total of 8GB per stick. According to SKhynix’s site: “The H5AN4G4NMFR-xxC, H5AN4G8NMFR-xxC and H5AN4G6NMFR-xxC are a 4Gb CMOS Double Data Rate IV (DDR4) Synchronous DRAM, ideally suited for the main memory applications which require large memory density and high bandwidth. SK hynix 4Gb DDR4 SDRAMs offer fully synchronous operations referenced to both rising and falling edges of the clock. While all addresses and control inputs are latched on the rising edges of the CK (falling edges of the CK), Data, Data strobes and Write data masks inputs are sampled on both rising and falling edges of it. The data paths are internally pipelined and 8-bit prefetched to achieve very high bandwidth.”
Test Setup and Overclocking
In testing the Team Dark Pro DDR4-3000 16GB memory kit, I am using a Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 motherboard powered with an Intel Core i7-6700K Skylake processor. Below are the rest of the specifications of the test system.
Operating System: Windows 10 Pro 64bit
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 7
Processor: Intel Core i7-6700K
Memory: Team DARK Pro DDR4 3000MHz 16GB
Graphics card: Zotac GeForce GTX 1070 AMP Extreme Edition
Storage Drives: Zotac SONIX 480GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Power Supply: Seasonic 1050W Platinum
Chassis: DimasTech Bench Table Easy V3.0
Here is a CPU-Z screenshot of the Z170 system, where the memory is configured using its Intel XMP Profile.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t successful in overclocking the Team DARK Pro DDR4-3000. I was able to push the kit up to 3200MHz, but it wasn’t stable enough to finish the tests or benchmarks. I was experience random crashes even in normal desktop operation, so I decided to benchmark the kit using it’s XMP Profile instead and it’s advertised speed of 3000MHz.
But here’s a screenshot of the AIDA64 cache and memory benchmark that I got when I pushed the kit to 3200MHz. Obviously, there’s an improvement in terms of read/write and copy speeds. Too bad it wasn’t stable enough. I don’t want to inject more voltage (above 1.4v) just to see if it will stable out.
I benchmarked the kit at speed of 3000MHz and timings of 15-15-15-35 at 1.35V. The system was overall stable and smooth with its XMP Profile enabled.
Team DARK Pro DDR4-3000 Benchmark Results
In benchmarking the Team DARK Pro DDR4-3000 16GB (8GBx2) kit, I used some of the popular benchmarking tools available, namely: AIDA64 Memory Benchmark, SiSoft Sandra and RealBench 2.4. The other memory kits mentioned on the graphs below were tested on the same motherboard. Below are the results I got during my tests.
Memory bandwidth benchmarks (Memory Read, Memory Write, Memory Copy) measure the maximum achievable memory data transfer bandwidth. The code behind these benchmark methods are written in Assembly and they are extremely optimized for every popular AMD, Intel and VIA processor core variants by utilizing the appropriate x86/x64, x87, MMX, MMX+, 3DNow!, SSE, SSE2, SSE4.1, AVX, and AVX2 instruction set extension.
The Memory Latency benchmark measures the typical delay when the CPU reads data from system memory. Memory latency time means the penalty measured from the issuing of the read command until the data arrives to the integer registers of the CPU.
SiSoftware Sandra Lite 2016
SiSoftware Sandra is a 32- and 64-bit client/server Windows system analyzer that includes benchmarking, testing and listing modules. It tries to go beyond other utilities to show you more of what is really going on under the hood so you draw comparisons at both a high and low-level in a single product. You can get information about the CPU, GPGPU, chipset, video adapter (GPU), ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals even .NET and Java.
Realbench is a benchmark that uses open source applications and simple scripting to simulate real-world performance of a PC system. It’s designed for to show the difference: Before and after a PC upgrade. To gauge the real effect of an overclock.
Based on the benchmark results I got, the Team Dark Pro DDR4-3000 was performing very well, as expected from a DDR4 memory kit clocked at 3000MHz. The DARK Pro was performing on par or almost similar with the more expensive Klevv Cras DDR4-3000, also using a SKhynix memory chip.
Memory latency and bandwidth shows good results as the DARK Pro had a faster bandwidth and lower latency compared to the most DDR4 kits included on the graphs above. But take note, the other DDR4 memory kits have a slower memory clock speeds and are running at their default XMP Profile setting.
Price and Availability
The Team DARK Pro DDR4 memory series are now available and comes in in Black/Grey and Black/Red color theme.At the time this review was published, the DDR4-3000 16GB (2x8GB) memory kit retails for around $110 USD in the US, or around £61.96 in UK. Aside from the 3000MHz speed, the DARK Pro DDR4 series is also available in kits with speeds of 3200MHz and 3333MHz. Team Group offers lifetime warranty for their DDR4 memory. Check out the links below for the current pricing and availability.
Team DARK Pro DDR4-3000 Review: Conclusion
I have been testing and using the Team DARK Pro DDR4-3000 memory kit for quite some time now, around 3 months. The first few months of testing were not a smooth experience. I had a difficulty in making the memory kit work with our test system, specifically with the motherboard. I had to test it using several different (beta) BIOS versions and waited for a new one to be released that comes with better DDR4 compatibility. If you check Team Group’s site, the motherboard that they were using or testing the DARK Pro DDR4 with is the Asus Maximus Hero VIII. The issue may lie with the Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 7 motherboard that we are using as a test system. In theory, all DDR4 memory should work with this motherboard specially if the DDR4 memory kit is designed for Skylake or Intel 100 series motherboards. But if the motherboard manufacturer wasn’t able to update their BIOS with better memory compatibility, you may encounter some issues. I haven’t tried an MSI Z170 or the Asus Z170 motherboards yet. If you have them and your BIOS is update, then your experience might be different (better) to what I have experienced.
At last after experimenting with several BIOS version, I was able to make the DARK Pro DDR4-3000’s XMP profile work and running without any issues. I am using Z170X-Gaming 7 F8l BIOS version by the way. From there on, the testing and benchmarking was a breeze. I didn’t encounter any problems (up to date) in normal desktop operation or when in gaming. In terms of performance, the DARK Pro DDR4-3000 was performing very well and the read/write/copy speeds are well within the expected performance of a memory kit running at 3000MHz. It was performing on par with the Klevv Cras DDR4 we previously reviewed. The Klevv Cras was running at 3000MHz, timings of 16-18-18-36, and is also using an Skhynix memory chip (I5AN4G8NMFR to be exact). However, do note that the Klevv Cras is one expensive memory kit compared to other DDR4 memory kits out there, including the Dark Pro DDR4. Although it was running great and already fast at 3000MHz, it was just unfortunate that I wasn’t able to push the DARK Pro’s speed any further, same case with the Klevv Cras DDR4-3000.
Aesthetically speaking, the Team DARK Pro DDR4 looks nice and feels very solid in hand. The aluminum heat spreader feels sturdy, a little heavy but solid. The dominant black color with matching red accents looks nice, and it’s good that they used black PCB as well to match the overall look. I do prefer the black/red color theme compared to the black/grey. The heat spreader is not really a low profile one. It’s not that tall either, but if you are using a large CPU cooler, like the Cryorig R1 Ultimate or Noctua’s NH-D14/D15 you may encounter clearance issues. So better check first the dimensions of your cooler. If you are using stock CPU cooler, slim profile or water cooling, then you won’t have any problems at all.
Finally, I think the Team DARK Pro DDR4 memory series is a great memory kit that performs very well. It’s great for a gaming PC, and it’s also highly recommendable for system builders who wants to build a system that performs smoothly. If you like how the DARK Pro series looks, then consider it on your next upgrade or build.