If you’ve been a PC builder for any length of time, Team Group is probably a familiar name. They’ve been a mainstay in the industry for years. Today, we’re looking at their latest eye-catching set of RAM with the T-Force Gaming XCalibur RGB DDR-3600 kit. We have 16GB on the bench but does the performance live up to the flashy looks? Read on for our full review!
- Current Pricing: $189.99 (Standard Edition), $219.99 (Special Edition - Reviewed)
- Module Type: 288 Pin Unbuffered DIMM Non ECC
- Capacity: 8GBx2
- Frequency: 3600MHz (reviewed), 4000MHz
- Data Transfer Bandwidth: PC4 28800, PC4 32000
- Latency: CL18-20-20-44
- Voltage: 1.35V
- Heat Spreader: Aluminum heat spreader
- Key Features: Ultra-wide 120° angle lighting, Unique totem designs (Special Edition only), T-FORCE BLITZ RGB software, Intel XMP 2.0 one step overclocking technology
- Dimensions: 145.8(L) x 51.7(W) x 8.8(H)mm
- Warranty: Lifetime warranty
When it comes to memory, Team Group has offered some of the most unique designs we’ve seen in the gaming market. They’re not afraid to challenge convention, often featuring designs clearly intended to catch the eye and draw attention to the inside of you system. The first set I encountered, though never reviewed, was the NIGHT HAWK set, whose heat spreader takes the form of a great illuminated wing. Others, like the DARK PRO or XTREEM kits fall on the other end of the spectrum, offering solid performance with an understated look.
The XCalibur set we’re looking at today falls in the middle between those two poles and, in my opinion is the best looking set they’ve released to date. The XCaliburs feature a large brushed aluminum heat spreader in gunmetal grey, trimmed in glossy accent lines. On the top is a large RGB light diffuser held by a stylish silver bracket. The only difference between the Standard Edition and Special Edition we’re reviewing is the totem graphic trimmed across the diffuser bar. When fully lit, it creates a neat effect to make your system extra unique.
The T-Force XCalibur kit comes in both 3600MHz and 4000MHz speeds, but the speed bump has a substantial price increase up to $354. Each has a CAS latency of 18-20-20. These specs put it in line with latest premium offerings from Corsair with the Vengeance RGB Pros and G.Skill with the new Royal kits and are priced directly in line with those models. That said, these latencies demonstrate that a common side effect of increasing speed is higher latency. We’ll see in our testing exactly how that translates to the performance of these DIMMs. By and large, however, if you can live without the Totem styling you can save a good amount of money for identical performance on these modules.
Overclocking these modules proved challenging. I must disclose that I am new to the world of memory overclocking, however, I wasn’t able to reliably lower the timings or increase the speed on these sticks without causing the system to fail to boot or BSOD shortly after beginning a benchmark. As is always the case with overclocking, your results may be completely different from my own.
The RGB lighting on these DIMMs really does look fantastic. My only regret is that our system isn’t fully outfitted with a set of four. The wide diffuser bar and five bright LEDs make for RGB lighting that’s vibrant and adds a ton of flair to the inside of your system. The totem design on the Special Edition set offers a unique twist that other builders aren’t likely to have.
The XCalibur set supports all of the big motherboard RGB standards, including ASUS Aura, MSI Mystic Light, or ASRock Polychrome. Chances are, you’ll be covered, but if you’re using a board that doesn’t offer these features, Team Group also offers the BLITZ customization software to adjust your lighting exactly to exactly your taste. There are quite a few options, which you can see in the video above, that can often be customized for speed.
Test system: i7-7700k at 4.2GHz, MSI Z270 Gaming M7 Motherboard, GTX-1080Ti (SLI), 500GB Samsung 960 EVO, 12TB HDD Mass Storage, Corsair HX-1050 1050-watt PSU
Memory kits compared: 64GB Ballistix Elite DDR4-3200, 16GB G.Skill RipJaws V DDR4-3200, 32GB Ballistix Tactical Tracer DDR4-2666 RGB, 32GB HyperX Predator DDR4-2933 RGB, 32GB ADATA XPG Spectrix D41 DDR4-3200, T-Force Gaming XCalibur RGB DDR4-3600.
In order to test our memory, we run through a series of benchmarks in order to tease out performance highlights and shortcomings. The tests include PCMark 8’s Conventional and Express tests, AIDA64, wPrime, and SuperPi. With the exception of AIDA64, these tests also account for the the CPU which is why we’re keeping a consistent scenario for testing. In each of the tests, DRAM performance is a key factor in the scores rendered. We also do in-game benchmark testing, though we’ll save that for discussion following the presented charts.
The results we’re sharing today represent different capacities, speeds, and latencies across the sample kits. The XCalibur kit we’re testing today clocks in at 3600MHz, which makes it the fastest kit we’ve tested, but also features the slowest CAS latency of 18-20-20.
AIDA64 affords us a very directed benchmark that specifically cites read, write and copy speeds. Here, we can see that our T-Force XCalibur kit leads the pack in read and write speeds. Memory copy speeds fall a bit behind, however, into the middle of our grouping.
PCMark 8 is a whole system assessment that runs your PC through a simulation of relatively low intensity tasks. As a result, it emphasizes memory speed over memory capacity (after a certain point). The XCaliburs takes second in our grouping on the Conventional test and lead the way in the Express test.
SuperPi is a processing intensive task that challenges a system to calculate out a specific amount of digits of Pi. Here, we’re pushing 32 million digits. Since we’re looking at how fast this can be done, lower scores are better and the XCalibur set delivers impressive results.
Finally, we come to wPrime.This program pushes your system in the calculation of square roots and again takes into account the whole system. Memory, however, plays an important role in this calculation which makes it a good metric for assessment. Here, our T-Force kit falls more into the middle of the road, coming in second on the 32M test and third on the 1024M test.
Performance Discussion and Conclusions
The T-Force XCalibur kit is the first 3600MHz kit we’ve tested and the benefits of the higher frequency are clear here. Compared to a 3200MHz kit, the gains are certainly evident. Users coming from sub-3000MHz RAM should see a noticeable improvement both in synthetics and in in-game framerates. In another revision, we would love to see Team Group tighten their CAS latencies to solidify their lead.
In-game performance does give the XCalibur kit an edge. In our suite of games, you can see a several frame advantage over a 3200MHz kit that we can attribute to the higher clock speed. Coming from a set of 3200MHz DRAM, however, the upgrade may not be worthwhile. If you’re currently running standard clock speed RAM, however, the XCalibur kit should provide a substantial boost.
Team Group has placed the XCalibur RGB Special Edition alongside the premiere offerings of its competitors. I only wish we had sets of each to test against. After seeing the performance, however, we believe it’s more apt to look toward the Standard Edition for the best value per dollar in that price/performance category. While the Totem-ified Special Edition looks great, the Standard Edition offers substantial savings over the flagship competition while offering the same performance, RGB surface area, and customization as its SE counterpart.
- Unique aesthetic
- Wide RGB surface area looks great
- High frequency offers improved performance
- 3600 and 4000MHz speeds offered
- CAS latencies could be tightened
- Special Edition pricing rather high
The product described in this review was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.