Introduction

Team Group Inc. was founded in 1997 in Taiwan to aim at the global layout of R&D technology and manufacturing in memory products. TEAMGROUP is focused on producing memory modules (RAM), memory cards for mobile accessories, USB flash drives, SSDs, peripheral series, and industrial applications. Keeping up with the trend, TEAMGROUP launched their ever famous brand T-Force by integrating their gaming memory modules and this has kicked them off that good. T-Force is now among the leading gaming and enthusiast-grade memory modules famous all around for their features and performance. These products are continuously receiving acknowledgment from the media and have already won several awards including iF Design Award 2018, 2019, TAIWAN EXCELLENCE to name a few here.

Texon-Ware has exclusively launched the T-Force brand in Pakistan and they hooked us with the NighHawk RGB DDR4 16GB kit for review. They have sponsored our new Intel test bench with this kit as well. The Night Hawk was the start of the RGB kits from T-Force with an aggressive yet beautiful design speaking for itself. It quickly gained the attention of the masses and T-Force subsequently released different RGB-enabled kits like Xcalibur, Delta, and their latest XTREEM memory modules.

The NightHawk RGB is available in three colors; Gold, Black, and White and these kits range in 3000 to 4000 MHz frequency with a minimum single density of 8GB per module. TEAMGROUP is offering a limited lifetime warranty on their memory modules though Texon-Ware is offering up to 2 years local warranty. These kits start at 2x8GB and go up to 2x32GB depending upon the type of NIGHT HAWK series. The kit we got has a black color and is rated for 3200MHz frequency (25,600MB/s bandwidth). The kit comes with the timing of CL16-18-18-38 at 1.35V. The kit supports XMP 2.0 making it compatible with Intel 100, 200, 300, 400 series chipsets and X99/299 series as well. These kits are also compatible with the AMD Ryzen platform. The coolest feature is the aluminum-made heat spreader in Hawkeye design with battle totem design which looks quite good in person.

  • Product:               NightHawk RGB DDR4 3200 Black
  • Manufacturer:      TEAMGROUP
  • Price:                   Rs.17800/- [Texon-Ware pricing at the time of the review]

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

The kit is shipped inside a paperboard packing box.

TEAMGROUP has focused on the excellence awards won by the NightHak DDR4 RGB kits as we can see a listing of multiple such awards. The kit is made in Taiwan. The picture of the kit highlights the two color variants.

The salient features of the kit are listed as Exclusive Hawkeye design with battle totem design, XMP 2.0, Full RGB illumination, Hawk Wings heat spreader, global lifetime warranty. A serial number sticker is pasted as well as two stickers for timing, voltage, and speed of each module.

Both modules are placed inside a transparent container.

What’s inside?

The packing box comes with:

  • 2x Memory Modules
  • 1x Badge Sticker
  • 1x Warranty Guide

Closer Look

Let’s start with what TEAMGROUP is saying about their product, “NIGHT HAWK RGB strikes a new color scheme and new specifications, NIGHT HAWK Legend/NIGHT HAWK RGB Edition. Provided DDR4 3200 and 3600 8GB x2 high-frequency solutions which will focus on both performance and compatibility for Intel and AMD platforms. Meanwhile, this would make these kits really fit the role in gaming and become the dream device for enthusiastic gamers for the best gaming experience.”

Before proceeding further, I would like to clarify one thing, the Legend edition and RGB edition comes in Gold, white, and Black color heat spreaders with ARGB lighting on top. There is a single color LED edition as well in the black color variant with Red, White, and Blue LEDs. The kit we have is NIGHT HAWK RGB in black color heat spreader.

The T-Force NIGHT HAWK is available in multiple of 8GB modules. There is no less than an 8GB module. These kits start from 3000MHz and go up to 4000MHz frequency. This particular series kits come in 2x8GB, 2x16GB, and 2x32GB configuration. Make sure to check the label as Legend series kits have different timings and configuration. Our kit has two modules with a capacity of each being 8GB. The rated timings of the kit are CL16-18-18-38 with the bandwidth of PC4-25600 (3200MHz) at 1.35V. It is Non-ECC, Unbuffered DIMM with a 288-pin layout (DDR4). These kits are tested for Intel and AMD platforms for reliability and compatibility and are XMP 2.0 ready.

Looking at the front side of the module, we have a black color heat spreader which is extended towards the exterior on the top. It is not covering the PCB from the side and at the bottom. The heat spreader is following the exclusive Hawkeyes concept with a battle totem design. Though, in my personal opinion, the first look on these would remind one of the Batman logo! Whichever it is, it looks that fine in person though this design is making this particular RAM a high profile design. Seems like the heat spreaders are attached to the PCB using screws which can be removed using the Allen key.

Looking closely at the top part of the heat spreader where the actual design element is located for some cool looks, we have an Orange color borderline below the diffuser lining. TEAMGROUP has used extrusion process with CNC machining (computer-aided) to create symmetric style heat spreader like hawk wings. These kits bear more weight to them which has more to do with how these heat spreaders are cast and applied. We have a solid build quality at our hands.

The RGB LED diffuser is running in full length across the length of the module and only contrasted by the heat spreader cutouts. All in all, we can say that we have two slits per half side for RGB illumination making a total of 4 slots per side and then a full-length un-obstructed design on the top. This has resulted in a much better overall look and feel of the module.

RGB is printed on the left side in white color at an angle. There is a white color printed T-Force logo in the middle and next we have NIGHTHAWK printed in white on the right side again at an angle. I appreciate the overall layout and flow of the design. This is actually confirming that we have the RGB version of the NIGHTHAWK DDR4 kit.

The backside of the module is identical to the front side except that there is a sticker on the lower right side with the part number, timing, speed, and voltage of the kit printed on it. Removing the sticker would void the warranty. The serial number is also printed on the sticker.

The kit has a black color, multi-layered PCB. We can see ICs on both sides that could mean the same PCB is being used for all the capacities. Our kit has single-sided modules. There are four memory chips on the left side and four on the right side. There is what seems to be a single thin thermal pad running across the entire length of the heat spreader on the populated and non-populated side. As is the case with DDR4s, there is no chip in the middle of the PCB which is a standard design layout.

Clearance

The dimension of a module is 53x147x9mm (HxLxW). The total height of a module is 53mm including the 288-pins connector. You would need to keep that in mind for the CPU cooler as there is no point if the RGB enabled modules are blocked or hidden under the cooler. Similarly, a 9mm width may obstruct the block of the AIO cooler with the tube side facing the DIMM slots. This is so as the majority of the RAM modules have overall 7mm or so thickness. I am mentioning this from the compatibility point of view.

The T-Force NIGHTHAWK RGB is following the JEDEC Association’s latest RC 2.0 circuit configuration. T-Force is mentioning these kits to be using an ultra-low voltage of 1.2~1.4V with 40% energy saving. I believe this is in comparison with the DDR3 protocol as DDR4 kits are operating between 1.2V to 1.5V with a typical of 1.35V on the majority of the kits. The transmitting signal of PCB on these kits is up by 35%. There is almost no interference between power and signal as the distance between the power layer on the PCB is increased as compared to the signal layer on the PCB. This would help in overclocking with sustained performance.

Speaking of the RGB Illumination, the NIGHTHAWK RGB series DDR4 kits are compatible with:

  • ASUS AURA SYNC
  • GIGABYTE RGB FUSION 2.0
  • MSI MYSTIC LIGHT SYNC
  • ASRock POLYCHROME SYNC
  • BIOSTAR ADVANCED VIVID LED DJ
  • TT RGB PLUS
  • RAZER CHROMA

 

As can be seen, the luminous lighting on the NIGHTHAWK RGB is fully compatible with almost all of the RGB enabled solutions from various manufacturers. I have tested the kit on GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS PRO AX and MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK. Kits were read by the RGB FUSION 2 and MYSTIC LIGHT SYNC applications and controlling the RGB lighting was an easier task. This would also allow for color coordination for the themed builds and using the motherboard’s light control application would reduce the need for using multiple RGB lighting control software.

It is important to take a look at the top of the modules since this is the side that will be evidently more visible to the user/gamer than the sides. There is a translucent diffuser on the top which runs across the entire length of the PCB. But it is covered in the middle as the mid-section has a recess to compliment the layout. The diffuser is thicker in the middle as compared to the thin design on the ends. It seems like, TEAMGROUP has focused more on the sides for RGB illumination than on the top but again that was the design element requirement.

There are 10 RGB LEDs under the diffuser. The lighting is fluid, vivid, and most importantly, it is done in an even manner as I did not observe any spillover and it is bright enough not to be disturbed by the surrounding lights.

Out kit is using Hynix C-Die. The package is a standard monolithic 78-ball FBGA. Die Density is 8 Gb C-Die (18 nm) with the composition of 1024M x8 (64Mb x8 x16 banks). This kit is XMP 2.0 certified with 16-18-18-38-56 at 1.35V using 1600MHz frequency (1600MHzx2=3200MHz). This kit has only one XMP profile stored on it. The SPD transfer rate of the kit is 2400MHz. The part number of the Hynix chips is H5AN8G8NCJR-UHC. These kits don’t have a thermal sensor which our CORSAIR Vengeance PRO RGB kit with Samsung B-Die has.

Testing

I have used this kit on a new Intel test bench based on 10th generation Core i7 10700k. Here is the configuration:

  • Intel i7 10700k
  • MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK
  • EK-AIO 240 D-RGB Cooler
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 FE
  • Addlink 256GB NVMe SSD
  • CORSAIR AX1200i PSU
  • Custom Open-Air Test Bench

MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK

We are thankful to our sponsors for this test bench; Intel and MSI. The kit has been tested using AIDA64 Extreme, Performance Test, and SiSoftware Sandra suite. XMP was loaded for the tests. The CPU was on Stock, Auto settings including the voltage and core clocks. The kit was overclocked manually. The XMP loaded the manufacturer’s rated DRAM timings and Voltages.

Since this is the first kit on our new test bench, there is no comparison at the moment in the graphs. It will be done in the coming time with more kits’ testing. I loaded the XMP and then set the primary timings manually in the UEFI/BIOS. This was done to lock the timings so as BIOS won’t change the timing by manually overclocking the frequency of the kit. My first attempt is to bump the frequency range with the same rated timing followed by relaxed timing to achieve the higher frequency. I had to raise the VCCIO and VCCSA voltages to 1.35V and then 1.40V to achieve a 4000MHz transfer rate. I was able to push the kit to 3600MHz with the same timing of 16-18-18-38 at 1.40V DRAM voltage. This resulted in better latency for the higher speeds. For anything above the 3600MHz frequency, I had to relax the timings a bit to 17-19-19-40 and it came out stable during the benching and gaming. For 4000MHz frequency, the timing of 18-20-20-45 was set. I did not tweak any further though it was evident that the timing would need to be relaxed further for better stability.

The above is a CPU-Z screenshot showing the RAM at various frequencies. The maximum I was able to hit was 4000MHz at 1.40V DRAM voltage which is quite a boost.

AIDA64 Memory benchmark is showing an 18.26% performance boost in the Read speeds at 4000MHz frequency. 20.55% performance boost is observed in the Write speeds. 19.52% performance boost is reported in the Copy speeds. This is too good a performance boost!

With tightened timings, the latency is improved to 45.5ns coming from 48.8ns on XMP and tested timing.

A performance boost of up to 16.15% is observed in the SiSandra Memory Bandwidth MT test.

A performance boost of up to 12.23% is also observed in the SiSandra Memory Bandwidth 1T test.

There is a 4.22% performance boost from the Memory overclocking.

Conclusion

Texon-Ware has launched TEAMGROUP T-Force in the local market. It is always a welcome note for the healthy competition. We were sent a T-Force NIGHTHAWK RGB DDR4 kit for review. We have employed the kit on our newly established test bench featuring the Intel i7 10700k and MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK. The NIGHTHAWK series is available in multiple variants depending upon the LED, density, frequency, and timing. We have NIGHTHAWK RGB, NIGHTHAWK Legend, NIGHTHAWK DDR4 with the last one having static single color LED lighting. The legend is available in the Golden color and the RGB variant is available in the Black and White colors. The kit we have got is NIGHTHAWK DDR4 RGB 2x8GB @ 3200MHz using CL16-18-18-38 timing.

Out kit is using Hynix C-Die on the standard package of monolithic 78-ball FBGA. Die Density is 8 Gb C-Die (18 nm) with the composition of 1024M x8 (64MB x8 x16 banks). The kit has a futuristic Hawkeyes outlook with battle totem design which when combined with RGB illumination gives one heck of a cool yet bold look. The white and orange color accents on the black color heat spreader really add to the look and compliment the overall layout and design. The hawk eyes more seem to me like a Batman logo but that is my personal opinion. The heat spreader is die-cast from aluminum material using the extrusion process and computed aided CNC machining work to produce the impeccable product. The quality of the kit is evident! The dimension of a module is 147x53x9mm (LxHxW). The 53mm height will have compatibility consideration for the CPU air coolers as you would not want to hide the beauty of these kits under the bulky coolers. Similarly, the 9mm width will have compatibility consideration for the water blocks of the AIO coolers with their tubes facing the DIMM slots. Using a 2 modules configuration would eliminate the last consideration.

The kit has a black color PCB with ICs on both sides indicating that standard PCB is being used for all capacities. Our kit is a single-sided one. It has 4 Hynix chips each of 1GB on the left side of the PCB and the same 4 chips on the right side. As is the case with the DDR4s, there is no chip in the center of the PCB. There is a single thin thermal pad running on the entire length of the heat spreader on the populated and non-populated side.

There is a translucent diffuser on the top of the PCB which runs across the entire length of the PCB. The mid-section on the top is recessed which is a design element for the overall layout and it covers the diffuser in the middle. On the exterior ends, the diffuser has a sharp angular design which is covered by the heat spreader. There is more RGB exposure on the sides than is on the top. We have 10 RGB LEDs under the translucent diffuser to give a nice blend of vivid lighting with the hawk eye design to reflect upon the emblem which is a stunning execution of the idea. Speaking of RGB illumination this kit is compatible with a wide range of RGB solutions from various manufacturers including ASUS, MSI, GIGABYTE, and ASRock. There is no dedicated app to control the lighting as the motherboard’s lighting app can be used for this purpose reducing the need for using multiple lighting control apps which is what the majority of the users would appreciate.

So far I have talked about the design and looks but what about the performance. I was able to push the NIGHTHAWK RGB DDR4 to 4000MHz frequency at CL18 using 1.40V for the DRAM. The VCCIO and VCCSA needed tinkering as well to achieve this overclocking with a significant performance boost. The kit is listed at Rs.17,800/- at the time of the review. This is a bit premium tag in this speed range of the memory modules. The kit comes with a limited lifetime warranty from TEAMGROUP. The Texon-Ware is offering 2 years of local warranty on these kits.

I am thankful to the Texon-Ware for the opportunity to review the T-Force NIGHTHAWK RGB DDR4 3200MHz black kit. Note of thanks for the test bench sponsors; Intel and MSI.

Tech4Gamers Performance Award

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Value
8.5
Performance
9.5
Quality
9.5
Features
9.0
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