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Team Group T-Force Vulcan SO-DIMM DDR4
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Date 24th July 2019
Author James "Agg" Rolfe
Manufacturer Team Group

Today we have a quick review of the T-Force Vulcan SO-DIMM DDR4 memory from Team Group. You might remember Team Group from my previous T-Force Delta R RGB SSD and MP34 M.2 NVMe SSD reviews. This time we're moving away from storage into the realm of RAM. These are SODIMM sticks, shorter than normal desktop DIMMS, and used in laptops, NAS devices and other places where smaller form-factor memory is needed.

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The memory ships in a no-nonsense clamshell package, which fortunately you don't have to cut or otherwise destroy to open. The sticker identifies this specific kit as 16GB, consisting of 2x 8GB sticks of DDR-2400. According to the product page other kits are available from 1x 4GB to 2x 16GB. There is also a higher-spec DDR4-2666 version, but the laptop I'm upgrading only needs 2400MHz.

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There's not much in the pack apart from the two SODIMMs themselves, and a small warranty/installation leaflet. The instructions are generic for desktop or laptop memory, but the warranty is describe as "lifetime", which I understand is open to interpretation but is more reassuring than a simple 1-year warranty. They also include a small shiny plastic T-Force sticker, smaller than a desktop case badge and more along the lines of the "Intel Inside" type stickers you see on laptops.

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The sticks themselves are very attractively finished, although one stick had shifted in the packaging and slightly crumpled the thin foil heatspreader. Easily fixed with some flat-nosed tweezers but a little disappointing. That foil by the way is a key feature of this product and is described as a "super-slim graphene copper-foil heat spreader" on the product page and apparently has "a cooling effect of 6%". These SODIMMs are double-sided but apparently only require the heat-spreader on one side - the other side of both sticks just has a conventional sticker label.

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I installed this kit into my Lenovo Thinkpad E480. I've written an earlier detailed guide to opening the Thinkpad and upgrading the SSD, so I'll avoid repeating that whole description here. Installation was very straightforward once the laptop's back cover was removed and the SODIMM slots were exposed. I simply removed the single 8GB Hynix module provided with the laptop and installed the two T-Force modules. Note that the heatspreader foil ends up facing down towards the motherboard in this instance.

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On to benchmarking, where there's a few things to consider. Firstly, we are simply installing the memory and letting the system auto-configure it. On a modern mobile platform the CPU and memory speed is automatically adjusted up and down according to demand and within the thermal limits, and I'm happy to stick with the defaults in this case. There's no capacity for memory overclocking or even any configuration in the BIOS of this business-oriented laptop anyway. Given we're moving from one 2400MHz stick to two 2400MHz sticks, we're unlikely to see a dramatic improvement based on the sheer speed of the memory. However there should be a small improvement because we're moving from a single memory channel to dual-channel mode, thanks to having two sticks installed now. Finally, we will of course see an improvement in any workload that requires more than 8GB of RAM. Previously the system would have to resort to swapping out to virtual memory on disk, whereas now we have twice as much room to breathe. Artificially constructing a workload greater than 8GB to demonstrate the obvious merits of having more memory seems a bit unneccessary, though.

Instead, I'll use PCMark 8 Advanced Edition to give us an indication of how things have changed between the standard 8GB and this T-Force 16GB kit. Like any benchmark this is a synthetic representation of performance, but PCMark 8 gets pretty close to describing real-world scenarios because it replays traces from actual application usage. These tasks range from web browsing, to video editing, mainstream gaming, batch photo editing, video conferencing and so on. I ran the "Creative", "Home" and "Work" benchmarks, which put the machine through quite a lengthy sequence of tests.

The results are as we would expect: a slight improvement across the board, largely due to dual-channel being enabled but also perhaps benefitting from the slightly tighter timings of the T-Force memory. Those overall score numbers over-simplify the result, so if you want more details, here's links to the actual results online: 8GB Creative, 8GB Home, 8GB Work, 16GB Creative, 16GB Home, 16GB Work. I have been moving more and more of my day to day work over to this laptop, and I can say anecdotally that it definitely seems to be coping better with high-memory tasks like video editing since the upgrade.

At the time of writing I am having trouble finding street prices for this exact kit in Australia. Given it's a name-brand product with a premium "gaming" focus I would expect it to be more expensive than a generic kit of similar specs. However in our recent reviews Team Group have shown themselves to be priced very competitively. Bearing that in mind, and also considering the lifetime warranty that Team Group offer, I definitely recommend you add this kit to your list if you're looking to give your laptop or NAS more room to breathe.

Thanks again to Team Group for the opportunity to review this memory kit. Feel free to discuss this review in this thread!


All original content copyright James Rolfe.
All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.
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