G.Skill Trident Z Royal Elite DDR4-5066 MHz Review


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Intel’s newly released Z590 chipset offers a few advancements over previous platforms, but perhaps the most influential is its memory overclocking capabilities. The changes Intel made to the memory controller frequency, have enabled companies like G.Skill to offer XMP ratings of 4800 MHz and above for mainstream motherboards. Today we’re testing and overclocking one such newly released product. The Trident Z Royal Elite comes with a whopping 5066 MHz XMP rating. We’re pretty excited to show you G.Skill’s latest release, so follow along as we break down what we liked and didn’t like.

Specifications and Features

We’ve seen such outlandishly high XMP ratings before, but those kits are extremely high-priced (close to $1000) and offered incredibly limited motherboard compatibility at the time. G.Skill’s new Trident Z Royal Elite 5066 MHz kit has 8 motherboards on the QVL list from brands that include ASUS, ASRock, and MSI.

G.SKill’s latest release offers more than just a high XMP rating. The new Trident Z Royal Elite comes with a newly redesigned heat sink. Following the crystalline theme of the light diffuser from the original Trident Z Royal, they’ve actually created a new aluminum heat sink to match the design. It features a radical-looking 76-facet’s to reflect as much RGB light as possible. As a result, the memory will give your system that ‘Royal’ look to match the speedy memory underneath.

They launched it with a massive product lineup ranging from a 16 GB kit, all the way up to a 128 GB kit. You can tailor the kit to your needs with a frequency range from 3600 MHz to 5333 MHz. To top that off, they offer everything in two colors, silver, and gold. A close examination of the XMP ratings shows us that the new product line likely consists of at least two IC makers: Samsung and SK Hynix.

Marketing Campaign at a glance

  • Crafted for Magnificence Crafted with a 76-facet mirrored heatspreader, the Trident Z Royal Elite is designed to reflect RGB lighting in all directions for a magnificent display of diamond-like elegance.
  • The Ultimate Luxury Aesthetic With the prevalence of RGB lighting in system builds, the multi-facet heatspreader of the Trident Z Royal Elite reflects the RGB lighting within the system in multiple directions to create a radiant effect for the ultimate luxury aesthetic.
  • Patented Radiant Crystalline Light Bar Uniquely designed to disperse and refract light from the 8 RGB LED zones on each module, providing a magnificent lighting display into your PC case.
  • Customizable Software Lighting Control The G.SKILL Trident Z Lighting Control software offers over a dozen lighting effects and management of up to 4 lighting profiles, as well as the ability to control each module individually or in sync, so you can customize your own color scheme to the fullest extent. Let your PC radiate in majestic beauty.
  • Extreme Overclocking Performance Each Trident Z Royal Elite module is built with hand-screened memory ICs on a custom 10-layer PCB to ensure the best signal integrity for fast overclock performance.
  • Tested for Platform Compatibility Regardless of Intel or AMD platforms, each Trident Z Royal Elite memory kit is tested for compatibility and reliability, so you can build a truly customized PC with a wide range of motherboards.
  • Sync Up with System Lighting Want to sync up your system lighting? You can use Asus Aura Sync*, Gigabyte RGB Fusion 2.0*, MSI Mystic Light*, or ASRock Polychrome Sync* software to personalize the colors and effects of your Trident Z Royal Elite memory and compatible motherboards!
  • XMP 2.0 Support Just set and go. Programmed with the latest Intel XMP 2.0 profiles, the only thing between you and extreme performance is a simple setting.
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty All G.SKILL memory products come with a limited lifetime warranty and the G.SKILL technical team is always ready to provide consumers with complete technical support via online forum, telephone, and email.
  • Source: G.Skill

In the table below are specific details of our test kit:

G.Skill Trident Z Royal Elite
Part Number F4-5066C20D-16GTES
Color Silver
Capacity 16 GB (2 x 8 GB)
Type 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM
Lighting Addressable RGB
Voltage 1.60 V
Rated Frequency DDR4 5066 (PC4-41000)
Chipset Intel XMP 2.0
Multi-channel Kit Dual Channel Kit
Rated Timings CL20-30-30-50
MSRP Pricing Newegg: $234.99
Warranty Limited Lifetime
Registered / Error Checking Unbuffered / Non-ECC
Links OVL List

Below is a screenshot of Thaiphoon Burner, a free tool that allows users to read the Serial Presence Detect (SPD) firmware of the DRAM. The SPD information is critical in determining how the motherboard will recognize it out of the box.

As the screenshot shows, this specific memory kit is composed of Hynix ICs. From the SPD read, we are not able to determine the exact die used on the modules. Based on the price point and specification, we would guestimate that it’s the D-Die, which could be considered the high-tier IC within the Hynix family. It also shows us that our test kit leverages the advantages of the A2 style PCB.

DDR4 PCBs are broken down into three major layout designs. The older design, called A0, has the ICs spaced out evenly on the PCB and can limit the maximum frequency. The newer A1 and A2 designs (effectively the same) place the ICs closer together and closer to the PCB connection edge. The A2-style PCB has become the new unofficial industry standard because it allows for higher frequencies and generally better compatibility. As a result, motherboard manufacturers are now routing memory traces to coincide with the IC placement on A2-style PCBs.

We will use the ASRock Z590 OC Formula for testing today, which has been specifically optimized for A2-style memory PCBs. It’s on the official QVL for our memory, so we should have the optimal configuration for testing.

Packaging and Product Tour

The packaging is simply a delivery mechanism to ship the product safely, but it also serves as a preview of what’s to come. We have all opened products with cheaply-made packaging, and whether you think about it or not, we believe that it has an effect on the first impression of the product. G.Skill didn’t change the packaging at all with this latest iteration.

The box itself is very sleek and professional, consisting of an all-black exterior with a simple slide-off band to hold it together. The lid hinges up to reveal G.Skill’s latest eye-catching design, the Trident Z Royal Elite, in silver.

Meet the Trident Z Royal Elite

At the first glance out of the box, they will look familiar to most enthusiasts. The overall shape and structure are the same as previous Trident Z Royals, however, the heatsink is different. Continuing with the “crystalline” theme set by the light diffuser, they’ve molded the aluminum heat sink sides to reflect the same design. The overall look is quite unique and very impressive looking. However, we question if the changes will are worth it and how much of the heat sink sides will actually be seen once the memory is installed.

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The entire top of the memory module is one contiguous plastic light diffuser, which G.Skill is calling the “crystalline light bar”. This serves the function of softening the light from eight individually selectable RGB LEDs. It also serves the function of adding a premium element to your build with the unique diamond-shaped light bar.

Of the two color options available, we are reviewing the silver variety today. This might be the obvious choice for more computer builders since it is more of a universal color tone compared to the gold option.

The module has a height of 44 mm / 1.79 inches and a weight of 8.5 ounces. The height is a concern for some low-profile coolers, but it should be compatible with most.

Illumination

In the lighting department, there’s not much new to look at. If you’ve seen G.Skill’s legendary Trident Z Royal memory before, then you have a good idea of what the new Royal Elite looks like. It uses the same RGB LED lighting and diffuser platform that the previously released Royals use.

G.Skill Trident Z Royal Elite RGB
G.Skill Trident Z Royal Elite RGB

The overall result is stunning, and we feel they’d make a nice addition to any RGB-oriented enthusiast PC. That said, depending on the lightning, lighting effect, and viewing angle, there were some mild hot spots that could be seen from the LEDs.

Software

As we’re sure most of you are aware, this memory features highly programmable RGB LEDs. The RGB control software for the Trident Z Royal Elite is available for download for free. The Trident Z Lighting Control software is designed to work independently of any motherboard control software. It works with all major motherboard brands including Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and ASRock.

We tested the RGB functionality with ASRock Polychrome Sync and Trident Z Lighting Control software. Both control methods effortlessly communicated with the Trident Z Royal Elite memory modules and allowed us to control the light show.

Software download: Trident Z Lighting Control

Software download: ASRock Polychrome Sync

Testing and Overclocking

If and when the XMP profile has been established to be stable, we evaluate the memory from an overclocking perspective and want to see what this memory can do, but without hurting it. Therefore, we will stick to what could be classified as 24/7 stable daily memory voltages. The voltage standards for memory are changing, and 1.60 V is the standard voltage on many high-frequency kits. We’ll stick to that limit but give ourselves just a little bit of headroom with a maximum voltage of 1.65 V

Below is the test system and resulting memory speeds used to evaluate the memory and run the various benchmarks.

Test Setup
CPU Intel Core i9-11900K Rocket Lake 8-Core
Cooler Corsair H115i RGB PRO XT
Motherboard ASRock Z590 OC Formula
Graphics Card EVGA RTX 2080 Ti Kingpin Edition
Solid State Drive T-Foce CARDEA Liquid 1 TB
Power Supply be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12 1500W PSU
Operating System Windows 10 x64 V1909
Memory Speeds Compared
XMP Profile ~ 5066 MHz CL20-30-30 + Auto Sub Timings @ 1.60 V
Overclock 1 ~ 3733 MHz CL14-19-19 + Tight Sub Timings @ 1.60 V
Overclock 2 ~ 5066 MHz CL19-28-28 + Tight Sub Timings @ 1.65 V
Overclock 3 ~ 5600 MHz CL22-32-32+ Auto Sub Timings @ 1.65 V

XMP Profile ~ 5066 MHz CL20-30-30 + Auto Sub Timings @ 1.60 V

Even considering that this memory is on the QVL for our motherboard, it’s not a foregone conclusion that the XMP profile will work, in fact, it’s somewhat common for the XMP profile not to work or have stability issues. However, we’re happy to report that we had absolutely no trouble with the XMP profile with all BIOS settings on auto, despite the high-frequency rating.

The XMP profile proved to be incredibly stable too. We never once crashed from the OS, even after a few hours of hard testing. Below are the resulting AIDA64 test bench result and the XMP profile timings.

 

Overclock 1 ~ 3733 MHz CL14-19-19 + Tight Sub Timings @ 1.60 V

The objective of the first overclock test was to create the absolute best profile we could with the Gear 1 setting. The Gear 1 setting can be a huge performance increase for some programs, and it can also be slightly slower in others. We know that single-threaded applications can benefit from Gear 1, while multi-threaded ones might be hindered. Regardless of the potential efficiency difference, we wanted to show the best that Gear 1 has to offer.

We managed to get 3733 MHz stable, which is close to the maximum possible on the Intel Z590. That’s a great start but lowering the frequency allows for greater timing headroom. The next step in creating the profile below was to test each timing and get it as low, or otherwise efficient, as possible. For the memory geeks out there, the resulting timing profile is nothing less than astonishing. Many of the sub-timings are incredibly tight and on par with the very best that Samsung ICs have to offer.

Overclock 2 ~ 5066 MHz CL19-28-28 + Tight Sub Timings @ 1.65 V

For the second overclock attempt, we stuck with the XMP frequency rating of 5066 MHz. Is there any headroom with the timings at this frequency? What can be done to improve efficiency? Overclock profile 2 attempts to answer these questions.

The result could not be more surprising. The primary timings and tRFC are exactly where we expected them to be, very high in order to maintain stability. This is a classic characteristic of SK Hynix memory ICs and it appears not much has changed here. However, the story gets interesting when we went to work on the secondary and tertiary timings.

Overclock 3 ~ 5600 MHz CL22-32-32+ Auto Sub Timings @ 1.65 V

Lastly, we wanted to know where the frequency wall is. With loose sub-timings, we soon found that the memory was functional at 5866 MHz, but unfortunately, it was not stable in all of our benchmarks. So, we ended up at 5600 MHz, which is still astonishing.

As you can see, in order to make 5600 MHz work, we needed very high primary timings of 22-32-32 with tRFC 790. When we tried to apply the ultra-tight secondary and tertiary timings from previous profiles, we were simply astounded to see that it worked. This new batch of memory is running 5600 MHz with unbelievably tight sub-timings usually only done with Samsung modules.

Benchmark Results

AIDA64

Benchmark download: AIDA64

AIDA64 is perhaps the most important tool we have for assessing memory performance. It’s quite old but still very relevant because it scales beautifully with changes to both memory speeds and timings. It’s worth noting, however, that with modern DDR4, we see the biggest effect in the scoring from frequency overclocking.

There are not really any surprises here. If you’ve been following our recent memory reviews, then you have seen a common trend develop. What we’ve observed is that AIDA64 scales exceptionally well with memory frequency, but the scores only marginally improve with tighter timings. As such, we aren’t surprised to see the efficient 3733 MHz profile losing to XMP and the 5600 MHz profile dominating all.

Geekbench 4 Multi-Core

Benchmark download: Geekbench 4

Next, we used Geekbench 4 to test our memory profiles. It’s one of the best synthetic benchmarks for predicting ‘real-world’ performance. This benchmark utilizes 25 unique sub-benchmarks of varying complexity and then collates them to create an overall picture of performance.

Focusing on the total score, we find that the 5600 MHz profile just barely beats the 5066 MHz one. The reason for this is that Geekbench is more sensitive to memory timings, and thus the performance takes a hit from very loose primary timings. Unlike the AIDA64 results, all of the overclocked memory profiles show a very large performance increase over XMP.

 

Si Software Sandra

Benchmark download: SiSoftware Sandra Lite

Lastly, we examined the performance using a few memory benchmark tests offered within the SiSoftware Sandra suite. The flagship product, known as Sandra, is a powerful suite of many different benchmarks used to evaluate the computer performance of all major components, including the processor, graphics, memory, and disk.

 

XMP Comparison

So we’ve seen how the memory compares against itself when overclocked, but how does it compare against other XMP profiles on the market today? In this section, we exclude all overclocking results and use only XMP profiles for comparison against different brands. All of the test results below were newly generated on the Z590 OC Formula motherboard.

As we explained above, the AIDA64 benchmark results are focused on memory frequency. The G.Skill Trident Z Royal Elite is by far the fastest memory we have in the lineup below. No other memory in our comparison competes with the raw bandwidth of the Royal Elite, and AIDA64 displays that perfectly for us.

 

Dual-rank modules have a clear advantage in Geebench 4.  The benchmark makes better use of timings and improved interleaving, so we find single-rank modules suffering here. Therefore, the Trident Z Royal Elite scores well below others in our Geekbench 4 comparison.

Conclusion

We had an awesome experience with the new Trident Z Royal Elite. Whether or not you like the design, it’s undeniably high-class and we applaud G.SKill for releasing something so bold. On the other hand, they really didn’t change much from the last Royal iteration. Once they’re installed in a case you really cant easily tell one Trident Z Royal edition from another. That’s our main complaint with the physical design changes.

Our overclocking results are so impressive, they should have already jumped off the page at you. However, in case you skimmed over the results, we can summarize them in two words: absolutely astounding. We can’t give all the credit to G.Skill, as the Intel Rocket Lake Integrated Memory Controller (IMC) capability has much more overclocking headroom than previous generations. Our crazy overclocking results ranged from 3733CL14 Gear 1 to 5600CL22 Gear 2. If you really want you’re mind blown, take a good long look at the secondary and tertiary timings we were able to accomplish. The magic was accomplished with an even distribution of G.Skill’s magic, improvements in Hynix D-Die fabrication, and Intel’s Rocket Lake IMC.

Before the release of the Intel Z590 platform, DDR4 memory rated at 5000 MT/s and above would run over $800. However, we’ve seen the rarity of such XMP’s dramatically reduced, as a result, the price has come down to reasonable levels. In fact, you can find them on Newegg for $234.99. They’re affordable, ooze style, and they overclock like a dream. We’re happy to show off this memory today and if you’re looking for an ultra-high-speed memory kit, we’d definitely advise you to consider this kit for your next purchase.

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David Miller – mllrkllr88

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Discussion

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  1. No, there's definitely still a difference. However, based on the fact that Samsung stopped improving B-Die long ago, and Hynix is still improving on D-Die, we've seen the gap narrow substantially in the last year.
    At this point, we can say that the effective difference comes down to just three timings: tRCD, tRAS, and tRFC. Hynix still needs much higher values for those timings than Samsung does. However, Hynix can clock much higher frequencies than Samsung, so there's a tradeoff. There are other timings and factors that differentiate the two ICs, but that's a quick summary based on what I've observed. Samsung is still the flavor of choice for most overclockers, but Hynix just cannot be ignored any longer.
    Thanks for the info. One thing of note I saw at Newegg. It seems the non-elite version of these sticks is about $40 cheaper but shows the same speeds and timings without the fancy new heat spreader.