XMP performance versus stock speeds
Thanks to Intel's Extreme Memory Profile tech, overclocking the Dominator Torque kit to its rated speed should be effortless on most any good Z270 motherboard. A couple clicks in our Asus board's firmware, and I had the Torque DIMMs running at 3200 MT/s and Corsair's baked-in 14-16-16-36 latencies without a hitch.
CPU-Z confirmed that the XMP profile loaded properly. We then compared the performance of this memory's DDR4-2133 stock speeds and 15-15-15-35 2T stock timings to its DDR4-3200 14-16-16-36 2T XMP profile.
AIDA64 bandwidth and latency
To nobody's surprise, the Dominator Torque kit with XMP enabled outperforms its stock DDR4-2133 profile by a wide margin (although with the advent of Kaby Lake, the floor of memory performance is raised slightly by the chips' support for DDR4-2400). Modern CPUs tend to be hungry for memory bandwidth, so a 40% or greater increase in potential throughput from the move to 3200 MT/s is nothing to sneeze at.
AIDA64's memory latency benchmark shows another advantage of this speedy RAM. The move to 3200 MT/s speeds and 14-16-16-36 timings means data gets to the CPU 23% faster than it does with bog-standard DDR4-2133, at least with this synthetic benchmark. Less time spent waiting around for data is a good thing when it comes to CPU performance.
A classic benchmark from our CPU test suite, the STARS Euler3D benchmark tests performance in a computational fluid dynamics scenario. This test wants all the memory bandwidth it can get, so it's ideal for showing the benefits of faster RAM. You can read more about Euler3D here.
If you've got a fast chip like the Core i7-7700K, and your workload warrants it, the move from DDR4-2133 to DDR4-3200 is a no-brainer. Euler3D is an extreme demonstration, to be fair, but run-of-the-mill RAM seems to leave quite a bit of performance on the table with high-end Skylake chips.
Some games can take advantage of faster memory for better performance, but almost none more so than Arma III. This game puts a disproportionate load on a system's single-threaded CPU performance and memory subsystem, so it's another fine demonstration of how faster memory can benefit a system. To show off how the Dominator Torque kit performs, we cued up the latest version of the Yet Another Arma Benchmark (or YAAB) scenario. We used the following test settings at 1920x1080:
YAAB is a demanding test, but the move from DDR4-2133 to DDR4-3200 tames it a little bit. Average frame rates rise slightly, but more importantly, the 99th-percentile frame time (a good proxy for animation smoothness) falls from a concerning 45.3 ms with DDR4-2133 to a slightly more palatable 35.9 ms with DDR4-3200.
In other words, the DDR4-2133-equipped system delivers 99% of its frames at an instantaneous frame rate of about 22 FPS or better, while the DDR4-3200 kit improves that figure to about 28 FPS, or right on the edge of what might be considered playable. That's a major boost for Arma III smoothness.
A quick shot at overclocking
As I noted in the introduction, Corsair claims the ICs on the Dominator Torque kit are hand-selected and binned above their rated frequency. Despite that assurance, our manual overclocking attempts proved fruitless. Even after trying a range of timings, speeds, and voltages for both the RAM itself, along with the CPU system agent and VCCIO, I couldn't even get my test system to POST with the Dominator Torque pushed beyond its XMP settings. That's the silicon lottery for you, I suppose.
The potential performance differences between the rock-solid-stable 3200 MT/s XMP profile and my 3466 MT/s and 3600 MT/s overclocking recipes isn't that large to begin with, so stressing the memory controller with eyebrow-raising voltages in excess of 1.4V didn't seem worth it. This isn't a knock on the Dominator Torque, mind. It's already a high-speed, high-density kit with impressive performance. I just don't think manual overclocking of the RAM is worth it when hyperspeed RAM with XMP profiles is abundant. If you want higher speeds than DDR4-3200 from the Dominator Torque, however, manual overclocking is the only way to go. Just be ready for some potential frustration.
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