ZADAK Shield RGB DC DDR4-3200 Overview

We first learned about the new ZADAK 32 GB modules back in September. Since then, ZADAK has announced a total of five different 2x32GB Shield RGB DC kits in four different clock speeds, from DDR4-2666 through to DDR4-3600. There are two kits available at DDR4-3200 with different latencies; at CL14-14-14-34 and with slightly looser secondary and tertiary timings of CL14-16-16-36. All of these kits are compatible with three specific ASUS ROG Z390 models: the STRIX Z390-I Gaming, MAXIMUS XI APEX and MAXIMUS XI Gene.

For this review, we received a kit of the DDR4-3200 CL14-16-16-36. This dual channel 64 GB (2x32 GB) kit has an operating voltage of 1.35 V and features Samsung B-Die ICs. By contrast to ZADAKs other kits on the market, this is quadruple the capacity of its 8 GB UDIMMS.

ZADAK Shield RGB DC Memory in an ASUS Z390 Motherboard

While we know the ZADAK Shield RGB DC memory has a total of 32 memory ICs on its PCB (16 on each side), and it uses a similar pin-out implementation to G.Skill, leading to the specialization that they only work on select ASUS motherboards that have been validated. Unfortunately the ZADAK headspreader is firmly bonded to the chips, meaning removing the headspreader has a chance that it could remove a chip; we were unable to secure any images from ZADAK for underneath the heatspreaders, so at this point we are assuming that they work similarly to the G.Skill modules with double EPROMs onboard and act as two DIMMs on one PCB.

Analyzing at the mechanical design of the ZADAK Shield RGB DC DDR4-3200 memory, they are 73 mm in height which isn't much taller than ZADAKs own 8 GB Shield RGB memory which have a height of 60 mm. This means the heatsinks extend quite a bit further than the PCB with the majority of the height coming as a result of the integrated RGB LED lightbar. The heatsinks feature a three-tone design with black, grey and silver aluminium heat spreaders. The effect is not as pronounced as the G.Skill RGB light bar.

The RGB LEDs built-into the top of the heat spreader is addressable and can be customized with ASUS AURA software.

ZADAK in itself is an arm of Apacer Technology who formed back in 1997 as a DRAM supplier. ZADAK formed in 2015, and would prefer to be identified as a separate entity from Apacer, similar to how HyperX is to Kingston, or Crucial is to Micron.

Using the Taiphoon Burner DRAM software, we can see the JEDEC DIMM Label is listed as 16 GB of 2Rx8. This means the sensor is showing that each module is organised by the firmware into two lots of 16 GB and not one of 32 GB. The latency timings of the XMP 2.0 profile are 14-16-16-36.

ZADAK has better market variation with a total of five different kits.

The baseline model is a DDR4-2666 kit which is the cheapest of the five models at $799 and has timings of 16-16-16-36. This is relatively slow in terms of latency timings for a kit of this speed overall, but so far its the only DC kit from any vendor to operate at just 1.2 V on its XMP 2.0 profile.

Stepping up to the next mark is a DDR4-3000 kit with slightly slower timings of 16-16-18-38 for $899 and operates at 1.35 V. There are two DDR4-3200 kits available with both kits having the tightest timings, and a final DDR4-3600 kit. This DDR4-36000 kit has an MSRP of $1299 USD which is $500 premium over the DDR4-2666 base model which is a considerable chunk of budget for a desktop platform.

ZADAK Shield RGB DC Kits for ASUS Z390 Platform
Speed CL Timing Voltage Kit
DDR4-2666 CL16 16-16-36 1.20 V 2×32 GB - $799
DDR4-3000 CL16 16-18-38 1.35 V - $899
DDR4-3200 CL14 14-14-34 - $1199
CL14 16-16-36 ZD4-SHC3200C14-32GCS $999
DDR4-3600 CL16 18-18-38 - $1299

The DDR4-3200 kit which we received for testing has slightly looser timings of CL14 16-16-36 and has a price of $999.

The current availability in retail channels of the ZADAK Shield RGB DC 2x32 GB kits is limited to Japan, China and Australia. ZADAK has stated that its DC kits will be available in Vietnam and Thailand during January, while the kits are planned for launch in the US and EU during Q1 2019.

G.Skill TridentZ RGB DC Overview CPU Performance, Short Form
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  • mickulty - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link

    Really interesting article, thanks Gav and Ian!

    I'd love to see how a configuration using these DC sticks compares to 4x16GB on a 4-dimm T-topology board, especially in ability to hit higher speeds.
  • edzieba - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link

    Presumably the "Two DIMMs One Channel"-on-a-board layout would preclude these being used in 4-slot consumer boards (which would require effectively 4 DIMMs per channel)? I can't think of any boards off the top of my head that support more than 2 DIMMs per channel without using FBDIMMs.
  • Ej24 - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link

    Intel has validated their 8th and 9th gen desktop cpu's to work with 128gb of memory so that would suggest its possible, it's just up to the motherboard manufacturer to implement it appropriately.
  • Hul8 - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link

    I believe that's using regular (not double) modules with 16x Samsung's new 16 Gb memory packages. You can still use 2 of those per channel on regular consumer motherboards.
  • Ej24 - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link
  • schujj07 - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link

    I wonder if something that this could be designed for servers using RDIMMS or LRDIMMS. Current cost of 64GB LRDIMMs is more than double that of 32GB RDIMMs. 128GB LRDIMMs are about 4x more expensive than 64GB LRDIMMs. Could be a nice way to increase RAM capacity there without breaking the bank.
  • brakdoo - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link

    128 GB and 256 GB DIMMs use TSV (sometimes called 3DS or 3D stacked in the server business) memory. That's why they are more expensive.

    Other than that: This approach doubles the rank. Typical servers already reach their "maximum rank" on each channel with regular sized memory.
  • mickulty - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link

    It's pretty common for various forms of registered/buffered memory to use x4 width ICs rather than the standard x8, meaning you have 16 per rank rath than 8 per rank with the same capacity per IC. That acheives the same thing in terms of capacity.
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link

    Certainly looks like the future of RAM, but like most things, I would wait for v3.0 before jumping in. There's bound to be more power savings, compatibility tweaks, and performance tweaks. When is DDR5 arriving?
  • oddity1234 - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link

    That's a bizarre existential predicament the sea slug is stuck in.

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