G.Skill Trident Z Royal DDR4 memory review

Gaming memory doesn't get much fancier than these shiny RGB crystal-effect modules, though the kits with tight timings are overpriced.

G.Skill Trident Z Royal

Our Verdict

81%

Fantastically shiny, but beware of high prices with low-latency models.

The king of bling is still going strong, and the shiniest, flashiest gaming memory range out there, also known as the G.Skill Trident Z Royal, is now available with a huge rchoice of timings, as well as both chrome and gold finishes. Sadly, though, any kits with a CAS latency under 18 sees the price skyrocket, with even our 17-18-18-38 kit on test here going for $150 at the time of writing.

At Custom PC, we’ve been reviewing the latest memory since 2003, and we’ve tested and overclocked hundreds of kits, going right back to the original DDR era. We run both synthetic and application benchmarks to assess performance, and also see how far we can overclock each kit. In addition, we look at any RGB lighting features and assess how good it looks, as well as how well the control software works. For more information, check out our How we test page.

Thankfully, there are cheaper options, even for a 3600MHz kit. For instance, with 18-22-22-42 latency timings, the same kit costs just over $110, so we can’t be too harsh when making conclusions, especially when latency timings generally make so little difference to real-world performance.

Under the hood of these modules, you’ll find Samsung B-die memory chips, and as a result, the Trident Z range has an enviable reputation of working well with AMD Ryzen CPUs. The 44mm-high modules are more compact than Corsair’s equivalents, and the Royals still pack a punch in the aesthetic department, with mirror chrome or gold heatsinks that kept our modules at 48°C under load.

They stand up well to dings and knocks too – our test kit has survived several system transplants and remained scratch-free. They do pick up fingerprints, but as you likely won’t be handling them every day, this isn’t much of an issue. Even so, G.Skill includes a microfibre cloth to clean them once your system is built, which is a good premium touch.

The crystal-like effect on top is undoubtedly the more garish feature, and it divides opinion in the mag, but the lighting is excellent. To control the lighting, you have a range of options, such as using G.Skill’s own Trident Z lighting control software, or ASRock, Asus, Gigabyte or MSI motherboard software. The former allows for the usual controls, including solid colors and lighting effects, but be aware that while motherboard software is supported, the range of control can vary between boards.

G.Skill Trident Z Royal performance

With a decent frequency and the tightest timings of our group of DDR4 modules, the Trident Z Royal top the charts in most tests. It managed a read speed of over 51GB/s, write speed of nearly 29GB/s and the lowest latency of 62.3ns too, with the Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB coming second with 64ns. This didn’t quite result in the fastest results in our RealBench tests, although it sat close to the margin of error we’d expect to see.

G.Skill Trident Z Royal overclocking

The Royal was also one of only two kits we’ve recently tested that managed to overclock all the way to 4000MHz, and this again helped it to win in the AIDA64 Extreme synthetic tests. However, with the Infinity Fabric ratios coming into play on our motherboard, faster isn’t always better and this seemed to be the case in RealBench, with most kits performing worse if they pushed past the 3733MHz 1:1 ratio.

G.Skill Trident Z Royal pros and cons

Pros

  • Fantastic lighting and flashy heatsinks
  • Universal motherboard software compatibility
  • Decent overclocking potential

Cons

  • Low-latency kits are prohibitively expensive
  • Lighting control varies between motherboard models
  • Aesthetics not to everyone’s tastes

G.Skill Trident Z Royal specs

The G.Skill Trident Z Royal specs list is:

Memory chip Samsung B-die
Effective frequency 3600MHz
Timings 17-18-18-38
Voltage 1.35V
Height (from base) 44mm
RGB software compatibility Asus Aura Sync, Gigabyte RGB Fusion 2.0, MSI Mystic Light Sync, ASRock Polychrome Sync

G.Skill Trident Z Royal price

Price: Expect to pay $150 (£148) for 16GB (2 x 8GB) 3600MHz kit with 17-18-18-38 timings / $110 (£108) for 16GB (2 x 8GB) 3600MHz kit with 18-22-22-42 timings.

G.Skill Trident Z Royal review conclusion

We’ll start by re-emphasizing the fact that, while our particular sample retails for a slightly eye-watering $150, if you opt for slightly looser timings, the price drops dramatically, although even then it’s still rather pricey for a DDR4 memory kit.

For example, Corsair’s Vengeance RGB Pro costs just $80, the Kingston Fury Beast DDR4 RGB kit is just as compact and sports excellent lighting too, and the G.Skill Trident Z RGB Neo costs $95 with slightly looser timings.

However, we can’t deny the swagger of the G.Skill Trident Z Royal. The gold version might not be to everyone’s tastes, but the mirror chrome model has wider appeal, looking good on any motherboard, while remaining compact enough to limit compatibility issues with large CPU coolers.