Patriot 6GB DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz Viper Series Low Latency Kit Page: 1
Introduction

Established in 1985, Patriot have long been at the forefront of memory production and with the Viper series of memory, Patriot get to show off their manufacturing prowess with their performance line of memory modules. We recently reviewed a kit specifically designed for use with Nvidia chipsets but today we will be reviewing Patriot's latest kit which is targeted at users of Intel's latest Core i7 processor.

Patriot currently have 8 kits available for Core i7 with each kit split into Bandwidth (1333 or 1600), size (3x1GB or 3x2GB) and then Latency (CAS 7 for 1333MHz\, CAS8 or CAS9 for 1600MHz). In today's review we will be investigating the range topping 1600MHz, 8-8-8-24 6GB kit which weighs in at a very reasonable £178. Normally, kits with this level of performance usually cost the thick end of £200 but Patriot, while hardly a budget brand, are very aggressive with their pricing and bring premium products to the market place without the high cost.

Here's what Patriot have to say about their latest kit:

Patriot Extreme Performance (EP) Low Latency line is engineered to expand your gaming options. These modules are designed to operate at 1600MHz at 8-8-8-24 timings and is available in 3GB and 6GB kit capacities. Equipped with Patriot ACC (Aluminium Copper Composite) technology, these modules are designed for maximum performance and stability under extreme overclocking conditions. Engineered with quality and Performance in mind, Patriot Extreme Performance line is the ultimate solution for extreme overclockers, gamers, and PC enthusiasts.

Specification


The Specification for the Patriot Viper series ram was taken directly from the Patriot Website

* Extreme Performance PC3-12800 (1600MHz)
* Low Latency (8-8-8-24)
* Equipped Patriot Viper Heat Shields with integrated ACC (Aluminium Copper Composite) technology
* 100% Tested and Verified
* Lifetime Warranty
* RoHS Compliant
* XMP Ready for Core?i7 Processors
* Tested and compatible with Intel? X58 Express Chipsets

As with our previous review on the Kingston kit, Patriot also offer a lifetime warranty. Let's move on to the packaging & presentation section of the review...



Patriot 6GB DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz Viper Series Low Latency Kit Page: 2
Packaging & Appearance
 
Now this is more like it. In contrast to previous triple-channel DDR3 kits we see that Patriot have gone to the trouble to package the product as a finished product. The outer box is glossy in finish and features the 'VIPER SERIES DDR3' emblem, a picture of the DDR3 kit itself and the XMP logo which in effect is a nod to the EPP feature of previous chipsets. XMP allows the motherboard to automatically configure the DDR3 to its optimal, advertised speed without the need to go fiddling in the BIOS.
 
Box front Box back
 
The packaging doesn't stop there though because opening the box up we find two blister-style packs containing the RAM itself. The leaflet inside the pack describes in detail how to fit the DDR3 just in case you aren't sure of the procedure and goes on to describe how to decipher the main four settings. There is no mention of the actual timings of this kit in the leaflet or the outer packaging other than the RAM speed.


package front Package rear
 
The modules themselves are identical aesthetically to the previous Viper kit we reviewed other than the obvious sky blue colour instead of the green. The blue is slightly deeper in tone to the ones printed on the packet and those shown on websites so you may want to bear this in mind if your are picky with your colours.

3's a crowd Timings
 
The full specification is printed on a black sticker on the front of the module so there should be no mistaking what settings to use if your motherboard is not XMP compatible. This kit is the LLK version (Low Latency) signified by the LLK tagged on the end of the product number. Patriot also have an Enhanced Latency kit which runs at speeds of 9-9-9-24 instead of this kit which runs at 8-8-8-24.

stick front ram back
 
Green PCB's are a thing of the past and Patriot have acknowledged this with a much more appealing black PCB hidden underneath the Viper Series heatsinks. The heatsinks themselves deserve special mention in that they are equipped with integrated ACC (Aluminium Copper Composite) technology. This should dissipate as much heat as possible from the modules, ensuring long life and maximum overclocking potential.

ram top ram side
 
Being dual height means that fitting oversized CPU coolers could present a problem depending on the distance from which your DDR slots are located from the CPU socket. They are however, no bigger than competing modules such as Corsair's Dominator series and during testing we had no difficulty in fitting an OCZ Gladaitor CPU cooler with this RAM.

Opened Close up

Peeling off the ACC heat shield (don't do this if you wish to keep your warranty intact) we found the integrated chips used on the Patriot modules are premium grade Micron D9JNL's. These chips are renowned overclockers on low voltage in contrast to the GTR's which seemed to scale better with increased voltage.

So without further delay let's move on to the test setup and overclocking section of the review...


Patriot 6GB DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz Viper Series Low Latency Kit Page: 3
Test Setup

For today's testing we will be using the Gigabyte EX-58 UD5, a mid-range Core i7 motherboard from Gigabyte that will allow us to push the memory on test to its absolute limit. Here's a breakdown of the rest of the components:
 
Processor
Intel Core i7 920 'Nehalem' @ 2.66Ghz

Motherboard
Gigabyte EX58-UD5

Memory
Patriot 6GB DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz Viper Series Low Latency Kit

Corsair CL8 1600MHz 8-8-8-24 3x2GB kit

Graphics Card
Nvidia 280GTX

Drivers
GeForce 180.60

PSU
Gigabyte Odin 1200w

Operating System
Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit SP1 + Updates
 
For testing the memory we used a number of synthetic benchmarks and games:
 
Synthetic Benchmarks
  • Lavalys Everest 4.10
  • SuperPI mod_1.5
  • Sisoft Sandra 2009
3D Benchmarks
  • 3DMark Vantage
  • Far Cry 2
 
For the run of benchmarks, we will be comparing the 1600MHz 6GB Patriot kit to the 1600MHz 6GB Corsair Dominator kit which on the surface has the exact same performance profile.

 
Overclocking
 
Starting from scratch we disabled on the settings that may affect the overclocked settings such as Intel Speed Step as well as disabling the C-State settings which may also affect some of the results in the benchmark testing phase of the review. Here's how the sticks look at stock speed:
 
 JEDEC

stock cpu stock memory
 
We expected great things from these sticks and we were not disappointed. First off, we tried bumping the bandwidth to 1800MHz and to our surprise, it booted into Windows where we ran 3DMark and a few runs of Super PI. This was the maximum our previous best kit, the Corsair Dominator managed so we were intrigued to see if we could get more. Ambitiously we went straight for the jugular and tried out for 2000MHz, but alas, this was too much for the Patriot kit. So we found a nice middle ground of 1900MHz which was stable as a rock.

overclock cpu Overclock memory 
 
To get to this speed we had to slacken the timings to 9-9-9-24 but the benefits of 300MHz over stock will no doubt negate this difference. We tried lowering the timings at the stock speed of 1600MHz to 7-7-7-24 but the motherboard refused to POST, even with a slight bump in voltage to 1.7v. Despite this, we were impressed overall by the ease at which the Patriot kit overclocked. At 1900MHz this kit will no doubt gobble up anything we throw at it but we will return the kit to its stock settings to see how it compares with the Corsair Dominator kit.


Patriot 6GB DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz Viper Series Low Latency Kit Page: 4


SiSoftware Sandra
(the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility capable of benchmarking the performance of individual components inside a PC. Each of the benchmarks below were run a total of five times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average being calculated from the remaining three.






 

Everest
 
Focusing mainly on software and hardware information reporting, Everest also comes with a benchmark utility suitable for testing the read, write and latency performance of the memory subsystem. Each of these benchmarks were performed a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average calculated from the remaining 3.
 




 
Super PI
 
SuperPI is the benchmark of choice for many overclockers. It's lightweight to download and can give a quick indication on how good a system is at number crunching. Once again, testing was performed a total of 5 times, with an average being calculated from the middle three results.
 




 
 Results Observations
 
It seems the Corsair kit has certainly met its match. Outscoring our previous award winning kit in every benchmark bar one, the Patriot Viper snatches the performance crown from Corsair. Interestingly the Patriot kit was a little slow off the mark in the SuperPI 1m test but caught up with the 8m and 32m runs respectively.

Let's see how we got on with the run of 3D Benchmarks...



Patriot 6GB DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz Viper Series Low Latency Kit Page: 5
 
3DMark is a popular synthetic gaming benchmark used by many gamers and overclockers to gauge the performance of their PC's. All 3DMark runs were performed a total of 5 times, with the highest and lowest results being removed and an average calculated from the remaining 3 results.





 


Ubisoft has developed a new engine specifically for Far Cry 2, called Dunia, meaning "world", "earth" or "living" in Parsi. The engine takes advantage of multi-core processors as well as multiple processors and supports DirectX 9 as well as DirectX 10. Running the Far Cry 2 benchmark tool the test was run 5 times with the highest and lowest scores being omitted and the average calculated from the remaining 3.
 

 
Results conclusions

The results speak for themselves. Even with both the speed and timings set exactly the same, the Patriot Kit outperformed the Corsair consistently. While 3 FPS may not seem like a big deal, it is a huge leap considering the only component change was the DDR3.

Let's head over to the conclusion...



Patriot 6GB DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz Viper Series Low Latency Kit Page: 6
Conclusion

The Patriot Viper 1600MHz Low Latency Kit is certainly a striking package. From its ACC heatsinks, to the sky blue colour scheme and contrasting black PCB, the kit exudes class. It is rare to see Copper (albeit alloy) used on memory heatsinks with manufacturers preferring the cheaper alternative in Aluminium. Hopefully this will be the first of many kits we see with such heatsink material.

Looks come second to performance, and the Patriot Viper Kit has performance by the bucket load. With 300MHz over stock speed, we were left impressed by the kit's overclocking ability and the potential headroom this provided. Sadly, we couldn't lower the timings but the X58 chipset seems to prefer bandwidth over latency so this isn't such a big issue.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Patriot Viper kit is its price. For a premium product such as this, and coming in a 3x2GB low latency guise, you would expect to pay over £200. This kit sneaks under the radar at a much more reasonable £178, again beating the Corsair. To top it all off with a lifetime warranty and it becomes very hard to fault the Patriot 6GB DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz Viper Series Low Latency Kit in any way.

The Good
- Overclocking headroom
- Performance
- Aesthetics
- Packaging
- Price

The Mediocre
- Unable to lower timings

The Poor
- You're joking right?



Thanks to Patriot for providing the Low latency Viper kit for todays review. Discuss in our forums.