Patriot Extreme Performance 2GB PC2-9600 DDR2-1200MHz Review

ajmatson - 2007-09-19 07:14:12 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: December 10, 2007
Price: $229.99


In all the years I have been building computers and giving advice, the one item I have seen taken the lightest was the memory purchase. In contrary to what some might say, all RAM is not created equal. You see it in advertisements all the time, "Value Ram for cheap." Well if it was that great a set of RAM then they would not have to advertise it because it would always be sold out. Selecting the right sticks of memory is as crucial as picking out the right processor. You wouldn't skimp out on CPU performance so why take that chance with one of the components that interacts with it the most? If you are an overclocker like we here at are, then you want RAM that will give you the most flexibility to push it to the limits. Patriot Memory is one manufacturer that gives the hungry crowd what it desires with the Extreme Performance line.


Closer Look:

The Extreme Performance PC2-9600 memory comes packaged in the standard blister type packaging and each module is sandwiched between two heatsinks made from Patriot's Aluminum Bladed Heat Shield Technology to decrease heat and increase stability. Enclosed in the package are the two matched one gigabyte PC2-9600 memory modules and an installation guide to help you install the Patriot Extreme Performance PC2-9600 if you have never done so before.









The Patriot Extreme Performance 2GB PC2-9600 are rated at speeds of DDR2-1200MHz and have advanced timings of 5-5-5-12. They are also EPP Enabled. EPP stands for Enhanced Performance Profile, which is a technology designed by nVidia to make overclocking easier. To take advantage of EPP you must have a motherboard that supports it, as well as EPP Enabled RAM.



As mentioned before, the Patriot Extreme Performance PC2-9600 uses Patriot's Blade Heat Sink Technology, which attaches the aluminum fins directly to the PC2-9600 chips and helps by dissipating the heat and allowing airflow over the PC board. The reason this caught my eye is that memory is often overlooked when it comes to cooling issues. RAM, at these speeds, produces a lot of heat and needs to have a good way to get rid of that buildup. Patriot 's heatspreaders have opened tops so that airflow can flow freely over the ram chips and the board to help keep them cool. With the addition of a RAM fan you could virtually eliminate any major heat buildup on this set.


To install the modules, first and most important, make sure all power is off and and the power cord disconnected from the back of the PC. Slide back the retention clips from the old memory and carefully remove them from the memory slots on the motherboard. Now comes the good part. Take the new memory modules and line them up correctly, making sure the notch in the memory slot matches up with the groove on the memory module. Carefully press on the two ends of modules until they snap in and the retention clips click into place. Voila! All installed. Now just plug back in your PC and turn it on. Boot into Windows and there you go; all upgraded and ready to go. 








If you have a motherboard that supports EPP RAM then during POST it will show the RAM is detected and adjust the speeds and timings according to the speed of the RAM.




DDR2 1200(PC9600)
Cas Latency




Many products boast about having blazing fast performance, but only through proper testing will we see if this set holds up. I am going to put it to the test against the OCZ Reaper HPC Edition PC2-9200, the Mushkin XP2-9200 and the Crucial Ballistix Tracer PC2-8500 memory sets. The tests will be run at JEDEC speeds of 400MHz (DDR2-800) and then bumped up to their native speeds of 600MHz (DDR2-1200).



Testing Setup:

 Memory Tested:


CPU-Z - This is an application that will precisely display you system information without having to log out to go into the BIOS. Here is the information on the modules at the standard DDR2-800 JEDEC speeds and at DDR2-1200.



Windows Task Manager - The task manager allows you to view real time performance of you memory and system information. For memory it will let you know how much is being used and what you have left.


PCMark05 - For the next test we are going to run the PCMark05 System Suite for overall performance and also the Memory Suite to gauge the memory on an individual basis. For the scores in these tests, higher is better.











Sisoft Sandra XII - With Sandra we are able to dig down deeper into the memory performance by running tests for cache and memory subsystem, memory bandwidth, and memory latency. Again the higher is better with the exception of the memory latency test which the lower time is better.




Cachemem - This is another popular tool that will test the read and write capabilities of the modules. The measure for this benchmark is MB/s (Megabytes per second). Higher scores equate to better performance.












Far Cry - This game has been a very popular first person shooter. For this test we'll be using the Hardware OC 1.8 benchmarking program and the scoring will be in FPS, so higher is better.





Now this is the part that excites me. I love being able to see how far you can push a piece of hardware past its rated limits. However, this is also where I was disapointed. No matter how hard I tried — and I tried for hours — I could not get this memory to go beyond 1200MHz. I upped the voltage to the breaking point of safe limits, I loosened up the timings to see if it would be stable ... but no matter what I did, the memory would not pass memtest86+ for me to even try to boot into Windows without hosing my system. I was expecting even a little overclock, but nothing, not even 5MHz.  I would expect for being an "Extreme" set of RAM that it would be able to overclock easy, but this was not the case.


CPU-Z - Here is a shot of the specs running at 600MHz. As you can see, the timings and speed were automatically adjusted by the BIOS using the EPP profile set in the RAM.








Using this RAM was nice, as it took little effort to get it to run at the specified speeds. One thing I do want to make you aware of is that the memory seems to be picky on what motherboards it will perform on. A co-worker and I tried this memory set on an Abit IP-35 and a DFI 680i Lt and we could not get it to go to 1200MHz. When put into the XFX 680i SLi board it worked with no problem and no altering of the EPP set profile. I would recommend trying this memory out, but be careful on the compatibility issue. Also if you are a hardcore overclocker then you will hit a wall with this set because it will not go over 1200MHz. Even with hitting that hard wall there is still plenty of room under the cap. This allows for 1:1 overclocking at its best.

On the other hand, during testing this memory at 800MHz speeds, the set ran on par as the other sets tested. It was at 1200MHz that the memory came a little ahead on some tests, but not enough to be "extreme". The OCZ Reaper set ran at 5-5-5-18 timings and performed almost the same as the Patriot RAM did at 5-5-5-12, yet costs about $30+ less. On memory-only tests, in Sandra and Cachemem you can see the increase, but if it does not affect the overall system performance the same way then it is not worth the extra money. If you're the type of person who wants that millisecond edge, then this would be a great set for you. For the everyday gamer, however, there may be better choices out there for you.