Patriot Viper II Sector 5 PC3 20000 Cas 9 4GB Review

ccokeman - 2010-01-19 19:19:12 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: June 16, 2010
Price: $349


When you set out to overclock your system, you want to make sure you know the limitations of your hardware and work around those limits. One area where you can end up with a limitation is with your system memory. In response to the enthusiast community desire for modules that reach up to 2000MHz, 2200MHz, 2400MHz and higher, Patriot has reached a bit deeper into the chip barrel to put together a set of memory designed for use with socket 1156 Intel P55 based systems rated at 2500MHz right out of the box, using only 1.65 to 1.70 volts. Running them at 2500MHz is going to require a fairly decent overclocking Core i7 processor to get to this level, but then again, that really is the point of having a set of memory that can run at this speed. This set of memory is built for use with Intel's socket 1156 processors and P55 based motherboards. Running your Core i7 870 CPU at the default 133 bclock is going to give you a maximum memory speed of 1600MHz, a far cry from 2500MHz, so you can see the increase in speed you are looking for - 900MHz!

Patriot is targeting these modules at the extreme overclocker that is not weak in the knees when it comes to tweaking the system for maximum performance. As you can guess, getting enough memory chips to run this high is going to take some serious binning, which takes time. Time costs money and this set is going to retail at about $350. This however, is the fastest off-the-shelf kit you can currently buy. Bandwidth and performance should see some nice increases with a set of memory that can run this fast. Let's see just what they can do when paired with Intel's latest unlocked socket 1156 offering - the Core i7 875 - to see just what this set is capable of delivering.

Closer Look:

The packaging for this set of modules is not the standard blister you get used to seeing when buying a set of memory, that's inside an illustrated box. The front panel shows a picture of what you will find inside, the Viper II equipped Sector 5 series modules. The rear panel has minimal information listing free technical support as one of the attributes of the modules. The Patriot and Sector 5 logo are on the top left, with contact information for Patriot on the bottom of the panel. One little note on the bottom, is that these modules carry a lifetime warranty. This gives you some peace of mind when it comes to pushing these modules. Pulling the modules out of the package, you get the traditional clam-shell style package that holds the modules in place during transit. This memory has a commemorative icon on the front of the card for the modules, that shows this to be Patriot's 25th anniversary, a significant achievement.









As part of the "Extreme Performance" lineup, this set of Viper II Sector 5 DDR3 modules carries part number PVV34G2500C9K and are rated to run at an impressive 2500MHz, while still only requiring 1.65 to 1.7 volts. Timings are set at 9-11-9-27 to reach the rated speed of 2500MHz and at the time of writing, are just about the highest rated modules you can buy with anyone's money! Where the Viper II modules differ from the popular Viper series modules is the design of the heat sink. The original Viper series used an AOC design that used an aluminum/copper composite heat shield, while the Viper II uses an aircraft grade extruded aluminum design to handle the heat. This set of modules features memory IC's that are binned to make sure they reach the specified 2500MHz and are individually tested and qualified on the ASUS P7P55D.


The bar has been set, so let's see if these modules can do the magic number and then get a little more clock speed on top of what's available out of the box.


Product Name
Extreme Performance
Patriot Part #
PVV34G2500C9K (2 x 2GB)
Viper II Series, Sector 5 Edition
DDR3 4GB 2500MHz Enhanced
Latency Kit
Certifications / Safety
Product Warranty
Lifetime Warranty
Unit Dimensions
5.3” (L) x .27” (W) x 1.75” (H)
13.4 cm (L) x .69 cm (W) x 4.4 cm (H)
Unit UPC
Packaging Type
Packaging Dimensions
6.125” (L) x .75” (W) X 7.375” (H)
15.6 cm (L) x 1.9 cm (W) 18.7cm
Net Weight
.25 lbs / 116 gm
Gross Weight
.40 lbs / 181 gm
Units per Master Carton




All information courtesy of Patriot Memory @



Testing the Patriot Viper II Sector 5 2500MHz rated modules will require a modification to the existing test setup. My trusty little i5 750 is a trooper, but just does not have the bclock capability and memory dividers to get these modules to 2500MHz, let alone any higher. That means it's time to bring in the big guns and allow the i7 875 some time to stretch its legs. Even so, it's going to take a 209MHz bclock to get the modules to 2500MHz speeds. With this set of modules, it's go big or go home. There are few modules to compare to this set, with the best set of modules I have running out of steam at just about 2200MHz, so I will show the performance of the modules at their rated speed as close to the default frequency of the 875 as I can get, while keeping the modules at their rated speed to minimize the effects of overclocking the processor to reach the rated speed of the modules.


Testing Setup:

Comparison Modules:


CPU-Z: This application shows us the settings that we have chosen in the BIOS. Items shown in this application include CPU speed and bus settings, motherboard manufacturer, BIOS revisions, memory timings, and SPD chip information.

CPU-Z Pics


Task Manager: We use this utility to show physical memory, kernel memory, page file, and processor usage.



Overclocked settings:


This set of memory was qualified using ASUS' P7P55D motherboard so that's where my testing started. Try as I might, anything over 2508MHz was not going to happen with this CPU under air or water. Just getting to 2500MHz means this is the fastest set of memory tested here at OCC. Upping the Cas latency TRCD and TRAS and voltage well beyond what should be safe, did not give any measurable gains stable enough to pass Memtest. Seeing how this might be a limitation of the CPU or motherboard, I switched to the ASUS Maximus III Formula to validate the results. Still I had the 2508MHz limit.

So what's left? Seeing what they will do at lower speeds with tighter timings. For this testing I kept the memory voltage in the 1.65 to 1.75 volt range as set in the BIOS and adjusted the QPI voltage and vDIMM as necessary. Cas 6 was limited to 1960MHz running at 6-9-6-24. Cas 7 maxed out at 2058MHz, yet Cas 8 was able to push all the way to 2490MHz at 8-11-27. At each limit, there was a hard line that more QPI or memory voltage did not help. At this limit I would lose 1 module and only show 2GB of memory at boot and in Memtest.

Normally for the overclocking testing, I like to show the modules running as high a clock speed as possible, with the CPU down-clocked to as close to the rated frequency to minimize the increase in performance from just clock speed alone. Seeing how these modules were already at the limit of my hardware, I ran the clock speeds up as high as they would go at Cas 8 and pushed the CPU to its highest stable clock speed as an alternative to showing similar results. The Cas 8 scores at 2490 were similar enough to the Cas 9 results, that the results would not show off the capabilities of the modules. Where they do show off their ability, is in the Batman testing. When I ran the Intel Core i7 875 in this test for the review, the memory speed was just over 1800MHz using timings of 7-9-7-24. At 4392MHz on the CPU and the 1800MHz clock speed, the 875 delivered 369FPS. At a lower clock speed and higher memory speed of 2490MHz 9-11-9-27, I reached 391FPS. More memory bandwidth, does indeed help.



The maximum memory speed for each set of modules when overclocked is a measure of how well the modules ran on these particular modules and test system. As such, your results may differ in either a positive or negative way based on the capabilities of your hardware. That said, your mileage may vary!



The benchmarks used in this review include the following:



PCMark Vantage: With this benchmark, I will be running the system suite, as well as the memory test suite. The measurement for the system suite will be the total score. The measurement for memory performance is the total memory score.


















SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP2: In this program, I will be running the following benchmarks: Cache and Memory, Memory Bandwidth, and Memory Latency. Higher is better in all tests, except for Memory Latency, where lower is better.








In the PCMark Vantage testing, the Patriot PC3 20000 Sector 5 modules are hampered by the loose timings. At the 2000MHz, Sector 5 kit scores slightly higher. The memory scores are much lower than expected. Two motherboards and two complete installs of the OS gave similar results. In Sandra, the 2500MHz rated modules were the highest performing in each test.


Geekbench 2.1 provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks engineered to quickly and accurately measure processor and memory performance. Designed to make benchmarks easy to run and easy to understand, Geekbench takes the guesswork out of producing robust and reliable benchmark results.





















Super PI Mod 1.5: is a program designed to calculate Pi up to the 32nd millionth digit after the decimal and is used as both a benchmarking utility and simple stress test to check your overclock before moving forward with more rigorous testing. The world records for this benchmark utility are hotly contested.



The Geekbench system score is based on the overall speed of the processor, so the results across the test field fall in a relatively close range. The memory performance and bandwidth tests show the benefit of higher speed memory as the results scale with memory speed. The additional bandwidth the PC3 20000 Sector 5 modules deliver, helps the set deliver the lowest 32m time with a seventeen second margin when running the CPU at stock speeds. Overclocking the system allowed me to reach the best Super Pi I have run.



Batman: Arkham Asylum is a new game that brings together two bitter foes, The Joker and Batman. The Joker Has taken over Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. Your task is to rein the Joker back in and restore order. This game makes use of PhysX technology to create a rich environment for you to ply your trade.



















The Patriot Sector 5 2500MHz modules were faster than any of the other sets at their stock speeds. However, when the rest of the modules were overclocked to their peaks, the difference in performance was negated due to running tighter timings with similar CPU speeds. However, cranking up the CPU and memory delivers a massive increase in performance.



This set of memory from Patriot is easily one for the person who wants to overclock their system. The reason I say this, is that you will need to overclock the system to reach the 2500MHz speeds these modules deliver. This being said, you don't need to kill them with voltage to get there, as they only require 1.65-1.7 volts to get to 2500MHz. Your CPU will need to be a Core i7 860, 870 or the just released K-spec Core i7 875 to reach the potential of these modules, though. Without the higher memory multipliers, other chips will need a huge bclock to get to the 2500MHz promised land. It will take at a minimum, a motherboard/CPU combo that can handle a 209MHz bclock, just to get to 2500MHz. These modules are certified on ASUS P7P55D motherboard and are guaranteed to work at the rated speeds on this board. I did try another ASUS board and used the Maximus III Formula and reached the same clock speed and timings with both it, and the P7P55D Deluxe.

The performance delivered with these Patriot modules was easily the best in the field in most of the testing. In one test, the results were less than expected - PCMark Vantage. The memory score was less than what I felt it should be. Two separate motherboards and two clean OS installs delivered the same result. When it came time to overclock the modules, the system was tapped out at 2500MHz on air. Maybe some sub-zero cooling could help these modules scale a bit higher. These modules will, however, run at lower speeds with tighter timings. Cas 6 was run at up to 1940MHz, Cas 7 to 2058 and surprisingly Cas 8 to 2490MHz. The only problem is to get the modules to scale, you need to bump up the TRCD setting in the memory sub-timings. This leads to some erosion in the performance potential. The extruded aluminum heat shields kept the modules cool even when running almost 1.8 volts through them and trying for some big gains in performance. Keeping a fan on them is mandatory at this level, but with the rated voltage they are nice and cool, making them a worthy successor to the AOC heat shields on the Viper series.

These Sector 5 modules from Patriot are priced at $349. No doubt about it that this is a steep price tag for a 4GB set of memory, but at the upper-end of the performance spectrum, you have to bare the cost of admission into the ownership club. Much like buying a Ferrari or Bugatti, it costs a bit more to go this fast. Pricing aside, the Patriot Sector 5 2500MHz modules deliver the high clock speeds you will need to make sure your CPU overclock can be maximized without the memory as the limiting factor. When it comes to performance at the top-end, they definitely deliver.