Patriot Sector 5 2x2GB 2000MHz Cas 8 Reviewccokeman - November 12, 2009
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Intel's Nehalem architecture went mainstream with the release of the Core i5/i7 just a few short months ago. Not only did the socket change from 1366 pins to 1156 pins, but the memory requirements changed as well, with triple channel memory being dropped from the socket 1156 line up. This leaves you with a dual or single channel configuration as your only options. Of course, performance is enhanced when running in dual channel mode. Even though the amount of channels was reduced, the voltage requirement of 1.65 volts is the same required for the socket 1366 processors. In the past, we had been used to DDR3 modules requiring 1.9 volts and higher for insane speeds and timings. The Intel specification put the kibosh on that and the memory manufacturers responded with sets that now do this with voltages that were unheard of last year. To this end, Patriot has put together the Viper II series Sector 5 modules that are designed to be run on the Intel Core i5 platform at 2000MHz with relatively tight 8-8-8-24 timings, all while using only 1.65 volts to achieve that goal. The Viper II series heatsink is noticeably different than the AOC design used on the Viper Series of Patriot modules. How this will impact cooling and ultimately performance is something I will have to explore.
The retail packaging for the Patriot Viper II Sector 5 modules is a bit more elaborate than the traditional plastic clamshell. The front of the package contains an image of the DDR3 Sector 5 modules. Patriot has includes an activation key for the popular Futuremark benchmark 3DMark Vantage as an added bonus. The rear of the package is pretty spartan, containing contact information and pointing out the availability of free technical support in eight different languages. Along the bottom you see that the modules have a lifetime warranty, something that can come in handy after a benchmarking session gone wrong. The only mention of the modules' speed or model number is on a sticker on the bottom right hand side of the rear panel, showing that this set of memory has the model number PVV34G2000LLKB.
When you go to pull the modules from the box, you find that the modules are in a plastic clamshell indicative of a typical retail package. From the front, you get the same graphic as on the retail box. Flipping the package over, you get a view of the Sector 5 modules and the activation key for 3DMark Vantage. The manual opens up to provide some installation and trouble shooting tips.
What you notice right away is that the modules differ in appearance from the traditional Viper series. Gone are the Aluminum/Copper composite heatspreaders, replaced by an aluminum-only heatspreader design. These modules from Patriot are rated to run at 2000MHz with latencies of 8-8-8-24 at 1.65 volts to stay within the Intel specified maximum voltage. The modules feature an XMP profile for 2000MHz and ICs that are "presorted" in an effort to provide the best modules for the enthusiast. The heatspreaders have changed dramatically from the Viper series design with the modules taking on a more aggressive look. There are fewer cooling fins in total but the fins are larger and have some ribbing internally and externally across the fins instead of only externally. This ribbing increases the available surface area to promote better cooling.
The Patriot Viper II Sector 5 modules are a good looking set of modules that should add to the look of your build, but looks are only part of the equation; performance being the other. What good are looks if you can't perform? Let's see if the good looks translate into good performance.