Patriot Viper Series Tri Channel DDR3 PC3 10666 3x2 GB Review

ccokeman - 2008-09-23 12:43:05 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: December 21, 2008
Price: $266


Patriots Viper series of modules are geared toward the enthusiast. Flashy heatspreaders and performance capabilities beyond their specifications are what I have seen in the past. This PC3-10666 Enhanced Latency kit contains three, 2GB modules for a combined total of six gigabytes of DDR3 10666 memory. Six gigs of memory?! I cant even use the  four gigs I have currently installed, I hear you saying. To take advantage of this much memory you will need a 64-bit operating system to address the entire six gigabytes. Sure you could install it on a 32-bit system, but would there be any performance difference between a three and six gigabyte setup? I'll have to see now, won't I? This Viper series set of memory from Patriot is part of the Enhanced Latency lineup and features latencies of 9-9-9-24 using 1.65 volts, the maximum recommended vDIMM according to the Intel specification for the Core I7 processors. The modules are certified for use on the X58 based motherboards and carry an XMP profile for easy system setup.

Closer Look:

The Viper Series Tri Channel PC3-10666 come pakaged in a box rather than the clamshell or blister pack so commonly used for packaging memory modules. The front of the box gives a preview of the modules showing off the signature Viper series heatspreaders. Highlights noted are the XMP profile and the fact that these modules are designed specifically for use in Tri Channel mode on motherboards featuring the Intel X58 chipset. The rear panel lists contact information, tech support information, and the fact that these modules carry a lifetime warranty.














The modules are contained inside the box locked into a clamshell that is easily opened. The three Viper Series modules are visible as well as an installation and troubleshooting manual, just in case.



The Viper Series modules are targeted at the enthusiast and gamer. This set is rated at 9-9-9-24 at 1333MHz using 1.65 volts to reach this speed. The modules are clad in Patriots proprietary ACC (Aluminum Copper Composite) heatspreaders that are blue in color. The ACC heatspreaders have a copper inner layer that is in contact with the modules to draw the heat from the modules, and then transfers it out through the aluminum to be dissipated through the fins. If you look closely along the fins you will see a rib running from the top to the bottom of the Viper heatspreader. This alone increases the surface area to provide additional cooling "capacity".




Lets see if the increase in system memory from three gigabytes to a six gigabyte setup provides an increase in performance for the additional cost.




When it comes time to purchase your new memory modules, most people look to review sites to get a good idea on the performance capabilities of the memory they want to buy. Why, you ask? So they don't have to go through the endless buy it and return or sell it routine to find the set of their dreams. Hey, we do it for you! How? By testing the memory with a series of benchmarks that show some of the capabilities of the system memory. Synthetic benchmarks as well as real gameplay are used to show the capabilities. Also, there are comparisons to other performance modules, just so that this is not a one-sided affair. That just would not do, and offers up only the knowledge of what the featured product can do.

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.







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



Overclocked settings:

With stock latencies at 9-9-9-24, I had to find out just how tight the timings would go at the factory default voltages. By manually adjusting the timings and setting the voltage to the 1.5 volt JEDEC spec voltage the modules easily ran timings equal to the Qimonda 3x1GB set. To get the modules higher, I just kept increasing the bclock frequency upward until the system would not boot. I then adjusted the timings and voltage of the modules and pushed further until I finally hit the wall at a 209 bclock frequency. Adjusting the voltage up to 1.7 volts did not allow for an increase any higher without failing memtest. Since the timings were loose at the low end, I kept the timings at the defaults for overclocking since additional voltage did not allow for any tightening of the latencies. All said and done, an increase of 169MHz on the memory without a severe increase in the supply voltage to the DIMMs should offer a nice performance boost for real world applications and gaming.


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. A comparison will be made of the performance at DDR3 1333 for a comparison point, and the highest achievable speed for the Patriot Tri channel kit.


















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






In the PCMark Vantage testing, the 6GB Viper series modules perform at a level far exceeding that of the 3GB set from Qimonda. There is not one test in this series of benchmarks where the 3GB set is the better performer. It could be a different story with a different O/S but it seems Vista and 6GB of system memory seem to be the next logical step when using an Intel X58 motherboard, coupled with a Core i7 processor.



Company of Heroes is a real time strategy game set during World War II. The object is to occupy and control the ground you capture, while forcing the opponents to capitulate. We will use the in-game performance test to measure the performance of the system.


The settings used in this test are listed below:


















Higher is Better


From 1024x768 to 1680x1050 the Viper Series modules offer up a real world performance increase. With no changes, other than the total amount of system memory, the system responded with a significant measurable performance increase.



It's nice to see a product show real measurable results that flat blow away another current generation product. At the same 7-7-7-20 latencies, at 1.5 volts, the Viper series of modules offers superior performance when compared to a three gigabyte set of memory with equivalent timings. To take advantage of the benefits of a set of six gigabyte modules you will want to use a 64-bit operating system. XMP Profiles make it easy for the novice to push the modules for additional performance and can give a hint as to where you may want to improve on those settings by manually configuring your system. So are six gigabytes going to bring any real performance increases? In my testing, there certainly were significant increases across the board. When overclocked to 835Mhz, they delivered even more. Since Intel has said that going above 1.65 volts is going to cause harm to the processor, I kept the voltages in that neighborhood, never exceeding 1.68 volts, just to see if the modules would respond to the higher vDIMM. Because the modules are running at a low 1.65 volts, they were never even warm to the touch. The airflow over the modules from the heatsink fan was sufficient to keep module temperatures in check for the duration of the testing. Pricing on this set of modules comes in around $265, which is actually lower than some of the 2GB sets of performance DDR3 I tested earlier this year. This is kind of surprising to see, but is a welcome relief to those who had thought 6GB of memory specified for the X58 and Core i7 platform would come with a severe price penalty, that is not the case. Having the ability to run 1333MHz at 7-7-7-20 latencies and offering a significant increase in performance the Patriot Viper Series Tri Channel DDR3 kit designed for use with Intels latest is definitely worthy of your hard earned dollars. The modules overclock past DDR 1600Mhz speeds, run cool, are priced competitively, and just look great. You can't overlook this set of memory for your new system!