Patriot Viper Fin DDR3 PC14400 2 x 1 GB Reviewccokeman - March 26, 2008
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Motherboard manufacturers are quickly adopting DDR3 as the next leap forward to meet the demands of Intel's ever increasing front side bus speeds. The still unreleased QX9770 sports a 400MHz core clock speed standard. To natively support it, DDR 1600MHZ (800MHz) speed memory which meets this specification will be needed from the system memory manufacturers. With DDR2 system memory so incredibly inexpensive right now ($130 for four gigabytes) and DDR3 prices for just two gigabytes of system memory still in the $230 and up range, it makes adopting the new technology a financial commitment. You might say that the high latency, additional cost and poor performance in comparison to the previous generation of system memory makes adopting this new technology a poor decision. I remember the same things being said about DDR2 when it first arrived on the market. For enthusiasts looking to take advantage of the performance the next generation of chipsets and processors provide, you will need to step up to DDR3 modules. Since AMD has no plans to go with DDR3 until 2009 or beyond, this memory will be used by the Intel crowd exclusively.
The Patriot Diamond Viper Fin PC3 14440 2 x 1 GB modules feature timings of 8-8-8-20 at DDR3 1800MHz speeds using 1.9 volts to maintain these timings at the rated speed. 1.9 volts! That sounds like a lot of volts for the modules to handle. Exactly 0.4 volts above the JEDEC spec of 1.5 volts. Running that kind of voltage through a set of modules sounds risky, but Patriot backs its modules with a lifetime warranty and uses patented AOC technology heatspreaders. But that's not all, these modules carry with them that little bit extra. The modules have two XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) profiles that allow for settings to be preloaded by the BIOS, very similar to Nvidia's EPP programing. The XMP profile is supposed to be more aggressive than the Nvidia solution, but you will need a board with an X38 or better chipset to use the profile. Let's see how these modules compare to several others on the market.
The Patriot Viper Fin modules do not come in the standard retail blister pack. Instead, they arrived in a box that features a window in the front to show off the modules. The rear panel speaks about the warranty, free tech support as well as the engineering benefits of the Patriot modules. A specific highlight is that all Patriot DDR3 modules are hand tested. A nice fact to know.
Removing the modules from the box shows that they indeed are shipped in a clamshell, rather than loose in the package. Included with the modules is a detailed troubleshooting and installation guide to help the end user through any troubles that may occur.
The Patriot Viper Fin PC3 14400 modules are rated for 1800MHz at timings of 8-8-8-20 using 1.9 volts. The Viper Fin Low Latency series of modules are the extreme performance modules in Patriot's arsenal. The Viper Fin name is derived from the unique heatspreader designed by Patriot. One thing I noticed on these modules that is different from the literature on its website is that the modules are the PC3 14400 kit but list 1866MHz on the module. Something a little special maybe?
The Viper Fin heatsink is an aluminum/copper composite that Patriot calls ACC technology. The inner layer that contacts the modules is composed of copper to draw the heat away from the modules. The outer layer is aluminum and features additional raised ribs along the outer surface to provide more surface area and turbulence to promote faster heat dissipation.
Now that we know a little bit more about the modules, let's see how they perform.