A few months ago I took a look at a Limited Edition kit from Patriot which was built specifically for the Intel Extreme Masters championships, andall in all, I was very impressed with what the kit had to offer, both in terms of styling, but more so on the performance side, with its bandwidth the opened right up with only the slightest of overclocks. The Viper kit that I’m looking at today is pretty much the same as the IEM kit that I saw previously, the only difference being its capacity and colour. Hopefully the increase in capacity, still allows for a large a mount of bandwidth to be opened up with only a slight overclock like previously seen.
The Viper kit comes in four colours, giving user the choice to match their systems colour scheme, namely Limited Edition blue, green, red and black as seen below. The styling of the kits is the same throughout the range, with a simple heat spreader design and a glossy surface to the Viper branding.
- Asus Maximus V Formula
- Intel Core i7 3770k
- AMD Radeon HD 7970
- Corsair H100i
- Corsair HX1050W
- Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD
- Lian Li T60
- AOC E2795VH
Clocked at 2133MHz at stock through X.M.P. configuration, the Viper 16GB has near identical timings to the 8GB kits with a slightly slower cycle time of 30 with the remainder of the timings staying at 11-11-11 and a 3T command rate.
After CPU-Z had confirmed our settings had been applied, we fired up AIDA64 to check the stock performance of the memory on our Z77 motherboard.
One small detail that I will point out from within CPU-Z is the unusual use of a 3T command rate – typically kits with X.M.P are seen with a command rate of 1 or 2T.
In a similar fashion to the IEM kits, the 16GB Viper kit has a pretty good stock bandwidth with 19793MB/s read, 18519MB/s write and 22083MB/s copy with a latency of 39.2ns
Seeing how far the kit can stretch its legs out, the first step is to push the clocks as far as they go with the timings left at stock – 11-11-11-30. When pushing the kit further, the CPU is also overclocked to open up the memory controller and in turn give scope for higher clocks. Working on the dividers to start, the Viper kit easily jumps up to the 2200MHz divider although anything above this resulted in a no boot scenario. Moving over to the BCLK, we know these kits don’t have much extra leeway in them and consequently a final clock at stock timings of 2222MHz was achieved.
In a similar fashion to the IEM kits, the pure Viper kits see a good gain in bandwidth with a fixed timing overclock with the gains best seen on the write bandwidth, with a gain of 2129MB/s, whilst read and copy speeds saw a gain of 1847MB/s and 2071MB/s respectively.
Allowing the timings to run free a little, there is a bit more headroom for pushing this kit a little further, although we do know from past experience that this is only by a small amount and massive overclocks should not be expected.
Trying the next divider up from 2200MHz resulted in a no boot scenario, so overclocking on the BCLK is all that remains. Edging the BCLK forward bit by bit, it didn’t take long before the kit topped out and a no post situation was seen. Leaving the BCLK at 101.7MHz resulted in an overall memory speed of 2238MHz, an overclock of 105MHz.
Whilst the gains over the fixed timing overclock are not massive, the timings remain fairly close to stock, meaning that any gains that are had are still going to be a good improvement to overall system performance.
Having seen the Viper kit in the form of the Intel Extreme Master Limited Edition 8GB kit not too long ago, I did have an idea of what was in stock, but the crucial difference between the two kits is the capacity.
Whilst 8GB kits are pretty much the standard and just about perfect for most everyday tasks, the growing number of 16GB dual channel kits on the market are showing a slight shift in trends. SFF builds are becoming more an more popular amongst enthusiasts and whilst this is great news and the sales of mini-ITX boards for example are going up, until recently, there have been not-so-many kits to choose from to maximise the capacity of these boards two DIMM slots.
This is where kits like this one come in and more importantly to see that whilst the capacity has doubled, the performance is still just as good, even when given a slight overclock. Pricing at this region of the market is also very good with the 16GB near to 2x the price of the 8GB kit as we would expect at around £120.
eTeknix Says: These new 16GB dual channel kits are soon going to have more competition, but for the meantime, the ‘Black Mamba’ Viper kits have got the bite and venom to put the competition to rest, still making it one of my top choices.