DDR4 memory kits are steadily superseding DDR3 DIMMs due to competitive pricing and the advent of Intel’s LGA1151 chipset which supports speeds in excess of 3200MHz. Furthermore, DDR4 modules require less voltage to remain stable despite the typical increase in memory bandwidth. Recently, professional overclocker Shamino set an astounding world record and overclocked the G.Skill Ripjaws 4 to 4255MHz using a mere 1.3 volts. Clearly, this is an extreme case and the majority of DDR4 kits available to consumers range between 2400MHz and 4000MHz. Plus, the performance difference in gaming tasks primarily revolves around your system’s graphics card, and CPU. Nevertheless, it’s still important to select high-quality DIMMs to keep your PC perfectly stable and compliment the other components.
The Patriot Viper series is synonymous for offering excellent memory speeds at an affordable price point. Here’s a brief description of the product directly from the manufacturer:
“Patriot Memory’s Viper 4 Series memory modules are designed with true performance in mind. Built for the latest Intel® Skylake processor utilizing the 100 series platform, the Viper 4 series provides the best performance and stability for the most demanding computer environments.
The Viper 4 series utilizes a custom designed high performance heat shield for superior heat dissipation to ensure rock solid performance even when using the most taxing applications. Built from the highest quality Build of Materials, Patriot Memory’s Viper 4 Series memory modules are hand tested and validated for system compatibility.
Available in dual kits, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB kits, Patriot Memory’s Viper 4 Series will be offered at speeds from 2400MHz up to 3600MHz and XMP 2.0 ready. Hand tested for quality assurance the Viper 4 series is backed by a lifetime warranty.”
As you can see, the latest version of the Viper range comes in a variety of capacities and memory speeds to suit a wide range of user requirements. Given the impressive 3200MHz speed, 16-16-16 timings and respectable voltage, I expect to see some superb numbers which legitimately rival the best dual channel kits we’ve tested!
Packaging and Accessories
Patriot have adopted a clean, bold design to the memory’s packaging which makes it easy to read the key specifications while admiring the DIMM’s colour scheme. Here we can see a visual run down of the memory’s speed, capacity, XMP version and other essential statistics. Many kits on the market utilize pretty plain blister packs which don’t enthuse a luxury feel. In this case, the packaging draws you in and leaves a very positive initial impression.
On the rear section, there’s information about Patriot’s lifetime warranty, a brief synopsis of the product, and links to the company’s presence across various social media platforms.
A Closer Look
From an aesthetics standpoint, the DIMMs have a rather understated look and targets the mainstream gaming audience. Any red and black heatspreader combination is going to become a popular choice, and the different shades combine quite nicely. Another striking touch is the contrast between the textured black finish and matte section towards the PCB. I’m also quite fond of the sophisticated Viper logo and small gap between the main heatspreader which creates an impressive visual effect. Sadly, the green PCB is difficult to overlook and detracts from the attractive design. If a black PCB was used instead, the memory would be the perfect choice for a high-end build. Despite these qualms, once the RAM is installed, you’re not going to notice the PCB colour in an enclosed chassis.
Motherboard Installation Pictures
Here we can see the DIMMs installed in our memory testing motherboard, the X99 ASUS ROG Rampage V Extreme. I have to commend Patriot as the wine red colour on the memory creates such a unique style. In an ideal world, I’d prefer to see a smaller memory label because it has the propensity to distract the end-user from the superb theme.
Test System and Procedure
Before we delve into any testing we would like to take this opportunity to review our test system.
Test System (Intel X99 DDR4)
- Motherboard – Asus Rampage V Extreme X99
- Processor – Intel Core i7 5960X at Stock With Turbo Enabled
- RAM – Varies By Review
- Graphics Card – Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti
- CPU Cooler – Thermaltake Water 3.0 AIO unit with Gelid GC-Extreme thermal paste
- Power Supply – Be Quiet Power Zone 1000W
- Main Storage Drive – Crucial MX100 256GB SSD over SATA III interface
- Chassis – Lian Li T80 Test Bench
- Operating System – Windows 8.1 64 Bit
In our RAM reviews, we keep things relatively simple. We put the RAM kit that is being tested into our test system and we benchmark it at its primary XMP profile using a variety of benchmarks and tests. Once complete we then overclock the kit to see how far we can push it in raw frequency terms, then benchmark it again using the same combination of tests with a CPU-Z validation of the overclock.
- Cinebench R15 Multithreaded Test
- AIDA64 Engineer Edition Memory Bandwidth and Latency Test
- SiSoft Sandra Tech Support (Engineer) Memory Bandwidth Test
- WPrime 32M Calculation Test
- 3DMark Fire Strike Physics Test
The overclocking process was relatively straightforward and I initially tried to reach 3350MHz without any alternations in memory timings. Sadly, this wasn’t possible even after applying 1.45v. Eventually, I decided to settle for 3340MHz which required timings of 17-17-17-38. Despite this, I still wanted more and tweaked the timings slightly to 18-18-18-39 to obtain the final result of 3342MHz. This is an increase of 142MHz over the already high stock speed and the best DDR4 overclock frequency we’ve recorded thus far. Please note, it’s advisable to dial back the timings and find a more balanced overclock. During our testing procedure, it’s vital to eke out every inch of performance and find the maximum bandwidth.
The memory kit’s stock performance in Cinebench is astonishing and a huge boost compared to other products on the market. It’s even surpassed the usual margin of error you would encounter and genuinely surprised me.
Once overclocked, the DIMMs achieved an identical score and almost reached the top position. At first, I was a little baffled by this notion, and ran the benchmark five times before taking an average figure. Each run was within 1% of the 1470 score, which means it’s completely accurate. Once again, you have to admire the memory’s ability to surpass the top-of-the-range G.Skill TridentZ in CPU tasks.
As expected, the product’s dual channel configuration has a noticeable impact on memory bandwidth, and showcases the importance of quad channel configurations on X99 systems. Nevertheless, the memory kit recorded impressive read and write numbers which once again beat its closest competitor. Unfortunately, copy speeds were disappointing but this might have been down to a weird software bug or background process.
A similar pattern occurs during overclocked testing as once again, the memory manages excellent red and writes, but has some room for improvement in copy rates.
In terms of memory latency, the DIMMs scored extremely well with a rating of 63ns. This isn’t too far away from the G.Skill TridentZ despite being a more budget-friendly option.
Overclocking the memory kit reduces the overall latency figure by 3 nano seconds. While it’s still behind the G.Skill TridentZ, the difference is quite small.
Rather surprisingly, there’s a marked difference between the Viper 4 and TridentZ in Sanda’s memory bandwidth benchmark. This is puzzling, but the numbers aren’t a million miles off and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
Although, once overclocked, the deficit is dramatically reduced and even allows the Viper 4 to attain a better Aggregate score.
The memory’s compute time is ridiculously quick and aided by the impressive stock frequency of 3200MHz.
After running the benchmark with the overclock, there was a slightly longer Pi calculation time. The gap is tiny though and easily within a margin of error.
3DMark Fire Strike
3D performance numbers are usually bound by the graphics card’s capabilities but this doesn’t mean memory bandwidth isn’t a contributing factor. Here we can see, another top-notch score although the majority of this will be down to driver improvements from NVIDIA.
The overclocked results are equally as impressive and progressively edging towards 17890.
The Patriot Viper 4 in this particular 16GB dual channel 3200MHz configuration can only be purchased from one online store in the USA. Also, when navigating to Patriot’s official page, it says the product is “not available online” and the section outlining official resellers needs updating. This also means, you cannot purchase the memory in European territories which is a crying shame. Nevertheless, I expect this to only be a temporary problem as stores begin to stock the modules in greater numbers.
In terms of value, the memory currently costs $115 plus any additional shipping charges. This is great value when you consider the G.Skill TridentZ 3200MHz dual channel kit has a retail price of $140. Clearly, it’s a personal choice if you feel the black PCB, and improved aesthetics is worth the extra money.
Patriot is one of the leading names in the memory industry and produces a whole host of products to suit budget users and extreme usage scenarios. The Viper 4 16GB dual channel 3200MHz kit manages to combine both, and provides great stock performance at a significantly cheaper price than the competition. Furthermore, the DIMMs utilize a sophisticated design which oozes build quality. Instead of opting for flashy LEDs, Patriot decided to adopt a subtle look which works across a wide range of gaming systems. While I’d love to see other colour schemes, it makes business sense to focus on the red and black theme to maximize sales.
Clearly, the main caveat is the memory’s green PCB. When analysing the modules up close, the PCB’s colour creates an outdated feel and could deter many customers from purchasing. However, once the memory is installed, you’re not really going to notice the green PCB. During CES 2016, I discussed the reasoning behind this decision and it seems Patriot had to use high-quality ICs which only came via the green finish.
The memory’s stock performance is magnificent and consistently matched the best dual channel alternatives on the market. This is especially the case during CPU benchmarks, as the numbers in both Cinebench and WPrime left me astounded. Despite the already high memory frequency, it wasn’t too difficult to push the DIMMs further and achieve a very fast overclock. Granted, towards the later sections, I had to loosen some of the timings and apply 1.45 volts but this is still within acceptable limits. If this was my personal rig, I’d probably scale the overclock back slightly and tighten the timings to achieve a better balance.
Once overclocked, the memory reported significant boosts and showcased the kind of improvements you can expect from a manual overclock. To be fair, this can only be witnessed in specialized benchmarks or certain software, but it’s worthy of praise. Overall, what matters most is performance per dollar/pound/euro and I cannot see many other memory kits matching the Viper 4’s exceptional value. Patriot just needs to make sure that consumers can easily purchase the memory from a wide array of stores worldwide.
- Attractive heat spreader design
- Great overclocking headroom
- Highest DDR4 overclock we’ve achieved so far
- Fantastic value
- Lifetime warranty
- Luxury packaging
- Superb stock performance
- Green PCB
- Only available in the US at the time of writing
“The Patriot Viper 4 3200MHz dual channel kit offers astounding performance at a very respectable price point. It’s also capable of reaching elite class overclocks while only requiring an incremental voltage change. The only real downside is the green PCB, but you’re not likely to notice it in a standard chassis environment.”
Patriot Viper 4 DDR4 3200MHz 16GB (2x8GB) Dual Channel Memory Kit Review
Thank you Patriot for providing us with this sample.