Which memory should be preferred for systems based on the Skylake or Broadwell-E processors? The question is far from idle. The introduction of DDR4 SDRAM opened up considerable opportunities for the industry, and memory manufacturers, who are clearly bored with the long stagnation from DDR3, launched a fierce competition aimed at conquering new boundaries of bandwidth. As a result, there is a paradoxical situation when Intel considers standard memory types for its DDR4-1866 and DDR4-2133 processors, and on the shelves of stores it is possible to find offers with twice higher speeds reaching DDR4-4266. But the optimal memory option for a modern PC based on the latest processors, most likely, should be looked for somewhere in the middle.
As we know from the results of previous tests, in general, increasing the frequency of memory affects the performance of the system is not too strong. The bandwidth of any two-channel memory DDR4 for most applications in general is enough. Therefore, a noticeable difference can be seen only in two situations: either in applications that actively work with large volumes of data, or with an increase in the memory frequency, not by one, but by several steps at once. In other words, even if we are talking about the choice of memory modules for a high-performance system, it is logical not to look at the most high-speed version available, but on a set of modules that offers an attractive ratio of volume, operating frequency and price. Moreover, in most cases DDR4-memory of the “middle level” can be overclocked afterwards.
In order to assess the current state of the retail market for DDR4 memory, we analyzed the prices for two-channel sets with a capacity of 16 GB. If, for example, to focus on the assortment of the largest North American store Newegg.com, the picture is as follows:
The difference in price between slow and extremely fast sets is more than threefold. But the most steep increase in value starts only somewhere after the DDR4-3000 mark. Therefore, the most advantageous options for mass users are kits up to DDR4-3000, and DDR4-3200 memory can be recommended for high performance enthusiasts. The use of especially high-speed modules with frequencies of the order of 4 GHz is the fate of radical overclockers and experimenters. Such kits are not only unreasonably expensive, but also require some kind of violence over the processor memory controller, which can lead to even failure of the CPU during long-term operation.
Actually, the assortment structure itself gives a hint which DDR4 modules can be considered the best choice. So, the widest choice of memory kits is presented today in the categories DDR4-2400 and DDR4-3000. And in second place by the number of offers – DDR4-2133 and DDR4-3200 SDRAM.
In this situation, it is not surprising that many memory manufacturers for enthusiasts refuse to release extremely high-speed kits. Availability in the assortment of offers of the DDR4-4000 and higher-speed level can boast only the most ambitious of the memory manufacturers – G.Skill and Corsair. Most of their competitors do not consider it necessary to supply memory with frequencies above DDR4-3600, and many of them are generally limited to the release of modules with a frequency of 3.0-3.2 GHz, for which there is a steady mass demand. And it is on testing such memory that we plan to focus in the near future.
This review will focus on the dual-channel 16-gigabyte DDR4-3200 package provided by Patriot Memory. This company has been producing quality memory for more than 30 years. And despite the fact that around the name of Patriot there is no such marketing hype as, for example, around Kingston or G.Skill, its products for decades offer an excellent combination of performance and price. Today in the Patriot range there are different sets of DDR4 with a frequency of up to 3.6 GHz, but for testing we received not the most high-speed option. The manufacturer considered that it best reveals all the advantages of its current line of DDR4-3200 memory. And in part we are ready to agree with him, but about everything in order.
⇡ # Patriot Viper 4 PV416G320C6K: detailed dating
Patriot’s DDR4 memory portfolio includes two lines: Viper 4 and Viper Elite. To tell the truth, we did not notice the fundamental differences between the characteristics of the kits included in these series. In fact, the Viper Elite series is interesting due to its specific radiators, which are available in three different colors – red, blue and gray. But the Viper 4 series is more extensive in terms of the nomenclature and is developing faster. So in this review we will talk about the set of DDR4-3200 modules from the Viper 4 series – PV416G320C6K. The kit with such an article includes a pair of 8 GB modules each and is positioned by the manufacturer as fully compatible with the current Intel platforms: LGA1151 and LGA2011-3.
All these basic details are given on the packaging of the kit, which is a cardboard box with a transparent window through which one of the modules is visible. Inside the box, the memory straps are further enclosed in a plexiglass form, which serves as an additional protection against damage during transport. There is no delivery kit, in addition to the modules, only a Viper logo sticker is proposed, under which Patriot releases not only memory modules, but various gaming peripherals.
Against the background of what some other vendors began installing on their overclocker memory modules, the appearance of the representatives of the Viper 4 series can not be called too effective. However, the heat sink system applied by Patriot is not as simple as it seems at first glance. The fact is that it consists not of two, but of three parts: two black aluminum heat-sealing plates, between which a printed circuit board with chips is clamped, and a red comb-shaped radiator bolted to them from above. All three parts are painted anodizing, and on both planes of the modules are glued decorative black-and-burgundy stickers with a white inscription “Viper”. In the end, it turns out to be a little gloomy, but such modules fit normally into modern gaming systems, the components for which are usually performed in black and red color.
Many memory kits for overclockers are equipped with oversized radiators, the dimensions of which create problems when assembling a computer. However, the developers of Patriot have foreseen everything. The height of the Viper 4 assembly is quite decent 41 mm, but if one of the modules does not fit under the CPU cooler, then you can remove the red heatsink-comb from it. It is fixed on two screws, and after its dismantling, the height of the modules decreases to 33 mm.
So only the thickness of the cooling system can become a source of problems. Due to the fact that the heat-sealing plates are massive enough, the thickness of the module in the assembly is 8.5 mm, and on some motherboards with densely planted DIMM slots, the Viper 4 memory slots may not fit next to each other.
If you look at the photo above, it seems that the bottom of the radiator plate is moving away from the chips. But actually it is not. Just to fix the plates on the chips a thick strip of elastic heat-conducting material is used. Therefore, when compressing them from above with an additional radiator-comb, they naturally protrude downward, but at the same time they fit tightly to the memory chips.
On one side of the Patriot Viper 4 modules PV416G320C6K you can see the label with the marking. From it you can get some information about the specifications of the kit – its composition and volume, the target bandwidth and the delay of CAS Latency. However, this is far from exhaustive information. The complete list of characteristics Patriot reports exclusively on its website. For the set of PV416G320C6K that we are considering, it looks like this:
- series: Viper 4;
- the number of modules and the volume: 2 modules of 8 GB;
- rated frequency: 3200 MHz;
- delay (tCL-tRCD-tRP-tRAS): 16-16-16-36;
- operating voltage: 1.35 V;
- support XMP: yes, XMP 2.0.
That is, we have quite ordinary overclocking DDR4-memory of the middle level. As follows from the specifications, the DDR4-3200 mode is achieved not only by selecting the chips, but also by increasing the operating voltage to 1.35 V with simultaneous easing of the delay circuit. However, unlike many other similar sets, Patriot managed to avoid additional overstating of timings tRCD and tRP. This clearly indicates the use in such modules of chips, not manufactured by SK Hynix. In order not to overload the intrigue, we immediately look under the radiators.
And here we are not waiting for the worst news. The set PV416G320C6K is assembled on the basis of Samsung K4A4G085WD-BCPB chips. These are old enough, but very popular among the overclockers, the four-gigabit Samsung D-die, which can be found in the modules, designed for speeds up to DDR4-3600. Samsung itself classifies them as DDR4-2133 with a delays scheme of 15-15-15, but in practice, when voltage increases, they demonstrate good scalability in terms of operating frequency.
As for the board on which the chips are mounted, it is made from a regular green textolite that looks, in the overclocker black-and-red memory slots, not just foreign, but, it can even be said, ridiculous. However, there is a simple explanation for this. The marking on the PCB clearly indicates that it was manufactured by Samsung. And what’s more, DDR4 SDRAM modules, similar in design and element base, are found not only in Patriot products, but also in Samsung’s assortment. In other words, it is very likely that Patriot does not collect its overclocker modules independently from pre-selected chips, but purchases from Samsung completely finished memory slots, then disperses them already.
In support of this theory, we can refer to the fact that finding an analog Patriot Viper 4 PV416G320C6K, but without radiators and without a guarantee of operability at a frequency of 3200 MHz, is not difficult. It is called Samsung M378A1G43DB0-CPB00 and is widely sold under the guise of usual 8-gigabyte DDR4-2133 modules.
However, one must understand that the differences between the Patriot Viper 4 modules from the original Samsung memory are not only in appearance. In addition to testing and any selection of the most successful strips, Patriot engineers flash XMP 2.0 profiles into their overclocking kits, which simplify their configuration in high-frequency modes.
Recorded in SPD kit Viper 4 PV416G320C6K mode DDR4-2133 with delays of 15-15-15-35 corresponds to the nominal characteristics of donor chips and Samsung modules. The profile of the same XMP 2.0 is the mode, the performance of the kit in which Patriot promises. In full compliance with the claimed specifications, the parameters for the DDR4-3200 frequency are described in this profile: 1.35 V voltage and timings scheme 16-16-16-36.
The kinship of Patriot Viper 4 PV416G320C6K with the most common DDR4 SDRAM under the Samsung brand affects not only the contents of SPD. In addition, unlike other overclockers memory, Patriot modules do not have temperature sensors. This, of course, is hardly worth considering as a critical drawback, but it must be borne in mind that most DDR4 modules aimed at the audience of enthusiasts are able to follow their own temperature at all.
Nevertheless, the remaining attributes of high-speed memory for the Patriot Viper 4 kit are inherent. So, for it the lifetime warranty and full compatibility with modern Intel platforms on the basis of sets of logic Intel X99 and Z170 is declared. In addition, as stated on the manufacturer’s website, all overclocking kits Patriot necessarily pass manual pre-sale testing.