DDR3 memory is Intel's latest trump card for its Core 2 line-up. DDR3 has become known as the next evolution in memory speed; not only does it run at lower voltages than DDR2 modules, but it is also able to scale much further than DDR2 can dream of.
So far AMD has held off on the adoption of DDR3 memory into its line of CPUs, and this is because of the fact that a totally new CPU and motherboard would be needed due to the nature of the AMD memory controller placed on the CPU itself. It will take a little while longer before we see DDR3 and AMD as a combo. Until recently, only Intel P35, X38 and X48 chipsets were available to support DDR3. Now NVIDIA has joined the ranks of supporting DDR3 with the nForce 790i series of chipsets. This now gives users the option of DDR3 memory along with SLI support.
Patriot has been one of the newer companies to come on board at TweakTown to supply us with their high performance memory for testing, and so far we have been pretty impressed with their line of high performance memory. Once again they have come on board to send us their new series of DDR3 modules. Today we have Patriot's Viper Fin DDR3 2GB dual channel memory kit. How well does it work? Let's take a look'see.
Package and Contents
Patriot's DDR3 modules come in a retail package that can be hung on a shelf in any good computer store that has all of your great performance parts. The front of the box has the company logo and the Viper series logo.
The back of the box contains a large colour photo of the memory so you aren't in for any surprises on what you're getting, unlike a lot of other products out there in today's market. It's a very good policy to have a photo of the product, either on the front or back.
Inside the box a small user manual that contains info on the modules, voltage settings as well as an installation guide can be found.
Unpacking the modules, we can see the kit supplied is a 2GB Dual Channel offering, so we get two pieces of 1GB modules. The modules come with the new Viper Fin heatsink which has the company logo on one side and a sticker with the info on the modules and a DDR3 logo.
The sticker on one side of each memory module contains info on the modules. The kit we received was rated for speeds of 1866MHz or 933MHz core speed with timings of 8-8-8-24 with a maximum voltage of 1.9v. The modules are all RoHS which means they all are manufactured with lead free solder.
Overclocking the Modules
When it came to overclocking, we used an X48 based GIGABYTE X48T-DQ6 motherboard with support for XMP which is what the memory itself supports. We managed to get XMP to work with 1600MHz settings, but when trying for 1800MHz we didn't have any joy. When we did our manual overclocking we hit a max of 908MHz with the 1.9v rating. Using 2.1v allowed us to move up to 933MHz speeds to load XP, however we didn't get it to run our benchmarks.
Important Editor Note: Our maximum overclocking result is the best result we managed in our limited time of testing the motherboard. Due to time constraints we weren't able to tweak the motherboard to the absolute maximum and find the highest possible FSB, as this could take days to find properly. We do however spend at least a few hours overclocking every motherboard to try and find the highest possible overclock in that time frame. You may or may not be able to overclock higher if you spend more time tweaking, or as new BIOS updates are released. "Burn-in" time might also come into play if you believe in that.
Test System Setup and Memory Performance
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad QX6700 @ 3.2Ghz (8x400MHz)
Motherboard: GIGABYTE X48T-DQ6 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Hard Disk: 500GB Seagate 7200.9 (Supplied by Seagate Australia)
Graphics Card: MSI Geforce 8800GTS 640MB (Supplied by MSI)
Cooling: GIGABYTE Galaxy II (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP SP2
Drivers: Intel INF 220.127.116.119, Forceware 163.21
Our test system today consists of the GIGABYTE X48T-DQ6 motherboard. We have upgraded from our P35T motherboard as it did not support XMP which is one of the main tests we wanted to run on the modules. Today we compare the Patriot Viper Fin modules against the OCZ 1600MHz XMP modules we have already tried in the past, with great success.
Our tests consist of the modules at 1333MHz which is the highest official speed that JEDEC supports. We then cranked the system up to run the modules using the XMP 1600MHz profile, and then we decided to go for the highest clock speeds we could get.
Our maximum memory speed tests were 908MHz for our Patriot samples and 910MHz on our OCZ XMP modules.
EVEREST Ultimate Edition
Version and / or Patch Used: 2006
Developer Homepage: http://www.lavalys.com
Product Homepage: http://www.lavalys.com
Buy It Here
EVEREST Ultimate Edition is an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking it provides essential system and overclock information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings. CPU, FPU and memory benchmarks are available to measure the actual system performance and compare it to previous states or other systems.
At 1333MHz and 1600MHz, the OCZ memory managed to sneak in front, thanks to tighter memory timings at these speeds. However, when we push the modules to max overclocking there is little difference between the two candidates. This is quite possibly because the CPU isn't able to use much more bandwidth.
Benchmarks - PCMark05
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/pcmark04/
Buy It Here
PCMark is a multipurpose benchmark, suited for benchmarking all kinds of PCs, from laptops to workstations, as well as across multiple Windows operating systems. This easy-to-use benchmark makes professional strength benchmarking software available even to novice users. PCMark consists of a series of tests that represent common tasks in home and office programs. PCMark also covers many additional areas outside the scope of other MadOnion.com benchmarks.
Again we see the Patriot fall behind the 1333MHz and XMP1600, but it manages to keep up at the manual overclocking stage.
Benchmarks - Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0
Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0
Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.adobe.com
Product Homepage: http://www.adobe.com/products/premiereel/
Buy It Here
Our test with Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 is performed with a raw two hour AVI file. It is then compressed into DivX format using the latest version codec. We measure the time it takes to encode and then record CPU usage.
Premiere Elements shows very little difference in the real world between the two different module setups. Both are providing bandwidth which is what Premiere Elements prefers over tighter timings.
Benchmarks - Sciencemark 2.0
ScienceMark 2.0 is a mathematical program designed to stress the memory subsystems of both desktop/workstation and server environments to determine the read/write latency as well as the overall memory bandwidth available between the CPU and the memory controller.
Here is where we see the advantage of lower timings, but only when at 1333MHz and 1600MHz does the OCZ memory get the upper hand. If you're planning for max speeds, both modules do a good job.
Benchmarks - Prey
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2
Timedemo or Level Used: Hardware OC Demo
Developer Homepage: http://www.humanhead.com
Product Homepage: http://www.prey.com
Buy It Here
Prey is one of the newest games to be added to our benchmark line-up. It is based off the Doom 3 engine and offers stunning graphics passing what we've seen in Quake 4 and does put quite a lot of strain on our test systems.
Moving into real world gaming and we don't see much of a difference between the two candidates at all three levels; in fact, the XMP 1600MHz and the max overclocked speeds managed to just about tie it up.
Benchmarks - Battlefield 2142
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.25
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.dice.se/
Product Homepage: http://www.battlefield.ea.com/battlefield/bf2142/
Buy It Here
In Battlefield 2142, players choose to fight for one of two military superpowers - the European Union or the newly formed Pan Asian Coalition -in an epic battle for survival.
Armed with a devastating arsenal of hi-tech weaponry, including assault rifles, cloaking devices and sentry guns, players will also take control of the most lethal vehicles known to man. Massive Battle Walkers wage fierce combat on the ground, while futuristic aircraft rule the skies. When taking on this futuristic armor players will need to use their wits and an arsenal of new hi-tech countermeasures like EMP grenades and smart mines to level the playing field.
Our last gaming test puts a little more stress on the system, but the result trend is the same.
Patriot has managed to impress us on a number of occasions, and the new Viper Fin DDR3 memory is extremely impressive to say the least. In fact, it managed to achieve some pretty high scores while keeping the voltages at the moderate level. Most boards will be able to supply 1.9v to the DDR3 memory bus without much effort, but it's when we need beyond 2v that we start to see things getting interesting. Cooling needs to be improved and the boards get a bit more selective.
The Viper Fin modules were extremely well designed for the cooling aspect; while we didn't have our temperature gun on hand for this review (it arrived after testing), the touch test at full load when overclocked was extremely good as it was only mildly warm. With good case flow these modules will cool themselves quite nicely.
As for price and availability, at the time of the review we weren't able to find many vendors with these modules, but they should start to appear pretty soon. As for price, they are on the high side, but for modules of this speed caliber, you're naturally going to pay a premium.
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