The Bottom Line
The Patriot Viper Series has been around for quite some time, and while many may not even think of Patriot when choosing a new set of RAM, in our past experience, they have been a sleeper in the market. What we mean by this, is that while many were buying Corsair, G.Skill, or HyperX sticks, Patriot has been around all that time as well, and if you were willing to do a bit of homework, you would find kits offered by Patriot that would outperform the others mentioned, and most times had a bit left in the tank to overclock them and gain free performance on top of what was offered out of the box. Patriot has been keeping us busy, and with this, the seventh kit of DDR4 to be sent our way, we feel it could be the perfect blend of all things to make even the most discerning enthusiast ponder long and hard about putting these sticks in their next build.
At this time, we have the PVS416G440C9K, but allow us to break that down for you. The PVS stands for Patriot Viper Steel, which is a new series for Patriot, and a sleek looking addition to any build. It is 16GB in density with two 8GB sticks for dual-channel usage. Next comes the speed of the memory, and the 440 stands for 4400MHz, which is snappy for any Intel rig. The last bits, the C9K, well it alludes to the timings of the kit, which are 19-19-19-38 2T, which is much tighter than many kits offered near this speed. For those not looking to run DDR4 this fast, Patriot has you covered, with single 8GB sticks or two-stick packages up to 32GB, ranging in speed from 3000MHz on the lower-end, on up through the kit we have now.
Every company puts their own marketing spin on what makes their products the best choice across the market, but Patriot is humble with the presentation. They mention the aluminum heat spreaders with the diamond cut Viper logo on them as the first benefit. The next things we are told is that the memory is made to ensure rock solid performance in the most demanding environments, and lastly, these ICs are hand tested and validated for both AMD and Intel systems. The Patriot Viper Steel also come with a limited lifetime warranty, they do not have RGB LEDs, or any LEDs for that matter, which many will love, but we feel that Patriot has underplayed the hand they are dealing when it comes to the performance delivered within the Steel Series.
Packaging for the Viper Steel DDR4 has the Viper name and logo at the top-left corner, as well as many Viper logos in the background, behind the pair of memory modules shown in the center. In the top-right corner is where you see the density and speed of the kit, and at the bottom is the full name of the Viper Steel DDR4 Extreme Performance Memory.
Inside of the box we found a pair of 8GB sticks, both with gunmetal gray heat spreaders that have a saw tooth design on half of the top edge, there are vents cut in the aluminum near the top, black paint is used to add designs to it, and the logo in the middle is exposed aluminum to contrast the rest. We also like the use of black PCBs, which stays with the theme we see everywhere else.
The other side of the sticks are identical in the design of the heat spreader, but on this side, Patriot has added the product sticker. On it, you will see the model number at the top, while below it are the type, density, speed, timings, and voltage of this specific set of DDR4. One thing to note, and something we appreciate, is that the stickers are hidden when installed on a motherboard.
Between the sandwich of aluminum heat spreaders, along the top edge, there is a black plastic insert. The left side is flat and allows Patriot to paint the Viper name on the edge, and as you move to the midway point, the saw tooth pattern starts. It is easy to tell that there is no place for LEDs or any way for surface mounted LEDs on the PCB to bleed out of them.
With the speed and timings being what they are, we knew right away that we were dealing with B-die memory, and removing the heat spreader proved us right. The ICs used are indeed Samsung K4A8G085WB BCPB.
Taking the usual steps to get the XMP 2.0 profile set in BIOS, our initial boot into Windows offered us what the box said we should get. Although requiring 1.45VDIMM to run at this setup, our Viper Steel memory is giving us 4400MHz at 19-19-19-38 2T timings. Also, something to note, is that the VCCIO and VCCSA are both jumping to 1.400V to achieve this as well.
Along with the XMP 2.0 we just showed, there is a secondary profile as well. What changes is the speed and VDIMM voltage. With the second profile active, the speed is set to 4200MHz, using the same timings as before, with the VDIMM now set to 1.35V. VCCIO and VCCSA are still both the same, and to be honest, it does not need to be that high, but will require testing on a per-kit basis to know how low they can go while retaining stability. With our sample, we took it down to 1.25 VCCIO and 1.30VCCSA and retained stability.
Even if we applied more VDIMM to the tune of 1.50V, we were unable to get the timings to move with any sort of stability, and at 4400MHz with already tight timings, we never expected to gain much in this aspect. However, we were able to overclock the memory by increasing the BCLK to 111.350 giving us a jump in the speed bin to 4600MHz, and we did not have to touch anything else to have this speed stable.
The Patriot Viper Steel at 4400MHz crushes everything else in the chart in read throughput, but we do feel the write and copy could be better using XMP 1. Knocking 200MHz off the speed does take a slight hit in performance but still hangs with the Corsair Vengeance 4600 kit in the chart. Moving the Viper Steel to 4600 blows the doors off the rest in reads, and while not the best, the write and copy speeds also get a nice boost in performance.
Even though the timings are tight, and AIDA 64 showed well for the Viper Steel memory, when it comes to crunching numbers in Super Pi things took a strange turn. No matter how many times we ran it, with either of the XMP 2.0 profiles used, the results are worse than what we saw with the Crucial 2133MHz kit. It wasn't until we overclocked the kit to 4600MHz that the memory opened up as we expected it to, and delivered the lowest time in the chart for our efforts.
If your daily grind happens to be with compression in mind, the Patriot Viper Steel memory comes through huge in 7-zip. No kit broke into the 500-second bracket, that was, until we tested this kit. No matter which XMP profile you use, or if you push the ICs to their frequency limit, they will perform like beasts and save you loads of time over the long haul, which is what high-speed DDR4 should do.
So what do we know about the memory we just went over, well in a few words, it is impressive. For many, the lack of LEDs is something that is a plus, even in the age of RGB everything, we will always take performance over bling. While not an overall performance king, we did find that the AIDA 64 results and the 7-Zip results were more than good, on the verge of terrific, and even though Super Pi results were a bit low, we were able to get the top spot overclocking the RAM, but most of this performance is had right out of the box. Many times we see things marked as "Gaming," "Performance," or "Extreme," and not many of them actually live up to the marketing hype. However, with the Patriot Viper Steel memory we just looked at, the "Extreme Performance" in the title of the memory is not hype, it is fact.
While the gunmetal gray is there to allow the Patriots to fit in with any theme, we love the way it blends in with out AsRock X299 OCF motherboard. Even though there is a lack of LEDs, the color of the spreaders, the brushed texture of the aluminum, and the black on gray with just a splash of natural aluminum poking out with the logo, we find not a single reason to detract from their presence. While not a downside, voltage is something to consider.
For those of you who tend to stick to the guidelines, the Viper Steel memory does pass a few marks where the motherboard moves out of the safety zone, and into some red colored entries in the BIOS that signify warning of the amount used. From what we have seen while testing DDR4, the VDIMM is not so much of an issue, but the high VCCIO and VCCSA does have us in an area where longevity of other parts may come into play. However, this is not marketed as "vanilla" or as "Gaming Memory," so keep that in mind when buying this kit. For all, we know it could run forever at these voltages, but it goes beyond what we like to use in our "safe-zone" of what we know will work without issue or too much-added stress on things like the CPU and IMC.
The Patriot Viper Steel has passed the performance testing with better than expected results, it also passes the visual test, as they blended right in with our build, but there is one major factor still left to ponder. The reality is, you do not have to ponder much, based on cost, at all. What we have found, is that at $219.99 at both Amazon and Newegg, it is the most affordable set of 4400MHz memory money can buy.
Some $50 less than any other option, and those don't have LEDs either, so we are comparing apples to apples. That being said, if you are looking to gain time when it comes to daily tasks at the PC, The Patriot Viper Steel Extreme Performance Memory, delivers terrific results out of the box, has a bit of gas left in the tank for the overclockers, and you can have chart topping results like we recorded, and still be the lowest priced kit in the game. All of these reasons point to why it is Patriot who should deserve your money when it comes to your next DDR4 purchase.
Chad's DDR4 Dual-Channel Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASRock X299 OCF
- CPU: Intel Core i7 7740X - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: LEPA NEOllusion - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 AMP. Extreme Core
- Storage: Samsung XP941 256GB
- Case: Thermaltake Core P3 - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: Corsair RM750 - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: CPU-Z 1.78.3 x64, Super Pi Mod 1.5XS, 7-Zip 16.04, AIDA64 Engineer 5.92.4300
The Bottom Line: Patriot left nothing on the table to think about. The Viper Steel 4400MHz kit we tested is the most affordable, it outperforms faster kits of DDR4, and while it lacks any kind of LEDs, the aesthetics are attractive for any build!
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