Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Patriot and their Viper Series of memory have kept us busy over the years. Not only did we have some of these kits back in our DDR2 and DDR3 motherboard usage, but it seems that every time they come up with something new, they are not shy about reaching out to us for a review. Most of you are aware of what the Patriot Viper 4 Series of memory offers, with the red and black color scheme, use of a lower profile than many others so that they may fit where others cannot, and while there have been some one-off models here and there, such as the Viper RGB or the Steel kits, where looks were changed quite a bit, what you are about to see has a similar aesthetic to the rest of the kits that have paved the way for Patriot.
You may be asking, if they are so reminiscent of other kits we have tested, why are we here then? That is a good question, and we would answer that while other Patriot Viper kits are a thorn in the side of the RGB all-the-things movement, and not just that, Patriot goes one step further, by murdering-out these new offerings! By that, we mean that every aspect of this DDR4 is black. The PCB, the heat spreaders, the name, everything but the product sticker is black! For those that are anti-RGB, selections are slim, and it always helps to have another option out there that is guaranteed to blend into a build, without causing issues with CPU coolers or any software incompatibility that could come up with RGB illuminated sticks!
Aptly named, the Viper 4 Blackout Edition is what we are here to look at now. Where it used to be that kits were XMP certified, with the release of the new AMD processors, many companies are ensuring they have new memory that works just as well with DOCP as it does with XMP. Of course, the aesthetic reminds us of kits from the past, but blacking them out takes away many of the fancy features and height that can cause you to pass on them when looking for RAM to fit a new build, or even a pre-existing build! With a good track record, we do not expect any issues on either side of the fence when it comes to testing, but like any other product, we will be going over it with a fine-toothed comb, torturing and testing it, to see if Patriot and their newest Blackout Edition DDR4 is worthy of your attention.
On the product page, there is a link to a PDF where we borrowed the chart from, and in it, is almost everything you would need to know. On the left side, we find the PVB416G360C7K model number, which is followed by Patriot Viper 4 Blackout Series DDR4 16GB (2 x 8GB) 3600MHz kit. Scrolling further down, the only things that matter to the customer is that there is a limited lifetime warranty covering these sets of memory and that the packaging and RAM weigh in at 105 grams. The rest of that side of the chart is for those buying in mass, like e-tailers and resellers. If 3600MHz is not your jam, there are other options. You can get 8GB kits in speeds of 3000 and 3200MHz, while the 16GB kits cover 3000, 3200, 3600, and even 4000MHz kits. Of course, with various timings and voltage requirements.
On the right side of it, we see a list of features. In it, Patriot mentions things like the Viper 4 Blackout series name, and that they come with black sides and black tops. Compatibility is tested on the latest motherboards from AMD and Intel, and while they show only XMP 2.0 certification, we had no issues with DOCP. We also see that the heat spreaders are made of aluminum for faster dissipation of heat, and again, the warranty is mentioned.
Under the heading of specifications, we start to see things like the density of the kit, as well as the base frequency and timings of the kit when XMP or DOCP is not active. When they are active, this kit is said to run at 3600MHz with 17-19-19-39 timings, while requiring 1.35 VDIMM to do so. The one thing that can matter is the height of the kit, and while not listed, we took out our digital calipers and found them to be 41mm tall.
The last thing that can be a deal-breaker is the cost, and with the Patriot Viper 4 Blackout Edition DDR4, we assure you it is not the case. Up against all other 16GB kits of 3600MHz memory using CAS17 timings, these are more affordable than anything else we see listed currently! Ripjaws, Vengeance LPX, or anything without RGB LEDs, Patriot has undercut. At just $79.99 from Amazon, to hit the sweet spot of both AMD and Intel rig usability, it appears to be the perfect solution for anyone in need of speedy memory, and especially for those who are not fans of RGB LEDs, they need not look any further. Patriot has what you need, but how good does it look, and can it perform, both of which we are about to answer!
Packaging and Patriot Viper 4 Blackout Edition
To protect the memory in its travels, Patriot opts for a cardboard box over plastic clamshell internal packaging. The front of which is blue with white trim, and under the Viper name is a cutout to see the Blackout Edition RAM inside. On the left side, we see the density and speed on the sticker, the name of the kit, the name of the manufacturer, and a few notations to its AMD and Intel compatibility.
The back matches the look and style of the front, but this time, things start with claims of excellent performance, superior thermal protection, best-in-class stability, rock-solid reliability, and a couple of other things, which is then repeated in nine different languages. The bottom third is used for things like warranty coverage, compliances, company addresses, all the ways to connect with Patriot over the internet, and lastly, is the sticker with the model of the memory, at the bottom-right corner.
Inside of the box, not only do you find the Blackout Edition memory, but Patriot also includes stickers. Not only are these good for the back of a laptop, but a window or mirror in the room, or pasting it on a case, anywhere is an excellent place to display your pride in your purchase. It also helps Patriot with a bit of free advertising.
Back to the Blackout Edition Viper 4 memory! As described, we see the use of black PCBs, which then have black aluminum sides, and even the removable top section is black as well! There is a bit of gray on this side of the heat spreaders as the lines go from left to right, leaving the VIPER exposed where the lines do not continue through.
On the other side of these sticks, looking around the sticker, we see they originally were identical to what we saw on the other side. Placement of the product sticker covers the VIPER name but is on the correct side as to not be seen when in use, and it displays a lot of what you may need to know. The part number starts things off, followed by the beginning of the model number when compared to the packaging. We also see the density, speed, CAS latency, as well as the voltage, but no full XMP 2.0 profile description.
Our first look at the top of each stick has us looking at two rows of fifteen fins, which do not extend all the way to the ends. We see that near the ends, the metal is smoothed out, allowing a spot for the screws to secure the tops to the rest of the heat spreaders. If height is an issue in your build, these fins can be removed to lower the overall height to 33.6mm while keeping the black theme going.
When possible, removing the heat spreaders and risking damage is avoided, opting to read the SPD profile with Thaiphoon Burner instead. What we find in the screen capture is that Patriot uses down binned 2133P ICs and pushes them to 3600MHz. As for the ICs used, they are Hynix H5AN8G8NCJR-FTC "C-die" that uses 17-19-19-39 timings and 1.35V to operate correctly. The command rate is not shown as is dependent on the system used.
Installed on the Crosshair VIII HERO Wi-Fi motherboard, the Patriot Blackout Edition looks even better than it does on the white backdrop in earlier images. While the whole idea is to blend in with all of the other black components, they do precisely that. While we do like the bling of RGB goodness, when it comes to non-RGB options, most are flat and boring up top, and we can appreciate the fins, not only for a way to grab airflow from the chassis but also for the style they bring to the table.
On the X299 OCF from ASRock, we have to slot the DIMMs right next to each other. All of the things we mentioned for the AMD motherboard apply here as well, but we have to admit, these sticks look better the closer to each other they are placed. It looks good enough almost to make us want to get another set to populate the AMD system to achieve this same look.
Test System Details
To obtain the AMD CPU-Z screenshots, you will see directly following this image, and this is the system we used to do it, as well as in attaining the results seen in the following pages. Thanks go out to Corsair, ASUS, and GIGABYTE for supporting this venture. For detailed specifications of the system, those can be found below.
To obtain this screenshot, we made a trip into the BIOS and enabled DOCP, set the FCLK to 1800 and exited. On the X570 board, we are given the 3600MHz we should see, but the timings used are 17-19-19-39 with a 1T command rate. Going back into BIOS we verified that the VDIMM was indeed 1.35, and also noted the 1.08 SOC voltage.
Adding a tenth of a volt to the VDIMM as well as the SOC, we attempt to lower the timings. While we did not get that far in this endeavor, we were able to keep stability with the 3600MHz of speed and the timings of 15-18-18-39 still using 1T.
With the same parameters used when we go for overall speed, we kept increasing the divider until we could not pass testing, then backed it down a notch. That left us with the total maximum speed we could achieve at 3933MHz using the DOCP timings, including the ability to keep the 1T command rate. We did try 2T as well, but it did not gain us any progress.
Chad's AMD DDR4 Dual-Channel Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair VIII HERO Wi-Fi - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Corsair H150i PRO - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER Gaming OC 8GB - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Corsair Force MP500 480GB NVMe - Buy from Amazon
- Case: Thermaltake Core P5 TG - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: Corsair RM750x 750-watt - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
To obtain the following CPU-Z images as well as the performance seen in the charts, we are using this Intel system to do so. For this system, we were helped by Corsair, and are using the same card from GIGABYTE seen in the AMD rig. Shout outs go to them for supporting us here as well!
With our Intel system, the only change made to get here was enabling XMP 2.0. Doing so delivers 3600MHz of speed, but this time we see 17-19-19-39 timings with a 2T command rate. As for the voltages, the VDIMM is set to 1.35V, and for some reason, the ASRock board sets the VCCIO to 1.30 and the VCCSA to 1.35, which is quite high, and not what we usually see.
Our Intel IMC did not seem to help with the quest to lower the timings past what we saw on the C8H. While adding a tenth of a volt to the VDIMM, leaving the VCCIO and VCCSA as they were, we ended up with the same 15-18-18-39 timings, again, this time at 2T.
What did surprise us slightly was the lack of overall speed we were able to obtain with stability. On the X299, the highest speed we could pass testing with was 3733MHz. It is still a free 133MHz to play with, but we did think it would perform similar to the AMD results, but for some reason the Hynix did not want to play as well with the Intel system.
Chad's Intel 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
Using DOCP put the Viper 4 BE near the top of the chart with only the 4000MHz kit delivering better read performance. Lowering the timings offers another couple hundred MB/s boost, but moving to 3933MHz shot right past the 4000MHz kit with a 400 MB/s gap over it.
We see the exact same placement when it comes to write performance. Slightly better than the TOUGHRAM both using DOCP. At CAS15 we see better than a 400 MB/s boost, and at 3933, the boost is nearly 2500 MB/s over DOCP.
Copy performance shakes things up a bit, as we are beating the TOUGHRAM, but the Xcalibur is slightly better here. The timing drop took a hit in this metric, but overall speed adds a considerable boost and is only 82 MB/s from the 4000MHz set of Corsair RAM.
As far as AIDA 64 is concerned, a lower latency does not always equal better performance, and vice versa. The Viper 4 BE did offer the lowest latency, there were instances where it got beat. However, with the worst latency ay 3933MHz, it still delivers a ton of performance!
Super Pi results do not do Patriot any favors! Using DOCP with this metric shows us that the Viper 4 BE falls to the bottom of the chart, only beating the 2400MHz Apacer kit. Opting for the speed overclock shows us a seven-second gain, but it was lowering the timings that offered the best time, removing nearly twenty-eight seconds from the task at hand.
We see similar things with 3DMark and the Fire Strike Physics test. Out of the box, the Vipers do not perform as well as other 3600MHz kits, and even the 3000MHz Nighthawk RGB beat it. Adding more speed did not help us much at all, but reducing the timings paid off big over 1000 points!
Much closer to the other 3600MHz kits performances in this test, the Viper 4 BE comes in close to what we expected. We were a bit shocked to see that more speed killed our results, and even the low latency run did not get this kit above the other 3600MHz kits in this chart.
7-Zip shows us the Patriot memory falling in between the Xcalibur and the TOUGHRAM with all other things equal. Again, speed was of no help at all, but we knocked off another twenty-two seconds of compression opting for 15-18-18-39 1T timings.
Since we have been trading blows with the Xcalibur, if it fails, so should the Vipers, and while slightly better, we are back at the bottom of the chart. Sticking to the overclocking results trend, speed offers a penalty, where opting for CAS15 gets us very close to the results we got from the TOUGHRAM without any fiddling to it.
DOCP has failed Patriot again, as the Viper 4 BE only beats the Apacer Panther Rage. Speed was of some help, removing nine seconds from the task, but this time, when lowering the timings, we got to the top of the chart, to the tune of twenty-five seconds faster completion over DOCP.
Employing the XMP profile while we ran AIDA 64 delivered read performance better than either of the other 3600MHz kits in the chart. Lowering the timings does offer roughly 500 MB/s advantage over XMP, and running at just 3733MHz took us 1100 MB/s higher, only losing to a kit that is nearly 900MHz faster!
Right out of the box, the Viper 4 BE tops the chart in write performance. In this portion of the bench, the CAS15 run lost us headway, but adding just 133MHz gets another 1100 MB/s again!
No matter which way we ran the Patriot Viper 4 Blackout Edition, it killed it in copy performance! More speed was a significant advantage, but lowering the timings, we took a hit of nearly 500 MB/s.
On the AMD system, latency was all over the place, and with the Intel system, we got better than expected results. Only one kit had lower latency with XMP profiles in use, this time, lowered timings won overall, but adding speed pulls in close behind it.
Intel, Super Pi, and this RAM is not a great combination. While it does better than two other kits, it is not up to snuff compared to the other 3600MHz kits in this chart. It took lowering the timings to get close to beating both, yet the Xcalibur was ever so slightly faster. At 3733MHz, the time we gained seems disproportionate, but we are sure Patriot is glad it got to the top spot.
Fire Strike has the Patriot RAM right in the middle of the XMP runs of all tested kits. Both ways of clocking the memory showed what we would expect to see, where lowering the timings helps, but overall speed is king.
PCMark 10 puts the Viper 4 BE in the center of the chart just like 3DMark did, but this time both of the other 3600MHz kits show better scores. Lowering the timings did not help that battle much, falling between the two different kits, but the higher speed delivered excellent performance here.
7-zip has the Viper 4 BE in second place, only surpassed by a kit 1000MHz faster! We gained over 10 seconds of our life back, dropping the timings, and another couple of seconds off of that opting for 3733MHz with XMP 2.0 timings.
The best performance of a 3600MHz kit goes to Patriot in Cinebench, even if by the smallest of margins. Overclocking does show a slight advantage, but the difference, for this specific benchmark, does not seem worth the effort.
In the last of our tests, Handbrake, Patriot lost to both Thermaltake and TEAM in the battle for best 3600MHz memory, but just by a few points. For those that enjoy overclocking, transcoding loves it, and we get over 21 seconds back by lowering the timings, and while more speed is better, it is an even battle in this test.
To us, when it comes time to buy RAM, there are four possible ways to look at what you want with the next kit. First is aesthetics, as we all know, it has to look good in whatever build it goes into unless it is behind closed doors. While there is no bling to the Viper 4 Blackout Edition, that was the point, and even though they are black on black, the fins and sparing use of gray on the sides still delivers a bit of styling flavor! The second thing, and we are not listing in a specific order, but the height of the RAM may need consideration. At 41mm in height, the Patriot memory will fit in many places, even with CPU air cooler restrictions.
For those with a bigger headache when it comes to clearance, or you plan to build in the tight environment of a Mini-ITX chassis, you can lower the height to 33.6mm by removing the fins from the top! Another factor is cost, and we stated at the beginning that Patriot was killing it here. The last thing, and most important to us, is the performance. In the tests that Patriot fared well, they managed very well, getting close to the top of the charts, and with overclocking included, they put up some of the best results we have seen. However, in eight of the twenty tests, the Viper 4 Blackout Edition was either in the middle of the pack or in a few instances towards the bottom of the barrel.
The Patriot Viper 4 BE traded blows with the Thermaltake and TEAM kits at similar speeds and timings, but both of them are much taller and come with RGB LED lighting. While great for performance comparisons, these kits are not in the same market segment. Compared to other options we can think of off the top of our heads, The Viper 4 Blackout Edition has a better appeal than say Ripjaws, Fury, or Vengeance LPX, which are the big names in this game! With so little choice in non-RGB RAM, we do want to lean towards the Patriot option, for its superior design with the opportunity to remove the fins if needed. Even if you are not planning on an air cooler or using a mini-ITX chassis, the removable fins could also save the day when trying to use an AIO at the top of most mid-tower cases, where motherboard heat sinks and RAM heat sinks make all the difference in the world for fitment!
While we will be removing points for some of the performance issues, we still applaud Patriot for what they have done. Compatibility across both AMD and Intel, and all this on Hynix ICs, which have plagued systems with issues in the past. We were a bit shocked to see such a gap in overclocking headroom between the two systems, as just about any other kit we have in our charts clocks similar in both systems. However, we will not penalize Patriot for this, as any overclocking is a gift and not part of the package deal. We were pleased to have any room to tinker, and for those that like to do this sort of thing, big jumps in performance can be had with little effort on your end.
Even though we do have that slightly darker cloud hanging over the Patriot Viper 4 Blackout Edition, as performance could have been, and in our opinion, if it had been solid across the board, we would be telling you to run out and grab it ASAP! However, we are mixed in our recommendation. The fact that this kit can be had at just $79.99 helps, but is it enough? In the end, we feel that it is a good mix of all things required of DDR4. Is it the best 3600MHz kit on the market? That depends on how you use it. For us, we can say it is better than average on both Intel and AMD systems, and if you are looking for ease of use without all of bling and illumination that many others are banking on, the Patriot Viper 4 Blackout Edition should be on your radar!
The Bottom Line
Patriot delivered decent performance, a complete lack of colors or RGB LED lighting, wrapped in a murdered-out aesthetic. The best thing is that they are the most affordable 3600MHz CAS17 kit we could find currently!