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!