Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
When we were pondering putting together the CPU cooler testing rig, we ran into issues getting the RAM we needed. We went to a couple of companies but had not heard back, and in the confusion of replies and waiting way too long for answers, we asked Patriot to help us out. With a fast response, they were more than happy to oblige. However, we ran into two nuances we did not expect.
First, we could no longer use them in the system, as one of our sponsoring companies called dibs at the last minute, so we could no longer use these Patriot sticks in that system, so we thought we would review them instead. We ran into a discrepancy in timings, but we feel that Patriot may have fiddled with the SPD profile to give us a slight edge in performance. Nonetheless, we thought it worth the time and effort to go over some of the fastest of the Viper 4 Blackout Edition Series!
We saw the Blackout Series before, with a 3600 MHz kit, which performed admirably and earned our "recommended" award, or a silver medal. While there is a spread of timings and speeds across this line of DDR4, we cannot seem to get enough of it! In a market-driven by fancy looks, luxurious materials used to cover the ICs, and of course, the world of RGB makes kits such as these rarer and much appreciated by those not falling for the aesthetics and bling that drives up pricing versus those without said bells and whistles. For many, the more bling, the better in a lot of gaming builds, but for those with solid side panels, HTPC use, or those that prefer to match a system in a murdered-out theme, Patriot offers what it is you desire.
We understand that many do like to have the latest and greatest in what a segment of the PC market has to offer; however, there are downsides to this. You have to look beyond the aesthetics and marketing, and put effort into finding kits based on top-end components, like the coveted Samsung B-die, and those that put performance before all else! Patriot has proven over the years, that the Viper 4 lineup is all of what we desire in our DDR4, and with the Blackout Series of the Viper 4 line, we tend to find what matters most to enthusiasts. A kit of RAM that will fit the theme of almost any build, built of top-tier components, and hopefully this time, as we have had in the past, crushes in our charts!
The set of RAM we have in hand has the PVB416G400C9K model number that can be seen at the top of the chart above. It is indeed a set of 4000 MHz speed and is shipped as a dual-channel kit with 16GB of density. There is a limited lifetime warranty covering these modules, and essential to many without RAM clearance, these sticks stand 42.6mm in height!
To the right of the chart, we find a list of features, which all apply to this set of RAM. They are part of the Viper 4 Blackout Edition Series with black aluminum sides and tops to the heat spreaders. They are compatible with both AMD and Intel systems and feature not just one XMP 2.0 profile, but two, ensuring compatibility a bit further, for those CPU IMCs that cannot get to 4000 MHz.
The section on specifications is where things differ. As stated, these sticks will run at a base speed of 2133 MHz with 15-15-15-36 timings, which is all fine and dandy. However, where it shows that the kits will deliver 4000 MHz with 19-21-21-41 timings, our kit provides that speed with 19-19-19-39 timings enabling XMP/DOCP. We also notice that the second profile is not mentioned, where ours are set to also deliver 3866 MHz option at 18-22-22-40, both profiles requiring 1.35V for functionality.
Compared to what previous 4000 MHz kits have cost in the past, and the fact that the RAM market is softening, we are not that shocked to see that a kit such as this can be had for close to $100. As we looked at Amazon, they appear to have the best price with a listing at $109.99, and they ship free to Prime members.
As we compared the price to Newegg, we see that they require a bit more, as the price listed is set to $112.99 and free shipping, but Newegg is also running a 10% off sale on top of that! For those that act fast, Newegg's deal will cost you only $101.70 after entering the code! In a market that lists 4000 MHz dual-channel 16GB kits that start at $89 and ends in the $450 range, we feel that Patriot is on the right path out of the gate!
Packaging and Patriot Viper 4 Blackout Edition
In similar packaging to what all of our Patriot memory arrives in, we get our 16GB kit of Viper Blackout Edition RAM with a large notification about its AMD Ryzen compatibility. On the right half of the front panel, a larger window allows potential buyers to peer through it and see precisely what they are buying!
The back of the packaging starts with a statement that we highly shortened. It states that fast, quality RAM offers performance to demanding applications or gaming, using an aluminum heat spreader to take care of thermal protection and stability. While backed with a limited lifetime warranty, you should expect rock-solid, reliable performance. The bottom of the panel contains logos, social media addresses, and company information, and most will bypass all of it to look at the model number presented on the sticker.
Fresh out of the box and the plastic clamshell inner packaging, we can see the Patriot Viper Blackout Edition in all of its glory! Starting with a black PCB and quality ICs on it, Patriot uses aluminum for the sides and the top fins. Delivering the Viper name and the very fine gray striping across the heat spreader is done with a sticker.
The other side of the Viper Blackout Edition has the same sticker we saw on the reverse, but this time, another sticker is applied on top of it. Contained in the white sticker is the PVB416G400C9K model number, the density of the set, the speed, the CAS latency, and the voltage required. Also note, that if you remove the white sticker, it will void that limited lifetime warranty.
We like that the Blackout shares everything with the original Viper 4 RAM, down to all but one detail, the red bits are replaced with black, or much darker versions of the stickers on the sides. Across the top of each stick, there are fifteen sections of fins, a smaller one and a larger one, on each side. We also like that the look is not aggressive, while still offering a well-thought design for heat removal if it were to be an issue!
Under all of the black aluminum are a set of Samsung K4A8G085WB-BCPB, or the coveted B-die ICs! Going from what we see in the Thaiphoon Burner software, the ICs sit on 8-layer PCBs, the ICs are 2133 MHz downbin, and not 2400 MHz downbin, and by IC count, the Viper Blackout Edition are single sides RAM.
With all of the hairline finishes on the AMD motherboard, and the matte black seen everywhere, the Patriot Viper Blackout Edition blend into the build and become almost invisible overall. It is only when viewed from an angle that you can see the gray of the sticker, and without all of the lighting of our photo booth, it is tough to make that out inside of a chassis.
With a board such as this, using a single DIMM per channel, the memory rides much closer together and enhances the overall appeal of the aesthetics we do see. Also, since they are single-rank kits, you will have an easier time using them if you were to populate all of the slots on a dual-slot per channel motherboard, such as our AMD system or other mainstream Intel offerings.
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.
Enabling the first of two DOCP profiles, we see that the RAM is running at the rated speed, but notice the timings are 19-19-19-39 1T, which differs from the specifications. If you look at the SPD tab window, you can see a second profile awaiting use and testing.
The second DOCP profile activates just as quickly for us as the first one, where we are now running at 3866 MHz with 18-22-22-40 1T timings. Both of these profiles need 1.35 VDIMM to function correctly, and our SOC voltage auto sets to 1.088V on both DOCP profiles.
Opting to move back to the kits rated speed before lowering the timings, we can see the slightest amount of movement for AMD users. While still opting for 4000 MHz of speed, we could drive down the CAS latency to 17, but the secondary timings would not budge and deliver any stability.
With as little movement as we had with the timings, we did not expect much movement in speed either, and the 4066 MHz results proved that to us. While anything beyond what the XMP 2.0 profile offers is a bonus, we wish these were a bit more flexible, like other manufacturers 4000 MHz kits we have tested in the past.
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!
Again, enabling the first of two XMP profiles gets us to what we see in CPU-Z. 4000 MHz of speed, backed with 19-19-19-39, 2T for Intel systems. Our system required the VDIMM to be set to 1.35V, but both the VCCIO and VCCSA auto set to 1.35V.
The second XMP profile delivers us 3866 MHz of speed, with 18-22-22-40 2T timings. Voltages changed slightly, where now the VDIMM and VCCSA stay the same, but the VCCIO dropped to 1.30V for this option.
Our Intel IMC has proven to offer a touch more flexibility when it comes to timings. As you can see, with the 7740X, the same sticks will run at 17-17-17-39 2T, with an increase of VDIMM to 1.45V, leaving the VCCIO) and VCCSA where they were when loading the XMP profile to start our journey here.
We were also able to get a bit more speed for the Patriot Viper Blackout Edition than we saw on the AMD system. While not much changes, we could get another 66 MHz out of the kit, giving us 4133 MHz overall, with 19-19-19-39 2T timings. The voltages used were the same as in the quest to lower the timings.
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
Read performance on our AMD rig is only bested by the T-Force Dark Z Alpha, and only with a 29MB/s gap compared to the first DOCP of the Viper Blackout Edition. We did lose roughly 300 MB/s opting for the second DOCP, and while both ways of clocking the kit did take the Viper Blackout Edition to the top of the chart, more speed wins slightly over lowering the timings.
Looking at write performance, we see that the first of the DOCP delivered the best results to date, 272MB/s faster than the Vengeance LPX. Lowering the timings provides a second-place finish, where the extra speed we got out of the kit falls behind the LPX, but only by 12 MB/s. The second DOCP falls in line with the others, as the 3866 MHz setting is found right between the 4000 MHz kits, and above the HyperX 3733 MHz Fury!
Patriot keeps the train rolling when it comes to copy performance as well! The first DOCP delivers chart-topping results again, with a 264 MB/s lead over the LPX. The second DOCP did not do as well and fell just behind the HyperX Fury. Lowering the timings will gain you nearly 500 MB/s over the speedier DOCP, where increasing speed is a boost over DOCP of 580 MB/s.
Even though the Viper Blackout Edition turns out some of the best out-of-the-box results, the latency is not as low as one might expect. Running in a range of 77.4 at its best and 79.5 at its worst, it is much closer to the top of the chart than the bottom, but is better than the other 4000 MHz options in our charts!
To be blunt, the results seen with Super Pi testing look abysmal but consider how the other 4000 MHz kits performed. The Blackout Edition falls behind the Dark Z Alpha using the first DOCP profile. However, the second DOCP at 3866 MHz does much better. With just a 66 MHz boost in speed, we expected it to do better than both DOCP options, and it did, but lowering the timings is where the best results were found, yet still behind what the Vengeance LPX offer.
The results gathered from 3DMark Fire Strike are all over the chart! Near the bottom are the first DOCP run, and the lowered timings option falling just behind the DOCP. The second DOCP delivered results we expected across the board, but with a touch more speed involved, the Patriot RAM can top our chart, and they do.
We expected this sort of grouping of results with the previous test, but PCMark 10 puts this speedy RAM down towards the list's bottom. The first DOCP does 30-points more than the second DOCP, and lowered timings win over more speed by just 3-points. Overall, we expected similar results to the Vengeance LPX, but much like the Dark Z Alpha, the Blackouts do not seem to handle this sort of multiple workloads well.
Previous testing has taught us not to expect much of the 4000 MHz kits in 7-Zip testing, and the results seen, prove it once again. Both the Vengeance LPX and the Dark Z Alpha score better than either of the DOCP profiles and even when opting to overclock the RAM, the gains are minimal.
Cinebench R15 puts the Viper Blackout Edition on its knees, begging for mercy! There is no nice way of spinning results when all four ways to run this DDR4 score a last-place finish!
Transcoding brings us back to somewhat expected results, where the Viper Blackout Edition is the best performing of the 4000 MHz kits, using the initial DOCP. However, the second DOCP is a bit less than we expected. Overclocking does not seem to help things much in this instance, as increasing speed resulted in a worse score than the second DOCP, and reducing timings did not reach what this kit does out of the box.
Second place overall for the XMP 1 performance is terrific, especially considering it lost to a 4600 MHz kit! We expected the XMP 2 to do a bit better, yet it runs between the other 4000 MHz kits. When overclocking, we found the 455 MB/s boost beyond XMP 1 with tighter timings to be appealing, but the 964 MB/s boost when increasing the speed makes it well worth the effort in read performance.
XMP1 delivered the fastest write performance for all of the 4000 MHz RAM in the chart, and overclocking this kit results in a mixed bag, where lowered timings are slower, and more speed is only slightly faster. What took us by surprise is the XMP 2 results, which took first place in this chart, with an astounding 2146 MB/s advantage over the Trident Z NEO!
Our copy performance results are similar to what we saw in write testing, where the Patriot kit is the fastest of the 4000 MHz RAM. Overclocking delivers a considerable boost over the XMP 1 settings, but again, XMP2 takes top honors, but slightly less than 200 MB/s over the T-Force XTREEM ARGB, not 2000+ MB/s this time around.
Compared to everything else we have tested, the Viper Blackout Edition took third place overall in latency using XMP 1. XMP 2 is only slightly slower, and we obtained the best latency with the speed at 4000 MHz and lowering the timings.
On our Intel-based system, Super Pi results are better this time. While the LPX is faster, the Viper Blackout Edition does better than both the Dark Z Alpha, as well as the XPG Z1! Use of XMP 2 drops to third from last, and either way we attempted to overclock, we gained just tenths of a second over XMP 1.
In Fire Strike Physics, XMP 1 takes fourth place, some 400+ points behind the Dark Z Alpha, but well ahead of the LPX, where XMP 2 at a slower speed, runs neck and neck with the LPX, and the XPG Z1 is way down the chart. Overclocking delivers better results than the XMP 2 option, but neither can top the XMP 1 results.
It appears that both AMD and Intel users will not turn out excellent scores in PCMark 10. While Patriot does surpass the much faster XPG Z1 kit, we see that all ways of running this memory deliver results worse than many 3200 MHz and 3600 MHz kits.
If you do a lot of file compression, Patriot is the kit to buy! XMP1 takes top honors versus all other tested memory, and the XMP 2 results are admirable. Gains in time can be had by increasing the overall speed, but using 17-17-17 timings is the fastest we got from the Blackout Edition.
R15 results shine a bright light on the Viper Blackout Edition once again! XMP 1 beats all other XMP results in the chart, and XMP 2 results are just as impressive! Opting for more speed with overclocking does not do us any favors, and lowering the timings delivered the slightest advantage.
We like what we see in the Handbrake chart. Top honors go to Patriot once again, with a 4.5-ish second gap to second place. XMP 2 is much less impressive, and with overclocking, tighter timings won over more speed.
We have said similar in the past, but when you offer up DDR4 without fancy lighting and overaggressive styling, it allows the manufacturer to concentrate on more important things. This list of things covers aesthetics, as many do not want naked PCBs in the RAM slots, it also covers performance and is enthusiasts and gamers buy new RAM in the first place, but cost also comes into play.
The Patriot Blackout Edition design comes from a tried and true style that Patriot has used for quite a long time, yet it must work, as people still buy it all of the time! On a personal note, we have used it for years in various rigs, have never had to make a warranty claim, or have a kit that would not do what the sticker says it should. The fact that they are murdered-out is just icing on the cake, as they will match any theme out there, except for a white build!
Performance overall is good, and while some test suites put the Patriot towards the bottom of the charts, all other direct commotion did not fare much better! We saw the Patriot Blackout Edition more times topping the charts than we saw it fall towards the bottom! And when it did get to the top of the charts, it tended to take first places!
We also like that Patriot includes a slightly slower XMP offering, as those with AMD systems may run into issues with the 4000 MHz profile, and you have something else to test with just a few clicks in the BIOS. Also, while it was rare, we saw charts on both camps where the XMP 2 option delivered the best results or even results that punched above their weight.
As we said in the beginning, we feel that the price, being on the lower end of the cost spectrum, gives us no reason to dismiss the Patriot Viper 4 Blackout Edition DDR4 based on cost. At $109.99 right now, it is less than a quarter of the most expensive DDR4-4000 RAM options, and only $20 above the most affordable kit. With this kit's flexibility, the use of B-die ICs, and our appreciation of the Blackout Edition sticks, we would have no issues paying the asking price.
If rumors are correct and DDR4 is going to drop in price in our near future, things will only get better! As it stands, if you are in the market for a speedy set of DDR4, Patriot has what it is you are looking for, with the results to back up your investment.
The Bottom Line
The Patriot Viper 4 Blackout Edition DDR4-4000MHz dual channel memory kit is a terrific mix of all things good in RAM. The cost is affordable, the compatibility is high due to both the DOCP/XMP options, as well as the aesthetics. Those looking for B-die options, these are the kits you are looking for!