|Patriot Viper-II DDR3 Lynnfield Memory Kit|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Memory|
|Written by Mathew Williams - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 26 November 2009|
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Patriot Sector 5 Final Thoughts
Memory manufacturers have been hard at work trying to free up every last bit of performance from Intel's Lynnfield Desktop Platform. The challenge has been to push frequencies higher, without compromising latencies or the 1.65v limit established by Intel. At 2000MHz, the Patriot Sector 5 DDR3 kit we looked at today definitely accomplishes that. The question posed at the beginning of the article, however, was whether this increased speed would translate to better performance.
To answer that question, we ran several benchmarks. The results of our synthetic tests indicate that in most cases, the higher frequency does improve memory bandwidth and performance. We also ran a real-world gaming test using Crysis Benchmark Tool. At 1024x768 and low quality, the faster memory did have a significant impact on framerates. However, after increasing the resolution and quality settings, the performance advantage dropped down to a negligible amount. The bottom line here is that high performance memory of any kind should be paired with a system that can support and fully utilize the added bandwidth.
The Viper II Sector 5 DDR3 kit from Patriot was designed to meet the unique requirements of Intel's Lynnfield Desktop Platform. The 1.65v limit established by Intel often poses a challenge to memory manufacturers and vendors, but by selecting only the highest-binned chips, Patriot was able to deliver a kit rated at 2000MHz and 8-8-8-24 timings. In our benchmarks, that extra bandwidth translated to improved performance in just about every test. In the real world, performance gains aren't likely to be dramatic, but a high performance memory kit like this can help get the most out of Lynnfield.
The Sector 5 kit also fares well when it comes appearance. Combined with a black PCB and red Sector 5 logo, the Viper II heatsinks add a definite visual appeal. More importantly, though, they help to dissipate heat. While the moderate voltage of these modules does not necessitate the use of heatsinks, they do offer some peace of mind and should contribute to the longevity of these modules. Just be sure to check your system for clearance issues as the fins along the top may interfere with some CPU coolers.
Another key factor when it comes to reliability and component longevity is quality control. Detecting problems early on will ensure they aren't passed along to the consumer. According Patriot, each kit is hand-tested before it's sent out the door. While it's difficult to validate this claim, it is reassuring to know they back it up with a lifetime warranty on all DRAM modules. As for the kit we received, it achieved the rated specifications without issue and performed flawlessly throughout benchmarking.
Getting the Sector 5 kit up to 2000MHz was a fairly painless process thanks to the built in XMP profile. On Lynnfield systems this is critical as the restricted memory multipliers require the system bus to be overclocked to reach higher memory speeds. A good XMP profile can handle this automatically by selecting the necessary frequencies, multipliers, and voltages. The only issue we encountered is that Turbo Boost needs to be disabled or manually adjusted to compensate for the higher bus speed.
With a retail price of $179.99 at Newegg, the 4GB PVV34G2000LLKB kit certainly isn't for budget builds. Compared to other high performance DDR3 kits on the market, though, it's a fairly reasonable price. Given the results of the performance testing we conducted today, it's easy to recommend the Patriot Viper II Sector 5 series for any high-end P55 system. Those on a budget, though, may want to consider upgrading other components first. As we discovered in our benchmarking, the video card is likely to become a bottleneck before the system memory.
+ 2000MHz rating
- Heatsink fins may interfere with some CPU coolers
Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.
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