Patriot Viper 3 DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K 8GB RAM Kit Review

Having been around since 1985, Patriot is certainly no stranger to most of you as far as system memory and flash products go. The Viper 3 system memory is positioned in Patriot’s performance category offerings and available in speeds ranging from 1600 MHz to 2133 MHz. We will be reviewing the top dog in this category, the PV38G213C1K, 2133 MHz, 8 GB (2×4 GB) kit.

There has already been an initial preview of this kit performed at our forums by hokiealumnus. Initially, there were some issues with the first kit sent out by Patriot. The replacement kit appears to be substantially better and ready for a full fledged review, so that’s exactly what I’ll do!

Specifications and Product Tour

Here is the product information as provided by Patriot:

Product Information
Product Name Extreme Performance
Patriot Part # PV38G213C1K (2 x 4 GB)
Description Viper 3 Series, DDR3 8 GB (2 x 4 GB)
2133 MHz Kit
Certification/Safety RoHS
Product Warranty Lifetime Warranty
Unit Dimensions 0.30” (D) x 5.2” (W) x 1.63” (H)
0.76 cm (D) x 13.3 cm (W) x 4.1 cm (H)
Unit UPC 0815530014287
Packaging Type Blister Pack
Packaging Dimensions .54” (D) x 4.82” (W) x 7” (H)
1.37 cm (D) x 12.24 cm (W) x 17.78 cm (H)
Net Weight 0.17 lbs / 77.4 gm
Gross Weight 0.35 lbs / 157.1 gm
Units Per Inner Carton 20
Units Per Master Carton 120
Features 
Series Viper 3
Edition Black Mamba
Capacity 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) Kit
DIMM Type 240-Pin NON-ECC UDIMM
Voltage 1.5 V
Tested Frequency PC3-17000 (2133 MHz)
Tested Timings 11-11-11-27
Base Frequency PC3-12800 (1600 MHz)
Base Timings 9-9-9-24
Tested Platforms Intel® 6 & 7 Series
Feature Overclock XMP 1.3

The black and white theme applied to the memory itself has also been carried over to the packing. The box has some basic information about the memory on the front and a multilingual marketing blurb on the back. Advanced cooling, 100% hand tested, and XMP 1.3 ready – these are the major points Patriot tries to get across to the potential customer with this packaging. Inside you will find the two memory modules secured in a clear plastic clam shell.

Thanks go to hokiealumnus for not only sending the review sample, but all the pictures to go along with it!

It's Black, it's White, and It's Got Memory Inside!

It’s Black, it’s White, and It’s Got Memory Inside!

Box Front

Box Front

Box Back Side

Box Back Side

Memory in a Shell

Memory in a Shell

Photo Op From Every Conceivable Angle

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

Patriot Viper DDR3-2133 PV38G213C1K

From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I have to admit these are some darn nice looking modules. I’m sure the black color will look great in just about any system build. The other thing I like is the design of the heatsinks. The hollow area at the top will allow good airflow passage and thus should do a good job keeping them cool. These heatsinks are not very tall, which widens their compatibility with larger CPU coolers.

Test System

For comparison purposes, we’ll be looking at a few different G.Skill DDR3 kits ranging from DDR3-2133 to DDR3-2666, and capacity levels of 8 GB to 32 GB. This should give you a good idea of how this Patriot offering performs against faster MHz and higher GB kits. So, do keep these differences in mind as you peruse the results. All the G.Skill tests were performed with the CPU set at 3.9 GHz; and this is where I set the CPU speed on my test system in order to keep the playing field level.

Stability at Rated Speeds

Let’s begin by seeing what CPU-Z has to say about the system and Patriot kit I’ll be testing.

CPU-Z System and Memory Information

CPU-Z System and Memory Information

I set the timings manually in BIOS to match Patriot’s listed specifications, except for the command rate, which was set to 2T instead of the rated 3T. It seems a bit odd for a rating of 3T to be applied to this kit; most other kits in this range I’ve found to be 1T or 2T. I usually forgo the XMP profile option in favor of doing it myself. In this particular case, it ended up being a good idea because the motherboard was setting the timings too tight with everything on auto. However, the XMP profile worked just fine, if you prefer to use that method.

The stability testing was performed on this kit before it arrived to me, by… you guessed it, hokiealumnus. Because he was the recipient of the problematic first kit, as well as being the reviewer with the R.S.T. Pro equipment, it only made sense to have him test for stability at rated speeds. The stability testing was a mixed bag with MemTest 86+ being no problem and successfully completing 16 passes without issue. The brutal R.S.T. Pro testing revealed an issue while running at rated speeds and voltage, which as it turned out, was voltage related. It took a +0.05 V increase from the rated 1.5 V to get it stable with the R.S.T. Pro. Once the voltage was set to 1.55 V, it passed all five R.S.T. Pro passes without issue.

Memtest 86+ 16 Passes Stable

R.S.T Pro Errors at Stock Voltage

R.S.T Pro Errors at Stock Voltage

R.S.T. Pro Failure at 1.5 V

R.S.T. Pro Failure at 1.5 V

R.S.T. Pro Stable at 1.55 V

R.S.T. Pro Stable at 1.55 V

There is no denying it would be more comforting to know this Patriot Viper 3 kit would pass the R.S.T Pro testing at rated voltages, but there is consolation in knowing a slight bump in the voltage will get you there. When Patriot was informed of the voltage bump required for the R.S.T. Pro testing to complete successfully, they basically said they were more concerned with it passing Memtest 86+ at rated settings. I’m not quite as easily comforted as Patriot in this case.

Just for grins, I ran SuperPI 32M for one last stability test at rated voltage and it completed with no issues.

Ok, I promise, no more stability testing!

Testing and Benchmarks

Synthetic Testing

Once you get to the upper echelon of RAM speeds, say 2133 MHz and above, it’s tough to find a large difference in performance between them. However, synthetic benchmarking is where you will see the differences more clearly exposed. Our first test run is just that, a synthetic benchmark. In AIDA64′s memory test section we are provided with read, write, copy, and latency scores to compare. As you can see by the chart below, the two 2133 MHz kits were pretty close in the latency test, but as expected the two TridentX kits were substantially better. There wasn’t a whole lot of difference between all the kits in the copy and write tests, with just over 2% being the largest spread between any of the kits. The read test again showed the 2133 MHz kits coming in almost identical, and the TridentX kits with their faster speeds leading the pack.

Compression, Video Conversion & Rendering

As I mentioned earlier, there won’t be differences worth writing home about on many of these tests. As you can see by the results below, you may now put your pen and paper away. About the only difference worth mentioning here is the 7-Zip compression test, where the Patriot Viper 3 kit fell a few percentage points behind the other kits in the graph.

Benchmarking

In a bit of a surprise, the Patriot Viper 3 kit had a bit of trouble keeping up in the wPrime 32M and 1024M runs, falling behind as much as 11%. I ran the tests several times to confirm, but the results stayed consistent. As far as SuperPI goes, the Patriot Viper 3 kit held right in there with all the other kits in the comparison graph. However, there wasn’t even a 1.5% difference between all of the contenders here. The Patriot Viper 3 kit did manage to best all the G.Skill kits in SuperPI 1m and its G.Skill 2133 MHz counterpart during the 32M run.

For the most part, the Patriot Viper 3 2133 MHz kit did pretty well through the testing phase, except for the wPrime results. What it lacked in wPrime, it certainly made up for with impressive SuperPI times when compared to the other G.Skill kits.

Overclocking

After bumping the CPU to a comfortable overclock of 4.6 GHz, the first thing I wanted to see is how tight we could get the timings, while leaving the default speed and voltage in place. I did manage a little improvement; and was able to get the timings to 10-11-10-25-2T, which passed a 32M run of SuperPI. At the rated 2133 MHz, I had no luck setting the CAS Latency under 10. If I tried CL 9, the system would not even post. Still 10-11-10-25 isn’t too bad at stock MHz and Voltage.

DDR3-2133 @ 10-11-10-25-2T 1.5 vDIMM

Next, I dropped the memory ratio to DDR3-2000 to see if I could tighten up the timings any further. And, again with a CL9 attempt, the system would not boot. If you remember the SPD table from above, it showed 9-9-9-24 at DDR3-1600 should be possible, so that was the next attempt. Another SuperPI 32M run at stock voltage, 9-9-9-24 timings, and 1600 MHz proved stable enough to complete the test. The results of the test were 11 seconds slower, so tighter timings with a slower overall MHz don’t seem to be an advantage in this case.

DDR3-1600 @ 9-9-9-24 1.5 vDIMM

DDR3-1600 @ 9-9-9-24-2T 1.5 vDIMM

Now I wanted to see how high the speed of these modules could be pushed. For starters, I raised the ratio to 2200 MHz, set the timings back to their rated settings of 11-11-11-27, and set the voltage to 1.55 V. We are off to a good start as another 32M run of SuperPI finished without issue.

DDR3-2200 @ 11-11-11-27-2T 1.6 vDIMM

DDR3-2200 @ 11-11-11-27-2T 1.55 vDIMM

The last successful overclock I was able to obtain was at 2400 MHz. It took 1.7 V and looser timings of 12-12-12-30-2T to get there, but the Viper 3 kit did manage another successful SuperPI 32M run at those settings. There were also a couple more seconds shaved off of the time.

DDR3-2400 @ 12-12-12-30-2T 1.7 vDIMM

DDR3-2400 @ 12-12-12-30-2T 1.7 vDIMM

Overall, the Patriot Viper 3 DDR3-2133 kit did rather well as far as overclocking to higher MHz was concerned. At default voltage and speed, the timings were able to be dropped to 10-11-10-25-2T and still appeared to be stable. Any tighter timings than that required dropping the memory speed down to 1600 MHz, where the overall performance dropped considerably. Usually, my limit for 1.5 V rated memory is 1.7 V.  In this case, I tried to get the memory past 2400 MHz and went as high as 1.8 V, but that attempt failed as well. So 2400 MHz is where it topped out for me. Spectacular? Not really. Average? I’d say so.

Conclusion

Currently, the Patriot Viper 3 DDR3-2133 kit sells for $57.99 at Newegg, which lands it right in line with other similar low voltage kits. If you look strictly at other 1.5 V memory options, this kit looks pretty good specifications wise. However, when you add 1.65 V kits into the mix, then their competition becomes a lot stiffer. For just a couple of dollars more you can get kits that have much lower timings, such as the G.Skill Sniper kit that is CL9 for example. During the overclocking phase, I tried to match the CL9 set of timings offered by the higher voltage competition, but increasing the voltage to 1.65 V did not prove fruitful. In my opinion, the value this kit offers is closely tied to the fact it’s low voltage memory. Unfortunately, because the voltage has to be raised +.05 V before we can call it 100% stable, it loses some of that value. Because of this, the competition widens to include higher voltage rated kits; and sadly the Viper 3 kit loses out against these higher voltage kits specifications wise.

Overclocking was a mixed bag, especially when attempting tighter timings. Overclocking the speed of the memory was pretty good, not earth shattering, but 2400 MHz is not bad either.

There are indeed some very good things about this memory kit too. First of all, at the rated 2133 MHz the kit seemed very stable at 10-11-10-25, lower than the advertised 11-11-11-27. The SPD table showed a command rate of 3T, but I never took it off 2T during the entire testing phase and that didn’t seem to matter one bit as far as stability goes. The other thing I really like is the looks of the kit. The black and white scheme should blend well with any black based motherboard color.

Based upon our inability to call the Viper 3 DDR3-2133 kit 100% stable at rated voltages, and the fact that other kits with better specifications can be had for a similar price, this time around I think the “meh” rating is justified. Had the kit been able to pass the R.S.T. Pro testing like all the other kits we give the “Approved” stamp to, this kit would probably have received that rating as well.

Click the stamp to find out what this means.

- Dino DeCesari (Lvcoyote)

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