Recently the gaming and enthusiast product market has been flooded by RGB illumination in all kinds of ways with many different looks, even memory kits are equipped with LED lighting these days. It’s not hard to notice users are split between those who simply love everything flashy and can sacrifice performance at the cost of better looks and those who rather pick high-quality products that offer high performance and stability but are not overpriced because of additional features like RGB lighting.
Patriot has products for both groups of users, in this review, we will focus on the latest memory series, Viper Steel, which was designed to bring top performance for the most demanding users. This memory kit contains two 8 GB modules rated at DDR4-4400 which is also the highest speed offered by Patriot. Let’s start with the specifications and features.
Specifications and Features
Here is what Patriot has to say about the new memory series on its website:
Patriot Memory’s Viper Steel memory modules are designed with true performance in mind. Built for the latest Intel® and AMD™ platforms, the Viper Steel series provides the best performance and stability for the most demanding computer environments.
The Viper Steel utilizes a custom designed high performance aluminum heat shield for a clean sleek steel-look inside any motherboard. The Viper Steel is made to ensure rock solid performance even when using the most taxing applications. Built from the highest quality Build of Materials, Patriot’s Viper Steel Series memory modules are hand tested and validated for system compatibility.
The memory kit has tight timings for its speed. There are two XMP profiles which have similar timings at CL19-19-19 with the main difference being the frequency at which they run. The first profile is rated at DDR4-4266 while the second one at DDR4-4400. The second difference is the rated voltage. If we pick lower speed profile then motherboard should set 1.35 V VDIMM while the faster profile will set 1.45 V VDIMM. This voltage is notably above the JEDEC specification but at the same time perfectly safe. The JEDEC standard of the tested Viper Steel memory has an SPD of 2133 CL15-15-15 1.20 V.
Even though XMP profiles should work without issues, most motherboards won’t be able to run with memory at DDR4-4266, not to mention DDR4-4400 or higher. Only top series motherboards designed for gaming and overclocking will let us run memory at such a high frequency. Before you decide to buy memory at DDR4-4133+, I recommend checking if your motherboard is capable of that speed.
The second factor which affects high memory stability is the memory controller which is part of the CPU. Most Intel Coffee Lake i5, i7 or i9 series processors should be able to run with memory up to at least DDR4-4500 but there are exceptions or required voltages may be higher than expected.
In our tests, we used the ASUS Maximus XI Gene motherboard based on the Intel Z390 chipset which is one of the best motherboards for memory overclocking on the market. During tests, we also used three different processors to check the possible maximum frequency of the Patriot Viper DDR4-4400 memory kit.
Below you can see the Viper Steel in AIDA64 memory and cache stability test at DDR4-4400 CL19 1.45 V which is its main XMP profile. The second XMP profile is exactly the same but at a lower frequency so it’s clear it also works perfectly stable. Five hours of this test are enough to say there are no stability issues with our memory kit.
Going back to the memory itself, Patriot Viper Steel is available in various capacities and speeds. We can pick anything we wish for our PC between DDR4-3000 and DDR4-4400.
Tested memory kit contains two 8 GB modules for a total of 16 GB. It’s the most popular and recommended memory capacity for new gaming computers. The Viper Steel DDR4-4400 uses the best Samsung chips widely known as B-die. The B-die doesn’t automatically mean that the memory will overclock high but when we see it in DDR4-4400 memory kit then we don’t have to worry about its potential.
Below is a screenshot from Thaiphoon Burner which is showing additional details about the memory modules. It couldn’t read full IC info but it’s well known from other high memory series, K4A8G085WB-BCPB. Just to compare, we can find similar IC and PCB in Rev A0 in the highest memory kits from Team Group – Xtreem.
Price is one of the advantages of the Patriot Viper Steel memory. The DDR4-4400 kit costs about $229 and it’s available on Newegg as well as many other online stores. Competitive memory kits cost about $100 more. It’s a huge price difference which should convince many users interested in high-frequency memory to try Patriot.
Packaging and Product Photos
The Viper Steel memory comes in a small, flat box. The package is well described so we know what we can find inside and who to ask for help in case of any problems. As in most memory products, there is no user’s manual as it’s so easy to install that everyone who is building a PC can handle that. On the other hand, every motherboard manual has info on how to install memory and the proper slots to use. However, we are on Overclockers.com so we assume anyone who is reading this review knows how to install memory.
The memory modules are using a black PCB and protected by gunmetal colored aluminum heatsinks. There are black elements which nicely fill the whole design. Even though there are no LEDs, memory looks exceptional and should fit in with most gaming PC themes. This is actually written on the product page of the Viper Steel memory series and we agree.
Performance has been tested on a typical PC with components which are available at most online stores. Most benchmarks are free so readers can compare results at home. All results are average of three or five test runs, depends on the length of the test.
I assume that anyone who will decide on a DDR4-4400 memory kit won’t run it below DDR4-3600 so tested memory settings were picked based on a probability of desired settings and stability on more typical motherboards. Above settings are also about maximum what could run without stability issues at still reasonable voltages.
The most popular and probably the best memory benchmark is AIDA64. It’s a synthetic bandwidth test which is showing us maximum bandwidth of our memory in various operations.
Memory bandwidth is usually based on the memory frequency but also access time helps to achieve better results. In this case, we can see that the best results are at DDR4-4000 CL16 and anything above DDR4-4266. XMP profiles look really good in this comparison.
In Cinebench R15, a rendering test, we can barely see any difference. The highest frequencies will give us a couple of points more which will count in competitive benchmarking but wouldn’t really matter in daily work. All presented settings are simply fast.
PCMark 10 is better to see the difference when we divide the total score into three sub-categories. While Essential and Digital Content Creation tests are not much different the Productivity tests are showing us performance increases at the highest frequencies of DDR4-4400 and DDR4-4500.
In other UL benchmarks like 3DMark or VRMark series, differences in memory settings are barely visible. The highest differences we can see are in the Fire Strike Extreme test where the DDR4-3600 CL15 and DDR4-4000 CL16 performed slightly better. Looks like access time counts here more than the maximum bandwidth.
As I already mentioned, in the VRMark all results are similar to the point that in the Blue Room, all results are exactly the same.
Now we will look at high-resolution gaming. In both tests, Final Fantasy XV at high-quality 4K settings and Superposition 8K Optimized benchmark, results are not much different on all memory settings. We can see that both XMP profiles are slightly better, which is surprising considering that some of the other settings should offer better performance.
In modern games like Farcry 5 or Shadow of the Tomb Raider, perfect memory settings may add a couple of FPS which can make a big difference. We can see a delta of 5 FPS in Farcry 5 and 7 FPS in Tomb Raider. Interesting is that in one game DDR4-4500 offers the worst performance but in the other one performance is the best. In both cases, DDR4-3600 CL15 and DDR4-4266 CL17 are similar and seem the best option.
Patriot Viper Steel DDR4-4400 is one of the only memory kits that I had a chance to test, which offers really well-performing XMP profiles comparing to manual settings. In most tests, manual settings were slightly better but not far enough to be worth longer stability tests. At least not worth the additional time if we are going to use this memory for gaming. It’s better to use the XMP profile and spend this time playing the game.
Overclocking is never guaranteed, so the presented results may vary from results on other memory kits. I am not recommending overclocking if you do not know what are you doing. High voltages may damage hardware and it will not be covered by warranty.
If we are counting on some more or thinking to buy the Viper Steel DDR4-4400 for competitive benchmarking then standard profiles, even though already fast, won’t be good enough. Nothing is stopping us from setting the memory above its rated speed. Since the memory kit is based on Samsung memory chips we are able to set really tight timings like CL12 or high frequency, above DDR4-4500. In both cases, the motherboard or CPU can be limiting factors and this happened in our case. I was able to set DDR4-4000 CL12 but only in one memory slot of the ASUS Maximus XI Gene motherboard. Both memory modules were working exactly the same. WIth higher memory frequency I had better luck reaching DDR4-4700 mark. However much better results could be achieved at DDR4-4666 CL16-16-16. Below is a screenshot showing expected memory bandwidth and latency at this setting.
In this review were already presented some more overclocking results which are stable and I can recommend them for daily work or gaming. I guess that anyone who will decide on this memory for overclocking will have a lot of fun.
Even though we’ve tested a lot of memory kits, we were a bit surprised at how well the Viper Steel performs. We are happy to see Patriot prepared XMP profiles so well. Both XMP memory profiles work without issues once we install the memory on a good motherboard. Both profiles also offer high performance while many competitive memory kits have much more relaxed timings at such high memory frequencies.
If XMP profiles are not enough then we can try manual overclocking which is possible even though memory clock is already high. There is a really wide range of settings we can try, because of the limited time we could only cover some of them. Simply a lot of fun for every overclocking enthusiast.
When we first started to write this article, I didn’t check the price for the Viper Steel 16 GB DDR4-4400 memory kit. This surprised me the most as the kit costs about $229 on Newegg, as mentioned at the beginning of the review. There is simply no better memory kit in this price range as similar memory kits cost at least $100 more. I’m sure that anyone who decides to purchase this memory will be fully satisfied. At least if RGB LEDs are not the top priority.