Provided By: Patriot Memory
No compensation was received for review of this product.
Price: $59.99 (newegg.com)
Unfortunately, the Patriot Viper 3 8GB kit was very sensitive around the 2133MHz speeds. Any attempt at adjusted latencies resulted in BSOD screens. Even increasing the voltage to 1.65V wouldn't keep the system stable. All attempts were fruitless and it seemed that when running at 2133MHz, the system would only stay stable at stock settings.
I had to result to alternative methods of tuning to try to get increased speeds. This was done by lowering the speed to 1866MHz and tightening the timings. The 2133MHz kit didn't seem to have any SPD information for this speed. If I left the settings on auto, the system refused to POST and would boot loop. When looking further, it seemed that the auto settings would keep everything at 1600MHz speeds. I ended up taking a look at their website to see how their 1866MHz Viper 3 kit was rated. They posted it at 10-11-10-30. I decided to try 10-11-10-27. The system booted with no problems and ran through the benchmarks without issues.
My next step was to lower the timings further. I knew that the 1600MHz speeds wouldn't work because of the prior boot loop issue, at least at the stock voltage. I set the system to 9-9-9-24 and raised the voltage to 1.65V. The system would boot into Windows, however, once in a benchmark, I would get the dreaded BSOD. My next attempt was a 9-10-9-24 timings while at 1.65V. Success! Everything ran fine and benchmarks flew by. If you look at the benchmarks, I had better performance at this setting over the stock 2133MHz setting.
I had mentioned before that going over 1600MHz is overkill. The main reason is because the actual gains are very minimal in real world scenarios. If you look at memory specific synthetic benchmarks, memory bandwidth does show a nice big gap in performance. The Sandra bandwidth at 1600MHz is 21.36GB/s and at 2133MHz it's 25.24GB/s. However, if you look at benchmarks that take system speed into account, like 3DMark and PCMark, there is no gigantic gap in performance that justifies the difference.
This lack of a significant gain can be explained. In order to get bigger MHz speeds, you have to sacrifice memory latency. At 1600MHz the latencies are 9-9-9-24 while at 2133MHz the latencies are 11-11-11-27. This has a direct effect on how the memory communicates with the CPU's cache. Modern CPUs use cache for main memory locations and try to access a copy of the data from that location first before using the memory. When you increase the latencies of memory, you slow down the communication time between the CPU, cache, and the memory. Think of it like internet speeds. You can have a 50Mb/s internet connection, however, if your ping to the server is 500ms, you're not going to be downloading at 50Mb/s. If you look at the Sandra cache and memory benchmark, the difference between 1600MHz and 2133MHz is very small.
That reason only applies if you don't plan on any performance tuning and want to keep everything at stock settings. There are alternative reasons that faster RAM can be a good thing. The biggest is CPU over clocking. Faster CPU speeds and performance tuning a CPU can increase the cache speed and take advantage of the higher memory speeds. The second reason is for lower clock and tightened timings. If you take a look at my benchmarks, I was able to drop the speed to 1866MHz, tighten the timings, and get better performance than 1600MHz and 2133MHz speeds. All of this while keeping the CPU at stock settings. The last is future proofing. Higher speed RAM usually has better build quality, includes lifetime warranties, and will ensure optimal speeds when CPU memory controllers catch up.
Keep in mind that getting the Patriot Viper 3 to run at 2133MHz isn't guaranteed. The Intel memory controller is only rated to run 1600MHz, so anything over that requires overclocking the system. People don't realize this because the BIOS usually shows a simple selection menu. They try to make it easy in the BIOS, however, not all CPUs will be able to get the maximum speeds. Those selections actually change the memory divider. This is a form of overclocking. I believe the statistics show that only around 20-23% of 3570K processors can even manage 2133MHz. This is partially why I wasn't able to push the memory to run past 2133MHz. I was lucky to get it running at the max.
The Patriot Viper 3 8GB 2133MHz memory kit worked very well. My only issue was that the memory was very touchy at 2133MHz and wouldn't budge from stock settings. There was no problem with compatibility and I was able to run the memory faster by lowering the clock speed and tightening the timings. The Patriot Viper 3 kit is priced very competitively and does come with some nice features, like the improved heatsink and lifetime warranty. The Patriot Viper 3 8GB 2133MHz kit is solid memory for any tuner, gamer, or enthusiast user.
Not all Intel Memory Controllers Can Gaurantee 2133MHz Settings