RGB on RAM, really? Is that necessary? Don’t worry; the thought has crossed my mind many, many times. Yet, I have to ask: is it really a big surprise that RGB is the next logical aesthetic leap from fancy, themed heat spreaders? Not really.
Like it or not, just about every PC component has an RGB version, RAM not excluded. The big question is this: can it looks good AND deliver performance at the same time? After all, what good is something with a bunch of flashy lights that performs with suboptimal results or subpar components? Patriot would like to think that you can have performance, quality, and style.
This is our review of the 3200MHz Viper RBG RAM kit from Patriot Memory.
- MSRP: $174.99
- Base Frequency: 2133MHz
- Base Timings: 15 - 15 - 15 - 36
- Tested Frequency: 3200MHz
- Tested Timing: 16 - 18 - 18 - 36
- Voltage: 1.35V
- Format: NON-EEC Unbuffered DIMM
- Pin Out: 288-Pin
- XMP 2.0 Support
- RGB: Five programable zones
- Available in white or black thematic aluminum heat spreaders
- Limited lifetime warrantee
Joining their line-up of RAM offerings, Patriot enters the market of addressable RGB memory with the Viper RGB kits - available with either black or white heat spreaders branded and the silver Viper logo in the middle. Each module has five lighting zones, which can be programmed through Patriot’s own software, offering eight patterns to choose from and a preview within the application itself.
The Viper RBG’s color settings can also be controlled by major motherboard manufacturer such as Gigabyte, ASUS, MSI, and ASRock. It is worth noting that Patriot’s software did offers a fair bit more control than I was able to get with AORUS RGB Fusion.
The RGB itself is crisp with the brightness controls helping to change your theming from subtle to bold. However, there is a fair amount of bleed over from zone-to-zone. If you are going for a color that highlights the Viper branding in the center of the DIMMs, you may want to set the three center LEDs to the same color for the desired effect.
All of this is moot if RGB is not your thing.
As for performance and specs, the Viper RGB comes in a variety of speeds from 2666MHz all the way up to 4133MHz. While there is not a lot of information on the product page itself, AIDA64 revealed that the memory modules used are a Samsung die, though there is some measure of mystery around whether or not they are the coveted “B-die” or not. Patriot does quote one reviewer saying with some confidence that the chips are, indeed, Samsung B-die.
(Speaking of quotes, it is worth noting that Patriot’s Viper RBG was awarded Tom’s Hardware Editor’s Choice Award)
Each kit supports the baked-in overclocking settings of XMP 2.0 - if your motherboard supports it. Fortunately, ours did and it made for an easy, stable overclock that gave our Ryzen-based test bench a noticeable performance increase. Let’s take a look at it.
Before we get into the numbers, here are the system specifications for our test bench:
- CPU: Ryzen 5 2600X
- Cooler: CoolerMaster ML240R RGB (Closed loop cooler)
- RAM: 16 GB Patriot Viper RGB
- Motherboard: Gigabyte X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi
- GPU: Nvidia Titan X (Maxwell) Reference Edition
- Storage: 256GB Patriot Scorch M.2, 640GB Colorful Technology Summer Edition SSD
- PSU: NZXT E850
- Case: NZXT H500
For our synthetic tests, we ran PCMark 10 for general productivity performance numbers, AIDA64 for read/write speeds and comparison with a prior RAM review, SuperPi for computation, and PassMark to give us a picture of caching performance.
Starting with PassMark, we tested the Viper RBG with XMP both on and off. This game us some really interesting results. Both had a fairly similar Memory Read (Cached) speed of 24.5 GB/s, but in the Memory Read (Uncached), with XMP on, we saw a wider performance spread with the overclocked RAM reading at 17.8 GB/s and a stock measurement of 14.7 GB/s. Also notable is that in the Threaded test, the overclocked RAM performed at 45 GB/s… 15 GB/s higher than stock performance.
We moved on from PassMark to AIDA64 to give us a comparative look at a prior (and closely specced) RAM kit that we reviewed recent, G.Skill’s RipJaw V. The Viper RGB kit edged out the RipJaw V by 5 GB/s in the Read test and 2 GB/s in the Write tests. Keep in mind: these two RAM kits were tested in two different system, so these numbers are more anecdotal than anything.
In PCMark 10, we ran with XMP both disabled (left) and enabled (right) to see how the RAM speeds would impact real-world usage outside of gaming. While the Spreadsheet score is probably the biggest jump for performance, what is arguable more relevant is that App Start-up Score jumping from 8342 to 9196. This is great news for you if you like to jump from your launcher directly into the game.
In SuperPi, we benchmarks how long it would take our system to calculate pi to the 32 millionth decimal. Our test showed a 16 second difference between our RAM at 2133MHz and 3200MHz. It is very important to note that SuperPi functions as a single-thread calculation benchmark, favoring our Intel test bench whose scored 200 seconds lower in calculation time than our Ryzen bench.
Finally, we tested a series of games at multiple resolutions with performance differences too marginal to specifically pin on the RAM itself. In real-world gaming applications, we saw very little impact on frame rates (~5 - 7 FPS on the high end) between our RAM running with the XMP profile on versus off. So, if the idea of putting extra stress on your components has you worried, you are not going to lose anything more than a few second during launches and loading by leaving XMP off.
Patriot’s Viper RGB does come at a premium of around $10 - $25 more USD than comparable RAM kits without RGB. If you are not interested in RGB as a feature, you can apply that money elsewhere. However, if you are looking for extra addressable RGB to accent your internal parts, the Viper RGB RAM can create stunning lighting effects to round out your build. The construction of the kit is solid, with a sharp aesthetic even with the RGB off.
The Samsung memory modules live up to their name in performance, stability and overclocking, allowing the Viper RGB to get you into your game faster with stable overclocking via XMP and the capacity for higher tuning beyond. Even without overclocking them, the DIMM performed well in our benchmark testing and real world conditions.
If you are looking for a RAM kit that does not compromise on quality and are willing to spend a little bit more for some added (while completely unnecessary) flare, Patriot’s Viper RGB may just be the kit to give you the gaming edge to strike first.
- Stable performance for overclocking
- XMP 2.0 Support
- Solid construction and aesthetic
- RGB control with motherboard software felt lackluster to advertising