Patriot DDR2 Overclocking Roundup

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Memory Express
Price: $109.95CAD - $164.95CAD @ Memory Express

 

Introduction:

With the price of memory as it is, there is really no reason to still be running a system with less that 2GB of RAM.  Many applications and games take full advantage of 2GB, and some games are now requiring even greater amounts of RAM when running Microsoft's latest Operating System - Vista.  Today we are taking a look at some 2GB RAM kits from Patriot Memory.  Patriot used to be called PDP Systems, and they've been around for a while.  Follow along and see if they've got things figured out and offer great products, or if they still have a ways to go.  We will be testing out three different products and overclocking them to see which is the best bang for your buck.

 

About Patriot Memory:

PatriotMission Statement
To be the vendor of choice for the computer and consumer electronic industries with a commitment to service and quality.

Vision
Commitment, focus on innovation in technology, product quality, and customer satisfaction are the key enablers of our future success.

Company Profile
Established in 1985, Patriot Memory builds a full range of memory module and flash memory products, offering a perfect blend of quality and value. Patriot products include Extreme Performance (EP), Signature Lines (SL) and Flash Memory solutions (FM).

Product Design
We understand the value of designing and responding quickly and intelligently to the rapid changes inherent in the memory module industry.  This commitment to R&D enables us to deliver the best quality memory modules powered by the latest innovative technology.

Manufacturing and Operations
Patriot's development and manufacturing facility are located in Fremont, California USA.  Our manufacturing segment is composed of a highly skilled production staff and multiple production lines optimized for modules, giving Patriot the ability and resources necessary to provide a full line of memory module solutions.

QA/QC Testing
Patriot Memory ensures that every module meets or exceeds industry standards.  The manufacturing process begins with high-quality components and ends with rigorous functional testing to ensure each module's reliability and compatibility.

Patriot Memory modules are approved by leading motherboard and system manufacturers such Intel, Tyan, Supermicro and Iwill. Patriot Memory is a member of Apple Developer Connection. Awards from such leading product review sites as XBit Labs, Anandtech, Tom's Hardware and Hot Hardware.com demonstrate Patriot EP and DC+XBLK memory modules set the standard for performance and reliability.

 

With that being said, let's take a look at the products we'll be covering today. . .

Memory Roundup
Memory Roundup

 

We are looking at two DDR2-800 kits that brandish the titles of "Eased Latency" and "Low Latency".  We are also looking at a DDR2-1066 kit of "Eased Latency".  From the sounds of things, the best kit for most people will likely be the PC2-6400 Low Latency kit, but time will tell how they all handle overclocking on our shiny new eVGA 680i SLI motherboard.

On the next page we'll briefly cover each kit before we jump into testing.


Patriot PC2-6400 Eased Latency:

The first kit we'll talk about is the PC2-6000 Eased Latency kit.  This kit is marketed toward consumers who want a great memory kit, without paying the price.  This kit comes with slow timings of 5-5-5-12 at DDR2-800 and is said to require 2.2v.  We ran this kit at 1.8v with no issues whatsoever and ran at recommend voltage while overclocking.  Although this kit will cost you the least amount of money, we found that it actually performed very well.

6400ELK
6400ELK - DDR2-800 - 5-5-5-12

 

If you're observant, you'll notice a discrepancy here.  We stated that the "Eased Latency" kit runs at 5-5-5-12, and the sticker states 4-4-4 timings.  Patriot has the default SPD set at 5-5-5-12, but also claims the modules are tested at 4-4-4-12 @ 2.2v as well.  We'll treat these as their specs say - 5-5-5-12, but we will tighten up the timings and see how well they fare.

 PC2-6400ELK-DDR880-CL3
PC2-6400ELK DDR880 @ CL3
PC2-6400ELK-DDR900-CL4
PC2-6400ELK DDR900 @ CL4

 

Specs & Info:

  • Extreme Bandwidth PC2-6400 (800MHz)
  • Eased Latency (5-5-5-12)
  • Bladed aluminum heat shields to improve module stability
  • 100% Tested and Verified
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • RoHS Compliant
  • EPP Ready

The Patriot Extreme Performance PC2-6400 Eased Latency line is engineered to provide PC enthusiasts and gamers enhanced memory performance without breaking the bank. Capable of operating at 800MHz with a latency of 5-5-5-12, it is equipped with Patriot’s own bladed heat shields to ensure system stability while running under extreme overclocking conditions. Available in 512MB to 4GB kits, these memory modules are compatible of performing with the latest AMD and Intel DDR2 platforms allowing users to speed up their system instantly.

 

Patriot PC2-6400 Low Latency:

The next kit on the block is the Patriot PC2-6400 Low Latency kit.  This kit is marketed toward consumers who want a better-than-average memory kit and are willing to spend a little more but don't want to spend a lot.  This kit comes with more acceptable timings of 4-4-4-12 at DDR2-800 and is said to require 2.2v.  We ran this kit at 1.85v with no issues whatsoever and ran at the recommend 2.2v while overclocking.  Although this kit will cost you a little more than the "Eased Latency" DDR2-800, you may be willing to spend a little more for the tighter stock timings.

 6400 Low Latency
6400LLK - DDR2-800 - 4-4-4-12

 

 PC2-6400-DDR733-CL3
PC2-6400 DDR733 @ CL3
PC2-6400-DDR1001
PC2-6400 DDR1001 @ CL5

 

Specs & Info:

  • Extreme Performance PC2-6400 (800MHz)
  • Low Latency (4-4-4-12)
  • Patriot Bladed aluminum heat shield technology to improve module stability
  • 100% Tested and Verified
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • RoHS Compliant
  • EPP Ready
  • SLI-Ready

The Patriot Extreme Performance (EP) Low Latency Line is engineered to provide PC enthusiasts and gamers the power to perform. It is capable of operating up to PC2-6400 (800MHz) and at timings of 4-4-4-12. It is equipped with Patriot bladed heat shield technology to improve module stability and performance while operating under extreme overclocking conditions. Available in capacities up to 2GB kits, the Patriot Extreme Performance Low Latency Line is the ultimate solution for gaming and extreme overclocking.

On the next page we'll look at the PC2-8500 and test information.


 

Patriot PC2-8500 Eased Latency:

The last kit we'll take a look at in this overclocking roundup is the PC2-8500 "Eased Latency" kit.  This kit comes clocked in at DDR2-1066 with timings of 5-5-5-9.  Patriot states that this kit has a voltage requirement of 2.3v, but we were able to run at 2.1 without any issues.  When it comes to overclocking however, we bumped it up to the recommended 2.3v in order to let it run at its full potential.  This kit will cost you the most money out of all the kits we have on the bench, but it runs at the fastest clock speeds.  If sheer MHz is your thing, you'll want to see what this kit can do.

 8500ELK - DDR2-1066 - 5-5-5-9
8500ELK - DDR2-1066 - 5-5-5-9

 

 PC2-8500-CL3-DDR828
PC2-8500 DDR828 @ CL3
 PC2-8500-DDR1180
PC2-8500 DDR1180 @ CL5

 

Specs & Info:

  • Extreme Bandwidth PC2-8500 (1066MHz)
  • Eased Latency (5-5-5-9)
  • Bladed aluminum heat shields to improve module stability
  • 100% Tested and Verified
  • Compatible with new AMD AM2 and Intel Conroe Processors
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • RoHS Compliant
  • EPP Ready

The Patriot Extreme Performance (EP) Eased Latency line is engineered to expand your gaming options. These modules are designed to operate at PC2-8500 with timings of 5-5-5-9 and are available in 1GB Kit and 2GB Kit capacities. They are equipped with heat shields to improve module stability performance while operating under extreme overclocking conditions. Engineered with the best quality components, the Patriot Extreme Performance line is the ultimate solution for extreme overclocking and games.

 

Test System:

This review marks the first time we've used a new motherboard based on the nForce 680i SLI chipset.  We've recently received the eVGA 122-CK-NF68-A1 board, and have learned a fair bit about overclocking on this new chipset.  We have a lot to learn yet, but so far it's been a pleasure.  Combined with an Intel E4300, this board puts up some pretty impressive overclocking numbers - and I know we have barely scratched the surface.

  • eVGA 680i SLI Motherboard - MemoryExpress
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E4200 @ 2.4GHz - 2.8Ghz
  • eVGA 8800GTX 768MB Video Card - MemoryExpress
  • 2GB Patriot PC2-6400ELK
  • 2GB Patriot PC2-6400LLK
  • 2GB Patriot PC2-8500ELK
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit

 

Testing Info:

As you'll see in the benchmark results in a minute, memory bandwidth is a factor of the CPU speed more than the actual memory speed.  This is also the case with Athlon 64 processors as the memory controller is on the CPU and faster CPU speeds = greater memory bandwidth.  This poses a real problem for reviewers as it's virtually impossible to keep the CPU at a certain speed, while scaling the memory.  The nForce 680i motherboard helps some as you can run the memory and FSB unlinked, but there are still limitations due to FSB:Memory dividers.  In the following results, please keep in mind that we tried to keep everything fair, but due to certain divider limitations, we had to run the CPU slower in some tests than in others.  This will greatly affect the scores from both SiSoft Sandra XI, and Everest Ultimate 4.0, but the important thing to keep in mind is how fast each kit was able to run at each CAS latency.

We ran each kit at stock timings and at stock speed with our CPU clocked to 2.4GHz (9x266).  We then proceeded to set the timings at CL3, CL4 and CL5 to determine the maximum speed for each kit at different latencies.  The Intel platform does not benefit as much from tighter timings than the Athlon platform, but the results show what each kit is capable of.  Your experience will vary as not all modules are created equal.

The scores we have posted on the next page are rock stable.  Each of the posted memory speeds ran though MemTest at least twice in order to be proven stable.  Each set completed every memory test we ran with no issues whatsoever.


Everest Ultimate Performance:

We only used two benchmarks for our tests as it is very hard to determine actual memory bandwidth based on memory speeds alone.  We overclocked the CPU as well as the memory for higher scores, and although memory speed and timings do indeed play a factor, we feel that CPU speed contributes to the overall score more than actual memory speed.  Please notice the CPU speed as well as memory speed indicators and note how they scale.  Memory timings do indeed play a factor - albeit, a small one.

Everest Ultimate
(Click for full sized image)

 

SiSoft Sandra XI Performance: 

Next we move on to SiSoft Sandra XI. This benchmark has become an industry standard and is very well known in the hardware enthusiast community.  That doesn't mean it's perfect as we once again see greater performance scaling based on CPU speed that actual memory speed.  This shows that the actual bottleneck is the system bus as increasing memory speed alone does very little in the way of boosting performance.

SiSoft
(Click for full sized image)

 

Conclusion:

As you can see from the results above, memory performance on today's Intel Core 2 Duo systems has more to do with CPU speed than actual memory speed.  When three different sets of Patriot memory are compared, all three produce similar results.  The kit that impressed me the most though was the "cheapy" DDR2-800 "Eased Latency" kit.  This kit ran at CAS3 at an amazing DDR2-879 when it comes clocked in at 5-5-5-12!

The DDR2-800 "Eased Latency" tops out at DDR2-992 - a slower clock speed that all the other sets, but manages the fastest speeds at CL3.  The DDR2-800 "Low Latency" actually did quite poorly at CL3, but managed a 25% overclock to reach just over 1GHz at CL5.  The fastest clocking memory was the DDR2-1066, and it has a very balanced run at CL3, CL4 and CL5.  At its rated 2.3v, it ran at DDR2-1080 with 4-4-4-12 timings and took the CL4 crown.

 

Final Thoughts:

If you pay for good memory, you get good memory.  All of these kits performed as advertised and some did much better than that.  If I were shopping for a DDR2 kit, I'd definitely consider either of the "Eased Latency" kits - in PC2-6400 or PC2-8500 flavors.  Both of these ran well at tight and relaxed timings.

Pros:

  • Excellent performance / price ratio.
  • Runs rock solid at stock speeds.
  • DDR2-800 kits averaged over 20% overclock.
  • DDR2-1066 kit ran at CL4 at stock Mhz and overclocked well.

 

Cons:

  • Memory Performance doesn't scale directly with memory speed.

 

 

BCCHardware.com Rating
Quality:
9/10
Performance:
9/10
Software Pack:
n/a
Stability:
10/10
Features:
9/10
Value:
9/10
Total Score 9.2

Top Pick

 

If you aren't running 2GB of memory in your system, check out any of these kits over at MemoryExpress and get some!

Please head on over and post your thoughts, comments and questions about this memory in the forum at the "Comments" link below.  You will need to be registered to post, but registration is simple, fast and almost fun!