Patriot, who is no stranger to our best RAM list, has many interesting product lines in its wide repertoire. However, the memory specialist recently revamped one of its emblematic lineups to keep up with the current RGB trend. As the name implies, the Viper Steel RGB series comes with a redesigned heat distributor and RGB lighting.
The new series marks the second time Patriot has included RGB lighting in its DDR4 offering, with the first being the Viper RGB series that debuted way back in 2018. While looks can be important, performance also plays a big role, and the Viper Steel RGB DDR4-3600 memory kit is here to show us what it is or isn’t made of.
Viper Steel RGB memory modules come with the standard black circuit board with a matching matte black heat spreader. It was nice of Patriot to keep the aluminum heat spreader as uncluttered as possible. Only the golden Viper logo and typical specification sticker are present on the heat spreader and the latter is removable.
At 44mm (1.73in), the Viper Steel RGB isn’t overly tall, so we’d expect it to fit under most CPU air coolers on the market. Nevertheless, we recommend that you double check that you have enough free space for the memory modules. The RGB light bar has five customizable lighting zones. Patriot does not offer a program to control the lighting, so you have to rely on the software of your motherboard. The compatibility list includes Asus Aura Sync, Gigabyte RGB Fusion, MSI Mystic Light Sync, and ASRock Polychrome Sync.
The Viper Steel RGB is a dual-channel 32GB memory kit, so you receive two 16GB memory modules with an eight-layer circuit board and a dual-rank design. Although Thaiphoon Burner picked up the integrated circuits (ICs) as Hynix chips, the software was unable to identify the exact model. However, these must be AFR (A-die) ICs, more specifically H5AN8G8NAFR-VKC.
You’ll find that the stock Viper Steel RGB defaults to DDR4-2666 and 19-19-19-43. If you enable the XMP profile on the memory modules, they go to DDR4-3600 at 20-26-26-46. The DRAM voltage required for DDR4-3600 is 1.35V. For more information on timing and frequency considerations, see our PC Memory 101 feature and our story on how to buy RAM.
|Memory Kit||part number||Capacity||data rate||Primary times||Tension||Guarantee|
|G.Skill Trident Z Royal||F4-4000C17D-32GTRGB||2x16GB||DDR4-4000 (XMP)||17-18-18-38 (2T)||1.40 Volt||Lifetime|
|Crucial Ballistix Max RGB||BLM2K16G40C18U4BL||2x16GB||DDR4-4000 (XMP)||18-19-19-39 (2T)||1.35 Volt||Lifetime|
|G.Skill Trident Z Neo||F4-3600C16D-32GTZN||2x16GB||DDR4-3600 (XMP)||16-16-16-36 (2T)||1.35 Volt||Lifetime|
|Klevv Bolt XR||KD4AGU880-36A180C||2x16GB||DDR4-3600 (XMP)||18-22-22-42 (2T)||1.35 Volt||Lifetime|
|Patriot Viper Steel RGB||PVSR432G360C0K||2x16GB||DDR4-3600 (XMP)||20-26-26-46 (2T)||1.35 Volt||Lifetime|
Our Intel test system consists of an Intel Core i9-10900K and Asus ROG Maximus XII Apex on the 0901 firmware. On the other hand, the AMD testbed uses an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 and ASRock B550 Taichi with the 1.30 firmware. The MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Trio performs the graphics tasks on both platforms.
Things didn’t go well with the Viper Steel RGB on the Intel platform. Memory was at the bottom of our application’s RAM benchmarks and came last in the game tests. Our results did not reveal specific workloads where the Viper Steel RGB stood out.
The loose timings did not significantly hinder the performance of the Viper Steel RGB. Logically, it lagged behind its DDR4-3600 rivals who have tighter timings. The data rate of the Viper Steel RGB allowed it to work in a 1:1 ratio with our Ryzen 5 3600’s FCLK, so it didn’t deliver any performance hits, unlike the DDR4-4000 offerings. With a capable Zen 3 processor capable of running at 2,000MHz FCLK, the Viper Steel RGB is unlikely to outperform the high-frequency kits.
Tune overclocking and latency
Overclocking potential is not the strongest feature of the Viper Steel RGB. Increasing the DRAM voltage from 1.35V to 1.45V only brought us to DDR4-3800. Although we had to keep the tRCD, tRP and tRAS at their XMP values, we were able to reduce the CAS latency to 17.
Lowest stable timing
|Memory Kit||DDR4-3600 (1.45V)||DDR4-3800 (1.45V)||DDR4-4000 (1.45V)||DDR4-4133 (1.45V)||DDR4-4200 (1.45V)|
|G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4-3600 C16||13-14-14-35 (2T)||N/A||N/A||N/A||19-19-19-39 (2T)|
|Crucial Ballistix Max RGB DDR4-4000 C18||N/A||N/A||16-19-19-39 (2T)||N/A||20-20-20-40 (2T)|
|G.Skill Trident Z Royal DDR4-4000 C17||N/A||N/A||15-16-16-36 (2T)||18-19-19-39 (2T)||N/A|
|Klevv Bolt XR DDR4-3600 C18||16-19-19-39 (2T)||N/A||N/A||18-22-22-42 (2T)||N/A|
|Patriot Viper Steel RGB DDR4-3600 C20||16-20-20-40 (2T)||17-26-26-46 (2T)||N/A||N/A||N/A|
As we have seen before, you cannot use Hynix ICs at very tight times. That’s not to say that the Viper Steel RGB doesn’t have room to move. With a DRAM voltage of 1.45 V, we optimized the memory to run at 16-20-20-40 as opposed to the 20-26-26-46 timings of the XMP profile.
It’s no surprise that the Viper Steel RGB DDR4-3600 C20 won’t beat competing memory kits with more optimized timings. The problem is that C20 is basically at the bottom of the barrel by DDR4-3600 standards.
The Viper Steel RGB won’t match or surpass the competition without some serious manual tweaks. The hefty $184.99 price tag on the memory kit doesn’t do it any favors either. To put it in perspective, the cheapest DDR4-3600 2x16GB memory kit on the market starts at $154.99 and checks in with C18. Unless Patriot rethinks prices for the Viper Steel RGB DDR4-3600 C20, the memory kit probably won’t be on anyone’s radar.