Like many other memory specialists, Patriot has an extended portfolio of products. However, the Viper Steel series is still one of the brand's best-balanced lineups and has made its way into out Best RAM list multiple times. The only caveat with the Viper Steel series is Patriot's prerogative to sell the memory as a single module or in a dual-channel package. The limited combinations effectively keep out quad-channel users unless they opt to combine kits, which is something that we don't recommend. Currently, Viper Steel memory kits start at DDR4-3000 and top out DDR4-4400. The dual-channel configurations come in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB flavors. Here we're specifically looking at the Patriot Viper Steel DDR4-3600 C18 2x32GB kit.
The Viper Steel's aluminum heat spreader comes in a gunmetal grey color with black highlights. The color theme helps the memory modules blend in seamlessly with the majority of PC builds. Doing justice to its name, the Viper Steel flaunts an aggressive exterior that features the brand's Viper logo in the center. The same design is present on both sides of the memory module.
The Viper Steel memory modules have a height of 45mm (1.77 inches). A matte-black PCB is hidden underneath the heat spreader. Some users might be happy to know that Patriot has restrained itself from putting any RGB lighting on the Viper Steel memory modules. The company only incorporated a simple, black plastic insert on top of the memory modules to represent the Viper branding.
The Viper Steel memory kit is comprised of two dual-rank memory modules with a density of 32GB each. In terms of ingredients, Patriot cooks up the Viper Steel memory modules with an eight-layer PCB and Hynix integrated circuits (ICs), with the H5ANAG8NMJR-VKC part number. The ICs are commonly known as Hynix MJR, or just M-die among memory enthusiasts.
Upon first boot, the Viper Steel runs at DDR4-2666, with timings set to 19-19-19-43. Like any other high-speed memory module, the Viper Steel features one XMP profile that facilitates the entire setup process. In this case, the Viper Steel kit is certified to operate at DDR4-3600 and 18-20-20-40 timings while pulling 1.35V. For more on timings and frequency considerations, see our PC Memory 101 feature, as well as our How to Shop for RAM feature.
|Memory Kit||Part Number||Capacity||Data Rate||Primary Timings||Voltage||Warranty|
|Patriot Viper Steel||PVS464G360C8K||2 x 32GB||DDR4-3600 (XMP)||18-20-20-40 (2T)||1.35 Volts||Lifetime|
|Crucial Ballistix||BL2K32G32C16U4W||2 x 32GB||DDR4-3200 (XMP)||16-18-18-36 (2T)||1.35 Volts||Lifetime|
Our Intel test system consists of an Intel Core i7-10700K and MSI MEG Z490 Ace on the 7C71v11 firmware. On the other hand, the AMD testbed is based of an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 and ASRock B550 Taichi that runs on the 1.30 firmware. Regardless of the platform, an MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Trio handles the graphical duties.
For the most part, the Viper Steel DDR4-3600 C18 memory kit outperformed the Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3200 C16 memory kit. There were scenarios where the competition came out on top, such as the Microsoft Office and Cinebench R20 benchmarks. However, the margin of victory in both tests was less than 1%. The Viper Steel was the undisputed winner in the gaming tests, though.
The Viper Steel solidified its position in terms of general and gaming performance. On the AMD platform, however, the Crucial Ballistix memory kit took home the crown in 7-Zip decompression, LuxMark, y-cruncher and both HardBrake encoding tests. Once again, the performance difference was less than 1%.
Overclocking and Latency Tuning
The highest frequency we got out of the Viper Steel DDR4-3600 C18 memory modules is DDR4-3800. In addition to increasing the DRAM voltage to 1.45V, we also had to loosen the timings to 21-21-21-41 to keep our memory overclock stable.
Lowest Stable Timings
|Memory Kit||DDR4-3200 (1.45)||DDR4-3600 (1.45V)||DDR4-3800 (1.45V)||DDR4-4200 (1.45V)|
|Patriot Viper Steel DDR4-3600 C18||N/A||17-19-19-39 (2T)||21-21-21-41 (2T)||N/A|
|Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3200 C16||14-16-16-36 (2T)||N/A||N/A||18-22-22-42 (2T)|
Even though the Viper Steel doesn't shine in overclocking, there's a little bit of room for improvement at DDR4-3600 if you're willing to increase the DRAM voltage. At 1.45V, we successfully tightened the advertised timings of 18-20-20-40 down to 17-19-19-39.
The Viper Steel DDR4-3600 C18 is a terrific memory kit for content creators or professionals that don't have the luxury of many DDR4 memory slots. Performance isn't a problem because the memory kit excels at everything that you throw at it.
Patriot practically binned these modules to the max, so overclocking headroom is almost non-existent, even if you're willing to go crazy on the voltage. But running the Viper Steel at the advertised frequency should be more than sufficient in the majority of scenarios.
Patriot prices the Viper Steel DDR4-3600 C18 64GB memory kit very attractively, too. At $239.99, the memory kit is neither cheap nor expensive. The Viper Steel finds itself right in the middle of the competition. Given it stands tall in terms of performance, that makes this kit easy to recommend for those who need speed and density in a dual-DIMM scenario.