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Patriot PVV34G2000LLKB: DDR3-2000 on Socket AM3 Platform

As you may have noticed, we took high-quality overclocker-friendly DDR3 SDRAM memory kit of the Viper II Sector 5 series from Patriot for our tests, hoping that we might run our Socket AM3 platform with DDR3-2000 memory. But although these modules is certainly capable of working at 2 GHz (which is its rated frequency, actually), we could not use its capabilities fully because of unsolved problems with the AMD platform which, even in its newest implementation, proved to be not ready for high-speed memory.

In this section we will make our amends to the Patriot PVV34G2000LLKB modules and show that that was not their fault. You will see what this memory is really capable of and how the memory controller of the Phenom II X6 limits the frequency potential of DDR3 SDRAM.

So, the Patriot PVV34G2000LLKB kit consists of two 2GB modules of DDR3 SDRAM rated for DDR3-2000 mode with timings of 8-8-8-26. These modules are designed for LGA1156 systems, so their voltage is set at Intel’s recommended 1.65 volts.

The Patriot PVV34G2000LLKB kit comes from the Viper II Sector 5 series which means that these modules have large aluminum heatsinks. Well, there is nothing really extraordinary about the heatsinks which are black-anodized bars with comb-shaped top surface. They should be quite enough to ensure no overheat-related problems, though. You must be aware that the Patriot PVV34G2000LLKB, as any other tall memory modules, may have some installation problems if you’ve got a large CPU cooler.

The heatsinks are secured on the chips by means of gluey tape-like thermal interface. Below we found Elpida Hyper chips we had praised a number of times in our earlier DDR3 reviews.

After all that, it is no wonder that the Patriot PVV34G2000LLKB has the following official specs:

  • Dual-channel kit consisting of two 2GB modules
  • Rated frequency: 2000 MHz
  • Timings: 8-8-8-26
  • Voltage: 1.65 volts

The kit also includes a registration key for the popular benchmarking suite Futuremark 3DMark Vantage.

Being targeted at LGA1156 platforms, these modules support XMP technology.

There are as many as three modes in the profiles: DDR3-2000 with 8-8-8-26 timings, DDR3-1750 with 7-7-7-23 timings, and DDR3-1500 with very aggressive timings of 6-6-6-20.

Thus, the Patriot PVV34G2000LLKB features very attractive specs but it can only show its best on LGA1156 platforms together with Core i7 processors. Using an ASUS P7P55D Premium mainboard (Intel P55 Chipset) and a Core i7-860, we could make this memory stable as DDR3-2119 with 8-8-8-24-2T timings. The memory voltage was 1.65 volts, in full compliance with the specs and Intel’s recommendations.

Thus, the Patriot PVV34G2000LLKB is excellent system memory for enthusiasts. It works not only at 2000 MHz with rather aggressive timings but can also be overclocked to much higher frequencies.

But as we wrote above, the Socket AM3 platform proved to be unable to clock system memory at such a high frequency, so we could only reach DDR3-1833 mode with 8-8-8-24-1T timings and 1.65V voltage using an ASUS Crosshair IV Formula mainboard with a Phenom II X6 processor.

Comparing this result to what we achieved with the Intel platform, we can be quite sure that the problem is not about the memory modules. It is the CPU’s memory controller and mainboard that are to blame as they cannot clock system memory at high frequencies despite our complying with all formal requirements to using DDR3-2000.

We did not succeed even when we selected relaxed memory timings or increased the DIMM voltage.

Even at 10-10-10-30-2T timings the highest memory frequency we could achieve was 1873 MHz. So, we cannot say as yet that the Socket AM3 platform supports DDR3-2000. You can only achieve that frequency with a Phenom II X6 processor if you carefully select appropriate components. In most cases, purchasing high-speed memory for the latest AMD platform brings no practical benefits.

 
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