Patriot PC4800 1GB Dual Channel Kit

Written by John Chen    Thursday, 14 July 2005 11:00
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Patriot PC4800 1GB Dual Channel Kit
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Introduction


I remember the first time I laid my eyes on PDP's Patriot line of memory.  It was during one of my weekly trips to Fry's.  The first thought that came to mind was "that's so ugly".  I never once thought Patriot would achieve great success among the enthusiast crowd.  Corsair and OCZ are the two biggest names in the enthusiast crowd, producing fast overclocking/gaming memory.  Surprisingly, Patriot's name and reputation is escalating with every passing moment.  The main reason they can compete in the market is because they're not selling low quality memory with a heatspreader.  When they started selling their XBLK memory, it was the most inexpensive TCCD/BP 815 RAM available. 

I believe A-DATA was the first to announce the release of PC4800.  OCZ, G.Skill, and GeIL quickly followed.  I was not surprised when I heard Patriot was also releasing guaranteed high speed modules.  The surprising part is that their memory modules went through a huge makeover.  I literally drooled when I saw what they displayed on their website and at Computex.

 


 

 Patriot PC4800

First off, there is a clarification that needs to be addressed.  PDP is the main company that produces memory modules.  Patriot is a subdivision of PDP, focusing on RAM for hardware enthusiasts.  It's the same relationship as Micron and Crucial. 

Normally I don't talk too much about the packaging, but the clamshell that housed the PC4800 is rather unique.  It's smaller than all the traditional ones we're used to seeing.  The front is actually the package insert, with the memory modules in the back. 

All memory companies nowadays are going with new and unique heatspreaders.  Everyone's ditching the standard two clip design and going with something to further distinguish their brand.  GeIL was the first to deviate from the two clip design with their unique and patented snap on heatspreaders.  Patriot's new "heatspreader" is very interesting.  Two thin pieces of aluminum heatsinks are used to help dissipate heat.  It's held on by thermal pads, of course.  Since two separate pieces of aluminum heatsinks are used and attached independently, there is nothing to cover the top of the modules; You can see the memory chips from the top.  The most interesting part would be the name on the heatsinks.  The Patriot name is not a sticker, but it's actually carved.  The memory is just beautiful.  The sexy red reminds me of the woman in the red dress in The Matrix.  Even the Brainpower 815 PCB is red.  It looks like Patriot spent some time in both the packaging and memory aesthetics.  Lifting the corner of the heatsink, I peeked underneath and found Samsung TCCD date 513. 

Patriot's new memory is rated for PC4800 speeds, which means DDR600 or 300MHZ at 2.5-4-4-8 timings with 2.9v.  The command rate isn't specified, mainly because there are motherboards out there that just don't like high HTT with 1T command.  Such an example would be Abit's AN8 series.  The board overclocks well with 1T up to about the 280HTT range and won't go further, even if the memory is capable.  With a loosened 2T command rate, it'll reach 300HTT easily.  Patriot also confirmed that during their testing, the DFI and MSI nF4 series did well at 300HTT and a command rate of 1T. 

 


 

Test System and Overclocking

Test System:

  • AMD Athlon 64 Venice 3000+
  • DFI LANParty UT nF4 Ultra-D
  • 2 x 512MB Patriot PC4800
  • Sapphire Radeon X800
  • Arctic Freezer 64
  • Thermaltake PurePower 680W

Overclocking:

Keep in mind that during overclocking, the latencies are as follows:  CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS

Throughout all tests, the multiplier has been kept at 8x to reduce any possible CPU bottleneck.

With such high speed memory, using it to run stock speeds of 200MHZ 2-2-2-5 would be a waste of money and extremely pointless.  That's like buying a Ferrari and driving it 40MPH everywhere.  With such high rated speeds and timings, the only sensible thing to do would be to overclock the system to the maximum.  I began with timings of 2.5-3-3-7 1T at 2.8v and went as high as 265HTT.  It seems like the newer date Samsung TCCD's aren't responding very well like previous TCCD's.  With an increase in voltage to 2.9v, I managed to hit the rated speed of 300HTT, but with timings of 2.5-4-3-7 1T.  It's certainly much better than 2.5-4-4-8.  Unfortunately, loosened timings and increased voltage provided no help.  It's quite strange.  The GeIL ONE also stopped at the same speeds during the overclocking process.  Newer TCCD's are certainly not as overclocking friendly as before. 

One thing that Patriot did mention was that they managed to get close to DDR700 with relaxed timings and a command rate of 2T.  You can see it in their press release HERE.  Personally, I loathe the use of 2T; I'd rather run a lower overclock.  The reason behind that will be shown and explained in the results section.  Regardless, I loosened 1T to 2T and kept timings of 2.5-4-3-7 and 2.9v.  The memory went as high as 320HTT before failing to perform.

Overclocking Results:

  • 200HTT  2.0-2-2-5  1T  2.8v
  • 265HTT  2.5-3-3-7  1T  2.8v
  • 300HTT  2.5-4-3-7  1T  2.9v
  • 320HTT  2.5-4-3-7  2T  2.9v
 

 
Results

A series of memory intensive benchmarks will be run to test the performance of our sample. The other tests will be based on common benchmark programs, such as 3DMark and PCMark. Real life performance differences will be tested through current games, such as Far Cry and UT2004. Memory bandwidth benchmarks will be based off of SiSoft Sandra and Everest Home Edition. Super PI and PiFast will also be used to test memory performance, as the benchmark benefits largely from FSB increases.

SiSoft Sandra Memory Bandwidth

SiSoft Sandra is the most widely used memory bandwidth test.  It can tell you the increase in performance from just lowering the latency timings.

Everest Home Edition

Much like Sandra, Everest Home Edition tests the memory's ability to read and write data in large chunks.  The results show that the lower latencies seem to help just a little with performance.

3DMark2001SE

3DMark is likely the overclocker's favorite benchmark.  Unlike 3DMark2003, which stresses mainly the video card, 3DMark2001SE tests all of the system's main components.  Increasing the CPU speed, memory speed, and video card speeds will result in higher results in the final score.

 


 

Results Continued

Far Cry

Since Far Cry is a game, the performance results will be very similar to 3dMark2001.  I ran the benchmark at 640x480, so the benchmark would not be too GPU dependent.  The tests under 1024x768 and 1280x1024 are an approximation of what kind of frames you'll be getting.  While the results are similar to 3dMark2001 in performance, this benchmark will give more significant results, because Far Cry is extremely demanding.

Unreal Tournament 2004

Unreal Tournament is another popular game engine to test overall system performance.  Here, we can see the same results as Far Cry and 3dMark2001.  Like Far Cry, UT2004 was also run at 640x480 to limit GPU dependency.  The other resolutions provide an approximation of actual gameplay performance.

PCMark2002

PCMark is another benchmark created by Futuremark.  It tests the memory compression and decompression speeds in small to large chunks of data.

Super PI

Since the value of PI is an infinite value, Super PI is a speed test to find the digit you're looking for.  In this case, we chose the millionth digit.  Super PI benefits greatly from higher FSB, as well as low latencies.

PiFast

PiFast is similar to Super PI.  The results can be greatly affected by a slight adjustment to the memory megahertz and latency.

The results clearly reveal why running 2T is not ideal.  While it does bring increased performance, the increase isn't all too crazy.  Just for reference, we'll only refer to 8x300HTT 1T and 8x320HTT 2T.  At 8x300HTT, the CPU is running 2.4GHZ.  At 8x320HTT, the CPU is running 2.56GHZ.  The difference between the two is a good 160MHZ in CPU power.  In the AMD world, that 160MHZ is a lot of power.  Additionally, the memory is running an additional 20MHZ faster.  The majority of the tests show that the performance with 2T is pretty close to the performance of 1T.  In real world situations like Far Cry and Unreal Tournament 2004, the performance increase isn't all that much, with a typical increase of 2-3 frames per second.  You also have to keep in mind that since there is an increase in CPU power, there will be an increase in memory bandwidth.  More of that is explained HERE.  So running 2T will allow you to increase your memory overclock, in this case an additional 20MHZ, and cause your CPU power to increase while you only gain a small fraction of performance increase.  With the increased CPU speed, you'll be likely to increase your VCore in order to stabilize that CPU overclock.  There are still many enthusiasts who will say that an increase is an increase.  Personally, running it at 2T command just isn't worth it.  I'll work on an article to further explain the performance difference of 1T and 2T.

 


 

Conclusion and Thoughts

Patriot's first step into the enthusiast market was a good first step and positioned them as a leading competitor.  While their introductory modules weren't very pleasing to the eyes, their newly revised version looks fantastic, just like Jessica Alba in Fantastic 4.  The use of heatsinks on the memory chips is very innovative and extremely unique.  I like the way how Patriot's name is carved onto the heatsink.  Another great move by Patriot is the use of red Brainpower 815 PCB.  It would be silly to use a green PCB with red heatsinks.  That would be ugly. 

The PC4800 memory didn't offer too much overclocking headroom right out of the box.  The only great thing that it provided was lower latencies at speeds of 300MHZ.  Like the GeIL ONE situation, you can't blame Patriot.  The new Samsung TCCD IC's with newer date codes aren't overclocking as well as older dated TCCD's.  I miss the days of 431 and 437.  I had a pair that would run 320HTT 2.5-4-3-7 1T with 3.0v.  Too bad I had to give it away. 

Patriot's PC4800 is a good contender among PC4800 memory makers.  Their memory not only performs as expected, but looks great as well.  It'll be an excellent addition to your windowed box.

Pros:

  • Beautiful red heatspreaders
  • Matching red Brainpower 815 PCB
  • Runs lower latencies than rated at 300MHZ

Cons:

  • Not yet available
  • Not much overclocking headroom out of box--due to newer week TCCD's

We would like to thank Patriot for providing us the sample.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to hit us up in the forums. You can also check out more of our latest reviews on the front page.

 

 

 
 

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