Today it is my pleasure to see if Patriot can truly run with the big dogs! I’ll be reviewing their PDC2G3500LLK 2 gigabyte PC3500 Dual Channel Kit which I received just over a week ago.
For more than a year, I’ve been hearing that DDR SDRAM was dead and that DDR2 SDRAM would certainly be the new memory of choice. Well, I’m here to tell you DDR2 may well now be on the horizon, over a year later; but DDR is far from dead! While the newer Intel chipsets have migrated to DDR2, AMD has chosen to hold steadfast with DDR in its current product line. AMD’s upcoming Socket AM2 single- and dual-core processors look set to support 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM, but that is still a few months away depending on which article you read. For now, DDR SDRAM is still the king!
Games released in the past year coupled with hard-core graphics’ applications have done nothing but get better, and in so doing, they have set the new “gold standard” for the amount of memory to two gigabytes. This has been a fairly rapid change, and most major memory manufacturers have responded to meet the demands set upon them. Not only did the “Computer Enthusiast” want 2GB of dual channel DDR (2 x 1,024MB sticks), but he wanted a low latency DDR equivalent too, or even better than the 1GB dual channel kits they were replacing. “Ask an ye shall receive!”
Patriot is a relative newcomer to memory manufacturing when compared to some of the old-timers that have been in the memory game for many years. This has in no way limited them in the eyes of the consumer as their market share is apparently growing. Unlike many memory manufacturers whose origin is in Taiwan, Patriot’s corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located in Freemont, CA. Patriot is not a memory manufacturer in the sense that they begin with the raw silicon wafer; they buy pre-made chips from companies such as Samsung, Infineon, and Hynix and then complete the manufacturing process.
Today, it is my pleasure to see if Patriot can truly run with the big dogs! I’ll be reviewing their PDC2G3500LLK 2GB PC3500 Dual Channel Kit, which I received just over a week ago.
A CLOSER LOOK
As you can see from the initial photo, Patriot uses a red heat spreader on all their enthusiast-level dual channel kits. The heat spreader is aluminum and uses what Patriot calls their “Bladed Technology” which I would assume is the way they serrate the material to make ribs adding additional surface area for heat dissipation. Red is generally indicative of speed, and we’ll soon find out if that analogy holds true in the case of this DDR SDRAM.
- PC-3500 operating at 400MHz
- Large Capacity 2GB Kits
- Availabe with Low timings of 2-3-2-5
- Qualified on both Intel and AMD based systems
- Optimized for AMD 64 Based systems running at 1T Command Rate at high capacities.
- 100% Hand Tested in pairs
- Premium Aluminum Heat Spreaders with our own Bladed Technology
- Life Time Warranty
A CLOSER LOOK (cont’d)
The Patriot PDC2G3500LLK 2GB PC3500 Dual Channel Kit arrived in a stylish well-secured package. Shown on the previous page are the front and rear of that package.
The package insert unfolds to give the purchaser some good technical information about the memory sticks they’ve just purchased. Support and other contact information is also included. The sheet also provides complete instructions for installing the memory, which is a rather novel idea given the ease of doing so. A rather nice touch if you ask me, especially for the “first time builders.”
Here’s a picture of the two sticks out of the package just prior to installation.
A final look before we determine what these nice looking blocks of silicon are capable of.
The Patriot PDC2G3500LLK 2GB PC3500 Dual Channel Kit is rated at 2-3-2-5 and states specifically that it is “optimized for AMD 64 Based systems running at 1T Command Rate at high capacities.” Since nothing is mentioned about how this DDR SDRAM is specifically optimized for Intel systems, I thought what better way to test these sticks. I have a recently acquired 3.2 GHz Northwood that will do 3.85 GHz rather effortlessly on air, and I thought we’d give it a whirl coupled with the rest of the test system captioned below.
- Motherboard: Asus P4C800-E Deluxe
- Processor: Intel 3.2 GHz Northwood
- Power Supply: Silverstone SST ST-56F 560 watt (review)
- HSF: ZALMAN CNPS7000B-AlCU
- Video Card: ATI X800XL run at default speed
- Optical Drive: Plextor PX-712A
- Hard Drives: Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 120 GB SATA drive
- Memory: 2 GB (2- 1,024 MB sticks) Patriot PC3500 Dual Channel memory at 2.65 volts
- Fan Controller: Sunbeam 4 channel rheobus 17 watts per channel
- Case: Antec SLK3000-B
- Case Fans: Rear: Antec™ Triflo® 120mm; Front: Antec™ Triflo® 120mm;
Unlike the AMD 64 X2 processors the Northwood chip has a multiplier that is locked at 16, for that reason we’ll have to resort to overclocking the system the old fashioned way; raising the FSB. We’ll begin at 200MHz or DDR 400 and move upward in 10 MHz increments until we reach the 3.85 GHz mark the Northwood is capable of or until the memory gives out, whichever comes first.
We’ll use the following benchmarks to test the progression:
- SiSoft Sandra 2005 – Memory Benchmarks
- Everest Home – Final Free Edition
- Super Pi 1 M Calculation – Mod 1.5XS
- Far Cry Benchmark – 1600×1200 No AA
- 3D Mark 2001SE – 1600×1200 No AA
The benchmarks are somewhat misleading in that I was able to reach a FSB of 240MHz or DDR 480 running at 2.75 volts and a latency of 3-3-3-8, boot and benchmark. However, the benchmarks began to drop below those of the DDR 460 level. I tried higher latencies up to 3-4-4-8 and increasing the voltage up to 2.85. No matter what I tried the results were essentially the same, no improvement; even though the system appeared to be totally stable. That being said, the benchmarks at DDR 460 surpassed that of my Mushkin PC3550 BH-5 Level 2 RAM at DDR 480 by almost 5%. I should note that the Mushkin is also running at > 3.0 volts and latency settings of 3-3-4-8. Note: Gaming benchmarks replaced on April 21, 2006 as it was discovered that the wrong benchmarks were initially included with the review, my sincere apologies to all.
I must say I’m amazed at the results as I would have never thought that a 2 gig kit would have come close let alone beaten a 1 gig reference kit like the Mushkin. I am also rather pleasantly surprised that the Patriot 2 gig kit did not require significant latency increases to reach that level of performance.
What can I say? This Patriot memory literally kicks ass! Granted, I’m doing the testing on a stripped down review rig with only the bare essentials installed, and it was for all you AMD fans an Intel Northwood processor; nevertheless, I was overjoyed with the results. If this memory performs this well on an Intel rig, just think what it will do on an AMD box running at 1T with these low latencies.
The Patriot PDC2G3500LLK 2GB PC3500 Dual Channel Kit must be a relatively new and/or very popular product. I say this because a search of PriceGrabber only revealed two retailers that had it in stock. The price ranged between the two retailers from a low of $265 to a high of just at $300. Even though recent changes in the market have brought memory prices down significantly, this product remains on the high side of the spectrum, which is the only flaw I found in this otherwise perfect product.
I made the statement early on in this review that “we’d see if Patriot could run amongst the big dogs in memory production.” I think we’ve answered that statement with a resounding YES! I’d go as far to say that if products of this caliber continue to be in Patriot’s repertoire, then they’ll someday soon be leading that pack.
+ Stylish red heat spreaders
+ Low latencies
+ Overclocks extremely well
+ 100% Hand Tested in pairs
+ Life Time Warranty
– Price tag is a bit high
Final Score: 9 (Extremely Good) out of 10 and the Bjorn3D Seal of Approval.