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Patriot may not be the first name that leaps to mind when you're considering fast DDR3 memory. Corsair, Crucial, Kingston and OCZ are all up there but Patriot probably figures even less prominently than the likes of GeIL and G.Skil so we were intrigued by the offer of some Patriot PVS32G1866LLK memory.
It's the figure of 1866 that draws your eye as it refers to a colossal clock speed of 1,866MHz. That's a huge number and it's also an unusual number as it gets ahead of the current crop of front side bus speeds.
DDR3 started at 1,066MHz and progressed through 1,333MHz to 1,600MHz. Nvidia's new 790i Ultra chipset supports overclocked memory speeds of 1,800MHz and 2,000MHz so where the heck does 1,866MHz fit in the great scheme of things. The answer appears to lie in the memory bandwidth rating which is a nice round PC3-15000 but it's best if we don't get too hung up on pure clock speed. Memory has a DDR speed so the 1,866MHz is a true claimed clock speed of 933MHz while the front side bus of even the fastest Penryn Core 2 processor is a true 400MHz. You're doing very well if you overclock to 600MHz so DDR3-1333 memory has plenty of headroom for the most avid overclocker and most people will find they are able to overclock and also raise the memory multiplier.
There are two other parts of the model code that deserve mention. There's the V for Viper that comes just after the P for Patriot. That's a reference to the Patriot Viper Heat Shields with integrated Aluminium Copper Composite (ACC) technology which doesn't seem like an especially obvious name for a heat shield or heat sink.
The two sides of the Viper coolers are separate with no heatpipe joining them together and they seem to have a very simple construction. Each side is made of aluminium with a coating of copper on the inner face. These Patriot modules are single sided so one heatsink is glued to the PCB while the other is glued to the eight memory modules. The top of the heat sink is castellated to increase the surface area of the cooler in much the same way that the DHX system works on high end Corsair memory.
The other significant part of the model code is the LL suffix which stands for Low Latency. The rating of the Patriot modules is 8-8-8-24 which is good without being exceptional as 1,600MHz memory typically has latencies of 7-7-7-20 while OCZ 1,800MHz has the same 8-8-8-24 so it's fair to say that Patriot is delivering good numbers without breaking new ground.
Patriot claims that you get the most from this memory when you enable Intel's Extreme Memory Profiles (XMP) which is a feature of Intel P35, X38 and X48 motherboards. XMP extends the Serial Presence Detect (SPD) figures that you find in every module of memory. Plug the Patriot memory into an appropriate motherboard and the system should automatically run the memory at maximum speed without input from the user.