Overclocking RAM can sometimes be a bit daunting, especially when you know it provides relatively low-end results. Sometimes things are just better left alone. However, if you've seen the latest DDR5 RAM modules due for release and now feel like your memory is lacking in the speed department, then fear not, in the following article we're going to hold your hand and walk you through exactly what is required to overclock your memory.
Simplicity isn't easy to come by with RAM overclocking and this is largely down to the many different variables such as the motherboard, your system, and RAM modules. While tweaking your RAM speeds may not bring extra FPS in your gaming titles it may bring smoother file operations and can help with video editing/ multitasking.
CPU-Z is a useful overclocking tool that can be easily downloaded for free. Once open if you navigate to the memory tab you can make a note of your DRAM frequency and timings. You can also use the SDP tab to look at the timing tables which are the XMP settings the BIOS uses.
For stress-testing the system Memtest86+ is still widely used as it has extensive configuration options for running tests.
- XMP (Extreme Memory Profiles)
XMP is Intel's preset and validated overclocking settings that can be enabled via the motherboards firmware or a utility. With XMP the firmware is allowed to automatically configure the DRAM voltage and latencies.
If while overclocking something doesn't go right then don't worry as you can always reset. If your PC boots and is useable but unstable then you can go back into the BIOS and change the Voltage or timings backl to what they were. If your PC is struggling during the reboot and restarting hasn't worked then you can always clear the CMOS on your motherboard. You may need to check your MOBO manual if you haven't done this before but it will reset your BIOS back to factory settings meaning you can start again.
With memory you get a few overclocking options, 1. Auto, 2. XMP, and 3. Manual. In this guide we will show you how to use these options but mainly a step by step guide to manual overclocking with use of the XMP.
- Open CPU-Z and make a note of the DRAM frequency and timings then write down the timing tables from the SDP tab as these are the XMP settings your BIOS will use. (Ram speed is your DRAM frequency doubled)
- Now you want to go into your BIOS. Once in the bios navigate to the Ai tweaker or your motherboards equivalent and set it to XMP (you should see a drop down menu).
- Match the advertised specs of your RAM with the XMP profile of your choice.
- Hold off on any other BIOS changes at this point. Save, reboot and perform a stress test.
If the results are stable then success!
- Follow the XMP step above first and then stress test it. This will give you an idea what speeds, frequency and timings you can have with your RAM. ( we are going to boost the voltage leading to generally better performing RAM)
- Go back into your BIOS and navigate to the Ai Tweaker only this time you want to select ‘manual’. From here you will see your other settings change, you can start by increasing the DRAM voltage in increments of 0.015v.
- Now you can increase the CPU VCCIO Voltage and CPU System Agent Voltage in increments of 0.05v (1.15v to 1.20v) but do not get carried away as you do not want to break your components.
- Now onto the timings. This can sometimes be called DRAM Timing Control and you only need to change three timing settings (use your timings - see step one).
- Test for stability and repeat.