Overclocking is a widespread practice among PC enthusiasts wanting to enhance the performance of their computers. By upgrading the clock speed of your system components, you can achieve a significant boost in performance—making your computer run faster and more efficiently.
One of the components that can be overclocked is your computer RAM, which is responsible for storing and accessing your computer’s data. With Over Clockable RAM, you can experience an increase in the performance of your computer.
From understanding the basics of overclocking to finding the best settings for your RAM, here you will get everything required to know to get started with overclocking RAM. Whether you are an experienced geek or new to the concept, this guide will provide you with how to overclock RAM and get the best performance from your computer.
What is RAM Overclocking?
Before we understand overclocking the RAM, what it’s all about?
RAM (Random Access Memory) is an integrated tool in your computer whose primary work is to store and access computer data temporarily. In other words, RAM’s main purpose is to handle and share data with the CPU. If you streamline this process, it will create a significant impact on the system’s performance.
Every work you do on your computer stores in your RAM directly from storage i.e. SSD or HDD. Both are persistent memory that only stores files for a longer duration in the computer. The reason behind RAM overclocking is to boost efficiency, which allows it to access the files much faster than the processor.
The RAM speed is usually measured in MHz or megahertz, for example, DDR4 RAM runs at 3200 MHz. Megahertz is typically referred to as clock speed or how many times your dynamic RAM can access memory in one second.
Most RAM kits now have a pre-overclocked option called XMP (Extreme Memory Profile). It can be a little intimidating as after installing new RAM in your system, you will find that it is running at the box speed as opposed to the overclocking speed. If you have a saved XMP, it allows you to bring the kit up to overclocked factory given by the company.
Tools That Are Useful for RAM Overclocking
Different tools can assess the RAM’s data. Here are a few popular tools that will help you to get information about RAM before getting overclocked.
- CPU-Z: This is a free tool that helps to assess and get notes of DRAM before overclocking. You may get every bit of information about CPU-Z on its memory tab. Moreover, you will also find the XMP settings used by BIOS, located under the SPD tab of CPU-Z.
- Memtest86+: It is quite similar to a testing tool that is mainly used for stress testing in computers. This usually comes with several options for stress testing.
- XMP: As mentioned earlier, XMP is a kind of additional profile for validating the overclock settings. Firmware can configure the DRAM voltages and latency time automatically using XMP.
Preparation to Do Before Overclocking RAM
The most important step before RAM overclocking is to establish a baseline. This is not much difficult, you just need to follow the below steps to prepare for overclock RAM.
- First, note your memory default speed and timings with a tool like CPU-Z. Note it down somewhere as you need to compare it with the new overclocking speed.
- While overclocking RAM, you also need to have an eye on memory heat and its frequency tracking. You can use the HWInfo tool for this.
- However, if your system works on an AMD Ryzen processor and is planning to use a manual method for overclocking. You will require a DRAM calculator for Ryzen. This will ensure you pick the right frequency based on the hardware.
- Now, you have set up both the tools, the next step is to put RAM settings in the stress testing. Here benchmarking tools are required.
- AIDA64 and PassMark are two benchmarking tools that provide the effect of overclocking through some bandwidth numbers.
- Cinebench is a CPU-integrated application that shows improvement in your CPU performance after RAM overclocking.
Make sure, you are required to run all these programs twice, before and after overclocking to compare the scores. However, to get more real-world testing, you can also play high-end games such as GTA V, and Civilization for checking the CPU performance.
RAM Overclocking using XMP Profile
Intel provides their users the option to overclock RAM using an XMP profile. Follow the steps to understand how to overclock RAM using the XMP method.
- Download and open CPU-Z on the computer.
- Also, note down your DRAM frequency and timings in a timing table from the SPD tab.
- Reboot your computer and enter BIOS mode.
- Once you get into BIOS, Click on the AI Tweaker/ Extreme Tweaker/ DOCP option, based on the motherboard.
- Select the XMP profile that matches or aligns with the advertised specifications of RAM.
- After doing some necessary changes to the BIOS system, save it and restart your computer.
- Once your computer restarts, Perform or run stress tests for checking its stability.
- If things don’t go well, again make some changes in BIOS and run a stress test.
After doing all these changes still, your system is stable, and you have achieved RAM overclocking using XMP.
RAM Overclocking Using Manual Settings
After going through the above-mentioned steps you might have a good idea whether your system is stable. You are now required to note down the correct timings, frequencies, and speeds of your RAM. In this method, you will understand how to boost RAM voltage which in turn leads to better RAM efficiency.
Follow these steps to take advantage of your manual settings to overclock RAM.
- Reboot the computer into BIOS, and head over to AI Tweaker or an equivalent setting of your BIOS system.
- Choose the Manual Settings option. It shows some additional settings too.
- Now slowly start increasing your DRAM voltages by 0.015V increments. Similarly, upgrade the CPU VCCIO and CPU system agents voltage by 0.05V. Make sure not to overdo it as it leads to more heat which might corrupt your components.
- From DRAM timings, compare the timing you noted earlier while XMP overclocking.
- After making the changes in BIOS, save the changes and reboot your computer.
- Once your computer restarts, run stress tests to check stability.
If the RAM efficiency won’t boost, make the required changes in BIOS and run the stress test again. If your computer achieved stability, you have overclocked RAM successfully.
Is RAM Overclocking Bad For Systems?
Programmatically, overclocking RAM doesn’t cause any effect on your PC, if doing it within a limit. If you are overclocking your CPU or GPU, you might come across noise and cooling issues in your computer to handle its clock speed. However, this is not the case with OC RAM.
But if you overclock RAM at the wrong frequency, it will give you an error mostly. Lastly, you are required to tweak its frequency or voltage to stabilize the RAM. This way you won’t come across any overheating issues. You can also use heatsinks for RAM.
On the other hand, if you are overclocking RAM in your Laptop, it is quite risky. You might need to check the CMOS reset option first, to reset the BIOS settings, if something went wrong.
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Watch the video to overclock RAM
The following video guides you through stepwise instructions to overclock RAM on your PC or laptop.
To Sum Up
Overall, this is a process of how to overclock RAM. Although always keep in mind that even if this is risk-free, you must backup RAM to save your data. We recommend that you should overclock your PC RAM only if your work involves various RAM usage such as gaming, video editing, graphics, etc.
However, overclocking RAM can sometimes damage the whole system, so it’s important to be cautious and monitor the system closely. Also, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation and warranty guidelines before overclocking. If you’re not confident in your ability to overclock RAM, consider seeking the help of an expert.