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BIOS Memory Settings - Please help

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April 16, 2010 5:18:20 PM

Hey all,

I just built my first computer and have some questions about RAM. This seems to be a frequently asked question, but I don't see a common response in the forums or stickies.

Here's my rig:
i7-930 2.8GHz
Gigabyte X58A-UD3R mobo
OCZ Gold DDR3 1600 3x2GB RAM

As is usually the case from what I've read, the RAM defaulted to 1066 at 1.5V and seems to be running OK (only been 1 day!). The specs of my RAM are 1600 with 8-8-8-24 timings at 1.65V though.

I don't plan to overclock my CPU--maybe down the road if I add an aftermarket cooler. Some people have suggested just upping the voltage. Others have suggested changing the memory multiplier and timings and letting the voltage default. Others have said change the mem multiplier to achieve 1333 and keep the timings at 7-7-7.

What should I do? A detailed response of what I should change and where (BIOS or a Windows based program) would be very helpful!

Also, how do I determine if my computer is "stable". Is this what CPU-Z does that I've seen folks refer to? Need a tip there too.

More about : bios memory settings

a c 163 } Memory
April 16, 2010 6:40:09 PM

Hi.

If you want run your RAM at 1600, you should change the specifications of your RAM in the BIOS, the windows based programs aren't recommendable.

For test the stability of your rig and configuration, you can use both primer95 for at least 3 hours (the recommended is 6 hours or more)
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a b } Memory
April 16, 2010 6:59:05 PM

To add to what saint is saying, in the BIOS there will be areas to adjust the three typical RAM specifications. Your BIOS is likely different from others, and that is why there isn't a "How to" guide for setting up the BIOS.

What you want to look for are terms like DRAM Voltage, DRAM Timing, etc. When it comes to the actual latency, the specific values to change would be:

TCL:8
TRCD:8
TRP:8
TRAS:24

NOTE: If you plan to overclock in the future, be advised that Intel says not to set your RAM voltage higher than 1.65v, or you'll risk damaging your CPU (because you have an i7 chip).
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April 16, 2010 7:31:29 PM

OK, so I need to manually change the timings, voltage, and multiplier to reflect 8-8-8-24, 1.65V, and 1600 (set multiplier to 12 based on 133 BCLK). Is that my best option for speed and stability? I've seen others recommend setting RAM at 1333 and keeping timings at 7 or setting voltage, and letting the mobo determine the other settings. Still a bit confused here.

Is primer95 recommended over CPU-Z or are they doing the same thing?
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a c 163 } Memory
April 16, 2010 7:56:07 PM

Not all the settings works in all the mobos.

You can test your configuration, or set manually and the mobo select the best settings for the RAM and mobo.

primer95 and CPU-Z aren't the same.

CPU-Z is a program that detect all the specifications of your processor and RAM, BUT don't test the stability of the system.

prime95 is a specific program for stress the CPU and RAM, it's for stability. Another like this is LinX, you can use one or both of them.
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April 16, 2010 8:24:34 PM

I just ran across the following previous post from someone with my same mobo and RAM:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/270183-30-x58a-ud3r-1600-support

OCZ support specifically states in that thread that the CPU must be overclocked to acheive 1600 on the RAM. Since I have a stock cooler, I don't want to do that. Does this make sense to everyone? I don't understand why the CPU has to be overclocked to get there if just the RAM settings are being changed.

I'm also now wondering whether to put my RAM at 1300 and see what happens to the CPU. I guess I could just leave it at 1066 as well---seems like a waste!
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a c 163 } Memory
April 16, 2010 9:03:25 PM

I don't think so, try 1st with only the RAM setting on the BIOS.
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April 16, 2010 9:38:04 PM

Here is the info from OCZ from the previously linked thread. I'm no expert with BIOS settings, but I'm assuming one of the settings below is changing the CPU frequency...

****START***
Lloyd:

Yes you must adjust the Base Clock Frequency upward manually to correspond to 1600 DDR DRAM Frequency.
Yes this over-clocks the CPU so make sure you are covered thermally.

Set the QPI/VTT Voltage to {1.35 volts}
DRAM Voltage to {1.65 volts}
Set tRFC to {88}
Set Command Rate to {2}
Set DRAM Timings to CL 8-8-8-24 (CL-TRCD-TRP-TRAS)

***END***

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a c 163 } Memory
April 16, 2010 9:43:14 PM

Seems true, but like I see the voltage of the RAM isn't more that 1.65V that is the safe voltage for your RAM and CPU.
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April 16, 2010 10:37:11 PM

So you agree that changing these settings will overclock my CPU? I'm very new to this and needs things explained to me a little better. Sorry.
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a b } Memory
April 17, 2010 12:12:22 AM

With 1600 DDR3, choices:

Stock:
133 BCLK x 21 CPU Multiplier = 2.8 Ghz
133 BCLK x 8 Memory Multiplier =1066 Mhz

Memory Overclock:
133 BCLK x 21 CPU Multiplier = 2.8 Ghz
133 BCLK x 10 Memory Multiplier =1333 Mhz

Memory Overclock:
133 BCLK x 21 CPU Multiplier = 2.8 Ghz
133 BCLK x 12 Memory Multiplier =1600 Mhz

Moderate System Overclock:
167 BCLK x 21 CPU Multiplier = 3.5 Ghz
167 BCLK x 8 Memory Multiplier =1333 Mhz

Serious System Overclock:
200 BCLK x 21 CPU Multiplier = 4.2 Ghz
200 BCLK x 8 Memory Multiplier =1600 Mhz

There are many, many possible iterations of the above but those are the most common....to learn all you ever wanted to know about OC'ing the 930

http://vip.asus.com/forum/view.aspx?id=2008122019104023...

Written for the Asus Boards....some BIOS terminology variations to be expected with ya Gigglebyte board :) 
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April 17, 2010 12:41:06 AM

Makes sense, so I'm wondering why the text I copied from OCZ cust service above says that I have to OC the CPU to achieve 1600 with my ram. Still does not make sense to me.
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April 21, 2010 6:10:19 AM

Any commenta on my last question? I changed the memory multiplier to 10 so the RAM is now at 1300 and the timings stayed at 7-7-7-16 and the voltage automatically increased to 1.58. This ram is rated at 1600, 8-8-8-24, and 1.65V so am I better off staying where I'm at, or setting to the specs? I'm also still confused by the OCZ rep's comments that I pasted above. Any help would be awesome.
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a c 163 } Memory
April 21, 2010 1:38:30 PM

Some manufacturers recommend some setting to get the bet performance of his products, but doesn't mean that you must use it.

Now, for the RAM, U can try with the 1600 settings and test the stability of the rig with Memtest86+ or prime95, if u don't get a BSoD after 5 or 6 hours, your settings and configuration is stable.
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April 21, 2010 9:23:23 PM

Thanks, but that still doesn't answer either of my questions.

1) Am I better off at 1333 with 7-7-7-16 timings over 1600 with 8-8-8-24? It seems like the latency settings are more critical than the Mhz for everyday tasks.
2) Why does OCZ say I need to overclock the CPU to achieve 1600? Again, here's a quote from their support forums:
****START***
Lloyd:

Yes you must adjust the Base Clock Frequency upward manually to correspond to 1600 DDR DRAM Frequency.
Yes this over-clocks the CPU so make sure you are covered thermally.

Set the QPI/VTT Voltage to {1.35 volts}
DRAM Voltage to {1.65 volts}
Set tRFC to {88}
Set Command Rate to {2}
Set DRAM Timings to CL 8-8-8-24 (CL-TRCD-TRP-TRAS)

***END***

And one final question: Does anyone have experience with the memory test program built into Win7?
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a b } Memory
April 22, 2010 9:52:23 PM

1) Really depends on how you want to use your system. Using your current settings is just fine, but using the manufacturers recommendation is what they found to be the best performance (with the overclock).

2) OCZ mentioned the necessity to overclock because that is how you will achieve the 1600. Saint and I were trying to tell you that you don't need to overclock to use the modules, but as you see in Jack's examples, if you want to use the RAM at such a high speed, you must overclock.

Bottom line: If you don't want to overclock, you don't have to, but you won't be able to use your RAM at full potential.

Final Question: I have used the Win7 mem tester, but it isn't that great. I prefer MemTest86+ (www.memtest.org)
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