Difference between mobos with "OC" shown vs. not for its RAM specs

I have been researching several motherboards lately. Some of the lower non-premium motherboards show a "OC" next to its RAM speed specifications compared to a higher price "premium" motherboard. For example, an ASUS P6T SE motherboard that I currently have shows this:

DDR3 2000(O.C.)*/1866(O.C.)*/1800(O.C.)*/1600(O.C.)/1333/1066

Compared to a P6X58D Premium motherboard:

DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066

What does this mean exactly? Does this mean the premium motherboard can support a higher speed WITHOUT overclocking?

I plan to run my RAM at it's rated speed of DDR3-1600. Would this mean that a less expensive motherboard is slightly inferior in terms of trying to run RAM at those speeds? I've seen this on many, many motherboards comparing them with less expensive ones to more expensive ones. Is there an advantage or disadvantage? Or is this all just marketing gimmick?

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  1. Yeah the O.C. by the speed means you may only reach that speed by overclocking. So, the P6X58D can use 2000 only by overclocking.
  2. What about in terms of DDR3-1600? I was referring to only that speed since my RAM is rated at that. Does that mean the premium motherboard doesn't have to use OC to reach that speed? Is that better (I'm guessing it doesn't have to "stress" or produce more energy/heat to get a higher speed than the P6T SE)?
  3. Yes, the premium motherboard doesn't have to use OC to reach that speed. Yes it is better because OCing can introduce system instability, higher temps, etc. So, if you were to install the 1600 RAM into the ASUS P6T SE it would run it at the lower 1333 speed unless you were to overclock it. So the next question is, would you really notice a difference in performance by running 1600 ram at 1333 speeds? Probably not at all. If you ran benchmarks you might see a slight difference. Hope that helps.
  4. You'd be hard pressed to notice a real life performance difference DDR3-1066 and DDR3-1600. See:


    High End Memory Is Not Worth The Money

    The results are obvious: going from one memory speed to the next, e.g. from DDR3-1066 to 1333, does not provide major benefits. Even the replacement of slow DDR3-800 RAM by DDR3-1600 memory will mostly yield disappointing results. While the performance advantage is measurable, it is never noticeable.

    Where you do see significant differences is when overclocking:

    i7-930 Stock
    133 BCLK x 21 CPU Multiplier = 2.80 GHz
    133 BCLK x 8 Memory Multiplier = 1066 MHz

    i7-930 w/ 25% OC
    167 BCLK x 21 CPU Multiplier = 3.50 GHz
    167 BCLK x 8 Memory Multiplier = 1333 MHz

    i7-930 w/ 50% OC
    200 BCLK x 21 CPU Multiplier = 4.20 GHz
    200 BCLK x 8 Memory Multiplier = 1600 MHz

    So, as you can see...

    getting 1333 memory allows for a 25% OC while maintaining the default 8 memory multiplier
    getting 1600 memory allows for a 50% OC while maintaining the default 8 memory multiplier

    You could get DDR3-2000 and up the mem multiplier to 10 at a BCLK of 200 but significant performance gains are not achieved and stability is often compromised.
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