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Core i7 Incompatible With Performance DDR3 Memory

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 13 comments

Performance DDR3 memory that requires a voltage higher than 1.65V may permanently damage Core i7 CPUs.

Credit: www.xfastest.comIt looks like Intel’s upcoming Core i7 platform will have tight limits on the maximum DIMM voltages that can be safely used. According to information uncovered at the Inquirer, motherboard manufactures have been told by Intel that DDR3 memory when set to use voltages higher than 1.65V can burn out the CPU of upcoming Core i7 platforms.

Images of an unreleased Asus X58 motherboard in its apparent retail packaging show a sticker placed across the DIMM slots stating “According to Intel CPU SPEC, DIMMs with voltage setting over 1.65V may damage the CPU permanently. We recommend you install the DIMMs with the voltage setting below 1.65V.” According to the Inquirer, Asus had said it is safely running memory kits at 1.7V in its labs, but beyond that voltage you are on your own.

When Tom’s Hardware contacted Intel on the matter, Intel told us that it could not comment since details regarding Core i7 platform overclocking have not yet been made public. Intel did say however that it feels that knowledgeable overclockers will be pleased; a statement that agrees with early reviews of the Core i7 platform.

What we do know about Intel’s upcoming Core i7 platform is that it does not use a Front-Side Bus, making CPU overclocking essentially independent of the RAM. According to Fudzilla however, CPU and memory voltages on the Core i7 platform are synchronous, creating a potential limit for extreme overclocking if the CPU can only handle 1.65V safely.

What this also means is that consumers wishing to use current generation performance DDR3 memory with a Core i7 system may be in for a disappointment. Much of the performance memory currently available use a voltage greater than 1.7V, such as Patriot’s Viper 4GB 2000 MHz DDR3 memory that operates at 2.0V. It is expected that memory manufactures will release DDR3 memory kits designed for the Core i7 platform with some manufactures already announcing such plans. For example, A-Data’s recently announced a tri-channel DDR3 memory kit that operates between 1.65V to 1.75V and offers a latency setting of 7-7-7-20 2T for DDR3-1333+.

Unlike Intel’s Core 2 platform, the Core i7 platform uses triple channel memory, meaning memory kits designed for the Core i7 platform will come with three memory sticks instead of two. This fact alone might help prevent consumers from accidentally buying memory kits incompatible with Core i7 systems. Intel is expected to release the Core i7 platform in November for the upper mainstream, performance and enthusiastic markets.

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  • 1 Hide
    nezuko , October 6, 2008 10:21 AM
    Hah? suck Intel with those synchronous voltage. Phenom has a better overclocking then.
  • 3 Hide
    Shadow703793 , October 6, 2008 11:13 AM
    ^ :lol:  I wouldn't trust any thing from Inquirer.
  • 0 Hide
    jaragon13 , October 6, 2008 11:25 AM
    I might still buy it.But if Deneb is close,I will probably go for them since they will probably support DDR2 and DDR3,aswell as possibly better overclocking.But i7 will have triple channel...we'll see.
  • Display all 13 comments.
  • -3 Hide
    cushgod , October 6, 2008 12:16 PM
    it still will be the fastest chipset/chip/memory we can get our hands on So yes you will still buy it!! lol j/k!
    I only believe it (inquirer) because the picture speaks for itself.
    If you read that lnked article in beginning, its a 2.93 overclocked on air to 4.1ghz!! thats aweosme! ITs gunna smoke AMD! sorry I gota X26000+..with a 4870 and X2 is trying to keep up with the 4870 everywhere
  • 5 Hide
    Slobogob , October 6, 2008 12:57 PM
    Actually the JEDEC standard specified DDR3 to be at 1.5 volt with the usual 5 or 10% tolerance. So called performance memory is just ordinary memory running at a higher voltage and sold at a higher (artifical) price. If intel sticks to the specifications the memory manufacturers might actually be forced to stick to the standards too. I really hope they do.
  • 5 Hide
    nekatreven , October 6, 2008 2:49 PM
    SlobogobActually the JEDEC standard specified DDR3 to be at 1.5 volt with the usual 5 or 10% tolerance. So called performance memory is just ordinary memory running at a higher voltage and sold at a higher (artifical) price. If intel sticks to the specifications the memory manufacturers might actually be forced to stick to the standards too. I really hope they do.

    This is only partly true. Go buy some really fast RAM and ALSO buy the slower version of the same thing and you know what?... In a lot of cases the slower version will become unstable and crash your system much sooner that the higher speed part would at the same speed and/or voltages.

    This is because the faster 'performance' RAM kits have chips with fewer imperfections that have been QCed further. The chips that aren't as pristine go to the slower parts. Its not really a new concept...cpus and graphics cards go the same way.

    You are mainly paying for the better chips and the tighter QC...otherwise we'd all buy crap RAM and crank the voltage. We can't though because there is more to it than that.
  • 1 Hide
    ceteras , October 6, 2008 3:24 PM

    true. every chip is different than the one next to it on the wafer.
    so they all get tested, ranked, and sold accordingly.

  • 2 Hide
    Mromson , October 6, 2008 5:14 PM
    Shadow703793^ I wouldn't trust any thing from Inquirer.

  • 0 Hide
    Slobogob , October 6, 2008 8:08 PM

    Yet if i take a look at the DDR3 market all i see is modules that consume significantly more power once you cross the 1333 barrier while most 1066 modules stick to the specifications. Buying a DDR3 module for three times the price of a DDR2 module of the same size while the module doesn`t even stick to the specifications and might not run on all boards is totally unacceptable for me. Right now DDR3 is not onlay way too expensive, it is not even within specifications. And as if that wasn't enough, it doesn't really perform.
  • 0 Hide
    giovanni86 , October 6, 2008 8:56 PM
    Damn, i was hoping the future memory i bought for my future 790i board would be compatible with the new i7 motherboards, if i ever decide to upgrade to the i7 that is. Is this a bad time in building a rig, any takers?
  • 0 Hide
    crosshares , October 6, 2008 11:22 PM
    The Inquirer? oh wow, what has Tom's come to? O_O
  • 1 Hide
    coolgamer512 , October 7, 2008 12:38 AM
    The Inquirer almost always lies anyways.
  • 0 Hide
    Yuka , October 7, 2008 5:35 AM
    Well, if that's true, we could be talking of another RIMM-alike fiasco. Or even worse: a burned up processors parade, lol.